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More Misrepresentations on Women's Rights and Freedom of Speech

Reported by Janie - August 24, 2005

Yesterday (8/23) on Dayside, guest-host Juliet Huddy conducted a short segment on the progress of the Iraqi Constitution, as well as the amount of protest songs that have recently hit the airwaves by main stream artists. For the segment, she interviewed Bob Beckel, Democratic strategist, and Kellyanne Conway, Republican strategist and president of the Polling Company.

Conway started off strong: "The fact that you're even talking about such widespread, broadly applied civil rights and specifically as applied toward women in this regime is significant. It is actually essential to whatever the final document looks like."

Comment: Widespread, broadly applied civil rights for women? Where is Conway getting this from? First, under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was a secular country. Women were not forced to wear burqas, and had many rights similar to men. Granted, since the U.S. occupation, Saddam's infamous "rape rooms" have been closed, but that's pretty much common sense when attempting to institute a democracy. It's what is done after the abolition of the horrid things done by Hussein that matters. Simply because women are no longer being raped, does that mean the other rights they were once afforded should be revoked?

According to the New York Times, women's rights in the matters of divorce, marriage, and inheritance would be directed to a religious court, and they are in fear of having their rights to inheritance stripped, and their legal protections in matters of divorce weakened. The role of Islamic Sharia is being debated, and according to the CS Monitor, "Some interpretations allow for men to beat their wives, give men more inheritance rights than women, and consider a woman's testimony to be worth less than a man's when it comes to legal disputes." These possibilities are "widespread civil rights"?

Under the Iraq Provisional Constitution, created in 1970, "Article 19 declares all citizens equal before the law regardless of sex, blood, language, social origin, or religion... The Iraqi government also passed labor and employment laws to ensure that women were granted equal opportunities in the civil service sector, maternity benefits, and freedom from harassment in the workplace" (more information on the rights granted women can be found here, ). Unless these rights that women were granted under Hussein, can be found in the current constitution, how can one say there is "widespread civil rights" for women?

Huddy moved on after Conway's comments, and later discussed the amount of protest songs that have been hitting the airways from the likes of Barbara Streisand (when Streisand was mentioned, Fox filled the screen with a large shot of Streisand with the Clintons at the inauguration festivities from 1993), Green Day and the Rolling Stone's. Conway was asked about this trend and she stated: "...it is never proper to be so critical of an administration or a President that you look like some anti-American zealot."

Comment: What an absolutely ridiculous statement. Remember, this is the United States, and we do have something called freedom of speech, and by using it to voice dissent of an administration for policies that are questionable, is exactly the opposite of what Conway states, it's the purest form of being an American. To quote one of our greatest Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican): "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public."

None of these comments were criticized or corrected by either Beckel or Huddy, and the segment ended with the audience, once again, misinformed.

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