Rumsfeld opposes Iraq constitution delay

Rumsfeld opposes Iraq constitution delay

[JURIST] US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] told the Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] in a heated hearing [witness list] on Iraq Thursday that a delay in Iraq's adoption of a constitution would be "an enormous disservice" while "coalition people are being killed. Iraqis are being killed." Rumsfeld did not specify the potential repercussions of a delay, but said, "To the extent there were, for whatever reason, a delay in moving forward with drafting a constitution or a referendum on the constitution or holding the elections, it would retard the entire process." Senator Carl Levin [official website], the committee's ranking Democrat, noted that the approved timetable under the interim Iraqi constitution gives the country's National Assembly only until August 15 to draft a constitution with but one six-month extension possible. Earlier this month Iraq asked for UN assistance [JURIST report] in drafting the charter to avoid potential delays. Read Levin's hearing statement. Reuters has more.