This is premature, but all early indications lead me to be optimistic about the Iraqi referendum. It appears that the Constitution has gotten enough "Yes" votes to carry it and make it binding. Next up is the campaigning for the new government and the vote in December. I am truly excited by these events, but not without some trepidation. Being that the document will not affect me personally, I have not taken the time to read it through, but I have seen enough Supreme Court decisions in the US to realize that what a Constitution says and how it is interpreted are not always the same thing.
Some of the articles I have heard about are encouraging, but how stridently do we really expect the Iraqi people to enforce provisions for the free exercise of religion? An approved Constitution is a giant step for democracy in Iraq, but it is far from the end of the struggle to achieve a true Constitutional rule. Just as the storming of the Bastille and the calls for "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" led to a sawed off Corsican rampaging across Europe, this expiriment in the Middle East could lead to greater strife later, if it is not properly nurtured by Iraqis who believe in the rule of law and armed forces (American, coalition and Iraqi) that will protect the people by continuing the fight against the terrorist thugs that are trying to sabotage the new government.
This is a good start, but the finish line is still a great distance away. We need to continue our support for the democracy movement, which means that we cannot abandon the people of Iraq by pulling our forces out yet. It might sound trite and simplistic, but for Iraq to be considered a success, we really must "Stay the course."