updated 8/16/2005 11:02:27 AM ET 2005-08-16T15:02:27

5 p.m.

Members of the drafting committee charged with the nearly impossible task of forging a Constitution in Iraq's budding democracy have asked today for a one week extension to their process.  In other words, the deadline has not been met.

Much of the debate on the blogs centers around that deadline, whether or not it is practical to set a date for a constitution.

At the blog Outside the Beltway, James Joyner writes that the deadline is a double-edged sword.  It forces the constitution to be submitted without further consensus building.  On the other hand, these parties might have never come to the table without it.

A blogger at Q and O believes that setting a date is arbitrary.  If we believe we can't set a specific date to pull out American troops then how can we impose a deadline on this process, he asks.

Video: Blogging soldiers Professor Juan Cole is pointing out the political problems preventing quick compromise.  They're fundamental issues like whether or not to be an Islamic state and how to appease the Kurds without giving away all of Northern Iraq.  These won't be solved today even if the constitution is ratified.

At Iraq the Model, a blogger living in Iraq expresses faith in this process.  He writes that Iraq has made so much progress in opening democratic dialogue that no one ruler will be able to impose his opinion on the people of Iraq again.

And finally, at the Patriot Post Blog-a reminder from strategist Rich Galen that the Founding Fathers actually took fourteen years-from 1776 to 1790-to complete the document we know as our Constitution.  So, if Iraq gets this done anytime in the next decade they will be way ahead of us.

Today at 5pm, more on that story as well as a look at the ongoing pullout from Gaza.  We will be joined by Amb. Daniel Ayalon of Israel, Mort Zuckerman and James Zogby.

Later in the hour, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico feels that the illegal immigration problem at his border is so bad that he has declared a state of emergency.  He'll join us to explain why.

Email me.  maciulis@msnbc.com


Outside the Beltway

The QandO Blog

Informed Comment

Iraq the Model

Patriot Post - Rich Galen

12 p.m. EST

The Gaza pullout is underway, a historic moment for the Middle East peace process.

This gesture by Sharon meant to encourage peace among Palestinians and Israelis has opened up a new battle--Jew against Jew.  While many have supported the pullout, there is a strong contingent of Zionists who refuse to budge.

I was walking through Central Park one day a couple of weeks ago and I stumbled upon a rally, literally hundreds of people wearing T-shirts that read "Jews Must Not Evict Jews."  I overheard a speaker at the microphone explaining to the boisterous crowd that for thousands of years Jews have been cast away from one land and then another.  He shamed Sharon for doing this to his own people.

Today we will explore the conflict among Jewish people about the Zionist movement.  Should the Israelis relinquish parts of the country for the sake of peace, or should they resist and fight?

And later, a look at the Iraq war and the budding democracy there.  Not sure if you read Frank Rich's column this weekend, but it was really powerful and certain to cause some debate.  Rich paints a very bleak picture of the war and pretty much suggests that it is time to cut our losses.  That sounds very defeatist, very un-American, but is he right?

Email me. maciulis@msnbc.com


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