Yesterday’s UK Telegraph carried a story by Damien McElroy headlined “Iraqi Leader Tells Bush: Get Petraeus Out,” in which he alleged that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus had stand-up shouting matches about strategy. McElroy claims that at one meeting, PM Maliki told Gen. Petaeus:
“I can’t deal with you anymore. I will ask for someone else to replace you.”
Pretty damning stuff – except that it is bogus. Here is what Col. Steven Boylan, chief public affairs officer for Multi-National Force-Iraq told this writer on the record in an e-mail:
“Gen Petraeus and the Prime Minister have never had a stand-up shouting match. This is a totally fabricated story.
Gen Petraeus has never stated or even hinted at a “stormy relationship.” Saying that they do not pull punches is very different from stormy. That means they have very frank, open, and perhaps direct conversations and continue to do so. Based on what is at stake here; that is what is needed and it should be expected that both are able to have very open and frank dialogue.
Gen Petraeus and other key staff have sat in on every video teleconference with PM Maliki and President Bush. Those statements have never been even hinted at. In addition, PM Maliki has never said what is quoted in the Telegraph to Gen Petraeus.”
By Ed Lasky
There are preliminary signs of a looming dangerous breach of constitutional safeguards, one that would extend Congressional power into the executive and judicial branches of government. This unprecedented series of threatened actions imperils the checks and balances that have been the bulwark of our system of government.
The Democrats’ anger over the Supreme Court decision that led to George Bush’s Presidency has mutated into an unseemly rage in response to a series of decisions that Democrats disfavor. The extent of this overreach is revealed when considering this past week’s developments: a pattern is developing and future actions deserves strict scrutiny.
The Democrats and their allies in the media have been harping for years that the Bush Administration repeatedly violated the laws of our nation and those of the “international community”. Fearing that the Supreme Court – an independent branch of government – will not agree with their views on these issues and others (abortion, for example) the Democrats (sometimes aided by Sen. Specter) seem to be engaging a multi-pronged attack on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Three recent examples:
1) Senator Chuck Schumer – one of the most powerful Democratic Senators – has announced that he will fight any new Supreme Court nominee from George Bush. He apparently would rather have vacancies in the Court until a Democratic President is in place to nominate judges that a presumably Democrat Senate will confirm. This dereliction of duty on the part of the Senator conforms with a pattern of obstruction on the part of a Senate that has repeatedly refused to confirm a series of judges the Bush Administration has nominated to serve in the federal court system. This is preventing the executive branch from fulfilling its role to enforce the law and is a blatant attempt by the legislative branch to assume control of the executive and judiciary branch of the government.
2) Senator Arlen Specter — a RINO (A Republican in Name Only) — has announced that he wants to examine previous testimony given by Supreme Court justices during the nomination process to measure how closely they hewed to the positions and principles enunciated during questioning by the Senate Judiciary Panel. As the Wall Street Journal opined in an editorial, “Advise and Repent,” Senator Specter apparently believes that Justice confirmed by the Judiciary Committee (and then the Senate) made “promises” regarding how they would decide on issues brought before the Court. As the Journal eloquently puts it:
“…it would be unseemly and improper for a nominee to seek confirmation to the nation’s highest Court by promising Senators how he or she would rule on a given issue on the bench.”
Each Court decision is uniquely dependent on the facts of the individual cases brought before it for review. Again, the Journal,
“This is the reason why judicial nominees refuse to predict how they would rule on topics-to prevent politicians from usurping the role of the judiciary and turning judges into Senators with robes”.
Specter and Company are outraged, apparently, that recent Court decisions seem to break with precedents. A Senator who does not realize and appreciate that this is precisely one of the roles of the Court does not belong on the Judiciary Committee.
Apparently, Senator Specter and his colleagues have no problem breaking precedent when it suites their political purposes. But a Senator, as a lawmaker, should at least acknowledge the basic principles behind the nomination of judges.
3) The New York Times ran an editorial a few days ago by Professor Jean Edward Smith (“Stacking the Court”) advocating that a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President expand the size of the Supreme Court. Smith writes,
“If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.”
Smith clearly finds the recent decisions of the Supreme Court not to his political taste and states that there is nothing “sacrosanct” about having nine justices on the Supreme Court. This may be true. But what is sacrosanct is that the judiciary is an independent branch of government, the selection of judges is within the purview of the elected President of the United States, and it is merely the responsibility of the Senate to advise and consent regarding their appointment. The role of the legislators is to draft the laws, not to invade an independent branch of the government and arrogate their duties and responsibilities to themselves to accomplish partisan goals.
The Democrats could expand the size of the Court, and, with the presidency and congress (particularly the Senate) under their control, appoint very young Justices who would outlast administrations yet to come. A liberal, activist Supreme Court – with actuarial tables as an ally – could prolong Democratic control past Administrations and Congresses yet to come.
The congress is not limiting its imperial overstretch to the Supreme Court of the United States. As the kerfuffle over the selection of US attorneys reveals, the Democrats are intent to take away the unfettered power of a President to appoint US attorneys. This is a power long vested in the President, and is a power that the Democrats had no problem seeing exercised when President Bill Clinton unceremoniously fired and replaced US attorneys during the early years of his Presidency – including one who was investigating the Whitewater controversy.
Ed Lasky is News Editor of American Thinker.
In a long piece at FrontPage, Andrew Bostom cuts through the fashionable nonsense of the “illustrious Ottoman Empire” and the myth of Islamic tolerance, revealing a sobering and more or less unbroken record of persecution and oppression. Here is a summary of the piece:
Ignorance about the plight of Jews under Turkish rule—past, including Ottoman Palestine, and present—is profound. In lieu of serious, critical examination one finds whitewashed apologetics concocted to promote dubious geo-political strategies—even the morally bankrupt denial of the Armenian genocide, as promoted, shamefully, by public intellectuals and major US Jewish organizations who abet the exploitation of their co-religionist Turkish Jews as dhmmi “lobbyists” for the government of Turkey. These strategies have “succeeded”, perversely, in further isolating Jews, while failing, abysmally, to alter a virulently Antisemitic Turkish religious (i.e., Islamic), and secular culture—the latter perhaps best exemplified by the wildly popular, and most expensive film ever made in Turkey, “Valley of the Wolves” (released February, 2006) which features an American Jewish doctor dismembering Iraqis brutally murdered by American soldiers in order to harvest their organs for Jewish markets. Prime Minister Erdogan not only failed to condemn the film, he justified its production and popularity.The ruling AK (Adalet ve Kalkınma) Party’s resounding popular electoral victory July 22, 2007 over its closest “secularist” rival parties is further evidence of Turkey’s steady re-Islamization. Indeed this trend dates literally to the first election during which Turkish voters were offered any option other than one party rule under Ataturk’s CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Party)—in 1950, when Menderes’ Demokrat Party (DP) pursued a successful electoral strategy by pandering to an Islamic “re-awakening.” Upon election, the DP supported religious schools, and a mosque construction initiative; it also allowed Sufi orders to reappear, and many of their followers then actively supported DP candidates in elections. Already by 1952, Bernard Lewis warned, presciently, about the open re-emergence of Islam in Turkey with the 1950 ascent of Menderes’ DP just twelve years after Atatürk’s death.
Ataturk’s regime and the CHP-lead Republican governments of his successors manifested their own discriminatory attitudes towards non-Muslims, generally, including specific outbursts of antisemitic persecution—most notably the Thracian pogroms of July, 1934. But since 1950, both the Turkish press and Islamic literature have steadily increased their output of theological Islamic antisemitism—founded upon core anti-Jewish motifs in the Koran, hadith, and sira. This theologically-based anti-Jewish animus grew steadily in stridency, and during the 1970s through 1990s, was melded into anti-Zionist and anti-Israel invective by the burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic movement under Necmettin Erbakan—the former Turkish Prime Minister, and mentor of the current AK Party Prime Minister, Tayyip Recep Erdogan, whose own Islamic fundamentalist (see here, and here), and virulently Antisemitic leanings are well-documented. For example, in 1974, Erdogan, then serving as president of the Istanbul Youth Group of the Islamist National Salvation Party (founded by Erbakan), wrote, directed, and played the leading role in a theatrical play entitled Maskomya, staged throughout Turkey during the 1970s. Mas-Kom-Ya was a compound acronym for “Masons-Communists-Yahudi [Jews]”, and the play focused on the evil, conspiratorial nature of these three entities whose common denominator was Judaism.
The steady recrudescence of fundamentalist Islam in Turkey since 1950—epitomized by the overwhelming re-election of the AKP—does not bode well for either the dhimmified vestigial Jewish community of Turkey, or long term relations between Turkey and the Jewish State of Israel. But the plight of Turkey’s Jews and the other vestigial non-Muslim Turkish minorities reveals a more profound challenge which modern Turkey has failed to overcome since its origins under Ataturk in 1923—steering a truly progressive course between the Scylla of autocratic secular Kemalist nationalism (whose often racist theories are still being taught), and the Charybdis of a totalitarian, politicized Islam.