More on the Armenian Genocide

From the department of common-sense:
Last Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee condemned mass murder in the Middle East. Quite right, you may say -- except that this mass murder took place more than 90 years ago.

The committee approved a resolution, which could go to the House floor this week, calling on the president "to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing and genocide . . . relating to the Armenian genocide."


It is absurd, then, that Turkish politicians and some academics (not all of them Turks) insist that the issue is somehow open to debate, though there is certainly room for more research to be done in the Turkish archives. And it is deplorable that writers in Turkey can still be prosecuted for describing the fate of the Armenians as genocide.

Yet I remain far from convinced that anything has been gained by last week's resolution. Indeed, something may well have been lost.

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey were once good. The heirs of Kemal Ataturk were staunch allies during the Cold War. Today, Turkey allows essential supplies to Iraq -- around 70% of all the air cargo that goes to U.S. forces -- to pass through Turkish airspace. Moreover, the regime in Ankara currently offers the best available evidence that Islam and democracy can coexist.


Does gratuitously bringing up the Armenian genocide increase or decrease our leverage in Ankara? The angry responses of Turkey's president and prime minister provide the answer. On Thursday, President Abdullah Gul called the resolution an "attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games" -- an allusion to the far-from-negligible Armenian American lobby, which has long pressed for a resolution like this.

The absurdity is that the genocide of 1915 was not perpetrated by today's Turkish Republic, established in 1923, but by the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed at the end of World War I. You might as well blame the United States for the deportation of Acadians from Nova Scotia during the French and Indian Wars.

"If we hope to stop future genocides, we need to admit to those horrific acts of the past," argued Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat and a sponsor of the resolution. Really? My sense is that all the resolutions in the world about past genocides will do precisely nothing to stop the next one.

And if -- let's just suppose -- the next genocide happens in Iraq, and the United States finds itself impotent to prevent it, the blame will lie as much with this posturing and irresponsible Congress as with anyone.
The more mistakes this Democrat-controlled congress make, the more I will believe that there is something systemically broken about the American democratic system. We've already had one of the worst Congresses in history, we don't need another bunch of idiots making stupid decisions.

If this resolution is passed by congress and then vetoed by Bush, it may be the first time I support anything Bush had done in his role as president.


Ron said...

It is truly amazing - why would the House do this. It was 90+ years ago. That is 4 generations - it is history. Now oil is going up because of Turks and Kurds (not sure I understand the link).

Perhaps Ann Coulter is right in her latest book "If Democrats had brains they would be Republicans". I'd never heard of her until your blog t'other day. This morn she was on Fox having a todo with O'Reilly. I don't think he liked having a woman who had more Go than him. Just looked at her website - wow she lets fly.

Back to Turkey - I know current government is quite Islamist but they seem to be honouring keeping the country secular - but was that USA intent let them know we are watching.

I just don't understand the need for this ......

USA did not even fight Turkey "directly" in WW1 and Australia did and we have a very good and friendly relationship with Turkey. I was impressed last Anzac Day with the Turkish involvement.

And as you say the Armenian business was the Ottomans and Turkey had to have a revolution to get rid of them.

BLBeamer said...

The more mistakes this Democrat-controlled congress make, the more I will believe that there is something systemically broken about the American democratic system. We've already had one of the worst Congresses in history, we don't need another bunch of idiots making stupid decisions.

At last, Neil, you are starting to come around to my view of things. I believe that this demonstrates not so much the brokenness of our system, but the level of depravity to which the Democrats (in this case) have sunk.

A responsible Congress would not pass this bill. But a Congress that is obsessed with one thing and one thing only - counting coup against G. W. Bush - would. Therein lies the sole motivation for this current Congress.

Their reasoning is:

1) If we don't pass this bill the Armenian community may not vote against Bush. Bad for Bush.
2) If we pass it and Bush signs it, the Armenians may vote for us (Bad for Bush) and the Turks will possibly cause all kinds of havoc in Iraq. (Also bad for Bush).
3) If we pass it and Bush vetoes, the Armenians will be more likely to vote against Bush and for us. (Bad for Bush).

From their point of view, there doesn’t seem to be any downside. The fact that innocent Arabs, Kurds and Turks may die? Irrelevant. Bush looking bad? PRICELESS!

One Salient Oversight said...

No Beam, you're coming from a skewed pov.

The Democrats are not wanting to impeach Bush - some are but the majority are not (and they should as far as I am concerned).

I hate stupidity and corruption and inefficiency from both sides of politics. The Democrats in Congress in the 1970s-1980s were doing this, as was the Republican congress in the 1990s-2006.

Moreover, I have a great deal of respect for politicians who stick by their values, yet also build consensus and promote good government. And that respect includes those I disagree with politically.

It is too soon to label the current Democrat controlled Congress as being corrupt and inefficient - although it may obviously morph into that eventually.

BLBeamer said...

Neil, my "skewed pov" is in about 99% alignment with yours. Vive le difference?

You: majority of Dems not wanting to impeach Bush. ME: agree.

You: hate stupidity, corruption and inefficiency from both sides. ME: agree

You: Congress from 1970's through 2007 were stupid, corrupt and inefficient. ME: generally agree. I completely agree on the Congresses since 2000.

You: respect for politicians who stick by their principles. ME: agree, but I can't think of many.

You: think it is too soon to label the current Congress corrupt, stupid and inefficient ME: not too soon since the vast majority of those now in Congress displayed those characteristics while in the last Congress, both Dem and GOP.

BLBeamer said...

It struck me you may not be familiar with the term "counting coup." Perhaps that led to you mistakenly thinking we were in great disagreement?

One Salient Oversight said...

I assumed that you meant that the Democrats would stop at nothing at getting rid of Bush.

BLBeamer said...

Yes, I realized that's what you thought. I apologize for using what is probably a unique American expression.

It doesn't mean getting rid of him, it means making points in order to humiliate him.

It originated with some of the American Indians of the Great Plains (Crow, Arapahoe, etc.) They considered it a sign of bravery to get so close to an enemy that they could touch him, without getting harmed themselves. These touches were "coup". Many great warriors counted coup to prove their valor. The more coup a warrior counted, the higher his people held him in esteem.