October 10, 2007

The House As Arbiter Of History

Imagine, if you will, that in the middle of World War II, Congress decided to take under consideration the blame for the famine and hundreds of thousands of deaths during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. Would a House Speaker with any sense of sanity allowed a measure to come to the floor which resolved that our key ally in wartime had committed a genocide and should be censured? What kind of fool would even propose that Congress should act as arbiter of history and chief blame-thrower of the world -- and direct that effort at our allies?

Meet Nancy Pelosi. The House has taken under consideration a bill that would declare Turkey's guilt in the genocide of the Armenians in 1915 at the very moment we need them for our efforts in the Middle East. Even former Secretaries of State from Democratic administrations wonder what she's smoking:

A proposed House resolution that would label as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has won the support of a majority of House members, unleashing a lobbying blitz by the Bush administration and other opponents who say it would greatly harm relations with Turkey, a key ally in the Iraq war.

All eight living former secretaries of state have signed a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning that the nonbinding resolution "would endanger our national security interests." Three former defense secretaries, in their own letter, said Turkey probably would cut off U.S. access to a critical air base. The government of Turkey is spending more than $300,000 a month on communications specialists and high-powered lobbyists, including former congressman Bob Livingston, to defeat the initiative.

Pelosi, whose congressional district has a large Armenian population, has brushed aside such concerns and said she supports bringing the resolution, for the first time, to a full vote in the House, where more than half of the members have signed on as co-sponsors. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has passed such a resolution before, is set to vote on it today.

House Resolution 106, officially the Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide, has been pushed doggedly by a congressman whose Southern California district contains the largest concentration of Armenian Americans in the country. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D) won his seat in 2000 after his Republican predecessor was sandbagged when then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reneged on a pledge and pulled the bill from the floor after a last-minute plea from President Bill Clinton.

Most people realize that over a million Armenians didn't just disappear into the vapor. The Turks have always denied it, but the rest of the world understands what happened in Armenia in the opening days of World War I. Historians and academics have reached their consensus, and regardless of whether Turkey acknowledges the Ottoman Empire's guilt or not, the truth is well known.

That's not the question here. The 110th Congress can't even generate its required appropriations bills. It shows an interesting set of priorities by Democratic leadership that they've focused on generating a resolution on an event from 100 years ago that will benefit no one, but will undermine the current war effort by alienating our ally. When did the American Congress decide that they must become an arbiter of history, and why choose this particular moment for this particular cause?

All of this has nothing to do with any deep-seated notions of justice. Why not start taking up the cause of An Gorta Mór, as the Irish know the famine, or of the Argentinians' Conquest of the Desert? How about the Revolt in the Vendeé in revolutionary France? What about the Circassian Genocide, the largest of the 19th century, perpetrated by the Russians? Well, as it turns out, descendants of the Irish, Patagonians, French Catholics, and Circassians can't get Adam Schiff re-elected to Congress, which is the entire intent of this resolution.

With issues flaring up on the Kurdish border, the last thing we need is another jab at the Turks, and for no other purpose than to pander to Schiff's constituents. Pelosi needs to focus on the business of the American people and not the history of the Armenian people. Pass a few budget bills, and then start working on silly and pointless resolutions.


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» Why now? from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
During World War I, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire launched a genocidal campaign against the Empire's Armenian population. The facts aren't in dispute, except by crazed deniers and the Turkish government. It was a terrible event, and it's to [Read More]

Comments (54)

Posted by rbj | October 10, 2007 7:35 AM

(apologies to those who don't get the joke.)

Posted by NoDonkey | October 10, 2007 7:39 AM

It all goes back to qualifications.

Pelosi is where she is because of her husband and because she's a girl. The geriatric hippies of "are you going to San Francisco with flowers in your hair?" love her. The press likes her.

However, she's not qualified and she's not accomplished. She's never had a real job. She's not lived a real life. She's completely in over her head.

Sound familiar?

Do we want a President as, well, useless as Nancy Pelosi?

The Hillary juggernaut has been ignoring this question from the start. Saying she's "brilliant", doesn't her smart. Saying she's accomplished so much, doesn't make it so. She hasn't.

Democrats are trying to elect a symbol, not a President. No responsible adult will consider voting for an unaccomplished, unqualified, naive lightweight like Hillary. We can't afford it.

Posted by Eugene Podrazik | October 10, 2007 7:45 AM

Nancy's taking this tripe up as another attack on victory in Iraq.
She, to date, with fellow-enabler Reid, has been unable to secure defeat in Iraq by means of a frontal attack by legislation to cut off funding or require troop withdrawal.

So, she finds side issues to slowly gnaw at the efforts being put forth to defend western civilization against Islam. These little side issues will have the effect of accomplishing the same goal by means of salami tactics. Also, alienating Turkey will have the beneficial side effect of driving Turkey into the arms of radical Islam.

Posted by Keemo | October 10, 2007 7:57 AM

The Turks are a savvy bunch; these folks will see right through this side show tactic by this woman "whom is in way over her head."

The Republicans had better wake up and start exposing the Dems for this kindergarten behavior; run ads simply putting this behavior on display for all to see. Since the Dems and Ms. Pelosi took over power in Congress, their approval ratings have tanked to record lows. Republicans need to grow a pair and put this behavior on national television.

Posted by fdcol63 | October 10, 2007 8:08 AM

Pelosi - What a joke.
Reid - What a joke.

Most frightening of all, is that they make Hillary look smarter, wiser, and saner.

Posted by Baxter Greene | October 10, 2007 8:11 AM

My wife is Armenian.This is a very sensitive subject for her and her family.
Being Republican and strong supporters of President Bush(me included),they have complained that this legislation continues to be blocked.

I agree that this legislation should go through,
but at a different time.
We need all the help we can get from our allies,
especially the ones that border Iraq and Afghanistan.

I smell pandering for votes,especially in the
Virginia area.Very large Armenian population.

side note: a good book that chronicles the Armenian Genocide is called
A Shameful Act
by Taner Akcam

Posted by dhunter | October 10, 2007 8:15 AM

Keemo is right. RNC, you want my contributions then I want to see you have a spine stronger than a jellyfish. Presidential candidates I can't hear you either, only Rudy is showing a small amout of what it is going to take to get my vote by barely taking on Hillary . New tone my backside I want the gloves off and these asshat clowns exposed for who and what they are. The media is not going to do it. Elected officials, you make your own breaks. None of you have my vote or dollars yet!

Gentlemen where's your manhood?

Posted by gregdn | October 10, 2007 8:15 AM

Between this and our (tacit) support for the PKK we might as well just spit in Turkey's eye.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 10, 2007 8:20 AM

Another backdoor effort to thwart the efforts toward stability in Iraq.

The "Condemn Turkey for Genocide" stuff has been bouncing around Congress for decades, going back to the 60's. Why the sudden urgency? Can't remember this being one of those major reforms promised by the Dems in both Houses when they "swept in" with a mandate of the people. Pelosi can't muster the votes for any real serious legislation, so she picks away at the small stuff instead.

I suppose next will be a Pelosi bill to condemn Japan for Nanking? Germany for the Holocaust? France for Algeria? And, yes, the UK for Ireland? But nothing about Russia for the excesses of Stalin, or Mao for the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution, or Cuba for Castro's "progressive" policies?

Posted by Terrye | October 10, 2007 8:22 AM

As far as that is concerned in 1922 the Turks went after the Greeks and Allied war ships did not even try to intervene even though they knew that tens of thousands, some say hundreds of thousands of people were being killed. The allies did not want to get into with the Turks, the Greeks are still mad about that.

Posted by Jazz | October 10, 2007 8:32 AM

We have a significant and vocal population of Armenian heritage here in Upstate New York. (Side note: My wife is active in the society for creative anachronism, and it seems to draw a large number of Armenians who specialize in the medival era history of that part of the world.) My friends seem well intentioned, intelligent and still very, very angry about this subject. I have to agree that this is a very poor time for this, and such a resolution doesn't really change anything. If it was some form of move for reparations or something, I suppose I could see it, but this is really poking the hornets' nest with no real gain to be seen from it.

Yes, the Armerians were treated horribly, and such things should be noted and remembered in hopes that such things won't happen again in the future. This resolution does seem ill advised, though.

Posted by Bennett | October 10, 2007 8:33 AM

I don't think you can fault the Congressman for representing his constituents. This is what they care about, this is apparently one of the reasons the guy got elected, because his predecessor couldn't get this through.

Perhaps a more interesting question is why is it so important to his constituents? At one point is it reasonable to expect that Armenian-Americans could just be plain old Americans, focused on the present and the future and not so intent on using their political power in this country to refight a decades old conflict that happened somewhere else and in a different time?

I'm not singling them out, I'd say this about any hyphenated group.

I guess at least it's a good thing that no one's figured out a way to blame the US for this genocide. Was there a Bush anywhere close to power at the time?

Posted by Paul A' Barge | October 10, 2007 8:49 AM

Let's leave Pelosi out of this discussion for a moment and talk about Turkey.

Turkey did in fact perpetrate the Armenian genocide. Turkey does to this day refuse to take responsibility for what the Turks did. Would you allow Germany to avoid taking responsibility for Buchenwald because they're a member of NATO?

Turkey stiffed the USA when we invaded Iraq. Their doing this was unconscionable and frankly I don't believe they've ever paid a price.

Turkey is not trustworthy, and frankly I don't believe we need them in the War on Islamo-fascism.

For all these reasons, I do not understand why we don't pull all of our diplomatic personnel out of Turkey, give them the big finger, and start giving them a list of our demands that they start behaving like an ally.

And, the first act they need to accomplish is to take responsibility for the murder of millions of Armenians.

Are going to stand against genocide or not? Hint: i.e. or only when we think we need someone to help us in the War on Islamo-fascism?

Posted by Scott | October 10, 2007 9:20 AM

Pelosi represents San Francisco. There is no large Armenian population here. I grew up in Fresno, which has a huge Armenian population. In fact my best friend was the grandson of refugees from this event in 1917. Why Pelosi is persuing this now is beyond me, but it has nothing to do with her district.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 10, 2007 9:25 AM

This legislation needs to pass. Maybe not now, but The Turks need to hear that someone holds their government morally responsible for the Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic genocides.

All the above groups were targeted because they were Christian.

Turkey doesn't want to hear this because "the Young Turks" are still revered as the founders of the modern Turkey. But the part Turkey hasn't owned up to is that, like Ferdinand and Isabella and the Spanish Inquisition, the Young Turks envisioned a nation with exactly one culture and one religion and sought to make it so.

Of course, the Turkish government is also welcome to pass a resolution about our Native Americans. It would be fitting (and have about as much effect on our two countries' foreign and internal relations).

Posted by Bennett | October 10, 2007 9:34 AM

"Maybe not now, but The Turks need to hear that someone holds their government morally responsible for the Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic genocides."

Why does it have to be our Congress that does this? I can't find that responsibility in Article I of the US Constitution.

This isn't our fight, I don't see why the US has to be dragged into the middle of it.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 10, 2007 9:46 AM

The Ottoman Empire was the primary instrument of the Armenian Genocide. Are the Ottomans still around?

The National Socialists were the primary instrument of the Nazi genocides. Are they still around?

The Communist Party of China was responsible for the wholesale slaughter of millions and millions in the 40's, 50's and 60's. Are they still around? You bet. Alive and well. Think there is going to be any Congressional condemnation of them, today? Don't hold your breath. THeir most recent offer was to stay executions until after the Beijing Olympics...and we go along with this? Certainly looks like it.

Talk about double standards.

Millions of Armenians killed? How about just over a million? Most of whom died under the Ottomans or in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Ottomans. Unfortunate? Yes. Terrible? Yes. A tragic page in both Turkish and Armenian history? Certainly.

Poking our finger in the eye of present-day Ankara? To what end? The consequences of what Paul A' Barge suggests would be?

No, Turkey is not a perfect ally, but then again, how has the rest of NATO treated Turkey since they joined NATO? Third class citizen, at best? How has the UN treated Turkey along the way? A whole lot of Turkish graves in Pusan, Korea's UN Cemetery for their contribution almost immediately when the UN asked for countries to assist in the armed response to the North Korean invasion. Third class citizens in the eyes of most of the West for that little contribution.

Allowing us to use Samsun, Sinop, Diyabakir and other sensitive bases to monitor and effect countermeasures against the Soviets for all of the Cold War gets them what? Pretty much nothing. Letting us for over 50 years use Incirlik, Izmir, Cigli and other bases across Turkey gets Turkey what? The finger?

Yet, Turkey, the Turkish government, continues to take great risks to placate NATO, and the US, in the face of an Islamist onslaught more than 10 decades old. They have most recently assisted Israel in taking out a Syrian-North Korean facility deep within Syria, something we could not do. More Islamist bombings in Turkey as a result. They have entered into long-term relations with Iraq. At what cost? The PKK continues to use northern Iraq as a staging area for attacks inside Turkey...and now we demand that Turkey forego their national defense against an enemy that predates Saddam's Iraq?

As to why Turkey "stiffed us" when we moved into Iraq...their choice was? Let's see. The US government made an arbitrary decision, at a time when Ankara was facing a major movement among Islamists in Turkey to end the secular state, to arbitrarily use US-Turk air bases in Turkey and not consult/inform Turkey until moments before we tried to move the 4th ID into Turkey. They were prefectly willing to allow us to use those same US-Turk bases all during Operation Northern Watch, for nearly a decade, fully on board. But then, when we decided that the Turks would have to go along with us via-a-vis Iraq...took it for granted, never really consulted them, just told them, we were coming. Nice way to treat an ally. Looking at Turkey at the time, in context, I have to agree with them. We made a false assumption and we are now supposed to give them the finger because WE made a false assumption?

Posted by lexhamfox | October 10, 2007 9:52 AM

The timing is bad and there has been a steady bipartisan effort to get the bill stopped. Turks do need to confront their past as do most nations at some point in history. I think this is best done by the Turks themselves and there has been recent progress among the Turkish intellectuals for a second look at the Armenian plight.

Posted by Monique | October 10, 2007 9:56 AM

Congress goes through this charade pretty much every year and every year it doesn't get passed. Personally, I think the resolution is pointless. The only thing it will do is alienate an important ally. As for the idea that Turkey needs someone to hold them responsible for genocide, let's be honest with ourselves here, the same could be said of our own founding fathers. There have been many, many genocides down through the ages. Should we start passing resolutions condemning every single one of them and precisely what would that accomplish? If we really want to something for the Armenians, the US government should quietly lobby the Turkish government for a statement. It would be worth far more than a pointless condemnation of the founders of modern Turkey.

Posted by Hope Muntz | October 10, 2007 11:26 AM

Sadly, though I agree with you on most matters, you are way off base on this one, Cap'n. Why? Let me count the ways.

To begin with your analogy to WWII: Turkey is not a crucial ally in the War on Terror like Britain or Canada; quite the reverse, in fact. By refusing to participate in the invasion of Iraq and, more critically, by denying us the crucial northern front for our own invasion, Turkey behaved as a 'neutral power', Portugal, say or Switzerland. There is no particular reason we should kowtow to its Islamist government in this regard.

Secondly, the ongoing assault against the truth of the Armenian Genocide continues to claim lives even today, as Turkey aggressively pursues Armenian activists abroad, most notably in Europe, both in diplomat offensives--and clandestine intelligence operations. You need to read up on the past 20 years of this ongoing attempt to suppress the truth. It's easy. Anyone can Google it.

Thirdly, this isn't just about the Armenians any more. During the same time period, the Turkish government murdered and exiled many thousands of Jews and Greeks. Now they are locked in a bitter struggle with their Kurdish minority. It is precisely in order to prevent future mass murder and the invasion of the Kurdish province of Iraq that this can must be tied to the tail of Turkey.

Posted by njcommuter | October 10, 2007 11:42 AM

Modern Turkey is, in many ways, a repudiation of the Ottoman empire. Is there a way to (ahem) reframe this condemnation so that it condemns the old ways and praises those who have brought forth a new nation for the Turkish people? As a compromise, it would please nobody, but at least the politicians could say they met their promises and some people could claim that the modern state of Turkey was praised and not besmirched.

Posted by clark smith | October 10, 2007 11:52 AM

Hopefully the Turks are grown up enough to realize that this resolution is just a meaningless bloviation by a consensus of narcissistic fools.

As this resolution does nothing to alter American policy toward Turkey, there's no reason Turkey should alter it's policy toward America in response to this resolution ... unless of course Turkey is as petty as Pelosi herself.

Posted by David M | October 10, 2007 12:10 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/10/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by Carol Herman | October 10, 2007 12:21 PM

People forget. But FDR became president in the same year hitler took over, in germany.

hitler heating things up for the europeans. But Americans remained unmoved.

No matter how the storm clouds perservered in forming; Congress critters were anti-war. And, FDR held back!

This picture changes in September 1941. When hitler over-reached, and attacked stalin.

That! Is exactly what frosted off the arses at the NY Times! (At a time they were very influential.)

Then? Japan hit us on December 7, 1941. And, FDR, within days, went to congress ... and made his famous "THIS DAY WILL LIVE IN INFAMY" speech. (Ron Paul has no recall. Doesn't change history one iota.)

Seems getting to motivate Americans isn't something everyone can do equally well.

And, getting started in WW2, after the storm broke in europe AND tha PACIFIC! Well, it brought Winston Churchill to Washington, DC, for 3-secret-weeks of meetings. Where he stayed in the White House; and he and FDR thrashed out the shape of the Joint Chiefs. Then? General Marshall threatened to quit, if FDR gave Winston Churchill final say over American deployment. Winston Churchill lost this very major fight.)

hitler, by the way, lasted all of a dozen years. When it was over? Well, there were losses. Lots of it. For the Jews. For European cities. And, yes, for the germans. Lots of men "missing in action." Meaning they never even "got back" for burial. While Stalin was given the grand prize of eastern europe. And, half of germany.

Some things backfire. I don't know what the europeans learned from WW2. Sometimes I think the answer is "nothing." But Israel was born. And, Israel has had to fight for her life ever since.

Not far different than it was when American settlers began arriving by the boatload, to our shores. And, the indians had a field day doing "raids." (You know Totem Poles? These where the skulls of victims, brought back, and put up, one dead head at a time.) You don't see them anymore; because the indians LOST. They skirmished too often with the American settlers. And, then? Finally undone at the beginning of the 20th Century; when ranchers, with rifles, went into the Badlands, and shot all the buffalo. Dropping the herds by 3,000,000 killed, each year. Till the only buffalo you'd find was on the back of a nickel. And, the remnants of indian bands had no food. And, no religious artifacts.

You'd be surprised how, over time, you see long drawn out battles drawing to a close.

While the world never runs out of savages.

By the way, Mitt Romney thinks you have to ask lawyers, before you can go to Congress, to declare war. He'd be better off just looking at our history books. Delays? Only when the PEOPLE, themselves, aren't with you.

It's not up to Congress, as much as it is up to THE PEOPLE! When you see congress-critters, currently back-tracking ... you're given glimpses into how our democracy really works.

Not that congress critters are the sharpest tools in the box. By the way, Ron Paul is one of them. Do you think he'll do anything except twist and shout? And, pass tickets out to the Code Pinkos. So they can come in and create a roomful of disturbances, when the president comes to speak.

DC is a swamp.

Posted by JC | October 10, 2007 12:26 PM

Sorry, too, but I agree with Hope, and like Baxter my wife is an Armenian. One look at her family tree with all the people, men, women, children, the elderly, who died in 1915, leaves no doubt about what happened.

To say that Congress ought to recognize this fact, i.e., the Armenian genocide, but just not now because the timing's bad, strikes me as morally obtuse. The timing will never be right, because Turkey will always oppose it. But that shouldn't matter. Why should we let Turkey dictate what resolutions our Congress passes? I see nothing wrong with Congress passing a resolution that simply says this is what we, the elected representatives of the American people, think the truth is on this matter. Congress passes plenty of symbolic resolutions even on historical events. Why exempt the Armenian genocide?

I wasn't surprised when Condi Rice came out against this, as I would expect that from the State Department, but I was deeply saddened when President Bush did. He put his administration and the Republican party on the wrong side of this issue. I see it as a moral issue, a willingness to take a stand against a past evil, but if you're only interested in political calculus, then keep in mind that the Armenians are a small but very successful minority community. I fear that with this blunder, we are one step closer to President Hillary.

Posted by Edward B | October 10, 2007 12:42 PM

What the hell are you talking about in this blog? How is it possible that the death of 1.5 million people, and indeed the truth/facts of what happened, constitutes "a silly and pointless resolution"? What are you smoking? Since when is it that the truth doesn't matter, and just because we're using someone's air base we have to be the bad bullies who deny the truth. All of Europe and Russia have passed this resolution years ago, and if the Congress didn't yield to Turkish pressure back then, we would already have this on the books and nobody would be pissed off about it and Turks wouldn't be complaining now. Sure, the moment may be tough for such a resolution, but facts are facts, and it is also a fact that the Turks NEVER want to see this passed. The truth will always come out, and at the worst moment possible, so you get what you get for your prior denials of the truth.

Posted by coisty | October 10, 2007 1:06 PM

Turkey is an ally of Israel therefore the neocons want to protect it. In recent weeks ADL leader Abe Foxman has had to backtrack on this matter as it became clear he was engaged in Armenian genocide denial for his own ethnocentric reasons.

BTW the Irish famine was not deliberate. There was no genocide no mattter what George Pataki says. The parts of Ireland where capital accumulation was encouraged - Leinster and Ulster - didn't suffer much. It was a natural disaster exacerbated by a poor investment climate.

Posted by Stavros | October 10, 2007 1:36 PM

I'm all for sweeping genocide under the rug. After all it's quite messy and a rather uncomfortable topic especially when committed by our "friends." We have certainly done it before. It so easy to look the other way, especially in remote places like Rwanda or Darfur. Every country has some skeletons in its closet, so why get upset about the Turks? They certainly have learned their lesson. After eliminating hundreds of thousands of troublesome minorities like the Armenians, Assyrians,and the Greeks,they have sworn off genocide in favor of ethnic cleansing, a much more humane though less efficient approach. The only problem with ethnic cleansing is that minorities that aren't liquidated have a tendency to be inconvenient.

Posted by BoWowBoy | October 10, 2007 2:19 PM

I suspect no one has ever accused Pelosi of being smart.

Posted by Tim W | October 10, 2007 3:24 PM

This is actually a smart move by Peolsi for the following reasons:

1) She helps secure a voting block for the Dems and preserve a congressional seat.

2) She screws Bush and the Republicans over by getting them on the wrong side of the issue on moral grounds. She knows that Bush will have to oppose this because he will put national interests ahead of party interests.

3) She helps torpedo US foreign policy with the added bonus of the potential for additional chaos in Iraq.

4) She gets to claim that Bush has alienated yet another ally and that the Dems are needed to restore our reputation in the world.

5) She can do all of this while claiming the moral high ground.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 10, 2007 3:41 PM

Turkey's relationship with the US has implications way beyond that of Congress once again calling for the condemnation of Turkey for the genocide of the 1914-1923 period of their history in the form of HR106.

This past Spring's Pew Research worldwide survey on attitudes toward the United States, Turkey ranked dead last in their public's attitudes toward the United States. Venezuela ranked a good deal higher, despite Chavez. Given that a mere ten or so years earlier Turkey ranked many many times higher in their appreciation and attitudes toward the United States, one has to wonder why the downturn?

Let's see...the Cold War ended and suddenly Turkey no longer mattered in our global context?

US-Turkish bases were closed down, some immediately after the fall of the Wall, almost all with but a few weeks or a month or two prior notice, thus disrupting the local economy, foreign investment, to include US investment in Turkey, and clearly signalled to the Turks that the Wall went down and the Turks were on their own...good luck...see ya when the next crisis shows up. Sure, we maintained a much smaller presence so we could conduct Northern Watch, but ignored the PKK in the process. Once Northern Watch was no longer needed, we left. The PKK did not.

In 2003 we foisted the 4th Infantry Division on Turkey, with an ultimatum, offered a very public and very large unvarnished bribe in the process, and the reaction here in the States was "screw them!" We cut off nearly all military and technical assistance to Turkey as a result.

We ignored the fact it was the Turks who immediately sent their Special Forces to fight alongside our own into Northern Afghanistan as a US ally after 9/11 long before our other NATO allies even got out of the starting blocks.

Our departure pulled the rug out from under those moderate, middle class, educated Turks who could have done us a world of good in the present context.

Turkey being the sole legitimate Moslem democracy anywhere in the Middle East, how we deal with Turkey matters far beyond Turkey's borders. If this is how we treat a long-term ally, if this is how we in practice, in actuality, treat a Moslem democracy, why in heaven's name should other fledgling or emergent Moslem democracies expect to be treated any differently by us? We've already kissed off the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. Left them to Hezzbollah. Our "alliances" actuall or simple moral support apparently mean nothing but expediency and our own driven agenda.

Our principle dealings with moderate Moslem states over the years is to send their ruling elites money, buy their oil, give them a get out of jail free card and stand aside as one despot assumes control after a previous despot. The educated citizens of the Middle East and Caucausus see vividly how we treat Turkey and have to wonder why we would treat a 50+-year ally with such disdain, and they see us more and more as an exploitative power, not an ally.

Iraq as well sees Turkey in a light other than just about the Kurdish question, and it is a thorn in our efforts to somehow push Iraq into a full-fledged fully functioning democracy or federalist state that comes back in no small way to our dealings with Turkey as seen by Iraq.

There is more to it than an apology from Turkey about the Armenian Massacre pogrom of the Ottoman's. But this same pogrom seems to be at the root of most of our more recent political attempts to engage Turkey ostensibly as an ally, as an equal. And what of Armenian demands for Turkish territory today? What of the EU's granting "nation" status to the Armenian diaspora and using this same Armenian diaspora as a cause for Turkey not being allowed to join the EU? What of Aremenia refusing to recognize the Kars-Gumru Treaty of 1921, and continuing to demand not only Turkish territory but Azeri territory as well?

Every time Turkey is forced to the brink by internal political pressures, someone here in Congress in the form of an HR106 jumps up and says Turkey today is a genocidal killer and still hasn't apologized for the 1914-1923 Armenian Massacre.

And such buys us what?

The esteem and respect of an Ankara government and the Turkish people that should be a model for all Moslem states in the region as to how to embrace the West and also maintain their Moslem roots? Not likely.

The loyalty of an ally that is a good ally when they jump up and do back flips at our demands but a bad ally or no ally when they don't?

Iraq is attempting to draw closer to Turkey as that model of a democratic Moslem nation it can try to emulate, and Iraq can readily see that even though we have provided blood and money for their existence, we are perfectly capable of cutting them off at the knees at will. In effect our loyalty means nothing. Why then, they ask, should their loyalty to us mean anything?

We have had 80 years to condemn Turkey for the Ottoman genocide.

Why the urgency now?

Quiet diplomacy, and allowing the educated Turks themselves come to grips with their own history, on their own terms and timetable, as they deem fitting, is a good tack to take. It is already being discussed in public within Turkey, a lot moreso than Japan is willing to discuss in public their involvement and atrocities of the Second World War.

Turkey has to ask again and again, if they met all the Copenhagen Requirements prior to 2004, why are they still being excluded from the European Union? Because they are Moslem? Why has not the US used our good offices toward getting France, or Germany, or other Euros to accept Turkey as a European equal?

Turkey has to walk a tightrope almost daily, that is how untennable Turkey internally has become in the past decade, and when the US Congress reaches out and starts to shake that tightrope, Turkey understands once again who their friends are and who their friends are not.

In an effort to try a backdoor ploy as some sort of protest or effort to pull the rug out from under Bush, HR106 sets yet another dangerous precedent that goes far far beyond the borders of Turkey.

Posted by Armen V | October 10, 2007 5:12 PM

Ladys and Gentlemen !

1."European" Muslims
2."Pro-jewish" collaborators of Hitler
3.a NATO member that collaborated with Bolsheviks
4.a "key ally" of US who denied help in the inital phase of Iraqi war(and no matter how you treat US aggression, hadn't Turkey deny help, less US soldiers would die)

Ladys and Gentlemen,
Meet turkey. Your "key ally".

That's the usual way, you deny a fact for ninety years, and then call it "a part of distant history".

But, yes, that's a history, a history of MUSLIM TERROR over Christians.

Ladys and Gentlemen !
turkey didn't.
So who is a key ally ?
A nation like turkey
who openly threatens the US ?

There is only one question on the agenda.
That's a yes/no question.

Posted by Joel | October 10, 2007 5:23 PM

I've got bad news for some of you who have posted already, but appreciate it or not, Turkey is an ally for our war in Iraq. We operate a vital air base there, we send thousands of trucks a day across their border. I'm not saying they are a perfect ally, I'm saying that losing that support is going to make things a lot harder on our deployed military.

And making things harder on our deployed military is EXACTLY what the intent of this resolution is. You are deluding yourselves if you think Pelosi or Reid give a damn about Armenians alive today or dead 90 years ago. They are pursuing their prime goal - failure in Iraq at any cost.

Posted by Armen V. | October 10, 2007 5:24 PM

Dear Americans !

Let me remind you a story.
A story of the Civil War, that kinda had something to do with slavery.

When was the Civil War ?
And when did the Civil Rights Movement win ?
100 years later, didn't it ?
See, sometimes it takes a 100 years for people
to actually win.

Would you call Dr. Martin Luther King a betrayer,
just because he raised an unpleasant question during the cold war ?
So why do you racists pose negative comments about Ms. Pelosi ? Just because she raised an important question during "the liberation of Iraqi people from ... Iraqi people" ?

Turkey has been more than explicit,
it threatens it's Jewish minority.

There is only one question.
This question was voted today.
Bush said yes.
Congress said no.
On whose side are you ?

Posted by Armen V. | October 10, 2007 5:29 PM

Dear Americans !
I heard that you believe in democracy.

You say that Mr.Schiff and Ms.Pelosi support
House Resolution 106, because there are a lot of
Armenian Americans in their districts.

Guys, they just represent the opinion of their voters. Is it forbidden ? Is representing the will
of Americans forbidden now ?

So, what do you mean by democracy ?

Posted by Armen V. | October 10, 2007 5:42 PM

Dear Americans !

Genocide is defined to be a "crime against humanity", not just against Armenian people.

"American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief" has helped 2.000.000 survivors and victims of the Armenian Genocide. And the passage of this resolution will also be a tribute for the Americans
who helped Armenians. It's a part of YOUR history.

Should you forget your history just because the turkish regime tells you to do so ?


Posted by Armen V. | October 10, 2007 5:48 PM

Quoting a religious fanatic:

"Also, alienating Turkey will have the beneficial side effect of driving Turkey into the arms of radical Islam."

Wow ! So the guilt of Armenia is that it is not Muslim ? You should make all your efforts to please turkey, just because it is Muslim, and you can disregard Armenia just because they are Christian and won't move to radical Islam ?

I've never though of being Christian
as a guilt.
Sorry, guys, I'm guilty.

Posted by Gregory | October 10, 2007 6:01 PM

100 years from now they will be condeming the genocides they are doing nothing about right now. But hey, at least the minimum wage is going up. Wake me when the condem the astroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Posted by Captain Ed | October 10, 2007 6:04 PM


No one's afraid of Turkey; they're our friends. We'd like to keep it that way. In the trolling you've done, you still haven't argued why (a) this is Congress' responsibility, (b) why they should go out of their way to offend an ally over something that their present nation did not do, and (c) why this should take precedence over Congress' actual Constitutional responsibilities, like passing budgets.

I presume you have no answer for these questions, which is why you keep loading the comments with strawman arguments.

Posted by Armen V. | October 10, 2007 6:04 PM

In Turkey it's a crime to acknowledge Armenian

In Switherland it's a crime to deny it.

So, on whose side are you ?


Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 10, 2007 6:35 PM

Armen V says:

"So, what do you mean by democracy ?"

Well, certainly NOT the sort of pseudo-democracy that is firmly entrenched in Yeravan, Armenia today.

It has been over 13 years since Armenia declared independence when the Soviets left, and what have they accomplished in that period?

It has no free press. The current Armenian Parliament has worked overtime to draft further legislation to ban Radio Free Europe and other non-approved broadcasts and media from Armenia. Even Human Rights Watch, not a staunch Republican ally, has voiced deep concern over this, among other major human rights violations by the government of Armenia.

It has a free market economy...well, sort of...if the nuveaux-riche Armenian capitalists/crimelords in Yerevan, many of whom were the backbone of the illicit blackmarket throughout the former Soviet Union can be considered free-marketeers.

No free and open elections. Kocharian's election to force out Ter-Petrossian, an election that was abundant in its corruption, and clearly staged to oust Ter-Petrossian who had the audacity to seek compromise with Azerbaijan and put an end to the regional fighting, ushered in a new and deeper age of corruption extending from Yerevan all across Armenia.

No independent and impartial judicial system. Human rights in present-day Armenia are in name only. Ethnic cleansing of non-Armenians continues within Armenia and in those areas occupied by Armenian forces and their allies. In Armenia, nothing has changed from the Soviet days, except the insignia on the uniforms. The Armenian Ministry of Internal Affairs routinely has dissidents die of mysterious circumstances while in the "care" of the MoIA.

Localities outside of Yerevan are controlled by local warlords.

Armenia has maintained since independence a brutal and bloody campaign using force in other parts of the Caucausus. Aggressive warfare in Nagorno-Karabach and Azerbaijan started almost immediately after Armenian independence by Armenian forces bent on the forced repatration of so-called Armenian lands. This continuing and ongoing warfare has added significant fuel to the fire of instability throughout the Caucausus, an instability Turkey and other nations in the region, to include Iraq, rightly fear.

Armenia joined the European Council in 2001, with flowing promises of being above board, and in compliance with the ideals of the European Council. In the past few years it has made no progress toward integration of the European Convention on Human Rights, among other requirements it voluntarily stated it would embrace.

President Kocharian has done nothing to stop the corruption, far from it, being heavily invested in it himself, making the Armenian government today more akin to Capone's Chicago than anything else.

Armen V., when Armenia establishes democracy in Armenia, and has firmly established a true separation of powers, a freely elected parliament, a freely elected and responsive executive, and establ;ishes an impartial judiciary, when Armenia pays more than lip service to human rights abuses within her own borders, when Armenia stops its aggressive warfare in the Caucaucus, maybe then, Armen V., will those of us outside of Armenia, who know the facts about today's Armenia, accept lectures on democracy from Armenia.

Seems, that despite independence, and a golden opportunity to bring home the diaspora, build all of Armenia into a viable 21st Century democracy, it has chosen not to do so.

Armenia is in fact two separate nations:

The larger nation -- The diaspora, those Armenians fortunate enough to live abroad, enjoy the riches and comforts of the West, while holding on to animosities of 100 years ago to purchase more sympathy and donations and largesse from nations unknowing of the real Armenia today and fall for the emigre stories, and feeling somehow guilty for Armenia's plight.

And the actual Armenian nation --- Those unfortunate Armenians, those who are not part of Kocharian's Yerevan government, relegated to bondage at home.

For all its faults, Turkey has entrenched free governmental systems that pay more than lip service to the ideals of democracy. And are constantly and consistently slapped around should they deviate one iota from the ideal.

Posted by Eric Classic | October 10, 2007 8:14 PM

This illustrates why the Democrats will loose. Ultimately, this type of action just does not go over well in America.

Posted by Eric Classic | October 10, 2007 8:18 PM

rbj said:
(apologies to those who don't get the joke.)

Eric said:
We respect all people of faith. Wicins, atheist, Warlocks and Methodist to name a few.
(apologies to those who don't get my follow-up on rbj's joke.)

Posted by Eric Classic | October 10, 2007 8:24 PM

Bennett said:
A lot of smart stuff followed by:
"I guess at least it's a good thing that no one's figured out a way to blame the US for this genocide. Was there a Bush anywhere close to power at the time?"

Eric said:
So true. So funny.

Posted by Eric Classic | October 10, 2007 8:34 PM

Actually, after reading all the post on this subject, which prompted further research, I’ve changed my mind.

We should recognize that this happened and we should condemn it. Failing to do so would be the same as Iran trying to refute the holocaust.

Right is right. If Turkey can’t take it, then they should have thought of that before they killed a million people. It won’t change history, but it helps us to avoid future mistakes.

Right is right. Put your head up, admit the truth and march forward. The real friends will still be there.

So that means I am saying that Pelosie is right.

Posted by Bennett | October 10, 2007 10:13 PM

"We should recognize that this happened and we should condemn it. Failing to do so would be the same as Iran trying to refute the holocaust."

I don't see the connection to Iran at all. No one in the US has denied the Armenian genocide.

And I don't know what is meant by "right is right". Why is it right for the US Congress to interject itself into an historical event, of which we had absolutely no part, and run the risk of alienating a current ally? Why is that right?

Maybe we here in the US need to consider that our moralizing might have more meaning if we were doing something about the terrible events that are happening right now. Maybe we could mobilize all our righteous indignation over the past Armenian genocide and do something about the present day slaughter in Burma. Or shall we wait a 100 years and just pass a non-binding resolution at the behest of the descendants of Burmese citizens who will have settled here?

Posted by dhunter | October 10, 2007 10:15 PM

Lets see Pelosi and Reid led congress is good at:
1) meddling in affairs of sovereign nations,
2) kissing up to terrorist dictators and messing in other nations affairs (Assad visit)
3) passing nonbinding resolutions on Iraqi government demanding they do what Peloser can't here
4) Attacking freedom of speech of private American citizens (Rush Limbaugh)
5) Attacking an American general who showed up to give the losers an honest report that they demanded
6) Accomplishing nothing in the first 8 months in majority except pass a minimum wage bill
7) Undermine the war on terror and hamstring terror detection whenever possible (current FISA/NSA fraudulent debate)

The American peoiple see them for what they are a miserable failure. Approval in single digits yet?

Posted by Dilek | October 11, 2007 1:11 PM

As a Turkish-American I would like to thank you for your comments. I have Armenian friends who live in Turkey, practice their religion freely and unfortunately sometimes are subject to abuse as well...I love all of them, and I truly understand their pain and sorrow over what happened when the Empire (Ottoman) was attacked by Europeans from all fronts (WW1)...I grew up in Turkey, and finished my Collage Education there. I promise you, there is no hatred thought towards Armenians or Greeks or any other people in Turkish public education...And Turkish Government does not deny the massacre of Armenians. There were a lot of Turks, Kurds, Armenians and Greeks died while the Empire was breaking apart. It is a very tragic time of Turkish history...Unfortunately, these issues should be resolved between the two countries involved. You must let us heal our wounds ourselves. This is not a domestic problem for US in any way. As far as current Turkish Government's response to this, I do not believe it will be a drastic measure, because for Turkey relationship with US is much more important than relationship with Armenia. Nonetheless, it will hurt the trust. Meanwhile, please take a look at the above link, and know that Armenians are not only victims, but can be as brutal as Turkish people http://www.khojaly.net/press.html

God is the only moral authority...

Posted by KingA | October 11, 2007 1:11 PM

Actually for your amusement-
The resolution may have some use, true at the moment Turkey's near democracy is one of our allies in this thing. But should Iraq eventually split, it's currently illegal in Kurdish Irag to fly the Iraqi
The Turks would most likely become a major pain in the hoo-ha.
What about thier EU status?..I know it's a pretty big stick, but should there be a need to have a 'sit down' with the Turks, it's probably in our best interest to do a lil good cop bad cop..
"we are truly grateful for your help in the GWT, and we reeeeeeaallllyy want you all to gain your EU status, but we must warn you there are factions in our own government, that frankly aint so hot on you all, 'member that resolution thingy smething abou, geno- something ? I know they're so wacky huh?..know what else? there is a Presidential election coming down the road here pretty soon, and although we feel pretty stongly that cooler minds will prevail, who knows?
So perhaps it's in our best interest to figure this thing out now.

Posted by Blaise MacLean | October 11, 2007 1:41 PM

I don't think that Rep. Pelosi is doing this "in spite of" the US needing Turkish assistance...I think she is doing it BECAUSE the US needs Turkish assistance.

If it sabotages anything sought to be achieved by the Bush Administration...well, it's all good.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 11, 2007 1:54 PM


Even though your reference is from 1992, it does underscore a part of present-day Armenian history too many don't know about, don't care about, or will refute because it does not fit the emigre Armenian mythology. As I stated above, in response to Armen V, what has Armenia done since it gained independence 17 years ago?

As for Turkey, today. They are trying hard still to gain acceptance from the European Community as an equal, but have the Armenian massacre tossed in their faces time and time again. Most recently, Turkey has decided to upgrade its 1950-60's armor and infantry weapons from markets other than the U.S., from South Korea in particular. As an American I can fully understand this. In the past Turkey has sought upgrades of weapons systems from the U.S., only to be turned down, normally by a lobby in Congress, who normally hold the Armenian massacre out as an example. Turkey, a member of NATO since its earliest days, still being treated as less than equal.

I have known and worked with Turks, both military and political professionals, and find Turkey's walking the tightrope of trying to maintain their cultural identity and embrace the technologies and institutions of the West to be an achievment, one that I would hope other nations in the region would also embrace. One can always hope. Turkey is a pluralistic society today largely because Kamal Attaturk in his wisdom a long time ago saw what forced homogeniety would bring Turkey. We see it today across the region. The ethnic cleansing by Armenians in the Azeri regions is just one example. The imposition of sharia and dhimmitude in Islamists regions is another example. And this brings them what? Advancement? Not at all. Brings them more of the same -- poverty, conflict, oligarchy, and all the rest.

I don't believe the present Turkish government and people would find themselves in difficulties if our Congress makes a major issue over the events of 100 years ago. I think we, however, will come out at the losing end of it all, and for the reasons I cited above, earlier, among others.

I do fear, however, how Turks will come to view the United States by our actions regarding Turkey.

Posted by Dilek | October 11, 2007 3:38 PM

Dear Coldwarrior,

If Turkey departs from the West and fall into the hands of Iran it will not be favorable for us. This kind of resolutions are not helping the Country. Iran is feeding the religious fanatics already in Turkey and these news from USA and insults from EU really not helping. Turkey is a young dynamic country. I call it new Israel in EU =))A jewish state with Democratic Government. So, an Islamic country with Democratic system and western values would be a great asset for USA against EU interests should they cross each other. EU is becoming too strong, and there is China and Russia, I believe USA need more than one ally in the region. I guess Armenia could be one too, why not. This resolution is not helping anyone. Turkish Government never denied the crimes, they do not call it genocide however, it is called massacre. USA needs to explain that this resolution will not call Turkish people Nazis...

Posted by mike | October 11, 2007 5:10 PM

The purpose of the resolution is to alienate the Turks. Pelosi, et al. are not stupid, just tunnel-visioned. They see this as an opportunity to impede the war effort, and so lock in the White House in the next election and continued domination of Congress. I do not believe that most Democrats take this war seriously.

Posted by BHorowitz | October 15, 2007 11:03 PM

Since this resolution has been considered every year with bipartisan support for 20 years it is uniformed to lay it on Pelosi.

Is Congress the "Arbiter of History" when it considers resolutions on the Holcoaust? Is it kowtowing to some narrow interest group when it does so?

This resoluton is moving further forward for number of reasons. None of them have to do with Pelosi or the democrats. The two main factors are:

1) withdrawal of opposition to it by the Jewish American lobby. This fact has been widely covered by Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post and the Forward.

2) Increased separation of inherent core US and Turkish national interests due to the US Kurdish alliance. Those interests have been diametrically opposed since we took up the task of liberating Iraq.

The refusal to allow the use of bases built solely by US tax money, by Ankara, the second largest net real dollar recipient of US aid since World War Two, during the initial stages of Iraqi Freedom have probably cost us thousands of lives, and the Iraqis tens of thousands.

There are some wild statements by some commentators here, my guess from Turkey. Example KingA says: "But should Iraq eventually split, it's currently illegal in Kurdish Irag to fly the Iraqi flag."

False. I just completed my second tour, and was in Iraqi Kurdistan (real American allies are there) for the past six months. The Iraqi flag is everywhere including on every government building ans on the Iraqi Kurds regional parliament.

The only place where the statement (and a few others made here) the flag is illegal can be found is in the most sensationalist nationalist Turkish press.

That press has also completely mischaracterized the Congressional resolution.

coldwarior says:
"I do fear, however, how Turks will come to view the United States by our actions regarding Turkey."

Cold Warrior, I did three tours in Turkey apread over 18 years. The United States was never liked for its core values. Never. It was like because it is rich. Today it is not liked at all. And it has nothing to do with the Armenian Genocide resolution. Rival Greece is viewed more favorably than the US is. Insane Iran is viewed more favorably by the Turks. These changes all occurred long before this house committee vote. One gets a total myopia talking to the military class, which has been decreasing in power and influence in Turkey, both real and popular for decades. Do not confuse what a Major in the TAF will tell you with the broad swath of public opinion or elite policy opinion. The policy of Turkey, especially that of the military has been in opposition to our interests since the day we announced plans to topple Saddam.

two more complete falsehoods:
"In 2003 we foisted the 4th Infantry Division on Turkey, with an ultimatum, offered a very public and very large unvarnished bribe in the process, and the reaction here in the States was "screw them!" We cut off nearly all military and technical assistance to Turkey as a result."

Ahh no. Iron Horse was left bobbing the Med as the Turkish General Staff directly asked for ever increasing amounts. Starting at 2 billion and ending at 7 billion. The bribe was demanded by Ankara.

"We ignored the fact it was the Turks who immediately sent their Special Forces to fight alongside our own into Northern Afghanistan as a US ally after 9/11 long before our other NATO allies even got out of the starting blocks."

Bull. You are running the risk of running into people on the net who were there. Not a single Turk fired a weapon between the first chute and Anaconda. Secondly, the most notable point of Turkish special forces was their mediocrity. That is why they were stationed by us in Kabul and Wardak.

Canadian, Belgian -- French -- forces were with us before the Turks got out of the blocks.

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