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  • Joseph
    Genocide resolution should pass

    By: JIM HORN - Commentary

    A brouhaha is brewing regarding the proposed resolution ---- the timing is an issue ---- to recognize the Turkish genocide directed at Armenians ninety years ago when more than 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Turks. During the two years I lived in Turkey, I got to know and understand the Turks and Armenians, as well as other downtrodden minority groups in that country.

    The resolution is a Democratic initiative and President Bush is trying to block it, claiming the resolution will provoke the Turks to cut off routes used to supply our bases in Iraq.

    The Turks are angry at Iraqi Kurds who harbor guerrillas who have been attacking Turks in support of Turkish Kurds who want independence from Turk oppression. The Turks are threatening to mount a significant incursion across the border into Iraq to attack the Kurds, the most successful of the three major Iraqi groups in self-government. In this attack, the Turks would cut those supply lines anyhow.

    The resolution is driving the Turks batty because they want to control how we Americans manage our internal affairs. Their threatening to cut off routes through Turkey that we use to supply our bases ---- and Iraqi Kurds ---- if it passes is just an excuse they are using in support of their argument to attack Iraq.

    While the Turks were a useful ally during the Cold War, the Cold War is over and that alliance means nothing now. The Turks needed us more than we needed them because Joe Stalin was ready to trounce them, and NATO gave the Turks protection.

    The Turks sabotaged our pre-invasion plans in Iraq. They have been the most useless, costly and problematic NATO partner in the alliance, repeatedly in disputes with a more stalwart NATO partner, Greece.

    If the Turks cut off our supply lines into Iraq or attack Iraq ---- the Iraqi Kurds ---- they should be booted out of NATO, and all American and European military assistance to Turkey should be cut off. They no longer need it. They are no longer threatened by the USSR.

    A clarifying note: The so-called Turks garnered a reputation of incredible ferocity during the Korean war. The reality is that the "Turks" who fought so valiantly were in fact Kurdish conscripts, along with conscripted Christian Armenians, Assyrians, Bulgars and Greeks. The only contribution the Turks made was their officers and senior noncoms who stood behind the conscripts with machine guns at the ready to gun down any who faltered.

    A congressional vote for the resolution would be well-deserved recognition for the significant contributions Armenian-Americans have made to America, a lot more than the Turks have contributed.

    Jim Horn of Sun City is a retired U.S. diplomat.


    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    U.S. Denial of the Armenian Genocide

    Stephen Zunes | October 22, 2007

    Editor: John Feffer

    Foreign Policy In Focus
    It continues to boggle the mind what the Democratic leadership in Congress will do whenever the Republicans raise the specter of labeling them “soft on terrorism.” They approve wiretapping without a court order. They allow for indefinite detention of suspects without charge. They authorize the invasion and occupation of a country on the far side of the world that was no threat to us and then provide unconditional funding for the bloody and unwinnable counter-insurgency war that inevitably followed.

    Now, it appears, the Democrats are also willing to deny history, even when it involves genocide.

    The non-binding resolution commemorating the Armenian genocide attracted 226 co-sponsors and won passage through the House Foreign Relations Committee. Nevertheless, it appears that as of this writing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – in response to pressure from the White House and Republican congressional leaders that it would harm the “Global War on Terrorism” – will prevent the resolution from coming up for vote in the full House.

    Call It Genocide

    Between 1915 and 1918, under orders of the leadership of the Ottoman Empire, an estimated two million Armenians were forcibly removed from their homes in a region that had been part of the Armenian nation for more than 2,500 years. Three-quarters of them died as a result of execution, starvation, and related reasons.

    Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during that period, noted that, “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact...” While issuing a “death warrant to a whole race” would normally be considered genocide by any definition, it apparently does not in the view of the current administration and Congress of the government he was representing.

    The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed and ratified by the United States, officially defines genocide as any effort “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Raphael Lemkin was the Polish Jewish lawyer who originally coined the term “genocide” in 1944. The earliest proponent of an international convention on its prevention and the punishment of its perpetrators, Lemkin identified the Armenian case as a definitive example.

    Dozens of other governments – including Canada, France, Italy, and Russia – and several UN bodies have formally recognized the Armenian genocide, as have the governments of 40 U.S. states. Neither the Bush administration nor Congress appears willing to do so, however.

    Ironically, Congress earlier this year overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for refusing to acknowledge the German genocide of the Jews. That same Congress, however, appears quite willing to refuse to acknowledge the Turkish genocide of the Armenians.

    While awareness of anti-Semitism is fortunately widespread enough to dismiss those who refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust to the political fringe, it appears that tolerance for anti-Armenian bigotry is strong enough that it is still apparently politically acceptable to refuse to acknowledge their genocide.

    The Turkey Factor

    Opponents of the measure acknowledging the Armenian genocide claim argue that they are worried about harming relations with Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire and an important U.S. ally.

    In reality, however, if the Bush administration and Congress were really concerned about hurting relations with Turkey, Bush would have never asked for and Congress would have never approved authorization for the United States to have invaded Iraq, which the Turks vehemently opposed. As a result of the U.S. war and occupation of Turkey’s southern neighbor, public opinion polls have shown that percentage of the Turkish population holding a positive view of the United States has declined from 52% to only 9%.

    Turkish opposition was so strong that, despite the Bush administration offering Turkey $6 billion in grants and $20 billion in loan guarantees in return for allowing U.S. forces to use bases in Turkey to launch the invasion in 2003, the Turkish parliament refused to authorize the request. Soon thereafter, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in an interview with CNN in Turkey, expressed his disappointment that the Turkish military had not taken its traditional “leadership role” in the matter, which – given its periodic military intervention in Turkish governance – many Turks took as advocacy for a military coup. Furthermore, in testimony on Capitol Hill, Wolfowitz further angered the Turks by claiming that the civilian government made a "big, big mistake” in failing to back U.S. military plans and claimed that the country’s democratically elected parliament “didn't quite know what it was doing.”

    The United States has antagonized Turkey still further as a result of U.S. support for Kurdish nationalists in northern Iraq who, with the support of billions of dollars worth of U.S. aid and thousands of American troops, have created an autonomous enclave that has served as a based for KADEK (formerly known as the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist group. KADEK forces, which had largely observed a cease fire prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the resulting consolidation of the quasi-independent Kurdish region, have since been emboldened to launch countless forays into Turkish territory at the cost of hundreds of lives.

    Since almost all House members who oppose this non-binding resolution on the Armenian genocide were among the majority of Republicans and the minority of Democrats who voted to authorize the invasion, antagonizing Turkey is clearly not the real reason for their opposition. Anyone actually concerned about the future of U.S.-Turkish relations would never have rejected the Turkish government’s pleas for restraint and voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq nor would they vote to continue U.S. funding of the pro-KADEK separatist government in northern Iraq.

    Why a Resolution Now?

    Another bogus argument put forward by President Bush and his bipartisan supporters on Capitol Hill is that Congress should not bother passing resolutions regarding historical events. Yet these critics have not objected to other recent successful congressional resolutions on historic events: recognizing the 65th anniversary of the death of the Polish musician and political leader Ignacy Jan Paderewski, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Jewish Committee, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland, or commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, just to name a few.

    These opponents of the resolution also claim that this is a “bad time” to upset the Turkish government, given that U.S. access to Turkish bases is part of the re-supply efforts to support the counter-insurgency war by U.S. occupation forces in Iraq. However, it was also considered a “bad time” when a similar resolution was put forward in 2000 because U.S. bases in Turkey were being used to patrol the “no fly zones” in northern Iraq. And it was also considered a “bad time” in 1985 and 1987 when similar resolutions were put forward because U.S. bases in Turkey were considered important listening posts for monitoring the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

    For deniers of the Armenian genocide, it is always a “bad time.”

    The Bush administration, like both Republican and Democratic administrations before it, has refused to acknowledge that the Armenian genocide even took place. For example, under the Reagan administration, the Bulletin of the Department of State claimed that, "Because the historical record of the 1915 events in Asia Minor is ambiguous, the Department of State does not endorse allegations that the Turkish Government committed genocide against the Armenian people."

    Similarly, Paul Wolfowitz, who served as deputy secretary of defense in President Bush’s first term, stated in 2002 that “one of the things that impress me about Turkish history is the way Turkey treats its own minorities."

    The operative clause of the resolution simply calls upon President Bush “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 documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian genocide, and for other purposes." Therefore, if President Bush really doesn’t want Congress to pass such a resolution, all he needs to do is make a statement acknowledging the genocide. Not surprisingly for someone with a notorious lack of knowledge of history, however, he has refused to do so. Bush has only gone as far as acknowledging that what happened to the Armenians was simply part of “a horrible tragedy” which reflects “a deep sorrow that continues to haunt them and their neighbors, the Turkish people,” even though Turkey has never expressed sorrow for their genocide.

    Failure to pass a resolution calling on President Bush to acknowledge the genocide, then, amounts to an acceptance of his genocide denial.

    Genocide Denial

    Given the indisputable documentary record of the Armenian genocide, it would appear that at least some of those who refuse to go on record recognizing Turkey’s genocide of Armenians are, like those who refuse to recognize Germany’s genocide of European Jews, motivated by ignorance and bigotry. Claims that it would harm relations with Turkey or that the timing is wrong appear to be no more than desperate excuses to deny reality. If the Bush administration and members of Congress recognized that genocide took place, they should have no problem going on record saying so.

    One problem may be that members of Congress, like President Bush, are themselves ignorant of history. For example, the Middle East scholar most often cited by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress as influencing their understanding of the region is the notorious genocide-denier Bernard Lewis, a fellow at Washington’s Institute of Turkish Studies. In France, where genocide denial is considered a criminal offense, he was convicted in 1996 following a statement in Le Monde in which the emeritus Princeton University professor dismissed the claim of genocide as nothing more than "the Armenian version of this story." The court noted how, typical of those who deny genocide, he reached his conclusion by “concealing elements contrary to his thesis” and “failed in his duties of objectivity and prudence.”

    This is not to say that every single opponent of the resolution explicitly denies the genocide. Some have acknowledged that genocide indeed occurred, but have apparently been convinced that it is contrary to perceived U.S. national security interest to state this publicly. This is just as inexcusable, however. Such people are moral cowards who apparently would be just as willing to refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust if the Bush administration told them that it might also upset the German government enough to restrict access to U.S. bases.

    Though it has been Democratic members of the House, led by California Congressman Adam Schiff, who have most vigorously led the effort this time to recognize the Armenian genocide, opposition to acknowledging history has been a bipartisan effort. In 2000, President Bill Clinton successfully persuaded House Speaker Dennis Hastert to suppress a similar bill after it passed the Republican-led Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 40-7 and was on its way to easy passage before the full House. Currently, former Democratic House leader xxxx Gephardt has joined in lobbying his former colleagues on behalf of the Turkish government. And now, the current Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, despite having earlier promised to place it before a vote of the full House, appears ready to pull the bill from consideration.

    Not only is this a tragic affront to the remaining genocide survivors and their descendents, it is also a disservice to the many Turks who opposed their government’s policies at that time and tried to stop the genocide, as well as to contemporary Turks who face jail by their U.S.-backed regime for daring to acknowledge it. If the world’s one remaining superpower refuses to acknowledge the genocide, there is little chance that justice will ever be served.

    Adolf Hitler, responding to concerns about the legacy of his crimes, once asked, “Who, after all, is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?” Failure to pass this resolution would send a message to future tyrants that they can commit genocide and not even have it acknowledged by the world’s most powerful countries.

    Indeed, refusing to recognize genocide and those responsible for it in a historical context makes it easier to deny genocide today. In 1994, the Clinton administration – which consistently refused to fully acknowledge Armenia’s tragedy – also refused to use the word “genocide” in the midst of the Rwandan government’s massacres of over half that country’s Tutsi population, a decision that delayed the deployment of international peacekeeping forces until after 800,000 people had been slaughtered.

    As a result, the fate of the resolution on the Armenian genocide is not simply about commemorating a tragedy that took place 90 years ago. It is about where we stand as a nation in facing up to the most horrible of crimes. It is about whether we are willing to stand up for the truth in the face of lies. It is about whether we see our nation’s glory based on appeasing our strategic allies or in upholding our longstanding principles.

    Stephen Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus . He is a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003.)

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
    October 16, 2007 Tuesday

    "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations
    [of the Armenians], they were merely giving the death warrant to a
    whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations
    with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact. . . .

    Practically all of them were atheists, with no more respect for
    Mohammedanism than for Christianity, and with them the one motive
    was cold-blooded, calculating state policy."

    -Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, 1913-1916.

    "For nothing is lost, nothing is ever lost."

    -Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

    WHAT WAS it Mr. Faulkner said? The past is never dead. It's not even
    past. The man was on to something. Because his words keep coming
    to mind whenever somebody tries to ignore the darker episodes of
    man's history.

    Who's the latest to put on the blinders? Once again, it's Turkey,
    whose leaders have been trying for nigh unto a century to minimize
    the massacre of Armenians there during the First World War. This
    time, the Turkish denial threatens to turn into an international
    incident. With the United States on the other side.

    It's always sad when man cannot or dare not face his past-whether
    it's a person who can't admit the harm he's done or a whole country
    that avoids owning up. In either case, the one who suffers most is
    the denier. Without an admission of responsibility, there can be
    no selfforgiveness. Instead, those in denial embark on an endless
    series of explanations that don't explain, excuses that don't excuse,
    or even outright falsehoods, which are soon enough exposed.

    In the case of Turkey and the Armenians, by now most of the world
    has recognized the terrible thing that happened there: As many as
    1,500,000 Armenians, who found themselves an ethnic and religious
    minority in the old Ottoman Empire, were systematically led to their
    deaths under Turkish rule. Hundreds of thousands more were forcibly
    deported. The massacres peaked in 1915-1917. In the pitiless glare
    of history, the massacre of the Armenians is rightly regarded as the
    first genocide of the 20th Century. Or at least one of the first. (It
    wasn't exactly a bloodless century.) What the world knows, however,
    and even knew at the time, the Turkish government has always denied.

    Ankara insists that what was done to the Armenians was not genocide.

    In the usual tradition of deniers, the Turks say the number of
    Armenians who died has been inflated, that the deaths were the result
    of civil war and unrest, that there was no deliberate government
    policy behind the slaughter and degradation of the Armenians, that
    it just happened . . . . Uh-huh. History says otherwise.

    A FEW MONTHS ago, the French parliament voted to recognize what was
    done to the Armenians as a genocide. France was only the latest
    in a long series of countries to do so. Turkey took offense. In
    a demonstration of how past events still affect the present, the
    French vote raised tensions between Turkey and the European Union,
    which Turkey wants to join.

    In this country, a committee of the House of Representatives has
    approved a bill labeling the Turkish actions against the Armenians
    a genocide, sending it on to the full House. In response, Turkey has
    recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations.

    The delicate relationship between our two countries is crucial to
    the joint war on terror. Turkey is a vital shipping point through
    which we supply our troops in Iraq. The Turks' anger over the truth's
    finally being recognized threatens to complicate our position in Iraq
    even further.

    William Faulkner wouldn't have been surprised at Turkey's reaction.

    But its intensity might cause those who know little about the Armenian
    massacres to wonder what all the fuss is about at this late date. Does
    a vote by outsiders have any relevance today? Modern Turkey isn't
    responsible for what happened 100 years ago, is it? Why burden an
    important ally with the presumed guilt of long-ago crimes?

    Who cares?

    In the midst of his own genocidal career, Adolf Hitler cynically asked
    who remembered the Armenians. The German dictator was wrong about a
    lot of things. It's no surprise he was wrong about the Armenians,
    too. Long after Adolf Hitler met his end, the world does remember
    the Armenians. With good cause: justice. It demands that what was
    done to them be recognized, not covered up.

    When the injustice is on such an historic scale, the need to
    recognize it is all the greater. The crimes against the Armenians
    aren't forgotten because they cannot be forgotten. Truth is its
    own justification, and until the truth is recognized, justice isn't

    Some in Congress and the administration would buckle to Turkey's
    huffing-andpuffing. Mere truth, they seem to be saying, isn't worth
    harming "our national interest," as if this republic's deepest
    interest could ever be served by denying the truth. It's instructive
    that those in Congress who oppose this congressional resolution,
    this long delayed act of simple decency, don't deny the truth of the
    Armenian massacres. They prefer to say that now is not the right time
    to do the right thing, which is what they've been saying for decades.

    The nature of the world is such that there will never be a time
    when recognizing this truth is convenient, not as long as Turkey is
    determined to deny its responsibility for this monumental crime. As
    usual, there is no better time than now to do the right thing. Why?

    Because recognizing injustice cleanses the soul. It restores peace.

    It makes reconciliation possible. That's what happened in South
    Africa, where truth-and-reconciliation committees heard the stories
    of the atrocities that were committed during the dark reign of
    apartheid. The hearings allowed the guilty and their victims to find
    some peace. Notice the connection: Truth and reconciliation. They go
    together. Just as justice is thwarted by denial, so reconciliation is
    impossible without a full accounting of the wrongs committed.COMING
    to terms with the past isn't always agreeable work. Against all the
    evidence, Iran's fiery president still questions the truth of the
    Holocaust. Japan has yet to fully accept its responsibility for the
    brutalities carried out by the Japanese empire in the Thirties and
    Forties. Did modern Japan commit those war crimes? No. But by refusing
    to acknowledge them, the descendants of the criminals take on part of
    the guilt that should have been laid to rest with their ancestors. And
    so the sins of the fathers are visited on later generations.

    All of this remains relevant today. Genocide isn't just some artifact
    of the 20th Century. A genocide is happening right now in Darfur,
    where the Sudanese government is as touchy about that damning word
    as Turkey remains.

    History is one thing, facts are another. History is the way we
    arrange the facts, and our perspective constantly changes. As time
    goes by, our sense of the past shifts. Each generation interprets it
    differently. What doesn't change are the facts. We may learn more
    of them over the years, for our knowledge of the past can never be
    complete. The past is too complicated for that. But to attempt to
    change the facts themselves is not just another interpretation of
    history. It is a crime against human memory.

    When we try to deny the plain facts, we cheat ourselves. Because,
    let us have faith, the facts will always have the final say. There
    will always be someone, some historian or memoirist or survivor or
    just plain conscientious observer, who will speak out-and the force
    of the facts will make the world listen.

    In the end, nations need to work through their history, not evade it,
    even for political reasons that seem so important at the moment. What
    we ignore in our past will come back to haunt us, as Americans should
    well know by now. We're still working on our own past. And until we
    acknowledge what's been done, the ghosts will linger. Forget the fate
    of the Armenians? Impossible. The wound remains raw. It needs to be
    recognized, and allowed to heal. Ignored, it festers.

    Leave a comment:

  • Falc
    Mr. Bush has never been concerned with Wrong or Right. The fact is, the man is a lapdog. (Funny that Blair should be that lapdog's poodle, eh?) There's solid evidence that the invasion of Iraq was on the boards long before 9/11. All Bush cares about is vindicating the hundreds of thousands of lives lost there (theirs and ours) by "winning" in Iraq.

    That Turkey could even utter something sounding like "Terrorist" after what they pulled on us, the Greeks, those in Cypress, etc., is all the more proof of their lack of conscience.

    Perhaps that's why Bush and Turkey get along so well.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    Rodney Coates Commentary

    WMUB, OH
    Oct 16 2007

    OXFORD, OH (2007-10-16) A recent U-S House of Representatives
    resolution, recognizing the deaths of 1-point-5 million Armenians
    nearly a century ago as genocide, is drawing criticism from the Bush
    Administration. Commentator Rodney Coates says he simply doesn't
    understand that line of thinking.

    President Bush on Wednesday utilized what little political and moral
    clout that remains to encourage Congress not to pass legislation
    that would declare the Turkey's killing of millions of Armenians as
    genocide. His reason -It would cause great harm' to relations with
    Turkey, a key ally in the Iraq War. The problem is that most of the
    world powers to date including England, France, and Germany have
    concluded that the Armenian Genocide did occur. According to a 2006
    PBS documentary Turkey between 1915 and 1920 orchestrated a pogrom
    consisting of expulsion, rape, and murder led to the ultimate deaths
    of an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians.

    Genocide, the willful attempt to exterminate a racial, ethnic,
    national, or religious group goes against human, international,
    and U.S. law. It would not be only a betrayal to those millions of
    ethnic Armenians that died, but immoral to continue to dismiss their
    suffering. For several years Armenian Americans have lobbied to have
    this crime recognized and Turkey condemned. Last year the House of
    Representatives' International Relations Committee endorsed two
    separate resolutions declaring the atrocities genocide. In both
    instances, a House dominated by Republicans cut off debate and
    prevented the bill from coming before the full house.

    The reason Mr. Bush seems to want Congress not to pass this bill is
    that he is afraid that the U.S. will lose a valuable ally' in the
    war on terrorisms. I would have hoped that the President's reason
    were more honorable, and that he had concluded that Turkey was not
    instrumental in the genocide. But no, he is concerned that his war'
    does not get derailed by such a little thing as a genocide' which
    may' have happened almost 80 years ago. I guess morality, honor,
    and truth are less important, then the reality of today's terrorist.

    I really don't get it! In our bid to make the world safe for democracy'
    and to cleanse it of the axis of evil' , how can we ignore such
    an atrocity as the first act of terrorism and genocide of the
    last century? Mr. Bush, you are wrong, we cannot expect for any to
    have faith in our stance as a Nation which abhors evil, and fights
    for freedom, justice, and equality while hiding behind convenient
    historical amnesia, misinformation, or just plain lies. While I know
    that war makes strange bedfellows, war must yet be fought on honorable
    terms. If, in order to win we must make a deal with the devil, then
    we need to find another player or play another game.

    Now is the time to take a stand. We as a Nation must stand on the side
    of justice, and in that stand we must declare that Turkey practiced
    Genocide and should therefore be condemned.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    By Mark Krikorian

    National Review Online , NY
    Oct 16 2007

    Critics are right that Congress has no business weighing in on
    historical controversies. But there is no controversy here.

    The House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a non-binding resolution
    recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey is in a tizzy. A few

    First of all, it is simply inarguable that the Ottoman Empire tried
    to eradicate the Armenian people under the cover of World War I.

    Despite the Turkish government's efforts to purchase a different
    historical narrative (by, for instance, using government funds to
    endow chairs in Turkish Studies at American universities), genocide
    denial is finding an increasingly small audience. As the International
    Association of Genocide Scholars has put it, "to deny its factual
    and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but
    in propaganda."

    But that, of course, doesn't give House members much direction in
    considering whether to vote for the actual resolution that will soon
    reach the House floor. It wouldn't matter much one way or the other if
    Congress were voting on whether to condemn the Mongols' extermination
    of 90 percent of Persia's population in the 13th century, for instance,
    because that doesn't have much political saliency. But, for whatever
    reason, the modern Turkish Republic has adopted a monomaniacal
    position of genocide denial, similar to the ChiComs' insistence on
    the fiction of "One China," or the Greeks' obsession with FYROM,
    or the Arabs' demand that we pretend Jerusalem is not the capital of
    Israel. This is despite the fact that the genocide was the policy of a
    long-defunct state and its architects were actually condemned to death
    in absentia by Turkish military courts specifically for committing
    the genocide. The smart thing would be to simply acknowledge the
    crimes of the ancien regime, and move on.

    Nonetheless, Turkey will brook no argument. Simply asserting the
    existence of the Armenian Genocide there is a criminal offense,
    and just yesterday two Turkish-Armenian journalists were convicted
    on such charges, including the son of another journalist murdered
    earlier this year for asserting the reality of the genocide.

    As a result of the House committee vote, Turkey has temporarily
    recalled its ambassador and Washington fears that if the genocide
    measure passes the full House, Turkey will limit our use of an air
    base in southern Turkey used to supply troops in Iraq. They may well
    make good on their threat, though the Turkish government's pique is
    likely to be short-lived, since they need us more than we need them.

    And we've coped just fine with earlier efforts at Turkish obstruction
    of our efforts in Iraq; in 2003, Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to
    pass through on their way to overthrow Saddam. What's more, Turkey is
    moving toward sending its own troops to invade Kurdistan, the only part
    of Iraq that isn't at war, in order to flush out separatist guerrillas.

    The context for Turkey's reaction to the House resolution is the fact
    that Turks are the most anti-American people on Earth. A 47-nation
    Pew survey earlier this year showed that ordinary Turks had the
    least favorable view of the United States, more negative than even
    the Palestinians or Pakistanis. Mein Kampf is a bestseller there,
    and the luridly anti-American and anti-Semitic film Valley of the
    Wolves - Iraq drew record audiences and thumbs-ups from Turkey's
    political leadership. The Turkish people's deep-seated hatred of
    America obviously wouldn't get any better because of passage of the
    genocide resolution, but it couldn't get any worse.

    Back home, it's particularly amusing to see opposition to the genocide
    resolution from those who want to use American foreign policy to
    promote human rights abroad. If you're going to stick your nose
    in other people's business, and tell Burma's junta how to behave,
    and pass judgment on every nation's commitment to religious freedom,
    etc., this is what you're going to be stuck with. In other words, once
    you start moving along the spectrum toward foreign-policy Idealism,
    don't be surprised when this sort of thing happens.

    If there's any real problem with the genocide resolution it's
    precisely that it feeds into an excessively idealist view of foreign
    policy. While its many findings are largely restatements of facts
    in the public record, its "Declaration of Policy" states that "The
    House of Representatives - (1) calls upon 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 documented in the United States
    record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the
    failure to realize a just resolution." Our foreign policy is already
    reflects inordinate "sensitivity concerning issues related to human
    rights" - we hardly need more of it.

    None of this would have happened if subsequent presidents had simply
    followed Ronald Reagan's lead in commemorating the Armenian Genocide
    along with the Holocaust, without lots of specific "findings,"
    without declarations of policy, without even mentioning Turkey or
    the Ottomans. Our policy toward modern Turkey should have nothing
    whatsoever to do with acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. But
    caving to Turkish pressure never to use "Armenian" and "genocide" in
    the same sentence is what has given the current resolution its impetus.

    Critics are right that Congress has no business weighing in on
    historical controversies. But there is no controversy here. This
    isn't even a matter of the polite fictions necessary to international
    diplomacy. Denying the Armenian Genocide is simply a lie, and a lie
    propagated at the behest of a foreign power. It's unworthy of us.

    - Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration

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  • Joseph
    Ali Ettexxxh

    Washington Post
    Oct 15 2007
    Tehran, Iran

    Few subjects set off explosions of national rage in Turkey like the
    fate of one and a half million Armenians in the darkest days of the
    First World War. First, some background: Armenians insist they were
    victims of the first mass genocide of the 20th century, driven from
    their homes in eastern Anatolia; only a few hundred thousand made it
    to Syria and Mesopotamia, today's Iraq. Turks, while acknowledging
    that many Armenians died in 1915-17, have always denied the genocide,
    despite widely reported evidence of massacres.

    The issue burst into an international row - and possibly worse - as
    the U.S. Congress is demanding that Turkey officially recognize the
    genocide as fact. Turkey's newly elected Islamist president and his
    party member prime minister are threatening "serious consequences,"
    including cancelling arms deals and closing the Incirlik air base,
    which is a vital transport hub to US military manuevers in Iraq.

    Turkey's large international debt also looms in the background and
    it could complicate matters for both sides. And this hard talk is on
    top of Turkey's imminent invasion of Kurdish Iraq to sort out PKK
    terrorists or "rescue" Kirkuk and its Turkomen minority and check
    on recent oil deals in Kurdish Iraq-and to pacify the army's enigma
    about an Islamist president in Cankaya Palace.

    Very reluctantly and in small steps, Ankara has moved toward admitting
    that Armenians, once one of the two favored Christian minorities
    under the Ottoman Empire, perished of starvation and thirst as the
    Russians advanced. Nevertheless, and always off the record, Turkish
    nationalists say that the Ottomans had proof that Armenian nationalists
    were pro-Russian militia and guerrilla groups and thus they "deserved"
    it. As always, a bargain can be struck in the Turkish political
    bazaar-namely, EU membership in exchange for a political whitewash.

    This remains a baffling situation because the acts in question were
    carried out by a different government than the "new, modern" Turkish
    Republic. However, the vast Ottoman archives remain under strict seal
    since 1923 and requests for access to such records, even by Turkish
    researchers and historians, are summarily rejected. One reason is that
    those records are in the old Arabic script of the Turkish language,
    before Kemal Ataturk changed the national alphabet. So there hardly
    any Turkish nationals who can read these materials, nor any government
    specialists that can edit them. As such, hearsay, nationalist spin
    and oversized newspaper headlines conveniently generate denials and
    dismissal of facts. Eyewitnesses and historians, including Gertrude
    Bell (the English Arabist who helped set up modern Iraq) reported in
    their diaries of Armenian prisoners and refugees being butchered.

    We ought to recall that Turkey, with its army of half a million
    soldiers, was merely an American ally of convenience during the Cold
    War. In this new era of confused world order, American policy is
    influenced by many powerful lobbies, and the Armenian lobby is one
    of the most successful exile groups in the world. It has a powerful
    presence in California, Europe, Lebanon, Jerusalem and now its own
    pro-Moscow state of Armenia in the Caucasus. The Armenian lobby also
    managed a similar resolution by the French parliament, and that has
    proved to be a convenient tool for the assertive anti-Turkish views
    of President Sarkozy.

    As I wrote about Turkey's trouble with its minorities, murder and
    denial are not the most realistic way forward. A democratic society
    must solve problems with courage and realistic engagement.

    Turkey must engage this American resolution, and the rest of the
    world, as a welcomed opportunity for a wholesale review of all
    regional events during the 20th century. That includes all issues that
    have roots during the ill-crafted breakup of the Ottoman Empire and
    subsequent fabrication of new, and now failed or deadlocked, states
    (Iraq, Syria and Israel come to mind).

    This might be an opportunity for the religious democrats of the Turkish
    Republic to adopt a transparent policy and distance themselves from
    the Ottoman religious radicals. The contrast of the Federal Republic
    of Germany against the Third Reich might serve as a useful example. As
    such, Turkey ought to submit to cold facts and, when necessary, prove
    to the world that it is a sober republic and a stable Muslim democratic
    society-- one that is able to face reality as an adult. Otherwise,
    Turkey will continue as the longest emerging market and the perpetual
    EU aspirant, in the waiting lounge of two large Christian clubs of
    NATO and EU for an invitation.

    Dr. Ali Ettexxxh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation,
    an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS,
    and the Middle East

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  • Joseph
    by The Stiletto

    Blogger News Network
    Oct 15 2007

    More than 60 years ago, Polish-Jewish scholar Ralph Lemkin coined
    the term "genocide" precisely to describe the scale and brutality of
    the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Christian Armenians by the
    Ottoman Turks.

    The assertions Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary
    Robert Gates made arguing against Congress passing HR 106/SR 106,
    which calls on our government to recognize the historical truth of the
    Armenian Genocide, are outright lies: That loss of access to Turkish
    land and air supply routes will imperil coalition forces in Iraq,
    and that that Turkey is an indispensable ally.

    Unfortunately, these lies were enough to sway one co-sponsor of the
    bill, Jane Harman (D-CA), to withdraw her support.

    The truth: Turkey is irresolute as an Iraq War ally and irrelevant
    as a NATO ally.

    If Turkey makes good on its threats to deny the U.S. access to Incirlik
    Air Base - through which 70 percent of military cargo sent to Iraq
    is flown - and closes the Turkish-Iraq border to trucks that deliver
    30 percent of the fuel used by the U.S. military, there is a Plan
    B. "Turkey has been a tremendous hub for us, and if we didn't have
    it that would increase time lines and distances. But it would be a
    short-term impact," a senior military officer involved in logistical
    planning and operations tells The New York Times. Armored vehicles
    and other equipment flown to Iraq over Turkish airspace can also be
    rerouted, if necessary.

    The day the Berlin Wall fell was the day Turkey ceased to matter as
    a NATO member. Here, highlights of a "Note to the Turkish government"
    Hugh Fitzgerald posted on Dhimmi Watch that are germane to the focus
    of this post:

    The Cold War, or at least the First Cold War, is over. It is no
    longer 1950, or 1960. There is no longer a need for Turkey's help in
    confronting Russia, which, while it has reverted to unpleasantness
    and despotism, is not the menace it once was. And Turkey is not quite
    so important a place for listening-posts and other bases. ...

    Turkey has not fulfilled, as it seems to think, its duties to its
    American "ally." It did not permit the use of Incirlik airbase. Three
    rather than four divisions, therefore, had to take over Iraq. There
    was no invasion force from the north that might have made a difference
    in Anbar. ...

    Turkey is a member of NATO. The Turks apparently think they will remain
    in NATO no matter how outrageously they behave. But why should NATO
    continue to tolerate an Islamic country? What conceivable good can come
    of having privy to NATO circles a government like that now in power in
    Istanbul, given that the great threat to the other countries of NATO,
    and to the Western alliance, comes now from the forces of Jihad? ...

    It may be that Bush thinks that the large-scale murders of Christian
    Armenians by Muslim Turks began in 1915, when it began twenty years
    before, with no "wartime conditions" to blame ... [Emphasis, The

    [T]he E.U. does not need Turkey, does not want Turkey. ... NATO, and
    the Americans, do not need Turkey, a recalcitrant Turkey, a difficult
    Turkey, a Turkey that makes demands for the rewriting or the ignoring
    of history. ... [T]he Turkish army will not be ordered to collaborate
    with Infidels against other Muslims - and it will not be, not by the
    current government - then what good is Turkey to NATO?

    Fitzgerald's piece also details what a back-stabbing "friend" Turkey
    has been to the U.S. and punctures Turkey's denialist claims, parroted
    by our government - as well as by John Fund and Turkey's other shills
    at The Wall Street Journal.

    Here's what's really going on: Turkey is using HR 106 as a pretext
    to carry out its long-planned excursion into Northern Iraq to kill as
    many Kurds as possible - along with any ambitions they might have of
    joining their brethren on the Turkish side of the border to form an
    independent country. The real prize is the potentially huge untapped
    oil reserves now under the control of the Kurdish Regional Government.

    The "insult" of passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution gives Turkey
    the cover it needs to further it's geopolitical interests and to
    undermine the U.S. mission in Iraq once again - just as a "neutral"
    Turkey undermined the Allies in WWII by secretly supplying Hitler
    with chromite. (Another historical truth that Shimon Peres and Abe
    Foxman must deny along with the Armenian Genocide so that Israel can
    maintain its "friendship" with Turkey.)

    Conservatives who argue that the Armenian Genocide happened, but it's
    "inconvenient" to say so right now, should know better than anyone
    that doing the right thing is never "convenient." It's convenient to
    steal a car, not to save up money to buy one; to rape a woman a man
    is sexually attracted to, not to woo and marry her; and to abort a
    baby, not to feed, clothe and raise him. But in each of these cases
    - as with passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution - the convenient
    thing is not the right thing.

    On "Fox News Sunday," Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Brit Hume that he
    supported the U.S. government's official recognition of the Armenian
    Genocide for 25 years - and that there never seemed to be "a right
    time" as far as the Turks were concerned:

    Hume: ... Just on the strength of the committee action, the Turks
    recalled their ambassador, which is a - you know, it's more than
    a mild form of protest about this. If it's that sensitive at this
    moment, why do it now?

    Hoyer: OK, Brit. That's a good question. I've been in the Congress 26
    years. I've been for this resolution for 25 years. I've talked to the
    Turkish ambassadors, Turkish government, Turkish parliamentarians,
    over a quarter of a century. Never once in that quarter of a century
    has anybody in the Turkish government said to me, "OK, this is the
    right time." In other words, there would be no right time. ...

    Hume: I mean, do you think it's an urgent issue, something that
    happened between Turks and Armenians in World War I?

    Hoyer: Brit, do I think it's an urgent issue? I think the issue of
    genocide is a very urgent and present issue. It's happening in Darfur
    now. It happened in Bosnia not too long ago. And the world sat by
    and watched. Yes, I think it's an urgent issue.

    Hume: Well, but nobody's arguing that it wasn't a mass killing or
    even a massacre.

    Hoyer: No, it was a genocide. And I understand some people are arguing
    that well, let historians look at it. Historians have looked at
    it. Nobel writers have looked at it. And there is a conclusion that,
    in fact, this was a conscious effort to eliminate a race of people.

    Hume: ... [D]o you think it's worth making this expression of this at
    this time, all these years later, at the expense of souring relations
    with a country who has helped us, is vital in the Mideast and in Iraq
    in particular?

    Hoyer: Well, I think Turkey's help to us is vital. More vital is the
    United States' help to Turkey, Brit. Over the last half a century,
    the relationship between the United States and Turkey has far more
    advantage to Turkey than it has the United States. Are we both
    advantageous to one another? We are. [Emphasis, The Stiletto's.]

    It's an added irony that some of the very same conservatives who
    decry the harassment of Christians in this country by the ACLU, the
    killings of Christians in Muslim countries and in communist China
    and the twin threats of Sharia-creep and Islamofascism are siding
    with Turkey against Armenians, who were victims of the first Muslim
    jihad against Christians in modern times.

    As with the furor over the Danish cartoons and the flying Imams,
    Turkey's hysterical reaction to a historical fact is yet another case
    of manufactured Muslim outrage.

    Unlike some Christians who advocate worshipping Allah (hey, what's the
    diff?), HR 106/SR 106 gives Christians a way to express our outrage
    over the centuries of dhimmitude that continue to this day in Turkey
    and throughout the Middle East; to express our outrage over the
    Ottoman Turks not only annihilating the Armenians but replicating
    their murderous MO to drive out and slaughter Christians in the
    Assyrian and Greek communities; and to express our outrage that the
    price two-timing Turkey is extracting for its toxic friendship is that
    Americans dirty our hands with the blood of Christian martyrs, instead
    of cleansing our souls by belatedly joining the 22 other civilized
    nations worldwide that have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.

    Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The
    Stiletto Blog.

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  • Joseph
    Alberto Michel Chahoud UAE

    7DAYS, United Arab Emirates
    Oct 16 2007

    When French philosopher Roger Garaudy published "The Founding Myths of
    Modern Israel" in 1996, he faced serious charges by French courts,
    as his book contested the existence of gas chambers in Hitler's
    Germany, as well as the number of Jewish population eliminated in
    concentration camps.

    Back then, the "democratic world" backed the charges against Garaudy,
    as they found the author's "allegations" offensive to human rights
    and mainly to Jews' sentiments, as some governments claimed.

    It is so weird how those same governments, so eager to defend human
    rights, still cannot feel the urgency to defend the rights of the
    Armenian population slaughtered during the First World War by Ottoman
    Turks, where more than 1.5 million Armenians were systematically
    eliminated and a million others deported. Today, 92 years after the
    Armenian genocide Ankara is still denying the crime, despite thousands
    of pictures, films, testimonials and other irrefutable proofs that
    have been publicly available to the entire world.

    Today, Turkey is angry! It is infuriated at the potential resolution
    by the American Congress, labeling the Armenian killing by Turkey
    as genocide. Of course Turkey is angry; not only will this new
    development shed more light on the Ottomans' shameful butchery against
    Armenians, but it might also hamper Ankara's efforts to secure an EU
    membership. Whatever the case, hats off to the American Congress,
    despite the lengthy delay in taking such an action. While this new
    resolution might sound firm, it should be considered as an invitation
    to the world to stop living in denial and start admitting the mistakes
    and atrocities committed throughout the history of humanity.

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  • Helen
    Published: October 17, 2007
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — Worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders, House members from both parties have begun to withdraw their support from a resolution supported by the Democratic leadership that would condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago.

    Almost a dozen lawmakers had shifted against the measure over the last 24 hours, accelerating a sudden exodus that has cast deep doubt over the measure's prospects. Some representatives made clear that they were heeding warnings from the White House, which has called the measure dangerously provocative, and from the Turkish government, which has said House passage would prompt Turkey to reconsider its ties to the United States, including logistical support for the Iraq war.

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