With all the problems facing this country, both in Iraq and at home, why is Congress spending time trying to pass a resolution condemning the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago?
Make no mistake about it, that massacre of hundreds of thousands -- perhaps a million or more -- Armenians was one of the worst atrocities in all of history....
Historians need to make us aware of such things. But why are politicians suddenly trying to pass Congressional resolutions about these events, long after all those involved are dead and after the Ottoman Empire in which all these things happened no longer exists?
The short answer is irresponsible politics.
People of Armenian ancestry in the United States and around the world are justifiably outraged at what happened in the Ottoman Empire -- and at subsequent governments in Turkey which have refused to acknowledge or accept historical responsibility for the mass atrocities that took place on their soil.
But the sudden interest of Congressional Democrats in this issue goes beyond trying to pick up some votes.
They want a resolution to condemn what happened as "genocide" -- a word that provokes instant anger among today's Turks, since genocide means a deliberate government policy aimed at exterminating a whole people, as distinguished from horrors growing out of a widespread breakdown of law and order in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
These are issues of historical facts and semantics best left to scholars rather than politicians.
If Congress has gone nearly a century without passing a resolution accusing the Turks of genocide, why now, in the midst of the Iraq war?
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this resolution is just the latest in a series of Congressional efforts to sabotage the conduct of that war.
Large numbers of American troops and vast amounts of military equipment go to Iraq through Turkey, one of the few nations in the Islamic Middle East that has long been an American ally.
Turkey has also thus far refrained from retaliating against guerrilla attacks from the Kurdish regions of Iraq onto Turkish soil. But the Turks could retaliate big time if they chose.
There are more Turkish troops on the border of Iraq than there are American troops within Iraq.
Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Washington to show its displeasure over Congress' raising this issue. The Turks may or may not stop at that.
In this touchy situation, why stir up a hornet's nest over something in the past that neither we nor anybody else can do anything about today?
...In a rare but revealing slip, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn said that an American victory in Iraq "would be a real big problem for us" in the 2008 elections.
Unwilling to take responsibility for ending the war by cutting off the money to fight it, as many of their supporters want them to, Congressional Democrats have instead tried to sabotage the prospects of victory by seeking to micro-manage the deployment of troops, delaying the passing of appropriations -- and now this genocide resolution that is the latest, and perhaps lowest, of these tactics.
Jonah Goldberg wonders where have all the Democratic foreign policy "realists" gone?
For quite a while now I've been hearing liberals insist that the Democratic Party is the home to serious-minded realism. Those whack-job, neoconservative-hijacked, Republicans are all a bunch of neo-Wilsonian idealists and democracy voluptuaries. Meanwhile, liberals are willing to make the cold, reasoned, case for America's enlightened self-interested. You'll even hear quite a few folks polishing apples from the Walt and Mearshimer's anti-Israel barrel.
Well, where are all these people when it comes to the Democratic Party's push to condemn the Armenian genocide?
Once again, the Democrats are unable to make a distinction between reality and myth when it comes to turkeys. Undoubtedly they see this sort of behavior as a way of gaining a little cheap glory for bravely standing up against the genocide of a few generations ago. What a bunch of courageous men and women!
Harry "the war is lost" Reid and the Democrats eager for defeat should be immensely proud. Not content with merely enabling Al Qaeda and encouraging them to kill American soldiers and Iraqis (not that they need much encouragement, but you would think that the Democratic bozos in congress would have some sense) ...at least someone finds their negativism and surrender mentality encouraging.
Not having the balls to actually oppose the war and be done with it, these useless hunks of flesh in Congress are trying to negotiate a way to sabotage that war, have the usual "plausible deniability" and at the same time make themselves look like champions of freedom and human dignity.
Sadly, they would appear to have more in common with the terrorist psychopaths they enable than with the troops they claim to "support" or the Americans they claim to represent.
From a purely psychological perspective, they are not your typical run-of-the-mill-cold-war useful idiots; they have taken useful idiocy to the next level and become both cheerleaders and pimps for Al Qaeda murderers. The lofty ideals they tend to espouse with such regularity pale next to their desire to recover their lost power and glory; and live once again in the White House.
There is nothing that the Democrats would like better than to declare the Iraq war officially dead and a disaster. Their inappropriate and reckless haste to surrender to Al Qaeda in Iraq-- without being seen to surrender (they would prefer to call it "redeployment" or "supporting the troops")-- has now deteriorated into frank acts of deliberate sabotage.
The psychological need to defeat and humiliate President Bush (and suck up to their lunatic base) has so overwhelmed their cognitive thought processes, that they willingly, and with malice aforethought, sacrifice our national security interests and American and Iraqi lives on the altar of their endless narcissism.
Why are they so desperate? See here and here for some clues. The Democrats have basically positioned themselves into a corner in which any good news from Iraq is viewed as catastrophic for their 2008 election prospects.
Like the Copperheads of the Civil War, whose unreasoning hatred of President Lincoln, the tinfoilheads of today aid and abet the goals of the enemy and prefer the path that weakens the country as long as it stands a chance of taking down an evil Republican President (Lincoln was a Republican, did you know?).
They have no shame whatsoever as they pursue their political agenda--no matter what the cost. They willingly abandon realism when reality has negative implications for their own antiwar posturing--a stance they take, not out of principle, but out of a desire to reassert a failed ideology and regain a position of power to implement it.
They give the phrase "a bunch of turkeys" a whole new level of meaning.
UPDATE: This is an interesting bit of information (hat tip: Siggy) a letter from President Bill Clinton during his Presidency to Dennis Hastert, regarding the controversy during his presidency:
Dear Mr. Speaker:
I am writing to express my deep concern about H. Res. 596, dealing with the tragic events in eastern Anatolia under Ottoman rule in the years 1915-1923. Every year on April 24, I have commemorated Armenian Remembrance Day, mourning the deportations and massacres of innocent Armenians during that era. And every year, I have challenged all Americans to recommit themselves to ensuring that such horrors never occur again. However, I am deeply concerned that consideration of H. Res. 596 at this time could have far-reaching negative consequences for the United States. We have significant interests in this troubled region of the world: containing the threat posed by East and Central Asia, stabilizing the Balkans, and developing new sources of energy.
Consideration of the resolution at this sensitive time will negatively affect those interests and could undermine efforts to encourage improved relations between Armenia and Turkey -- the very goal the sponsors of this Resolution seek to advance. I fully understand how strongly both Turkey and Armenia feel about this issue. Ultimately, this painful matter can only be resolved by both sides examining the past together.
I urge you in the strongest terms not to bring this Resolution to the floor at this time.
Needless to say, the Republican-led Congress--in the interests of national security--listened to the wise counsel of then-President Clinton.