Bush v. Congress: Armenian Genocide

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

As discussed here and here, there is still ongoing debate over whether or not the mass slaughter of Armenians at the hands of the Young Turks qualifies as a "genocide." A symbolic piece of legislation, pressed by Speaker Pelosi and approved by committee to go to the full Congress, hours ago, would acknowledge the Armenian genocide. This, over President Bush's objections, as he moves aggressively to sideline it.

President Bush and two top cabinet members urged lawmakers today to reject a resolution describing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians early in the last century as genocide — a highly sensitive issue at a time of rising tensions with Turkey over northern Iraq.

“We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915,” Mr. Bush said in a brief statement from the White House. “But this resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to relations with a key ally in NATO and to the war on terror.”

. . .

Adding to the tensions are the recent Turkish preparations for a possible invasion of northern Iraq in an effort to stop lethal incursions by armed Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

. . .

When the resolution seemed likely to reach a vote last spring, Ms. Rice and Mr. Gates joined in a strongly worded letter to Ms. Pelosi warning against passage. They repeated their arguments Wednesday.

“The passage of this resolution at this time would be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the Middle East,” Ms. Rice said.

Yes, acknowledging that Armenians were subject to a genocide would make President Bush's job even harder and we all know that being President is hard work. But one must truly wonder where all that "moral clarity" he's so famous for goes when it's inconvenient. Over this, he wants to be a diplomat?!

So, was what happened to the Armenians a genocide? According to the late Raphael Lemkin, who created the word "genocide," and spent his life pressing for international law forbidding it, it most definitely was.

The Crime With No Name

“I became interested in genocide because it happened to the Armenians; and after[wards] the Armenians got a very rough deal at the Versailles Conference because their criminals were guilty of genocide and were not punished. ”

-- Raphael Lemkin