Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 10th, 2007
IT’S EASY to dismiss a nonbinding congressional resolution accusing Turkey of “genocide” against Armenians during World War I as frivolous. Though the subject is a serious one — more than 1 million Armenians may have died at the hands of the Young Turk regime between 1915 and the early 1920s — House Democrats pushing for a declaration on the subject have petty and parochial interests.
Beyond the despicable slap of putting the word “genocide” in quotes, the belittling “may have,” the dismissal of representatives as “petty and parochial,” and the concern as “irrelevant,” the editorial mistakenly implies only Democrats support the bill, calls the findings of H.Res.106 “one sided” — and concludes that “frivolous” doesn’t go far enough. Given alleged glacial progress in Turkish-Armenian relations, but far more importantly the possible negative effect on Turkish cooperation with U.S. in Iraq, “its passage would be dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”
Wow. That’s one powerful nonbinding resolution. It gets the Washington Post to oppose the democratic sense of the American people — a majority of the House of Representatives has co-sponsored the bill — on behalf of a foreign country still ruled in large part by its generals. It gets the Washington Post to defend and promulgate genocide revisionism, on behalf of unreconstructed apologists for the opening act in the 20th century’s parade of horrors. It gets the Washington Post to marginalize one group of “hyphenated Americans” in a way it wouldn’t dare for any other: imagine similar invective against the Holocaust Museum, or a resolution condemning slavery. It gets the Post to make sloppy claims — there is no “large Armenian population” in Pelosi’s district that accounts for her support.
What’s at stake for the Post? “Charitably,” it’s the conduct of their precious war in Iraq. Angering Turkey might cost the US the use of air bases and complicate efforts to keep a lid on the ever-present Turkish-Kurdish conflict. But it’s hard to believe a nonbinding resolution will cause hard-headed Turkish generals and politicians to do anything other than what they believe is in their own interests anyway.
So perhaps we should be less charitable and look elsewhere. At the end of the related news story “White House, Turkey fight bill on Armenia” — on page A1! — Glenn Kessler writes, “The Turkish Embassy is paying $100,000 a month to lobbying firm DLA Piper and $105,000 a month to the Livingston Group, and it recently added communications specialists Fleishman-Hillard for nearly $114,000 a month, according to records filed with the Justice Department.” Looks like they got their money’s worth today — at least from the Washington Post.
The House Foreign Affairs committee has scheduled a vote on H.Res.106 for today, with the hearing beginning at 1:30pm; live video of the proceedings can be accessed at the committee’s web site. I hope Rep. Schiff and multitudes of Armenian-Americans are on hand — with middle finger salutes to the Washington Post.
SELECTED PRIOR POSTS on H.Res 106 and the Armenian Genocide:
2007/03/07: pander n.: “When [Rep. Schiff] proposes a legitimate goal of people in his district to the Congress of the United States, then in our “democracy” that’s not a bug, that’s a feature.”
2007/03/05: Re Jackson Diehl’s “The House’s Ottoman Agenda”
2005/04/24: 90 years ago: Armenian genocide begins
UPDATE, 10/11: Huzza! -the resolution was passed in committee by 27-21, and thus advances to the full House for consideration. A roll call and video of the debate can be found at the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) web site press release.