Monday, October 15, 2007

Emboldening The Enemy

The Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide of nearly a century ago is a double-edged sword: recognize that event and thereby alienate Turkey, which has served as our ally, and give support to the Islamists who are presently pushing for power there; or continue to ignore that genocide and whitewash Islam. I cannot explain the trap any better than has my dear cyberfriend Mustang (emphasis mine) in his essay "Armenian Holocaust":
We should not be surprised that the Bush Administration opposes this democratic bill; the degree of his dhimitude is apparent to anyone paying attention to US-Saudi relations over the past (too many) years. On the other hand, more than 100 years after the event, what do democratic representatives hope to gain from this bill?
A snippet from the October 14, 2007 edition of the Washington Post makes clear the strategy of the Democratic Party in its passage of the recognition resolution last week:
A similar resolution was pulled from the floor in 2000 by then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) after he was asked to do so by President Bill Clinton.
Returning now to Mustang's essay:
...Unable to convince the majority of Americans that there should be NO war on terror, the next best thing for democrats would be to sabotage the relationship between the current administration and its coalition partners. And this brings me to the point of this essay: Why is partisan politics more important than national unity? If the proposed Bill could somehow undo all of the suffering imposed upon the Armenian people 100 years ago, then I could better understand it. It won’t. What it will do, however, is reopen wounds among Christian Armenians, and irritate Turkish Muslims.

Modern society simply cannot redress every wrong ever perpetrated in human history, and yet this is, in my opinion, at the very heart of the problem in the Middle East. The conflict between Israelis and Arabs has been going on since Moby Dick was a minnow; they cannot, for whatever reason, begin anew. Personally, the choice seems clear to me: move forward, or continue to act like idiots. It would be great if members of Congress would support the former, rather than the latter.
Epaminondas has a different take on the Congressional resolution:
Allies either respect each other's democrat processes or they do not. If Turkey, which has already recalled it's ambassador to the USA, has a reaction to our representative and elected officials recognizing the reality of 1915, no matter how supposedly ill timed, then WE need to examine the propriety of their being American 'allies'....
This issue as to whether or not our government should recognize the reality of the Armenian genocide came up a few years ago when Ambassador John Evans, the United States ambassador to Armenian, insisted on using the word "genocide" in 2005:
Evans thus became the first U.S. official since former President Ronald Reagan to publicly describe the mass killings and deportations of Ottoman Armenia as a genocide. Reagan did so in an April 1981 statement on the genocide committed in Cambodia in the 1970s.


In his annual addresses to the Armenian-American community, President George W. Bush has stopped short of calling the events of 1915-1918 a genocide, while using phrases like `one of the great tragedies of history' and `annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians.'
Ambassador Evans issued several statements of clarification and was withdrawn as ambassador about a year later.

(Note: was the source for the above details about John Evans. However, my seeing the same information in Washington Post articles in 2005 and 2006 brought to mind that I should do a search of "Ambassador John Evans")

Not surprisingly, Turkey continues to maintain that no Armenian genocide occurred. From the aforementioned article in the Washington Post:
Turkey argues that the killings and disappearances of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were not genocide but the result of brutal war during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.
In his Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington stated the following (emphases mine):
...[A] passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils....
Throughout the history of our nation, we have seen that the influence to which George Washington referred so long ago putting our nation in conflicting situations. And there's no end in sight. Although isolationism is not desirable in the Twenty-first Century, so is the web of foreign entanglements. Furthermore, over and over again, our elected leaders serve their own interests, fall into line according to partisan politics, or play the dhimmi.

In many respects, we the people have been marginalized. Furthermore, if I read our nation's tone correctly, more and more Americans — left, right, and middle — are feeling a disconnect with their government. Has America ever been this divided in time of war? What will it take to make us united again?

[Hat-tip to Steve Harkonnen, who suggested to me in an email the topic of this posting]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 10/15/2007 06:22:00 AM