Another Perspective On H.R. 252

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Ankara.jpg
(Photo Credit: Mariurupe’s Photostream)
As I have written on this blog before, I think that the debate surrounding H.R. 252 – a non-binding resolution approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month that calls the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 “genocide” – is very complicated and offers no simple and easy solutions.
One’s position on the issue depends in part on the lens through which the analyst is observing the question. Commemorating tragedy does not always align with the promotion of American national interests.
On balance, I am inclined to oppose the resolution for three basic reasons.
1. The United States’ priority today should be to help Turkey and Armenia normalize their relationship and move forward. H.R. 252 will stoke nationalist anger in Turkey and is therefore most likely counterproductive to that goal.
2. Turkey is an extremely important ally of the United States – a country whose cooperation is vital on a range of the United States’ most urgent national security challenges in the Middle East. Ominously, U.S. favorable ratings in Turkey are abysmal at a time when Turkey’s democratization process is making its politicians more responsive to popular opinion than ever before.
3. We do not have a lot of friends among Muslim nations. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that positive relations with the Middle East’s only Muslim democracy remain strong.
Despite my position, I want to share the European Stability Initiative (ESI)’s recent newsletter on this issue, “Turkey’s Friends And The International Debate on the Armenian Genocide,” which provides some useful background on the issue while arriving at a different conclusion than my own.
I found the following refutations of common Turkish fears particularly noteworthy.
On Turkish fears that the resolution could lead Armenia to make territorial claims on parts of Turkey:

The question of territorial claims is a red herring in the recognition debate. Though it has been on the agenda of a vocal nationalist minority in Armenia (and in the Diaspora) for decades, border revision has never been part of any Armenian government’s policy. Armenian nationalists’ claims, based on the never-ratified Treaty of Sevres, have not managed to secure any international support. Normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia, in any case, would put them to rest once and for all. This, in fact, is exactly why some Armenian nationalists have second thoughts about establishing relations with Turkey.

On the question of reparations:

The argument that recognition, be it by countries in the EU or the US, will allow Armenians to sue the Turkish government – is widespread in Turkey. It is also false. The Armenian genocide has been officially recognized by more than 20 countries: if recognition would pave the way towards restitution, these countries’ courts must surely be flooded with Armenian lawsuits? In fact, not a single genocide-related claim has successfully been made against the Turkish government anywhere in the world – this, despite genocide resolutions having been passed in countries like France, Germany and Russia….
The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in the area of property restitution makes it clear that Armenians could pursue compensation or restitution claims only if the Turkish state were to establish a legal base allowing them to do so. An International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) study in 2002 – is just as unambiguous on the issue. Although the events of 1915 had “all the elements of genocide” ICTJ concluded that “no legal, financial or territorial claim arising out of the Events could successfully be made against any individual or state under the Convention.” The European Parliament recognized in an 18 June 1987 resolution “that the present Turkey cannot be held responsible for the tragedy experienced by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and stresses that neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide.”

You can read the full newsletter here.
These facts are important, but I am not convinced think that they lead to the conclusion that the United States’ Congress should involve itself by passing H.R. 252.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

32 comments on “Another Perspective On H.R. 252

  1. Patricia O says:

    As far as “the sins of the father” argument, there are two or three generations of Turks who have been taught that, in fact nothing happened and that a bunch of Armenians just happened to have died while they were attacking Turks.
    And what good does it do for the U.S. to call a spade a spade? Because those 20 other countries don’t amount to diddly on the international front. Face it, for better or worse, everyone else could say one thing, and if the U.S. says another, THAT becomes the World Opinion. So passing this resolution says that Turkey’s denial of wrongdoing is bulls**t. So sorry if that disturbs someone who doesn’t like us to begin with.

    Reply

  2. WigWag says:

    Sweden thinks the Turks committed genocide.
    Interestingly, just a week or so after the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to brand the Ottoman Turks as perpetrators of a genocide against the Armenians, the Swedish Parliament came to the same conclusion. Sweden, over the objections of Prime Minister Bildt, voted to condemn the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in 1915.
    I’ve read that Norway and Denmark are now considering a similar measure.

    Reply

  3. ImadK says:

    Thanks for the article, Mr. Katcher. I was wondering about what was adressed to the Turkish fears that Armenians would use the recognition of the Armenian genocide/massacre (whichever you pick) would lead to demonads of Turkey to cede Turkish territory over what was Armenian land. Look like it has indeed been addressed
    I’d like to bring to the other commentators attentions, if they haven’t already, to this blog The White Path by Mustafa Akyol. Here’s a recent article he wrote about this debate:
    Let’s Be Honest About Genocide
    http://www.thewhitepath.com/archives/2010/03/lets_be_honest_on_genocide.php
    In summary, he write that he comes of the belief that yes, the Ottomans did kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Armenians, but this isn’t genocide, at the very least not like Hitler’s. And he feels that the US and other Westerners should be more open to this historical debate and encourage dialogue between Turks and Armenians.

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  4. Sweetness says:

    JohnH writes: “Interestingly, there now seems to be a major split
    between liberal Jews and the Israel right or wrong crowd. Liberal
    Jews tend to prefer the rule of law, international institutions, and
    human rights. They should. Laws and institutions are what
    protect minority rights.”
    I’ve mulled this over a lot–and, of course, it’s my position.
    But, in fact, I think it’s relatively rare for minority rights to get
    protection through law and institutions. And, in fact, the US and
    the UN are more than willing NOT to insist on this in many cases.
    America is the best example of how this can work, I think. But
    look how long it took for blacks–and other minorities–to win
    real protection under law. No need to go through the litany.
    Yes, the arrow of history points in this direction. But it’s a long
    arc and the US probably has IDEAL conditions for it.
    It appears that people WANT the rule of law and protections for
    everyone, but they FEEL more secure when they are in the
    majority. When you’re in the majority, you don’t have to worry
    about it–you’re like a fish in water, and the water is all those
    other people who share your identity.
    And it’s not just basic rights, but culture and mores and
    language and the calendar. It can be analogized to feeling “at
    home” and staying at a “friend’s house.” You may feel welcome,
    but it isn’t home with all that entails. And if the house belongs
    to someone who isn’t exactly a friend, but just a neighbor, or
    even a neighbor with whom you’re on-again, off-again, then
    you may really like that new fence you just built.

    Reply

  5. Sweetness says:

    “As long as we’re full of self righteous indignation, why not look at
    America’s behavior before criticizing that of others?”
    Because it’s so much easier, simple, and satisfying…
    For some unknown reason, other people’s problems are much
    easier to solve.
    Don’t know why…

    Reply

  6. The Pessimist says:

    Absolutely stunning in its clarity and simplicity:
    “As long as we’re full of self righteous indignation, why not look at America’s behavior before criticizing that of others?”
    With your permission I intend to express this view widely, with full credit to you of course.
    Bravo JohnH, bravo…

    Reply

  7. JohnH says:

    Wigwag is getting all wrapped around the axle, applying one set of moral standards to Israel and its protectors and another to Israel’s enemies. So on the one hand its horrible that Turks committed genocide a century ago (I agree.) But on the other hand, it’s no matter of concern to Wigwag that others have committed similar levels of atrocities since then, as long as they’re not critical of Israel.
    Interestingly, there now seems to be a major split between liberal Jews and the Israel right or wrong crowd. Liberal Jews tend to prefer the rule of law, international institutions, and human rights. They should. Laws and institutions are what protect minority rights.
    This split does not bode well for Israel and its support in America. Wigwag seems have a slightly different position. She seems to believe in democracy and human rights, but for only for Americans, Israelis and their allies. The rest are candidates for whatever punishment that USrael chooses to mete out.
    The problem with having those in power set the rules is what happens after they lose power. The Israel right or wrong crowd can’t deal with that possibility, which is not nearly as remote as they would like to think.
    So Wigwag, along with neocons, pathetically continue to debate issues in moral terms, despite the hollowness of their commitment to universal moral standards.

    Reply

  8. Don Bacon says:

    Hey, didn’t you read fc?
    “Human life didn’t count” in Vietnam.

    Reply

  9. sanitychecker says:

    frenchconnection says:
    >> The US didn’t “round up” a million Viets and killed them with napalm. Most of the Vietnamese casualties were caused by the communists warfare, where human life didn’t count.
    Nice try!
    The US killed about 2 million civilians in North Vietnam, 600,000 in Cambodia, and 350,000 in Laos.
    (And remember the bulk of the fighting was in South Vietnam.)
    The “Phoenix Program” was responsible for the torture and murder of about 30,000 Vietnamese civilians.
    The US dropped more than twice as much bomb tonnage in the region as during WWII.
    Re. napalm, ever heard of Dow Chemical, you know that famous Commie North Vietnamese company…
    So the US killed a number of civilians numbering about half the Holocaust. Can’t wait to hear how you defend that one!

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It is truly bizzarre noting Katcher’s effort to sidestep the major dynamic that is fueling Turkey’s fall from grace. One of the few leaders that is willing to stand up to this arrogant little racist nation of Israel, Erdogan has earned the wrath of the zionist bigots in Israel and the United States.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3865244,00.html
    Erdogan: Israel erasing Palestinians
    Turkish prime minister slams Israeli approval of new homes in east Jerusalem, says normalization of relations depends on lifting of Gaza siege
    Ynet Published: 03.19.10, 23:18 / Israel News
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned an Israeli decision to approve hundreds of new housing units in east Jerusalem, Turkish news agencies reported Friday.
    In a meeting with his party, the Justice and Development Party (AK), Erdogan said ties between Israel and Turkey would not return to normal until the removal of the siege on the Gaza Strip.
    Erdogan added that the decision to approve 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was “unacceptable”, and proves Israel “wants to erase the Palestinians step by step”.
    He called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and allow worshippers into Temple Mount immediately. “The steps taken by Israel can harm regional stability,” Erdogan added.
    Tensions have been mounting between Jerusalem and Ankara since Operation Cast Lead last year, and Turkey has criticized Israel severely for its actions in the Gaza Strip.
    Despite this, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel was optimistic last week, and told MKs “developments” would take place soon in the relations between the two countries.

    Reply

  11. WigWag says:

    “But, I DO think your comment above isn’t quite apposite. Here’s why: There’s a total discontinuity between the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state. They might as well be two different countries. In fact, one was an empire and the other a “country.” I don’t think we can hold Turkey “responsible” for the actions of the Ottoman Empire anymore than we can hold Italy responsible for Rome (admittedly a more extreme example, but still somewhat applicable).” Sweetness
    I agree with this sentiment completely. Modern day Turks are not personally responsible for the Armenian Genocide any more than modern day Germans are personally responsible for the Holocaust.
    I don’t hold Turkey “responsible” for the actions of the Ottoman Empire but I do think it’s responsible for calling the effort to extinguish the Armenians by it’s true name; genocide.
    This congressional resolution is more about what the United States does than what Turkey does. Do we want our nation to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide because doing so runs the risk of alienating either the modern day secularists or Islamists ruling various parts of the Turkish Government today do we see recognition of the Armenian Holocaust as a chit to be bartered away?
    Because the Turks are unable to come to terms with the brutal recent history of their kinsmen, does that mean the United States has to ally itself with their genocide denial?
    If the Turks agreed with you Sweetness, they wouldn’t be so offended by the recognition that many countries make of the Armenian Genocide. After all, the Turks could easily say, “it wasn’t us; it was the Ottomans.” Obviously that’s not the position that modern day Turks take.
    “The same discontinuity can’t really be said of Germany which, after all, remained “Germany” after the war (if cut in two). It didn’t go from being the Prussian Empire with holdings (not territory acquired in war, but established holdings) outside its national sphere. Sure, The Reich was dissolved, but there was much greater continuity between the two states than was the case with the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.”
    Do you really think that there is a greater discontinuity between the Ottoman Caliphate and the Islamist Turkey of today (or the secular Turkey constructed by Mustafa Kemal) than there is between the Germany of Konrad Adenauer and the Germany of Adolph Hitler?
    If you prefer to look at it in contemporary terms, do you really think the Germany of Angela Merkel and Adolph Hitler have more in common than the Turkey of Prime Minister Erdogan and the Ottoman Sultans or Caliphs?
    Contemporary Germans acknowledge their history even though they are not personally responsible for it. The same can’t be said for the Turks. To me that suggests that the Germany of today and the Germany of the Third Reich are far more different than the Turkey of today and the Turkey of the Ottoman Empire.
    But, as I said, this isn’t really about the Turks; it’s about the Americans. Are we willing to pretend the deliberate Ottoman plan to extinguish 1.5 million Armenians never happened because a regressive and backwards country like Turkey (which has graduated from annihilating its minority groups to merely oppressing them) might get offended?

    Reply

  12. erichwwk says:

    Why are Americans so obsessed that others declare THEIR role in genocide, yet deny their own role?
    Here many historians (yes I am aware of a slow trend toward honesty eg Howard Zinn)still indoctrinate their youth that WWII was the “good war”, that Americans were on the “good” side, that Pearl Harbor was a sneak attack, that Sept 11, 2001 attack on the twin towers was “evil” in a way the murder of 500,000 Iraqi was not, that genocide of Native Americans did not happen, etc, etc.
    Here in Los Alamos there is a project to commemorate those involved in the ongoing US genocide project-nuclear weapons monopoly-, to build 13 statues ranging in cost from $50,000 -$80,000 starting with ones of Oppenheimer and Groves. Fittingly, the article is entitled “Trial of Statues”.
    http://www.abqjournal.com/north/1003264597north03-10-10.htm
    The only consolation I take in this demented effort to honor mass murderers is that the last statue that was erected in New Mexico of Juan de Onate had the foot sawn off, reminiscent of Onate’s cutting off of the right feet of the Acoma slaves he captured.
    And while Obama mouths his vague “aspirations” for a nuclear free world, the nuclear weapons production centers receive an increase of 24% in weapons production (the local bomb factory at Los Alamos proposed FY 2011 budget increased over 400 ober the FY 2010 proposal, a new nuclear cruise missile is announced, and all the while folks drink the cool aid of the problem with nukes is Iran and North Korea. What a gullible, indoctrinated public! Or is it just the elitists that hold this view and spread it as if others believed it as well?

    Reply

  13. Don Bacon says:

    “I also think frenchconnection is right in distinguishing between massive deaths that occur in warfare and an attempt to eradicate a people as happened in Armenia.”
    The aerial bombing of cities, villages and hamlets isn’t warfare it’s murder. The bombers come in three waves. The first bombardments are with high explosives, to blow everything apart. The next wave is incendiary, which has worked particularly well in Japan and Korea where there are many wooden structures. The final assault is with fragmentation bombs, to send metal shards through the flesh of all the people scurrying around trying to put out the fires.
    So much for distinguishing good deaths from bad ones. It’s a fool’s choice.

    Reply

  14. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes: “Had Germany refused to admit its roll in murdering six millions Jews and several million Poles, Romani, homosexuals and members of other groups would Ben Katcher oppose accusing the Germans of genocide because it might “stoke nationalist anger” in Germany?”
    Wig, personally, I don’t dispute the Armenian genocide. I also think frenchconnection is right in distinguishing between massive deaths that occur in warfare and an attempt to eradicate a people as happened in Armenia. (Though I disagree with him on the case of Native Americans.)
    I’m also somewhat agnostic on whether the US should recognize the Armenian genocide–and timing might be an important factor to take into consideration.
    But, I DO think your comment above isn’t quite apposite. Here’s why: There’s a total discontinuity between the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state. They might as well be two different countries. In fact, one was an empire and the other a “country.” I don’t think we can hold Turkey “responsible” for the actions of the Ottoman Empire anymore than we can hold Italy responsible for Rome (admittedly a more extreme example, but still somewhat applicable).
    The same discontinuity can’t really be said of Germany which, after all, remained “Germany” after the war (if cut in two). It didn’t go from being the Prussian Empire with holdings (not territory acquired in war, but established holdings) outside its national sphere. Sure, The Reich was dissolved, but there was much greater continuity between the two states than was the case with the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.
    So, piker that I am, I’d agree with ESI’s conclusion that Turkey has nothing to fear from this sort of resolution. Should it be made by the Congress? I don’t really know. Justice says, “Yes.” In fact, if the US really stands for justice around the world, then it SHOULD recognize the commission of genocide whenever and wherever it occurs around the world. Perhaps starting with 1900 and going forward.
    Why not?

    Reply

  15. Alexno says:

    According to a good source (a Kurd from eastern
    Turkey), many of the massacres were actually carried
    out by Kurds. One minority killing another.
    So the whole thing is fictional anyway.

    Reply

  16. jonst says:

    All roads end in one place, when it comes to Wig-Wag.

    Reply

  17. chumanist says:

    The arguments offered/courted by Ben Katcher have positive appellation.If the US Congress approves the resolution it would be equally tantamount to accepting the logic that Governments of both India and Pakistan should also move the resolutions against the British government regarding its act of genocide that it did during the war of independence of 1857.Consequently, blaming_ the present Turkish government for the acts done during the Ottoman rule_ is out of the domain of international law/political justice.

    Reply

  18. frenchconnection says:

    this “blog” is fascinating : here clash extreme-right standpoints with extreme-left. There is often no middle-ground, the neocon la-la land is “countered” by another one.
    OK some comments about above.
    1) it’s not for governments (including mine who more or less started once the whole thing under the pressure of the French Armenian lobby) to write history. It’s very dangerous if they do. Historians write history, elected people read it and act according their conscience. It’s very sad that the US fell into the Armenian trap, it’s enough to have fallen into the Israeli historical con-job of epic proportions. The US relation to Turkey should be related to the US geo-strategical interests, not about more or less academical historical disputes.
    2) the comparisons made above between the US and Turkey are of course preposterous. Even if it’s true that the US (or othern Western Countries) have caused sometimes huge civilian casualties through collateral damage or reckles warfare, nobody in Europe would think of accusing the US of “genocide” for the often unnecessary casualties caused in France, Germany, Italy etc.. during WWII. Not even the Japanese do that.
    That applies to Vietnam and Iraq too. The US didn’t “round up” a million Viets and killed them with napalm. Most of the Vietnamese casualties were caused by the communists warfare, where human life didn’t count. That’s why they won BTW.
    And the US didn’t “genocide” natives and even less blacks. 80% of the natives were already dead when the US was proclaimed as independent. They died of disease more than of clashes. It was an historical process, a sad one but not a conscious organized attempt to eliminate a whole population (except in a few local cases).
    the Turkish story is completely different. It’s not question of “collateral damage”. It was a conscious attempt to “eradicate” an ethnic group
    perceived as an enemy by either regular massacre or by deportation under inhumane conditions. The scale of it and the conditions of implementation can lead to the claim of genocide or at least democide. Compared to the US missdeeds so far, we are not playing in the same category.

    Reply

  19. Dirk says:

    I certainly don’t think the US has the moral standing, that it once may have had, to get on a high horse and pontificate what another country should acknowledge about its past. Especially after most recent fiasco of Iraq.
    Berman is also clearly acting at the behest of Israel in a little fit of pique about the justified criticism from Erdogan for the Gaza war.
    Although it has to be said, from the above photo of Ankara with the sign banning horns; I think that is clearly an unjustified constraint on freedom.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    This discussion highlights a moral discrepancy, that while killing foreigners is simply a foreign policy alternative, killing people domestically is genocide.
    So the United States, by far the largest killer of foreign innocents (mostly by aerial fragmentation and incendiary bombing), goes scott free and is quite comfortable branding another country who killed its own citizens as moral deviants. (And there is no apparent remorse over the genocide of Native Americans or African Americans.)
    In other words if Turkey had killed a million Armenians in Armenia, instead of in Turkey, under this new contrived morality they wouldn’t rate any notice at all. (The word ‘genocide’ was coined to describe the Turkish killings.) And if they had killed a couple million foreigners outside their borders they’d be recognized as warriors, with billions of Lira appropriated annually to “support the troops”.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing seeing this wig-wag abomination claim a higher moral position then ANYONE, much less Katcher.

    Reply

  22. eatbees says:

    Thanks, Ben, and you might add:
    1) Even if this was a genocide, does the U.S. have the moral
    obligation to weigh in on every crime against humanity that
    happened everywhere in the world, even 95 years ago? What
    purpose does that serve now?
    2) Does this mean the U.S. will also condemn itself for its own
    genocide in the Phillipines just 15 years before (1900), or the
    ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, or the nuking of Hiroshima
    and Nagasaki, or the deaths of millions of Vietnamese and
    Cambodians, etc., etc.?

    Reply

  23. JohnH says:

    Wigwag is full of self righteous outrage about events that occurred in Turkey 100 years ago! But where is her outrage about 250,000-1,000,000 civilian Filipinos casualties caused by US troops about a century ago? Or the outrage about the millions of Vietnamese civilians killed a half a century ago? Or the hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, civilian casualties the US presided over in Iraq?
    So I pose Wigwag’s question to Wigwag: “do you think these massive civilian casualties are a myth or do you think they are real events that for reasons of convenience you would just rather pretend never happened?”
    As long as we’re full of self righteous indignation, why not look at America’s behavior before criticizing that of others?

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    “So why are the actual facts surrounding the ‘event’ still in dispute over a hundred years later?” (DonS)
    The facts about the Armenian Genocide are in dispute about as much as the facts about global warming or the facts about the Holocaust are in dispute. The fact that there are Holocaust deniers in the world doesn’t make the Holocaust a myth any more than the fact that there are Armenian Genocide deniers makes the Armenian Genocide a myth.
    In 1915 the Ottoman Turks committed mass murder on a scale not seen again until the Nazis sprang into action.
    Anyone who denies the Armenian Genocide is little better than David Irving.
    Would that be you, DonS?
    What about you Ben Katcher; do you think the Armenian Genocide is a myth or do you think it’s a real event that for reasons of convenience you would just rather pretend never happened?
    In your numerous interesting posts on this subject in the past month, you’ve never actually told us.
    Is it that you’re embarrassed by your position? Is it that deep down you’re ashamed at the realist take on all of this?
    If you’re not, you should be.

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    ‘nearly’ a hundred years later. . .

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    So why are the actual facts surrounding the ‘event’ still in dispute over a hundred years later?
    Wigwag, your outrage, noted, would have more impact were you, and a bunch of other zionists, not pissed at Turkey for not accepting Israels own outrageous behavior in Gaza.
    The legitimately labeled hypocrisy cannot be ignored. Indeed your own outrage would have more impact were you to admit the disproportionate, for a ‘civilized’ nation, force Israel used in Gaza.

    Reply

  27. WigWag says:

    Had Germany refused to admit its roll in murdering six millions Jews and several million Poles, Romani, homosexuals and members of other groups would Ben Katcher oppose accusing the Germans of genocide because it might “stoke nationalist anger” in Germany?
    Had Germany refused to do everything it could to make amends for its genocidal behavior, would Ben Katcher suggest that the United States should avert its eyes from the mass murder and pretend it didn’t happen because Germany “is an extremely important ally of the United States – a country whose cooperation is vital on a range of the United States’ most urgent national security challenges in” Europe?
    Katcher says “we do not have a lot of friends among Muslim nations. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that positive relations with the Middle East’s only Muslim democracy remain strong.”
    Turkey is not the only friend that the United States has in the Muslim world; there’s Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States, and now even Iraq (which in case Katcher hasn’t noticed, now has a democracy about as vibrant and legitimate as the democracy in Turkey).
    Katcher is right; Turkey may be the best of a bad lot. The Muslim world is so racist, sexist, intolerant and archaic that even a nation like Turkey that slaughters Kurds, discriminates against Alevi and mistreats Orthodox Christians looks good by comparison.
    But is that really a reason to pretend that Turkey didn’t murder 1.5 million Armenians? The Armenian Genocide is not ancient history; it occurred only about a quarter century before Hitler began rounding up the Jews.
    The Armenian Genocide culminated on April 24, 1915; Kristallnact occurred on November 9, 1938.
    If mention of their genocidal behavior insulted the Germans, would Ben Katcher pretend that Kristallnact never happened?

    Reply

  28. JohnH says:

    As Carroll says, “what is the point of it?”
    a) express Israel’s displeasure with Turkish criticism of its behavior. According to Wikipedia, “Berman is also a strong supporter of Israel, telling the Jewish newspaper, The Forward after being appointed Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, ‘Even before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist.'”
    b) express the military’s displeasure at seeing their Turkish brethren investigated and arrested, (Berman has significant investments in companies doing business with “defense” department.)
    c) make a cost-free statement with Armenian-American constituents? (Berman apparently has a significant number of Armenian-Americans in his district.)
    If you dug into to backgrounds of other members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I suspect you would find a similar pattern of conflicts of interest.
    Bottom line: this resolution was not about protecting America or upholding American values. It was about narrow, special interests that have little to do with America’s security.
    TWN would do us all a favor if they started framing stories in the context of their real drivers–special interests.

    Reply

  29. sanitychecker says:

    Charlie says: >> “Just to be clear, I don’t like Armenians.”
    Whoa! Next time, why don’t you try the shorter version: “I am a stinking racist” ?

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    I don’t have an opinion yay or nay on the US Armenian genocide resolution.
    Except …what is the point of it?
    Since 20 other countries have already recognized it as a genocide what exactly is the point of having the US do so?
    And since the European Parliament recognized in an 18 June 1987 resolution that the present Turkey cannot be held responsible for any claims.
    Where is any gain for Armenia in the US recognizing it? Do they want every country to recognize it and are going country by county to have it declared as a genocide?
    I don’t get what any practical payoff could be for the Armenians except some kind of additional recognition satisfaction ..or unless they think that despite the 1987 EP resolution they could gain something in American courts or eventually reverse the EP resolution.
    So what ‘exactly’ does it accomplish?

    Reply

  31. charlie says:

    Just to be clear, I don’t like Armenians.
    What the Ottomans did to them was like what the Pakis did the Bangladeshis, or the Sudanese to their own people. Brutal, not genocide.
    That being said, these arguments do not make sense on their face.
    #1: Yes, agree completely. Stupid for the US to get involve with these disputes.
    #2: As I’ve said before, the reason the US is unpopular is Turkey is because of our actions and in particular enabling Kurdish nationalists
    #3: If we are that unpopular, then Turkey isn’t really a “friendly” country, no?
    Pass the damn resolution, get it behind us, and give up on the fake outrage by the Turks. Perfect time to go over the speedbump since they hate us already.

    Reply

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