The Los Angeles Times published last week a very brief, yet insightful letter to the editor. In mere twelve words, reader Daniel P. Quinn of St. Petersburg, Florida, summarized Pres. Bush’s position on the Armenian Genocide resolution: “President Bush was asked to choose between two allies: Turkey or truth.” Regrettably, Pres. Bush made the wrong choice. He chose to side with Turkey rather than the truth.
Standing in the White House Rose Garden, just hours before the House Foreign Affairs Committee was to vote on the Genocide resolution, Pres. Bush shamelessly told reporters: “This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings.” The way the President has dealt with the Armenian Genocide issue is as follows ‘s make false promises to Armenian-Americans during the presidential campaign in order to get their contributions and votes, and fool them into believing that he will keep his word after the election.
Pres. Bush may be able to get away with misrepresenting facts while in the White House, but he cannot force Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do the same in the House of Representatives.
Sadly, Pres. Bush was not alone in taking such a shameful position using the war in Iraq as a cover. The Secretaries of State and Defense, eight former secretaries of state, three former defense secretaries, the President and Defense Minister of Israel, several Jewish American organizations, top Turkish officials and their Washington lobbyists, all failed to tell the truth. Their names will forever be recorded in the annals of history as genocide deniers.
One politician, who takes the prize for the most hypocritical behavior, is Rep. Jane Harman (D-El Segundo). She will be hounded by Southern California’s large Armenian community until she is no longer in office. She deviously sent a private letter to Speaker Pelosi saying that she will vote against the genocide resolution, while keeping her name as a co-sponsor. Rep. Harman apparently tried to benefit from the continued support of the Armenian-American community, by fooling them into thinking that she is on their side, while quietly undermining the resolution’s approval! Only after her ruse was exposed by supporters of the resolution, she made her letter to Pelosi public by posting it on her website. Flip-flopping is bad enough. Being devious and getting caught is much worse.
To all American officials who have mindlessly kept repeating that the Genocide resolution should be opposed because it would “significantly damage our efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey at a key turning point in their relations,” Armenian President Kocharian came up with a devastating answer: “It’s impossible to damage non-existent relations.”
There were plenty of other idiotic remarks made by those opposing the resolution. For example, after Nabi Sensoy, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, was recalled, Prime Minister Erdogan said that he had learned about his Ambassador’s recall from reading Turkish newspapers, just like any other citizen! Incidentally, it was completely foolish of the Turkish government to have summoned its envoy in Washington back to Ankara on the eve of the pending critical floor vote in the House. Just imagine Amb. Sensoy landing in Washington’s Dulles Airport right after the full House has passed the Genocide resolution.
More ominous is the threat against Turkey’s Jews made by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babajan who was quoted by Today’s Zaman as saying: “We have told them [the ADL and other Jewish groups] that we cannot explain it to the Turkish public if a road accident happens. We have told them that we cannot keep the Jewish people out of this.” Despite this alarming threat, seven of eight Jewish members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted last week in favor of the Armenian Genocide resolution, ignoring the pleas of both Israeli leaders and some American Jewish organizations.
Significantly, Turkish officials have not gone beyond a war of words after the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in committee, despite all of their threats. As expected, the Turks were simply bluffing. However, should Turkey take any drastic measures against the U.S., it would only reinforce the perception in the minds of most Americans that Turkey is not a reliable ally. Friends do not threaten each other. Furthermore, the threatened action against the Kurds in Northern Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with the Armenian resolution.
In the final analysis, the passage of the Genocide resolution in the House Foreign Affairs Committee was not as significant as the fact that every member of the committee, regardless of whether they were for or against the resolution, openly acknowledged that the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact. This unanimous admission of the truth is the ultimate victory over Turkish denialism. Once again, the Turkish regime, through its obsessive and paranoid lobbying against this symbolic resolution, has made the Armenian Genocide a major international issue that was covered by most newspapers and TV programs around the world in recent days.
In order to counter the intense pressure on members of Congress by the denialist camp, all supporters of the Armenian Genocide resolution are urged to call their congressional representatives to ensure that they are not swayed by vain threats and falsehoods. Please call the Capital switchboard at 1-202-225-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative. Urge him or her to vote yes on the resolution when it comes to a vote on the House floor.