I know a lot of people give Charles Krauthammer a lot of flack, but the guy says a lot of insightful things even if you disagree with him. I think his article about the House resolution to condemn the Ottoman empire’s slaughter of Armenians during World War I is spot on.
That between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were brutally and systematically massacred starting in 1915 in a deliberate genocidal campaign is a matter of simple historical record. If you really want to deepen and broaden awareness of that historical record, you should support the establishment of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial in Washington. But to pass a declarative resolution in the House of Representatives in the middle of a war in which we are inordinately dependent on Turkey would be the height of irresponsibility.
The atrocities happened 90 years ago. Not a single living Turk under the age of 102 is in any way culpable. Even Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of the Armenian community in Turkey, has stated that his community is opposed to the resolution, correctly calling it the result of domestic American politics.
Turkey is already massing troops near its border with Iraq, threatening a campaign against Kurdish rebels that could destabilize the one stable front in Iraq. The same House of Representatives that has been complaining loudly about the lack of armored vehicles for our troops is blithely jeopardizing relations with the country through which 95 percent of the new heavily armored vehicles are now transiting on the way to saving American lives in Iraq.
And for what? To feel morally clean?
For the past few days I’ve been torn about whether I support or oppose the House condeming the Armenian Genocide. I don’t think anyone would argue that the slaughter of millions of people is an action we should take lightly in the international community. However, it happened almost a hundred years ago. I think it’s kind of insulting to people who have survived, or even worse are still going through, a genocide that is currently going on to claim that we’re taking a stance against genocide by condemning the Ottoman Empire which doesn’t even exist anymore. If you want to REALLY stop or prevent genocides from happening Congress needs to get off their ass and intervene in Darfur or Burma right now. Fuck this, “lets pass a resolution condemning them” , the international community lead by the United States needs to bring down the hammer. Its simply unacceptible that we allow hundreds of thousands of people to get exterminated like bugs because of politics or idealistic platitudes. The phrase “Never again” should be more than empty rhetoric.
However, the way to stop genocide today isn’t by passing non binding resolutions about genocide almost a century ago. I think that when you consider the geopolitical backlash this is already producing that this resolution is very much a bad idea.