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13 October 2007


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Does anybody know the history of this initiative?

Who recommended it? Karl Rove (via a cutout)? Bob Shrum?


Ludicrous spectacle just about sums it up. And all this time I thought Bush/Cheney had cornered the market on short-sighted, feel-good belligerence. Looks like Ms. Pelosi can dance with the best of them. Nice job Madam Speaker.

J. Kemp


You have recently posted that NATO is an outdated organization, or something to that effect. Perhaps an unintended consequence of the genocide bill would be the loss of Turkey as a NATO member, or possibly the unraveling of NATO, with Turkey as the first thread. Your thoughts?
Thank you.


How can Congress engage in holocaust denial just after lambasting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia?



I am out of my mind with regard to this lunacy. However, I will spare you, and the readers, the rant bubbling up inside about the Congress. And Americans, in general. That WE, myself included, allow this kind of thing to go on.

However, I was hoping that your readers, or you, if you have the time and inclination, would comment on something. Is the failure to rein in the Kurds conducting cross border raids in Turkey because, of some perverse reason/s, neither the US, nor the Kurdish 'govt'wants to stop this kind of activity? Or is it a case of, for whatever reason/s, neither party is capable of stopping it? Or a bit of both?

Dustin Langan

I enjoy your take on modern Turkish history. Well put.

Having failed to reduce Bush's war effort in any way, the majority vote in the US House of Representatives aims to show constituents some semblance of resistance to current policy, and this is what they have come up with: a "symbolic" line of needless antagonism that France approved last year. (Will we ban the veils next?) For me, this vote is a reminder of the same sort of righteous, dopey altruism that soothed enough consciences to get us embroiled in Iraq in the first place.

W. Patrick Lang

Bruce Wilder

you need to come up with more than name calling. what makes you an expert on Turkish history?

J. Kemp

The end of NATO would not necessarily mean the end of the US/Turkish alliance, but this foolishness might. pl


Haven't fully digested this issue, but am skeptical of this as mere mischief-making by the usual suspects (Lantos and his cohorts). Yet another wedge between between US, Iraq and Turkey. Oh, how can we make Iraq into more of a living hell? Increase regional chaos? Alienate the US even more?


jonst, the Americans don't have much of a presence along the northern border, we're stretched enough as it is in the real hot spots. The deal that was signed recently between Iraq and Turkey that was supposed to defuse things was signed by Talabani's Baghdad government, not Barzani's Kurdish regional government who has the task of actually enforcing these issues on the ground, and who has an interest in inflaming Kurdish nationalism to score local political points against Talabani. After all, the KDP-PUK rivalry has only been papered over and continues under the surface. So the Kurds are in a bind, they can appease the hated Turks by attacking their brothers or they can let things continue and risk invasion.

All three actors, the Turks, Americans, and Kurds, are acting emotionally and none will allow themselves to lose face by climbing down and so all will enter into disastrous policies.


It is amusing to see US diplomats trying to justify their calls for Turkish restraint in the face of the precedents set by our own invasion of Iraq and by our cheerleading of Israel's adventure in Lebanon under exactly the same circumstances that caused the current crisis along the Turkish border. Clearly, American officials have no sense of irony:

"'If [the Turks] have a problem, they need to work together to resolve it and I am not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go,' said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack."

It seems likely to me, though, that a Turkish adventure in the mountains of northern Iraq will turn out much the same as Israel's adventure in the mountains of southern Lebanon...



nancy said it's been raised and set aside because of "poor timing" for twenty years. my (occasionally imperfect) memory says at least that long.

has anyone here read the full resolution, or are we just going along w what the mainstream disinformation squad is telling us?


Mr Wilder

There was nothing incorrect or innaccurate about Col. Lang's brief summary of Turkish history since 1918. Nor did anything he wrote merit the description "polemic".

To all:

Most countries have shameful episodes somewhere back in their history to be found if searched for carefully enough. The Armenian genocide was only two or so decades after the "Battle " of Wounded Knee - the final sad episode of a century of effective genocide of native Americans in the USA. And a mere seven decades after the UK's guilt for the million deaths in the Irish Potato Famine. Portugal, Holland, France, the UK, Spain and the US are all guilty of participation in the transatlantic slave trade. One could go on and on and on dredging up such miserable and shameful episodes. But what is the point? The Turkish Armenian episode was nearly a hundred years ago. Surely it should be forgotten. What value is there in the American Congress self-righteously raking up the matter of the massacres? Let us all remember - "He that is without blame among you may cast the first stone" and "Cast not the mote out of your neighbour's eye until you have cast out the beam from your own"


I think the analysis of Turkish responsibility is simplistic.

Two historical precedents of mass murder are Germany under Hitler and the USSR under Stalin. Both Germany and the USSR subsequently were divided (though Germany is of course now reunited). Partition did not absolve either the German or the Russian people of historical responsibility, nor does it absolve the Turks.

What can be said is that most nations have, at one time or another, committed genocide. The US has never fully dealt with its past--nor its present.

The genocide resolution was ill-advised because the US has no moral authority and therefore no chance of persuading the Turks to review their own history. All it accomplishes is to divide our nations from one another. But I can't accept the argument that, absent other measures of reconciliation, a change of government results in absolution.


The current theme of this thread makes the words of President George Washington in his farewell address, the more haunting as we evaluate past and present entanglements with nations that compromise our abiltiy to look the moral compass directly in the eye. Empire exacts a high price on the soul of the nation, while at the same time pushing truth and justice to the wings, and only allowing them to appear on the stage when it is safe to do so.


Gosh, I thought the possibilities would be limitless. Just think of all the historical injustices we could rectify. Maybe we could begin with the forced conversion/expulsion of the Moors and Jews from Spain.

CSTAR (a.k.a. "El Catalan")

PS apropos mexican incursions, how do you say "We don't need no stinkin' badges" in turkish?

China Hand

Col. Lang, I thought your summary was well put -- accurate and to the point.

The Armenian genocide was a tragedy, but one that belonged to a different era.

Turks are sensitive to that distinction; most others aren't.

The unspoken portion of what you said is that Turks are also Muslims, and -- like most Muslim cultures today -- feel like Western media and political propaganda have put them in a desperate place.

Meanwhile, there are lots of people out there -- me, for one -- who would, on point of principle, like to see greater justice for the Armenians.

Yet I am not so foolish to think that this opportunistic move by the U.S. Congress in any way served my own goals (i.e. -- furthering an international respect for human rights).

The biblical maxim "Speak not of the mote in your neighbors' eye 'til you have tended the beam in your own" is apropos.

Only when our people have dealt honorably with the shame of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, the entire Iraq atrocity, and the rapidly approaching Iran and Oil crises will we have the requisite moral capital to even consider such a declaration.

As things are, this spectacle was the height of hypocrisy and only worked to confirm Muslims' worst estimations of the U.S.

And meanwhile, AIPAC romps happily towards a war with Iran.

Duncan Kinder

Much of the thrust of this thread is - appropriately - directed to the implications a
potential US / Turkey rift might have upon Iraq and related topics.

However, it also would have implications upon Central Asia, Caspian Oil, Russian energy ambitions, and similar topics.

Much of the population of Central Asia is Turkic, so Turkey enjoys high prestige and influence amongst those peoples and in that region. Also, many of the current efforts to counteract / undermine / bypass Russian influence and control in that area - particularly its stranglehold on pipelines to the West, involve alternative pipelines through Turkey.

A Turkish / US rift would undermine these pipeline and other Central Asian efforts.

It would be interesting to track Turkish / Russian relations to see if a Turkish / US rift is matched by a Turkish / Russian rapprochement.

Mad Dogs

In this instance, it seems that Congress is playing a game of: "Who's more stupid? We are!"


Col. Lang,

As an American citizen who has served this country as did my grandfather (WW1), father (WW2) and son and daughter currently (Army and Navy respectively) and as one who is concerned first and foremost with the interests of this country, I must agree with your perspective.

That being said, the Armenian in me - my paternal grandfather and grandmother barely escaped the Turkish slaughter and lost most of their family in it - cannot help but feel a deep cynicism and saddness upon hearing remarks such as yours - and thre aree many others - that a genocide should be overlooked for political expediency.

Sure, the present Turks are not the ones that did the killing, but neither are the present Germans responsible for the Holocaust. What if the government of Germany went into Holocaust denial mode? What about what "Vigilante" commented above?

Right is right and truth is truth. And these are the values this country is supposed to stand for.

What you are advocating seems like a slippery slope to me. Perhaps it is the "logical" move considering the costs and benefits given the US' current situation. Perhaps sometimes "heart" is more salient than cold logic.

I just think we should be cautious about the choices we make and the image we project to the world. If the bill fails due to Turkish pressure, then we certainly have opened ourselves up to appearing to be opportunists and holders of double standards.


in the wapo:

Premier Says Turkey Is Ready For Split With U.S. Over Kurds



The Treasure of Sierra Madre written by a German author "We don't need to SHOW any stinking badges."

The Armenian Holocaust is driven by local politics. They have been working on it a long time. And finally they have the votes. AIPAC has long opposed it b/c it would harm Turkish/Israel relations. Foxman just did a 180 degrees on it.

Why not, another boil that need to lanced. The Palestinian Nabka would be next. The Shoah is exploited to such a degree it's a cottage industry.

"Foxman Blinks On Armenian Genocide
Under fire, ADL reverses course and now calls Armenian killings a genocide.
Ben Harris - JTA "


"in the wapo:

Premier Says Turkey Is Ready For Split With U.S. Over Kurds"

A couple of final comments on this subject from me as I have given it a little more thought.

First, concerning the above quote (and link) posted by "J", my thought is, "Yes. Exactly."

Just how solid of an ally is Turkey anyway?

Recall the jump off of the Iraq invasion. They didn't do us any favors there, but they still get all sorts of $ and mil tech from us. They successfully punk out our Executive branch and half of Congress on the Armenian resolution bill. They now threaten us again over the Kurdish issue.......is this how friends reciprocate?

Where will it stop?

For the Turks, the reaction to the Armenian bill seems to be a red herring designed to test the boundries of our symbiosis.

It would appear that the Turks are finding US character to be nervous and soft. They are leading us around by the nose. They will do it more so now.

At bottom, if the Turks are willing to break off relations over the Armenian bill, they they would be willing to break off relations over just about anything. That makes them an untrustworthy and a dangerous "ally". They can't be counted on in a crisis.

Next......Many here seem to believe that the Armenian genocide was almost a hundred years ago and therefore doesn't matter anymore. It's irrelevant.

I am deeply suspicious of a country that refuses to ackowledge massive atrocities its people have committed; even if somewhat historical.

But more to the point, can someone here suggest a cut off point after which genocides don't have to be recognized. Apparently 90 years is passed that point. We still hear so much about what the Jews went through in the 1940s. So it would seem that somewhere between 60 and 90 years is ok? Can we expect that by, say, year 2015 we can stop with all those Diary of Ann Frank shows, Holocaust memorials, etc?


so, i read both resolutions, house and senate. they're easy. they cite broad support. if i'm reading correctly (happens sometimes)they're not blaming the current turkish state for the genocide, but are holding it accountable (with mention of other, unnamed, nations) for a failure to enforce penalty/punishment on ottoman officials who were convicted of leading the genocide.

big secret:this issue ain't goin' away. might as well deal with it now, not wait a couple more years when it'll be even more "poor timing".

a functioning administration would be on this w real diplomacy, working with the turkish government and w congress. working with, not threatening and blaming.

imo. informed corrections appreciated.


Two interesting pieces from the recent plast:

Video clip from BBC RE Israel/Kurdish relationship

Take this with a grain of debka salt, but nevertheless interesting:



for those who are not familiar with the turkish-armenian conflicts at the turn of the 20th century, here is a more indepth of what many call 'the forgotten':


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