Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bad Armenian Resolution

During WWI, the declining Ottoman Turks massacred hundreds of thousands--up to 1.5 million--Armenians living in the Turkish empire.

The Great War, as it was then known, was in full swing. The Turks sided with the Central Powers (i.e., Germany, et al.) and tried to invade part of Russia. They failed, and blamed Armenian Christians in the region for their defeat. The Christian Armenians and the Muslim Turks had not exactly been getting along well before that--like many ethnic rivalries in Europe at this time, they had been warring for years, with the Armenians generally getting the short end of the stick.

Taking advantage of the war, the Turks embarked on an eradication campaign against the Armenians. It was certainly genocide.

Now here we are nearly a century later and some very complicated politics have brought a dangerously flawed resolution before the U.S. Congress. The resolution would declare that what the Turks did was genocide. Who is pushing this resolution? Armenian-American Christians. They aren't an especially big voting block, but they do have some influence in Congress.

Today's modern Turkish government isn't all too happy about this. Even as the Turks mass their army for a possible move against another ethnic group--the Kurds--they deny that what happened was genocide. They say it was just war.

Maybe yes, maybe no. But why in the world would the U.S. Congress decide--right now, of all times--to address this issue with a resolution? We really don't need to piss-off Turkey now. We shouldn't. And we have nothing to gain at all.

Did the U.S. commit genocide against American Indians? Probably. Did we commit genocide against the Japanese in WWII when we firebombed, and then atomic bombed, their cities, killing millions of civilians, mostly women and children? Would it be appropriate for Muslim countries to pass resolutions condemning the U.S. for genocide?

There ARE differences. However, nothing good can come of the resolution being pushed through Congress now. Why in the world do we want to do this?

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