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On the Armenian GenocideFollow

#1 Oct 10 2007 at 11:28 AM Rating: Excellent
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Back in the early 20th Century, Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) embarked upon a systematic program to kill or displace Armenians within its borders. By the end, around two million Armenians were killed and another half million or so were forced out as refugees. It's widely considered to be the first modern genocide. Hitler referenced it prior to World War II, asking "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

In that vein, the Republic of Turkey has historically refused to acknowledge the event as a genocide. They contend that there was no government program in place to kill the Armenians and that the Armenians died of famine, battle fatalities in World War I, the results of pockets of other conflicts, etc. You can follow the links if you're really interested.

Back in January, and just now coming before the House Foreign Relations Committee is a bill which states (in part):
House Resolution 106 wrote:
Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.
[...]
The House of Representatives--

(1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and

(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
The bill isn't a piece of legislature and can't properly be vetoed since it's merely Congress affirming that Bush should do these things and isn't binding.

Bush has been asking the House not to pass the bill. Or for it to even come before the full House. Not because Bush disagrees with it but because he fears that Turkey will retaliate since the Turkish government is very opposed to being told by the US that it was, indeed, a genocide. Turkey is a NATO member and major traffic point for the US to move supplies, fuel and equipment into Iraq. Bush, Rice & Gates have all warned that Turkey may make things difficult should the House pass the resolution.

Currently, the House Democrats still intend to present the bill before the House. Should they?
Should HR 106 come before the House?
Yes, the government should make a formal statement regarding Turkey's part in the genocide:12 (19.4%)
Yes, because backing down now is blackmail by Turkey:7 (11.3%)
No, the foreign relations risks aren't worth stating what most of the world acknowledges anyway:26 (41.9%)
No, the event is old news and not worth digging back up:17 (27.4%)
Total:62


Edited, Oct 11th 2007 1:28am by Jophiel
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#2 Oct 10 2007 at 11:40 AM Rating: Good
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I have only met one real Armenian in my life and she was a girl I knew in college, who was both drop dead gorgeous and exoctic. The fact that more like her were denied to the world because of the actions of the Turks really does **** me off. I do want and wish for nations responsible for past genocides to pay for the crimes. However, this may not be the best time to do so, in the case of Turkey, with the situation in the mideast.
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#3 Oct 10 2007 at 11:42 AM Rating: Good
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As a white man, I feel duty bound to personally apologise to the suffragettes Smiley: oyvey

History - leave it there
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#4 Oct 10 2007 at 11:48 AM Rating: Decent
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King Nobby wrote:
As a white man American, I feel duty bound to personally apologise to the suffragettes Smiley: oyvey

History - leave it there


The cross that you must bear. Ultimately, it's our fault somehow and up to us to make it right.

This is a waste of legislature, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it designed to further demean Bush, either he refuses to acknowledge a known fact and something sensitive to Americans, or he approves and drives a nail into the Iraq war conflict.

Is anyone surprised at this amazingly productive Dem congress?
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#5 Oct 10 2007 at 11:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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#6 Oct 10 2007 at 11:53 AM Rating: Decent
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They should get right on that, and also start bugging Japan about the rape of Nanking. While they are on it they can apologize to Chile for supporting Pinochet, they also have to act on the resolution to apologize for the trail of tears that was put up in 2004 by Brownback.

Considering that Turkey is already ****** about Kurdish rebels coming across the border from Iraq now might not be a good time for high minded ideals.
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#7 Oct 10 2007 at 11:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Archfiend bodhisattva wrote:
They should get right on that, and also start bugging Japan about the rape of Nanking.
We did recently pass a resolution calling upon Japan to acknowledge their use of "comfort women" during the Second World War.
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#8 Oct 10 2007 at 11:56 AM Rating: Good
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Am I ashamed of what Britain did to the Boers in S.A. in the 1900 war? Of course.
Same as the shame of slavery, massacre of native americans, decimation of the rainforests, Rod Stweart etc etc.

To use the legislature to cry a river sounds a bit pansy to be honest.
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#9 Oct 10 2007 at 11:59 AM Rating: Good
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Lest us all not forget the Death of Numbers tragedy in '06-'07. God help the person who tries to tackle that ugly point in history.
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#10 Oct 10 2007 at 12:26 PM Rating: Good
History! Its a thing of the past......
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#11 Oct 10 2007 at 12:36 PM Rating: Good
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Kim Kardashian, my current celebrity girl crush, is Armenian.
#12 Oct 10 2007 at 12:43 PM Rating: Good
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Thumbelyna Quick Hands wrote:
Kim Kardashian, my current celebrity girl crush, is Armenian.
Have her scrubbed and sent to my chamber
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#13 Oct 10 2007 at 1:22 PM Rating: Good
Wow. Smiley: jawdrop


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#14 Oct 10 2007 at 1:27 PM Rating: Decent
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King Nobby wrote:
Thumbelyna Quick Hands wrote:
Kim Kardashian, my current celebrity girl crush, is Armenian.
Have her scrubbed, shaved and sent to my chamber
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I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty-cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty-cat. And then, on some dark, cold night, I will steal away into your home, and PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE.

#15 Oct 10 2007 at 2:22 PM Rating: Good
In France, it's actually illegal to deny two genocides: The Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.

It's a bit crazy, and when they passed the Armenian law in 2002, it was a clear political middle finger to Turkey. It's slightly explained by the fact we also have a large population of exiled Amrenians, more than of, say, native indians.

As for the commemoration, it's a heavy political price to pay for not much benefit. It'll **** off Turkey a lot more than it will warm the hearts of exiled Armenians. I wouldn't mind if it did go through though, Turkey's attempt to deny their genocide is not a great exemple to set to other nations, and is something we have to fight against, in some ways.

NephthysWanderer the Charming wrote:
King Nobby wrote:
Thumbelyna Quick Hands wrote:
Kim Kardashian, my current celebrity girl crush, is Armenian.
Have her scrubbed, shaved and sent to my chamber


Her *** tape was quite nice, too Smiley: sly
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#16 Oct 10 2007 at 2:35 PM Rating: Good
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Monsieur RedPhoenixxx wrote:
Turkey's attempt to deny their genocide is not a great exemple to set to other nations, and is something we have to fight against, in some ways.
Turkey in 2007 is a long way from Ataturk's Ottoman debacle, same as GW Bush is a long way from the slave traders of the 1800's.

I may be wrong, but my understanding is that part of Turkey's recent attempts to avoid islamist overthrow is to refuse to discuss the genocide; not to deny it.

It's arguably a technical distinction, but I've equated it with an attempt to draw a line under the past, not to reinvent it.
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#17 Oct 10 2007 at 2:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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In your opinion, should Turkey's admission (or refusal thereof) of the Armenian Genocide be an item of interest before Turkey is admitted* to the European Union?


*I know they desire admission; I won't claim knowledge of how likely their membership is due to many more important concerns
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#18 Oct 10 2007 at 2:47 PM Rating: Good
King Nobby wrote:
Turkey in 2007 is a long way from Ataturk's Ottoman debacle, same as GW Bush is a long way from the slave traders of the 1800's.


Totally, which is even more so a reason to just admit the **** thing. No one's really gonna equate that genocide with modern Turkey. It should just be about historical honesty.

Quote:
It's arguably a technical distinction, but I've equated it with an attempt to draw a line under the past, not to reinvent it.


Maybe.

I do think that despite the apparent sillyness of our present government apologising for slavery or genocides, at least they're coming clean with the past. When the French state finally recognised the role many French people played in actively supporting the occupation, it did mean something.

I have some Greek and Turkish friends, and when you listen to them talk separately about the many Ottoman-Greek conflicts, it seems like two completely different histories, where both are the sole victim each time.

Apart from calming the Islamic guys, and a sense of misplaced national pride, recognising the genocide would also mean opening some form of compensation lawsuits or demands. They are quite reluctant to have to deal with that.

Having said that, I'm not sure this particular law would not make a huge difference either way, and it would certainly antagonise Turkey.

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#19 Oct 10 2007 at 2:50 PM Rating: Good
Jophiel wrote:
In your opinion, should Turkey's admission (or refusal thereof) of the Armenian Genocide be an item of interest before Turkey is admitted* to the European Union?


It would be an item of interest for sure, but not a sine qua non condition to entry.

I'm sure if the turks compromised on Cyprus, relaxed their penal code, made peace with their Kurds and left secularism in place, the public recognition of the genocide could be swept under the rug.
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#20 Oct 10 2007 at 3:00 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
In your opinion, should Turkey's admission (or refusal thereof) of the Armenian Genocide be an item of interest before Turkey is admitted* to the European Union?


*I know they desire admission; I won't claim knowledge of how likely their membership is due to many more important concerns
No.

Standard conditions:

Open democracy.
Current human rights standards.
Stable economy.

If they hit all those marks, Bring 'em in.
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#21 Oct 10 2007 at 3:01 PM Rating: Decent
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It's pretty clear Congress' ulterior motive here is to set Bush up or otherwise use the Aremenian Genocide against him in some way. Even in their own Resolution here, it's noted that in 2004 he did acknowledge and condemn the Genocide.

House Resolution 106 wrote:
(29) President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: `On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'.

...

(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.


1. He already did
2. If he does so again it's entirely up to him
3. As 1 and 2 are patently obvious, there's no reason for Congress to single him out here, when they could simpy be passing this Resolution as their own statement

I think the best thing Bush could do (if possible) is veto it, AND write an executive order that copies the entire Resolution except it "calls upon Congress to..." do everything they called upon him to do. Stoop to their level and mock them by it.

I hate Bush but this is just a silly bill and silly idea, and tantamount to a schoolyard fight. Real 5th grade stuff here.

edit: added resolution part in quote

Edited, Oct 10th 2007 7:05pm by Palpitus
#22 Oct 10 2007 at 3:06 PM Rating: Decent
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Oh, I see now they're caught up on the description including the word "genocide". Still schoolyard stuff meant to give Bush grief.
#23 Oct 10 2007 at 3:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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Palpitus wrote:
I think the best thing Bush could do (if possible) is veto it, AND write an executive order that copies the entire Resolution except it "calls upon Congress to..." do everything they called upon him to do.
Well, it's a resolution so it doesn't actually go to Bush to be signed/vetoed. There's nothing to veto anyway; the resolution passing means "Congress agreed that Bush should do this". You can't veto that and change it to "Congress didn't agree..."

I'd argue that, by passing the Resolution, Congress de facto states that it was a genocide and should be viewed as such. An Executive Order asking Congress to do so after the resolution would just be wasting paper.
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#24 Oct 10 2007 at 3:28 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Well, it's a resolution so it doesn't actually go to Bush to be signed/vetoed. There's nothing to veto anyway; the resolution passing means "Congress agreed that Bush should do this". You can't veto that and change it to "Congress didn't agree..."

I'd argue that, by passing the Resolution, Congress de facto states that it was a genocide and should be viewed as such. An Executive Order asking Congress to do so after the resolution would just be wasting paper.


Thanks, nonbinding resolutions have never made sense to me, in form or substance. Don't see what good they do that Congresspeople simply talking to their constituents isn't capable of. 536 people being informed of something they informed theirselves of seems less effective than 536 people informing 300 million via an ad spot or mailer. Only thing different it does is go in the record, which again is not read through by common Americans.

They do de facto state that, but why not just leave it at that? Bush's 2004 statement could be considered a de facto recognition of the massacre as a genocide. I just think they're playing gotcha games, particularly as it seems that's what Congress has been spending 50% of their time on since the turnover to Democrat majority. It seems less a foreign policy matter than a George W. Bush matter.

And I'm getting sick of Congress picking on Bush as a flea picks on a dog, especially since they didn't have the balls to stop funding Iraq ultimatum style. They seem big on teeny grade school **** like this but small on actual change in policy using their real powers.
#25 Oct 10 2007 at 4:14 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
I'd argue that, by passing the Resolution, Congress de facto states that it was a genocide and should be viewed as such. An Executive Order asking Congress to do so after the resolution would just be wasting paper.



And that's the part that kinda bothers me the most about this. There's nothing preventing Congress all on it's own to make a finding on this matter. Congress does that all the time. Nothing wrong or unusual about it.

What's strange is the way it's phrased. It's not enough for Congress to simply declare that it was genocide, but they insist that the President must state it in his address? Um... Why?

My concern is that this has very little to do with recognizing a horrible period of time (nearly a century past), and a whole lot with deliberately straining relations between the current state of Turkey and the US president. And I've got to wonder what the agenda is here.

The current state of Turkey is not the same government as the Ottoman Empire during which those atrocities were committed. So while there's some value to recognizing it, I'm not sure what value there is in pushing the issue. If I were to put on the ol tinfoil hat, I'd guess that Dems in Congress want to put Bush in yet another position where he knows he can't do what they demand (cause it'll only serve to **** off Turkey), but if he doesn't their Liberal buddies at Moveon and other organizations can point to the fact that Bush refuses to recognize this genocide as some sort of horrible action on his part, and how could he hate those poor Armenians, etc, etc, etc...


Which I suppose is just more of the same.

Edited, Oct 10th 2007 5:15pm by gbaji
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#26 Oct 10 2007 at 4:37 PM Rating: Default
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If the US KNOWS that Armenia suffered these travesties then it should as a tribute to the dead admit that it happened and pass this legislature. These people died in a horrible way for a horrible reason and their memories should be honored not disgraced simply because Bush doesn't want to risk more embarrassments.
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