Friday, October 12, 2007

Update on the Mindless, Non Binding, and Yet Devastating House Resolution

Whatever momentum the ridiculous non binding resolution condemning the then Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) for genocide nearly 100 years ago had it is fading and fading quickly. First, Ike Skelton (D) of Missouri came out against this resolution.

But Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposing the resolution, and said the backlash threatened by Turkey could disrupt "America's ability to redeploy U.S. military forces from Iraq," a top Democratic priority

Now, Jane Harman has also come out against this. Here is what she said.

Yet that's exactly what I was accused of last week after I sent a letter to Rep. Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging him to withdraw HR 106, which I had co-sponsored earlier in the year. Some Armenian Americans, whose passion I appreciate, have misinterpreted my determination that the time is not right to vote on such a resolution as "denial" of the Armenian genocide. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No question: The debate raging in Washington over the Armenian genocide resolution is personal. Similar resolutions have passed the House twice -- in 1975 and 1984 -- and we are poised to pass another before Thanksgiving. Whether it will be brought to a vote in the Senate remains unclear. I originally co-sponsored the resolution because I was convinced that the terrible crime against the Armenian people should be recognized and condemned. But after a visit in February to Turkey, where I met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Armenian Orthodox patriarch and colleagues of murdered Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, I became convinced that passing this resolution again at this time would isolate and embarrass a courageous and moderate Islamic government in perhaps the most volatile region in the world.

So I agree with eight former secretaries of State -- including Los Angeles' own Warren Christopher -- who said that passing the resolution "could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia."

Also, the Heritage Foundation weighed in...Here is what they said.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee vote on the genocide resolution unfortunately has harmed relations with Turkey, an important NATO ally, and set back efforts to stabilize Iraq, contain Iran, and fight the global war against terrorism. It is difficult to see any concrete benefits for the non-binding vote from the standpoint of U.S. foreign policy. If the full House follows suit and approves the resolution, the damage will be greater. Turkey has threatened to suspend its support for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The big losers would be American servicemen and the young democratic governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congressional leaders should bear this in mind before they proceed farther down this road."

Now, it is your turn. Make your voice heard. Find your representative here. Tell them that a non binding resolution has no positive effect, and if Turkey cuts off air space and supply routes that will have real tangible effects.

Finally, here is an email from a fellow Redstater

I am very concerned that you have taken the "feel good" position in co-sponsoring H.Res. 106, making it Congressional opinion that the Ottoman Empire's treatment of Armenians was "genocide."

I've known Armenians ... in Chicago and California, not in Texas. All despise what the Ottoman Turks did to their people. It probably was genocide. But it happened around 1915; the Empire fell in 1923; and the term "genocide" was not even coined until 1946.

This "feel good" measure will likely cost us a critical ally in the war on terror whose government bears no responsibility for the acts of the Ottomans ... perhaps the only truly democratic government of a primarily Muslim nation in the Middle East ... a NATO member since 1952 ... who lost almost 1,000 men (721 KIA 168 MIA) fighting besides us in Korea ... a nation that has hosted US military bases, radar stations, and missiles for fifty years.

If Congress had the fortitude to declare more immediate events (Rwanda, Darfur) acts of genocide, I might sympathize. But Congress paying "lip service" to events of a century ago ... where their political fortunes are not involved, so it's "ok" ... THAT I cannot tolerate.Please withdraw your sponsorship ... or begin demonstrating again the foolishness of Congress by decrying the genocides of the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans ... or, closer to home, what might we call Texas versus the Karankawa(now recorded as "extinct")?

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