Read Paul's bio and previous columns


October 22, 2007

Pelosi’s Armenian Genocide Resolution: A Reckless Gamble with America’s Security


Congressional Democrats are at it again. When they tried to withdraw from Iraq, President Bush launched the troop surge with significant popular support. When they tried to discredit the surge, General Petraeus showed up and told them that it was working wonderfully after all.


When these congressional Democrats tried to insult and tarnish General Petraeus by protecting their friends at MoveOn.org, Americans condemned them for it and responded favorably to the military’s progress on the ground.


Now, congressional Democrats want to sink even lower than they ever have. By harming the war effort in the worst manner yet, they are officially willing to put our military’s progress on the ground at a severe and unnecessary risk for their own benefit.


For some reason, these Democratic leaders in Washington have decided that now would be the perfect time to anger Turkey, a crucial ally in the Middle East and an important player in the region, by passing a resolution condemning the appalling treatment of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), calling it a genocide.


Congressional Democrats are fully aware of the threat this would pose to our effort in Iraq, but have nonetheless passed the resolution in a congressional committee, and might do so on the floor very soon.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I was born and lived most of my life in Lebanon, a country that was for a long time occupied by the awful Ottoman Empire. The occupation, which ended in World War I, greatly harmed both the country and the people who lived in it. The conversations I have had with those who spent their younger years under Ottoman rule, and with their children (including my own grandparents), more than corroborate historical records discussing widespread pain, desperation and famine.


I also grew up befriending many of the descendants of those Armenians who fled Ottoman persecution and ended up in Lebanon, making up 4 percent of that country’s population. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to this day recount horror stories about the cruelty perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire.


Those of us who are neither Turkish nor in denial are fully aware and conscious that the Ottoman Empire, especially surrounding the years of World War I, ranks among the most brutal in history. We really, really don’t need Nancy Pelosi to pass a resolution condemning the Ottomans, and with a bare majority mind you, in order for us to be upset with them for slaughtering all the Armenians they slaughtered.


In response to the resolution, the Turks have threatened to cut off American access to Incirlik Air Base, a major resupply center for U.S. operations in Iraq and the region. A few days ago, they acted to allow their military to invade northern Iraq to chase Kurdish enemies, potentially destabilizing what is supposed to be one of Iraq’s most secure areas. Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Washington in protest of the actions by Congress.


It is not worth it for us. It’s just not. This is obvious to any reasonable observer, and should especially be so to those who are fully in the loop, such as congressional Democrats.


What could possibly account for the urge to condemn an empire that doesn’t even exist anymore, particularly at such a sensitive time? The supposed urgency is simply not present. We really won’t appear to be endorsing genocide if we don’t pass this resolution right here, right now. Besides, if congressional Democrats have really become all that principled all of a sudden, maybe they can start looking at the far more extensive atrocities committed by communist regimes in much more recent decades.


Seventy percent of U.S. air cargo sent to Iraq goes through Turkey. A peaceful Kurdish region would continue to be much needed as we work on tackling the more difficult central areas of Iraq.


Armenian Americans should understand this, and should themselves withdraw support for the resolution. They might not like it, but Turkey is extremely important to our efforts in the Middle East. And they should know that if our efforts in the Middle East fail, leading to the growth of expansionist theocracies and the spread of radical militancy, one of the first to suffer would be that small Christian country bordered by Turkey and Iran, and not too far from the Russians and the Chechens to the north – a nice, pleasant circle of friends.


Passing this resolution would bring America a lot more harm than good, and congressional Democrats are simply blundering again. At this point, even if the resolution is not passed, the Turks will recognize that they can now successfully push us around because of our dependence on them.


Shame on Pelosi and her self-righteous associates. The United States has had almost a century to condemn the Ottomans, and the timing today is not at all coincidental. This behavior by congressional Democrats could be intentionally reckless, or merely foolish. Either way, it is extremely dangerous. And even more disturbingly, there is no indication that this is the last time they take a gamble with America’s security and the world’s future.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI075. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jamie Weinstein
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
David J. Pollay
Eats & Entertainment
The Laughing Chef