It appears that genocide is a term that is simply not used among friends. The Congress is finally set to declare the obvious: the Turkey engaged in genocide before and after World War I in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. President Bush however is fearful that the Turks will be displeased and wants the resolution defeated.
Just last mongth, the President was willing to break with the United Nations to declare Darfur a case of genocide. The United Nations has said the situation is tantamount to crimes against humanity but technically not genocide. The President was more than willing (and correct) to make such a declaration against Sudan.
In the case of Turkey, most of the world is united in its view of the genocide committed against Armenians. However, Turkey is a close ally and Bush officials insist that this would be an inconvenient truth to utter at this time. “Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror,” the president said. Secretary Rice followed up with the same relativistic logic: “The passage of this resolution at this time would be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the Middle East.” The repeated reason given is Iraq. So it now appears that in addition to half of trillion dollars and roughly 4000 lives, Iraq now demands that we ignore genocide to preserve the possibility of something resembling victory.
What is most disturbing is that neither Bush nor Rice see anything wrong with refusing to recognize genocide when it is politically inconvenient — ignoring the paramount moral issues entirely. There was a time when the U.S. government put the Rule of Law above such political and practical concerns. Under this logic, Hitler would have been protected against a genocide allegation if only he had been a better ally. There is little question about the genocide committed by Turkey, which continues to hide the fact from its own citizens. Indeed, it has criminally charged writers who reveal the atrocities by Turkish forces. Now, the United States will support this collective denial in order to avoid offending a useful ally. Next time we try to pressure China on Darfur or Russia on Serbia, this betrayal will be cited to highlight our hypocrisy. For the full story, click here