A certain amount of cluelessness might be predictable in someone barely out of school , but, when I see it demonstrated by the august members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, I am stunned beyond belief !
The Committee voted (pretty much along party lines) to condemn Turkey for “acts of genocide against the Armenian people” : acts said to have occurred over 90 years ago,during the closing days of World War I – at a time when Turkey was still ruled by the old Ottoman Empire.
The charges are serious , and, according to an eye witness I knew personally, absolutely true . In 1915, millions of Armenians were uprooted from their homes ,and driven out ,on suspicion of “disloyalty to the Empire” . Between the neglect and depredations of the Turks and the neighboring Kurds , approximately one million perished. The League of Nations issued all sorts of statements “deploring” the slaughter, but nothing else was done. Adolph Hitler is said to have been inspired by the example of Turkey when he launched his own “final solution”.
So, why not issue a condemnation ?
As usual, there is quite a bit more to the story . The Ottoman Empire fell, and little by little, Turkey became a democratic (by Middle East standards) nation.
What's more, after World War II, they became allies of the United States : a spearpoint aimed at the Soviet underbelly – (and, I might add, a source of intense aggravation to the Extreme Left -here and abroad.) Turkish troops fought beside us in Korea, and, in time, Turkey became a full member of NATO : the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.
Right now, although Turkey is officially a neutral party in the Iraq conflict, US forces in Iraq have Turkish permission to use their airspace for US cargo flights , and 70 % of the fuel, water, and other supplies our troops in Iraq need are trucked in from Turkey.
I'm sure we pay through the nose for all this help ; nonetheless , we rely on the good will of Turkey – whether it is purchased or freely given ; and the House Foreign Relations Committee,has, knowing full well how Turkey would react , persisted in slapping that proud nation across the face with a condemnation based on 90 year old charges !
The most charitable explanation I can offer for the Committee's action is a desire to be “high-minded and noble” at any cost : in short , cluelessness.
Footnote: A poster on another site added this comment:
Although thousands of Armenians died as a result, I don’t think it can be labeled genocide.
Some Armenians were aiding the invading Russian army by providing intelligence, ambushing Turkish supply columns, etc. For the same reason we moved the Japanese away from the west coast during WWII, the Turks moved Armenians away from the Russian front.
The difference was that the Ottoman government was total incompetent. The refugees starved, died from exposure,lack of transport for the ill and elderly, were attacked by angry mobs and bandits, causing untold suffering and death.
But, there were never orders from the government to exterminate Armenians and those who lived away from the front were not molested by the government.
The main reason the Ottoman government was overthrown was their corruption and inability to govern. At the same time the Armenians were being relocated, Turkish troops were freezing to death and dying from starvation because the government could not even supply its army.