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Symbolism, Turkey, and China

Steny Hoyer was on Fox News Sunday with Britt Hume, talking about Turkey, genocide, and congress:

HUME: All right. Let's talk about this bill relating to the Turks, the Armenians and the word genocide.


HUME: The bill has been reported. It's not yet been acted on. Will it come to the floor, in your judgment?

HOYER: Yes. I schedule the bills, and I'm telling you it will come to the floor. It will come to the floor before November 16th.

HUME: And where do you think the votes are right now?

HOYER: I think we'll pass this. It passed out of committee 27- 21, closer than I think it would have been.

So congress is going to have a full vote on the resolution passed by House Foreign Affairs Committee. As NPR said:
Before the vote, chair Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) warned fellow committee members they had a sobering choice to make.

"We have to weigh the desire to express our solidarity with the Armenian people and to condemn this historic nightmare through the use of the word 'genocide,'" Lantos said, "against the risk that it could cause young men and women in the uniform of the United States armed services to pay an even heavier price than they are currently paying."

So we have Congress critters acknowledging that their vote of conscience would put our troops at risk, and they went ahead with it anyway. We need Turkey to help assist the Defense Department in their logistical operations, and we are about to make them upset over the symbolism of the word genocide. I would argue that such action is a bad idea.

But, what other symbolic action is about to make one of our most important allies very upset? What if we needed the support of a country to, for example, enforce sanctions against North Korea, or begin a sanctions program against Iran? What if that country could make non-proliferation a success, or an empty promise, at their will? Would it be wise to undertake a symbolic gesture like, perhaps, awarding a Congressional Gold medal to the biggest thorn in their side, the Dalai Lama?

Even world leaders are coming around and granting more official audiences with the Dalai Lama, despite implied (and not-so-implied) reprisals from China, who still consider him a separatist threat. The Asian powerhouse has canceled three meetings with Germany since Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting with the exiled Tibetan last month, and they have also already expressed displeasure with both President Bush's private meeting with the Dalai Lama on Tuesday and his receiving a Congressional Gold Medal - the nation's highest civilian honor - on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Just asking...


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Comments (45)

'The Universe in a Single A... (Below threshold)

'The Universe in a Single Atom' is just marvelous.

I would argue that such ... (Below threshold)

I would argue that such action is a bad idea.

Me too. It's a terrible idea, in fact, and one which seems to be simply an attempt to sabotage our relationship with Turkey at a critical juncture in the war in Iraq. This is unconscionable. If the Democrats want to get out of Iraq, or at least encourage that, they should use the tools at their disposal to do it honestly (appropriations). The genocide (and it was) happened almost a century ago. Condemnation can wait, if necessary at all (it isn't). This move to sour relations with Turkey now is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Meeting with the Dalai Lama, or awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal, is another matter. The Chinese will get over it; they have more important things to worry about, and they know it.

I agree with mantis.<... (Below threshold)

I agree with mantis.

Holy crap, did I just type that?

Anyway, as far as the Deli Llama is concerned, at least this is not a 90 yr old issue perpetrated by a different government.

I agree with mantis.... (Below threshold)

I agree with mantis.

Holy crap, did I just type that?

It's ok, everyone here agrees with me when I disagree with the Democrats in Congress, which is more often than you might think. I'm pretty liberal, but I'm no Democrat, and I'm not an "ends justify the means" guy. I think we need to get out of Iraq, but honestly. This is sabotage.

It's not a good time for Co... (Below threshold)

It's not a good time for Congress to bring up part of the old history of the Ottoman Empire which was replaced after WWI in the revolt that created modern Turkey and eventually brought Turkey in as an important responsible NATO member.

With 60,000 Turkish troops amassed at the Northern border of Iraq, and a possible major threat to all Kurds, not just the extremists, it is absolutely no time for Congress to heighten the tensions.

I also mostly agree with M... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

I also mostly agree with Mantis on this issue.

I'm particularly intrigued by this part :
" I think we need to get out of Iraq, but honestly. This is sabotage. "

Sabotage? Do you really think it is sabotage? That's a fairly heavy-duty accusation.

(Personally, I'm thinking it really may be sabotage; but I just can't quite believe the Dems will stab our troops in the back like this. Do they think this won't come back to bite them if troops are harmed as a result of this?)

Another clue that this may be deliberate Dem sabotage is the fact that this issue just suddenly appeared now. It's not like the Dems campaigned on the 'Vote for us and we'll condemn the horrible Turkish Amenian Incident of 1915'. I doubt most or even many Dems ever heard of this before last week.

My God, I agree with Hooson... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

My God, I agree with Hooson, too.

Get right with the Lord everyone; these must be the Last Days.

Personally, I'm thinking... (Below threshold)

Personally, I'm thinking it really may be sabotage; but I just can't quite believe the Dems will stab our troops in the back like this. Do they think this won't come back to bite them if troops are harmed as a result of this?

I don't know, maybe they're just incredibly stupid and shortsighted on this, but I find it hard to believe that they haven't thought about what the response from Turkey will be, and what that would mean for our forces in Iraq. Remember that Turkey refused to let the 4th Infantry Division enter Iraq through their country in 2003. Since then they have become much more helpful, to the point where now 75% of our air cargo and 95% of the new MRAP vehicles go through Turkey (according to SOD Gates). Unless the Democrats are aware of significant incentives keeping Turkey from becoming much less hospitable in response to this resolution, I can come to no other conclusion.

All of that said, we wouldn't have a problem if Turkey could just acknowledge their own history. They should, but the timing of this resolution is way too suspicious.

Darned right it's sabotage.... (Below threshold)

Darned right it's sabotage.

This is an end-around play to impair the war in Iraq.

Dhimmicrats are trying to force it to wither on the vine once Turkey no longer permits us to stage supply operations from there.

This sabotage is cloaked in righteous verbal garb, but it is a wolf.

If they are incredibly stup... (Below threshold)

If they are incredibly stupid and short-sighted, then they've been like this for a long time. There are Dems on the Intelligence, Defense and Foreign Affairs subcommittees who ought to have been aware of our relations with Turkey and the implications of this resolution.

Are they going to blame Bush for our troops facing shortages of supplies because of Turkey closing off our routes into Iraq? Of course they are, because nobody in the MSM is going to rake them over the coals for their trying to sabotage the war.

First Nancy goes to Syria to kiss Assad's rear, despite the fact he was building a nuclear facility...and don't tell me the House Intelligence Committee members don't tell the Speaker about it.

Now she decides to ruin the relationship that the US has with Turkey, over an event which took place nearly a century ago. Yeah, I'm sure the US public was ready to march on Capitol Hill with pitchforks and torches over that matter.

It's ridiculous to mention ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

It's ridiculous to mention these two events in the same breath.

PRC is the perennial number one human rights abuser on Earth. Today. PRC mandates a one child policy on its people through forced abortions. Bush should do whatever it takes to help bring freedom to the Chinese people. God knows the Lama will never win a Nobel Peace Prize, so why not a Congressional Gold Medal?

PRC sells weapons to Sudan, Hamas/Hizbollah, Iran, etc.. Their vote on the UN Security council is for sale whenever a murderous despot is in need. PRC is actively waging cyber war on the US. We may have outsourced manufacturing capacity to PRC, but they are by no means an ally like Turkey.

I have to wonder if there i... (Below threshold)

I have to wonder if there is such a thing as a spine in the modern Republican party, or conservatism in general. This issue has long been ignored for reasons of political expediency and looks to be happening again. What happened to do doing the Right Thing and living with the consequences? Do you REALLY think that Turkey was going along fat, dumb and happy in the world until..."Hey waitaminit here! No mentioning the Armenians! That makes us angry. You won't like us when we are angry!"

The fact that they killed 1-3 million Christians for their faith is exactly what it is portrayed as, a genocidal act. (Complete with concentration camps, systematic exterminations and "Work for your freedom" slogans.) Turkey has never been on board with the invasion of Iraq because it was stirring up the Kurds giving them hope of a homeland. They are set to invade the most peaceful area of Iraq because the Kurds are getting ready to set up provincial governments, which makes the Turkish crap their shorts.

This symbolic vote is nothing more than a pretext for war against what has been the most stable area in Iraq.

this occured in 1915. In e... (Below threshold)

this occured in 1915. In eight years the Centennial of this will be here. Frankly a gesture at that time might even be appropriate.

2007 is the 92nd "anniversary" of this. How many "92nd" memorials/celebrations/remembrances are routinely...or EVER held?

The timing of this is crystal clear. And the Republicans need to remind the country of what the Democrats are doing.

Lantos gets it, for crying out loud. LANTOS!!

The Dali Llama is a live an... (Below threshold)

The Dali Llama is a live and well after fleeing the Chinese invasion. He has many supporters and is actively working to free Tibet of Chinese rule. The Chinese own more than a trillion dollars of our debt in the world.

Nobody is left alive that has a living memory of the Armenian genocide. There will be no repercussions to a non binding vote in Congress and will pass out of memory once this blog stops talking about it.

The Chinese will not forget that the Dali Llama has the Congressional Medal of Freedom and that the President of the United States formally greeted him as a dignitary of a non existing country. Which do you think will really have more consequence?

I agree with Baron Von Otto... (Below threshold)

I agree with Baron Von Ottomatic, and would add that the Armenian genocide occurred ninety years ago and was perpetrated by a government which no longer exists.

China is oppressing Tibet RIGHT NOW.

If today's Turkey were slaughtering Armenians, we would and should make stopping it a top priority. However, it was over before any of us were even born, so there isn't a single life we can save by protesting now.

It's about as effective as Bill Clinton's apology to Africa for slavery, but with the added feature of harming America's immediate national security interests.

No wonder the Democrats would rather pass this nonsense than, say, one of the budget bills they're stalling.

China can blow me.... (Below threshold)

China can blow me.

Pelosi? Well, no, thanks.

As long as we are getting o... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

As long as we are getting our shorts in a wad over people not recognizing history, I,m more than a little put out that Japanesse history books make no mention of Pearl Harbor or the Batan death march. I think Nancy should have a resolution condemmming Japan.

where's the Bill condemning... (Below threshold)

where's the Bill condemning Rachel Carlson for genecide? Her efforts to ban DDT resulted in the deaths of MILLIONS of people worldwide...and growing!


Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Infantcide (aka: "Planned Parenthood"). Millions upon millions of babies continue to die as a result of her organization...founded to "purify humanity"!!

Nancy? Hello??????

If they intend to use langu... (Below threshold)

If they intend to use language like "genocide" they really ought to consult with Jimmah to make sure it meets the definition. /snark

The difference between this bill and the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama is vast, as was demonstrated above by Jim and Baron.

But! That depends on the wording of the bill as well. Is the full text online somewhere? I don't have time to look right now, but will later.

Now you guys know why I lov... (Below threshold)

Now you guys know why I love (hate no love no hate -- sorry had a twitch) love mantis.

He is not insane like the rest of them.

There comes a time when it is time to call the people on your side assholes. mantis never forgets that.


(I could argue he should do it more often but... ;-)

Lantos gets it, fo... (Below threshold)
Lantos gets it, for crying out loud. LANTOS!!

quote of the day.

Justrand, you are absolutel... (Below threshold)

Justrand, you are absolutely wrong about DDT. I can give you dozens of links, but Alan Lymbery puts down the old DDT myth very succinctly here. Let me know if you want more.

I agree 100% that the US Co... (Below threshold)

I agree 100% that the US Congress should enact total economic sanctions on the government of the Ottoman Empire over their ....

Wait, what?

Mantis...I don't want to de... (Below threshold)

Mantis...I don't want to de-rail the thread...but the link to the letter is the Environmental lobby's attempt to cry: "Who, ME?"

It essentially says: "We didn't say BAN the pesticide...just, uh, restrict its use...to INDOORS!"

The REALITY is that DDT had malaria on the ropes worldwide before the misguided Ms. Carlson penned her book. It needs to be used OUTDOORS in breeding areas to be effective.

Indoors its effectivness is this: If you have a can of DDT...then HIT the mosquito with the can!! Cans of peachers work equally well in this regard.

The environmental lobby has been trying for the last couple years to claim they had nothing to do with the worldwide elimination of DDT. And thus had nothing to do with the worldwide RE-spread of malaria!!

sorry Mantis...but now, back to decrying the treasonous Dems!

can we finally condemn the ... (Below threshold)

can we finally condemn the Hitites for whatever they did to whomever whenever??

and the Babylonians and Mayans too!!

I feel better now

Just another in a long line... (Below threshold)

Just another in a long line of bills designed to get as many American soldiers killed as possible. The democrats have a thirst for blood and they'll stop at nothing to satisfy the thirst. Evidently the blood of 3 to 5 million souls in Southeast Asia has dried on the democrats hands and they seek new blood. In the near future they will pay for all of this. Fifty percent of the Americans are a little slow on the uptake but more are coming around every day. It'll be hell to pay when they all wake up, maybe brought on by a massive terror attack in the U.S. courtesy of the democrat terrorist enablers.

The Dems may think the aver... (Below threshold)

The Dems may think the average American wants out of Iraq, but I imagine the average American would also look at this resolution and in less than a nanosecond wonder why the hell Congress is beginning to sound like the UN. Lantos' quote should widely distributed. It upsets me in a big way.

Justrand, when DDT was bann... (Below threshold)

Justrand, when DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, there were already 19 different species of mosquito resistant to it due to outdoor spraying. The use of DDT on crops was making the problem worse, not better. Your assertion that "DDT had malaria on the ropes worldwide" is pure ignorance. Hell, they don't even use DDT indoors in India anymore because it has lost all effectiveness. Seriously, wherever you're getting your DDT info from, stop reading them. They're feeding you a load of bull.

Don't offend the Turks by c... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Don't offend the Turks by calling to the world's attention their genocide of 1.5 Armenians because we want to whitewash genocide in the name of fighting terror. I'm surprised everyone is agreeing to this so readily without any caveats. Sometimes I think we have to kick the ball away, (I'm not sure if this is the time) to maintain credibility by doing what we think is our the strict national interest at the time. I'm not saying I don't disagree that Congress should something better to occupy their minds,(maybe they could send a compensatory $package to the Armenians) but similar thinking to contain or limit embarassment or spare our allies was at work when McNarmara reported that "President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few (34) sailors." in the USS Liberty

incident This is addressed to readers of a blog who feel 'appeasement' is the ugliest word in the English language and we are are we not doing if appeasing Turkish guilt or their delicate sensibilties?

Ok, I'm done commenting off... (Below threshold)

Ok, I'm done commenting off topic about DDT. Go read up on it.

Steve Crickmore...of course... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore...of course, you're right.

In fact, Congress should start each and every day with a condemnation of the Ottoman Empire. I mean, if we DON'T condemn them daily, doesn't that imply "we want to whitewash genocide"??

Of course it does.

Since condemning them NOW, on the 92nd anniversary of this bears no relation to any "milestone" (25, 50, 100 years...etc), why NOT condemn them daily??

What say you, Steve??

Justrand..I haven't complet... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Justrand..I haven't completely thought this through...I am not a big fan of empty Congressional Resolutions...I'm just wondering how did "The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."...George Bush, 2000

become rather an anodyne statement

"mass killings in which many Armenains lost their lives"... (that was careless of them) . Why? because of Operation Freedom and our war on terror.

Johnson didn't want to star... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Johnson didn't want to start anything over the USS Liberty because it was his orders that put them in the position in the first place.

Bush's actual annual state... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Bush's actual annual statement statement last April "in commemorating this tragedy and honoring the memory of the innocent lives that were taken. The world must never forget this painful lesson" It just seems like President Bush has wimped out from his searing campaign words of 2000. What would Ann Coulter say ? maybe offer him the same insult she bestowed on Edwards? The Armenians, the victims were Christians after all, and the perpetrators were not.

Pelosi surrendered on this ... (Below threshold)

Pelosi surrendered on this one too.

Why doesn't she just resign already and let Cindy the Peace Mom change her office drapes to pink.

Roy...did Pelosi back away ... (Below threshold)

Roy...did Pelosi back away from this moronic idea??

I just read up on it...Pigl... (Below threshold)

I just read up on it...Piglosi is STILL in favor of it...but many of the backers are "re-thinking their positions"


The Balkans have been in co... (Below threshold)

The Balkans have been in conflict for centuries!

The battle of Kosovo happened over 600 years ago; now you expect the same people to 'forget' an event that only happened 92 years ago.

It is a totally different culture, people.
Not explainable in U.S.A. terms.

Crickmore ...The q... (Below threshold)
Martin A Knight:

Crickmore ...

The question is; why now? The Democrats could have brought it up at any time before now. Now, all of a sudden, it's very very serious issue that needs to be addressed right now ...

Just as even the New York Times(!) is being forced to admit that things actually are improving in Iraq and McClatchy is reduced to "complaining" that the sharply reduced death toll is "bad" ... because cemetary workers are being less paid.

Jim Clyburn has already confessed that an improvement in Iraq would pose a "problem" for Democrats. This is simply them trying to "solve" it ...

Yes I know is is all 'real... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Yes I know is is all 'realpolitic' and hyperpower politics. Bush met the Dalai Lama in the White House today, but refused to release a picture of the two together (Clinton did the same when he was president)..Tibet, the Armenians the're expendable, when the global war on terror, or our relationship with China is at stake.

The Armenian resolution has... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The Armenian resolution has been coming up to Capitol Hill since 1999..Don't worry Justrand this is good business for the Democrat congressmen who are holding out..They well eventually be turned with generous campaign contributions by the Turkish government proivided (by their legal lobbyi$t donations) and everyone will be happy but the betrayed Armenians.

Good business, doubtful, bu... (Below threshold)

Good business, doubtful, but surely monstrously stupid politics. The real choice was between insulting Turks and endangering soldiers. The absurdity of that choice reveals the amazingly irrational politics that is driving the Dhimmicrats into one blunder after another about the war.

It might be a Sister Soldier moment, soon.

Don't worry Justrand this i... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Don't worry Justrand this is good business for the Democrat congressmen who are holding out
Absolutely, more George Soro money will be coming their way. No wonder the Dems are willing to cast their lot with the vile MoveOn/MediaLiars Hillary cronies.

Don't offend the ... (Below threshold)

Don't offend the Turks by calling to the world's attention their genocide of 1.5 Armenians because we want to whitewash genocide in the name of fighting terror.

I've yet to see anyone argue that the condemnation isn't warranted, so you're pushing a strawman. The question isn't whether the condemnation is warranted, but rather why now ?

The simplest sufficient answer is currently that the Democrats benefit politically if the war in Iraq is going poorly and this is simply an attempt see that it does. My guess is that the Democrats hope to drive a wedge between Turkey and the U.S., which would have the effect of making resupply logistics more difficult (and more costly).

Mike, I don't really disagr... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Mike, I don't really disagree ...but there doesn't seem much coherence in Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East .What is really saying when "Congress has more important work to do than antagonizing a democratic ally in the Muslim world." is that 'pissing off Muslims' is a function of the executive branch.






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