Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bush Administration: Holocaust Deniers

The Bush administration has urged the US Congress not to pass a resolution declaring the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire to be genocide. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates made a joint appeal hours before a vote by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. ... President George W Bush has made clear that he also opposes it. -- Rice warns against Armenia Bill," BBC News, 10/10/07

Tempest in a teapot? Sure. America knows the Armenian Genocide happened, the Turks know the Armenian Genocide happened, and the world knows the Armenian Genocide happened. If the US House of Representatives doesn't pass a resolution saying it happened, it will still have happened and we'll all still know it happened.

So, why is the Bush administration bending over backward to assist Turkey's government in denying that it happened?

In 2003, Bush insisted that the US had no choice but to invade Iraq based on claims which, in many instances, turned out to be (to put it mildly) questionable -- everything from the 1988 Halabjah massacre, for which the US reassigned responsibility from Iran to Saddam when it became necessary to make Saddam the bad guy, to the Magical Disappearing Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Four years later, Bush insists that the US mustn't even take the relatively mild step of ceremonially affirming its recognition of a known historical fact for fear of giving offense in the Middle East (hint ... you're occupying part of it and menacing the rest; how much more could this little resolution really hurt?).

I do confess that I don't understand the Turkish government's intransigence. After all, the genocide took place under the aegis of the Ottoman Empire, which no longer exists. It's not like any of the country's currently sitting rulers are culpable. Those most visibly guilty in the genocide were duly convicted of their crimes, and a number of them were executed, albeit extra-judicially, for their crimes. Why not just admit the atrocity and put it behind?

Maybe it's not such a teapot tempest after all. If it is why so much wailing and gnashing of teeth over it? And why does executive branch of the US government feel the need to publicly expose itself as a gaggle of craven holocaust deniers?

What's up with this?

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