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U.S. House Panel’s Vote on Genocide Riles Turks

Posted on Mar 5, 2010
Wikimedia Commons

Armenian civilians are marched to a prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers in 1915.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador and warned of serious damage to bilateral relations after a U.S. House committee approved a nonbinding resolution calling the massacre of more than 1 million Armenians almost 100 years ago a “genocide.”

Turkey has been a strategic location for the U.S., given America’s wars and oil interests in the region, which has made Washington’s position on the genocide a hairy issue. —JCL

The Guardian:

Turkey’s prime minister warned of serious damage to US-Turkish relations today after a congressional committee approved a resolution describing the massacre of more than 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman empire during the first world war as genocide.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country had been accused of a crime it did not commit, adding that the resolution would hamper efforts by Turkey and Armenia to end a century of hostility.

Turkey last night recalled its ambassador after the house foreign affairs committee approved 23-22 the non-binding measure despite objections from the Obama administration, which had warned that such a move would harm relations with Turkey—a Nato ally with about 1,700 troops in Afghanistan—and could imperil fragile reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia.

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By tommym, March 6, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

It is interesting that one of the previous diggers described Hitlers atrocities as being the only genocide considered worse than the amount of death and suffering the U.S. has caused.  But i would like to just say that between the native Americans,  the Panamanians, the Timorese, the Iraqis, the Americans that died in the civil war, the Vietnamese, the peoples of Afghanistan, the people of Cambodia and the millions of others our few centuries of foreign policy have dispossessed and murdered, we have Hitler Beat(just by listing NATIVE AMERICANS) And we have no right going around accusing people of genocide when we are in the midst of committing it.

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By radson, March 6, 2010 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

so:Turkey disagrees with using her soil to bomb Iran.

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By Lew, March 6, 2010 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow 4.5 million Vietnamese killed sounds like an exaggeration to me! If we use the most appropriate ways of measuring I think we get a substantially lower number approximately 40 percent of that enormous fiction. Also one million dead Filipinos - more outside the box counting. Those who indulge in this scholarship believe that the number of civilian deaths in the Philippines to be between 250,000 and 1,000,000, which is quite a spread. Of these between 16,000 and 20,000 were due to American firepower.

Wow! The US is a disgrace because “it has killed more civilians of other countries than Hitler.” What a statement. Too bad it is not supported by facts only the author’s feelings.

I know I’m spitting into the wind but I am dealing with those who think as they ought (bien pensants).

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By altara, March 6, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With all the challenges facing our nation, why in the world would Congress dredge up this issue between Turkey and Armenia that dates back almost 200 years?


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By Basoflakes, March 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Hmm, when the US military killed a million Filipinos in the 1899 Filipine War, was that a debutante party?  Or when the US military killed 4.5 million Vietnamese in the Vietnam War, do Americans call that a cake walk?  And, even though the UN and others have called the US invasion of Iraq illegal and that the 1.2 million Iraqis that died were the responsibility of the US, did the House condemn those actions?  And lest we forget, Iran, Indonesia, Guatemala, Chile and other governments were overthrown by US operatives - so, are we innocent.

Not bloody likely.

The US has killed more innocent civilians of other countries than anyone since Hitler, and the US is a disgrace.

That said, how about some baseball.

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By gerard, March 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

As to the Iranians not “toeing the line” on nuclear control issues—the US and Russia have never “toed the line” on it, although they promised to do so. Instead, nukes have been allowed to spread more or less at the convenience of “western powers.” Further, they have become such a mark of “superiority” and “bargaining power” that practically every nation that hopes to “stand tall” as a “world power” thinks they must have nukes. This is madness, and madness, let me say, is as much a moral as a political issue.  In fact, more so.

Point 2:  History, though never obvious enough, is always highly relevant. And it would seem that diplomacy is always “in turmoil” ... so?

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By radson, March 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

The points that you mention have already been brought up on many occasions.This has more to do with politics ,than anything else ,the Moral value
equation is only used as a pressure tactic .The
dark clouds that the US and her Coalition are subjected to, at the moment are equivalent to the failure to coerce the Iranians to ‘toe the line’with
the Nuclear conundrum ,or is it humdrum.The Yankee’s
got Iraq and a salient in Afghanistan -bridgehead -
if you wish ,but their Iranain ambitions are a failure,is that due to Gunboat Diplomacy or a sheer
ignorance of common sense .The Turkish people have more in common with the Persians than they do with the British or the USA ,and as far as spheres of influence go ,well you be the judge.To bring forth
the historical “obvious” at the moment is perhaps a sign of diplomatic turmoil.

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By gerard, March 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

/what might have been more revealing and helpful in the long run would be to have an widely inclusive discussion in the United Nations in an attempt to define “genocide.”

The meetings would be disruptive and agreement would be very difficult if not impossible, but some of the evasion of facts would become public at least.  Was the Armenian genocide as bad or worse than Hitler’s genocide.  Was the centuries-long persecution of Jews throughout Europe genocide?  Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki genocide?  And Pol Pot?  And is permitting the death by starvation of millions of Third World babies genocide?  What about the Native Americans? The Palestinians?  The Manchurian holocaust? And what about ... on and on.
  Until some of the questions are honestly faced, and admitted,  it is no surprise that some nations resent being spotlighted for their crimes while others escape censure, and—worse yet—nothing is done to prevent it happening in the future via nuclear craziness.

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