WASHINGTON - It’s hard to imagine a congressional action more pointlessly provocative than passing a resolution that Turks committed genocide against Armenians some 90 years ago. But here come House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, many of her fellow Democrats, and some Republicans with an ironclad determination to do just such a detrimental thing to their country.
The cost could be high. The Turks don’t like this idea one little bit, and warn they may just quit letting the United States and its allies use Turkey as a crucial transport avenue for military supplies in Iraq if the condemnatory declaration gets majority votes in the House and Senate.
This Muslim democracy, which has itself been a vital ally in multiple respects, may also refuse to cooperate in other ways. One example: Our leverage in keeping Turkey from going to war with our Kurdish friends in northern Iraq could be lessened as a result.
And what exactly would the resolution achieve? Nothing, of course. No one can possibly think that a congressional vote will make this atrocity any more real or true, or alter an understanding that is dependent on witnesses, evidence and scholars, not elected officials.
It’s not as if the judgment of humankind is dependent on majority votes in the U.S. Congress, or as if anyone alive in Turkey today had anything to do with what happened then. The thought that a condemnation now might help dissuade others from repeating such vileness is an extraordinary stretch.
Why on Earth should it be the job of Congress to go around saying what it thinks on this or any other distant historical event? How about Congress paying more attention to current events and leaving assessments of past iniquities to historians, as critics have suggested?
Considering the disadvantages such a futile resolution would heap on us during our present, perilous struggle with Islamic fascists, you begin to wonder what’s up with Pelosi and friends. Utter, total, half-crazed incompetence, maybe, or could it conceivably be a traitorous hatred for their own land?
Surely not. It’s got to be something else. And so you read more on the subject, and you find the answer: a Reuters story reporting that something close to 2 million Armenian Americans have been lobbying for years for a resolution of the kind recently approved for floor consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“U.S. representatives in Congress and state governments now realize the Armenian community has a lot of political power and they can make contributions to political causes and various parties,” Armenian American filmmaker Michael Hagopian told the Reuters reporter.
In other words, U.S. representatives - mostly Democrats - shrug their shoulders when a Turkish military leader warns of an irreparable tear in U.S.-Turkey relations or the Pentagon notes how logistically dependent we are on Turkey in the Middle East, but they do multiple bows when some slight political opportunity shows its face.
Democrats aren’t alone in their frequent obeisance to anyone and everyone who might do them a favor, of course. When they had control of Congress, Republicans had a hard time refusing favors for special interests at public expense, giving us spending records at variance with both their enunciated principles and the common good. For that and other reasons, they ultimately paid a steep electoral price.
That probably says it better than I could. And it seems that some of the Democrats have begun to recognize this. (See http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWW8WW0xt_U4Iqg30uuw23lBuEvgD8SB6NNG2, where we see that the sponsors of the resolution are pulling out.)