Last week, a congressional committee passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. There is no doubt that up to a million Armenians died during World War I, although historians still debate whether their deaths constitute deliberate genocide or are collateral casualties of war.
House Democrats brought the resolution to a vote despite entreaties from the White House to postpone it. For Congress, though, the resolution was less about rectifying history than grandstanding. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos (D., Cal.) called a vote. It passed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) pooh-poohed the episode. This was not about Turkey, she explained, but rather “about the Ottoman Empire.” Unclear, though, is why congressional Democrats felt the urgent need to condemn an entity that hasn’t existed for 85 years.
Unfortunately, grandstanding has consequences. Turkey recalled its ambassador; and now the State Department finds itself now devoid of leverage to prevent a Turkish incursion into Iraq to fight Kurdish terrorists. Pelosi’s posturing has put U.S. use of the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to supply our forces both in Afghanistan and Iraq in jeopardy.
If only the Armenian Genocide resolution was an isolated event. It’s amateur hour in Congress. The efforts of Sen. Joseph Biden (D., Del.) to divide Iraq on ethnic and religious grounds threaten to spark civil war just as U.S. servicemen make inroads in preventing it. Biden’s motivation may be to garner media attention. He has succeeded. The problem, though, his statements get more airtime in Iran and Iraq, where revolutionary mullahs use his pronouncements to convince Iraqis that U.S. forces seek to destroy Iraq rather than rebuild it.
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