Friday, October 12, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defends timing of Armenian Genocide Resolution...

Saying that "There's never a good time", which while may be very true, there are still quite a few people out there questioning why now is the time to force a situation that appears to have an impact on relations with Turkey. Making statements like this could very well backfire on the Democrats in support of this non-binding resolution:
An one of the chief supporters of the resolution, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, D-California, was unmoved by the administration's arguments that Turkey would block the use of U.S. airbases on Turkish soil.

"The Turkish government will not act against the United States because that would be against their own interests," he told CNN. "I'm convinced of this."

Lantos may be convinced but it doesn't appear Ike Skelton is:
Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, has sent a letter to Pelosi on Thursday opposing the resolution, saying the resulting backlash threatened by Turkey could disrupt "America's ability to redeploy U.S. military forces from Iraq," a top Democratic priority.

Another look at how serious the situation is in Turkey and the possible consequences that could result from this non-binding resolution are covered in the Washington Post, Tensions Rise in Turkey on Two Fronts.
President Abdullah Gul called Wednesday's congressional vote "unacceptable," adding, "Some politicians in the United States have once again sacrificed important matters to petty domestic politics despite all calls to common sense."

Further adding to the why this is not the right time:
Fifteen Turkish soldiers have been killed in the past five days: Sunday, PKK fighters attacked an 18-member Turkish commando unit, killing 13 of the soldiers in a gun battle near the border; two Turkish soldiers were killed Monday in a booby-trap explosion. In addition, a police officer was killed Wednesday in the southern Turkish city of Diyarbakir. Last week, PKK gunmen raked a civilian bus with automatic weapons fire, killing 13 civilians, including a 7-year-old boy. The Turkish news media have described the attacks as the deadliest in more than a decade.

Since this is being compared to the Holocaust, one of the similarities is that no one seems to be able to agree on how many were really killed. It should be pointed out this is not the first period of killing of Armenians, during the Hamidian massacres which took place in the 1890's the variation on the numbers of Armenians killed range from R. J. Rummel estimating that 15,000 Armenians were killed, Turkey's claim of 25,000 to 30,000 were killed and the Armenians claiming 250,000 dead to as high as 350,000 killed, with various historical experts claiming numbers within that range.

If you take the high end of the Armenian estimates and believe that 350,000 were killed during the Hamidian massacres and then an additional 600,000 to 1.5 million killed beginning in 1915, the gruesome but logical question becomes where close to 1.75 million bodies buried from that 20 year time period? There is evidence that a majority of residents in some villages were murdered, as this report shows 350 bodies were found. The documented number from the sites that have been excavated shows a total of 2,950. Where are the bodies from the other estimated over one and a half million? Since it is believed that many Armenians died when they were driven from their homes into the desserts, there should be evidence of that many deaths. Unlike the Holocaust there were not furnaces or other forms of body disposal being used that would create a logical explanation.

While I completely understand the importance of getting answers and trying to force the government of Turkey to acknowledge the history of what happened in the 1890's and in the 1915 time period when it comes to the numbers of Armenians who were murdered, if historians can not even agree on what happened, should that not be the first focus?

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