If you haven’t kept track of the recent workings of the U.S. House of Representatives, then please read this link first.
When something like this comes up, the human response is to try to understand why. The main question that I end up asking myself and the people around me is:
“Why when we can’t feed the poor, clothe the needy, medicate the sick, care for the old, educate the young, and protect the earth, do we need to worry about events that happened almost 100 years ago?”
The answers come in many forms. House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) continues to tell us that there is never a good time for resolutions such as H.R. 106 to come to the floor. As such, now is as good as ever. Others, including the chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Tom Lantos (D-CA), say that if we can’t brand all exterminations genocide, then our moral authority looks to be compromised when we attempt to take action on situations such as that in Sudan’s Darfur region. There is also the strongly organized Armenian-American community who have spent nearly 90 years with the support of the NY Times and the various historical scholars around the world asking the world to recognize the events as genocide. Organization, and the money that comes with it, often have a way pushing an issue to the front of the docket. However, there are some alternatives that I’ve been thinking about and have dug up in my research that I would like to offer.
An interesting fact that I found out was that Mr. Lantos is a survivor of the Holocaust. While he was never in a death camp, his views are obviously strongly influenced by his experiences and the losses that he experienced during the war, and there is a strong affinity over this matter between the scholars of Israel and the Armenian people. There is often a quote by Hitler that is attributed to this issue. While the veracity of the quote is contested, it goes something like, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Therefore, these two groups can find a common theme in their experiences.
A more sinister motive that I suspect however deals with the lack of action by the Democratic leaders in Congress on their promise to end the War in Iraq. Imagine how brilliant it would be if the Democratic leadership claimed that by manipulating the ability of supplies to enter into the Iraq theater, that they could force the troops to come home. By destabilizing all of Iraq, they could make the situation so dire that the very safety of American troops in the region would be questioned. As a result, the war ends, the troops come home, and the Democrats are victorious. If Turkey, who controls 70% of the flow of certain cargo into Iraq, were to close its bases and air space to the United States, and in turn invade the northern portion of Iraq that is autonomously controlled by the Kurds, then this scenario could become a reality. From the article linked above, it is clear to see that Turkey feels the need to have its opinions heard and its autonomy as a nation-state exercised. The result could be devastating for Turkish-American relations, but, more importantly to the individuals involved, devastating to the survival of American troops in Iraq.
One must ask, can a bullet-less army still be called an army? What will be the fate of the innocents thrown into battle as a result of the actions of these 27 representatives who pushed this bill into the House? Are we selling the basic safety and provisioning of American troops over phrasing in an historical debate? I don’t know. The only answer that consistently comes to mind is – why?