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Dems cross streams in Turkey
By Allan Uthman
You've really got to hand it to the Democrats. With Republicans registering somewhere between Carrot Top and the Ebola virus on the popularity scale, the Democrats are still finding new, more confusing ways to appear clueless and irresponsible on the world stage.
In a move that has caused Turkey to pull its ambassador out of the US and threaten a severe curtailment in cooperation with the US war effort, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a bill condemning a terrible act of genocide—the killing of a million Armenians—which occurred 92 years ago. Of course, it was genocide, and it's asinine that Turkey continues to deny it to this day. But now, with the Turks acting as a base of operations for the Iraq war, it's pretty damn stupid to be pissing them off. Still, it's not the strategic advantage our alliance with Turkey affords our current idiot war that I'm most concerned about. It's the fact that Turkey, which has been consistently threatening to invade Kurdish Northern Iraq, will be much more likely to disregard our protestations if the bill gets congressional approval.
It's well-known that Turkey is dead set against Iraqi Kurds acquiring an independent state of their own, for the two main reasons that it gives the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a rebel movement that both the US and Turkey classify as a terrorist group, a safe haven, but also because it may encourage similar hopes of an independent state for Turkish Kurds, who are the victims of a fairly deranged program of intense cultural suppression. It was illegal in the '80s to even speak Kurdish in Turkey, and in 1994, the first Kurdish woman elected to Parliament in Turkey was sentenced to 15 years in jail for speaking Kurdish at her inauguration. Similarly, Turkey has jailed its own journalists for referring to the Armenian genocide. It is the same intense Turkish cultural fascism that makes the genocide resolution such a touchy subject and creates this kind of suppression of Kurdish identity.
The Turks are already firing on PKK encampments across the border in Iraq, but it's probable that they might launch a more aggressive invasion, as Iraqi Kurds take further steps toward independence—making their own oil deals without central government approval, for instance—and the US congress considers a soft partition strategy to redistribute political power. The chances that American forces would move to defend Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkish attacks are slim to none. The situation is likely to explode at any moment.
A lot of people are scratching their heads about this. Why are the Democrats pushing this thing, and why now? Sadly, the answer appears to be not high-minded idealism, but mundane district politics. Both Pelosi and Adam Schiff, another House proponent of the genocide resolution, have thousands of Armenian constituents.
There's another interestingly appalling facet to this story, one no mainstream news outlet has touched, and that's the real reason why repugnant oaf and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert withdrew the same resolution in 2000.
Hastert, whose district also is flush with Armenians, pushed the resolution through the International Relations Committee and scheduled it for a full House vote, but then quietly pulled it at the last minute. This switcheroo has been explained as a strangely bipartisan acquiescence to the wishes of president Clinton, who opposed the resolution, but there's another angle to the story.
Sibel Edmonds is one of a string of federal whistleblowers to be fired during the Bush regime, as reported in Vanity Fair in 2005. A naturalized American of Turkish descent, Edmonds became a translator for the FBI after 9/11. Edmonds became suspicious of a fellow Turkish translator, Melek Can Dickerson, who had marked as “not pertinent” calls that were decidedly pertinent—including details of a $7,000 cash handout to a State Department staffer, a payment to a Pentagon official, information, drug money-laundering, and sales of classified military technology.
Edmonds was eventually fired for her efforts. Her attempts at legal recourse were stymied by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, who claimed the very subject of Edmonds' lawsuit violated the state secrets privilege without explanation.
But why did Edmonds attract attention from Ashcroft? Around the same time in 2001 that Edmonds' coworker aroused her suspicion, a Chicago agent asked her to listen to some old wiretaps, dating back to '97, from the ATC, Chicago's Turkish consulate, and another Turkish organization, the ATAA. Some calls seemed to be about large scale drug smuggling and other criminal activity. But, according to David Rose in Vanity Fair:
“One name, however, apparently stood out... Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. According to some of the wiretaps, the F.B.I.’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks.”
There was no hard proof, but Hastert's unitemized donations of under $200 from '96 to 2002 were $483,000, nearly five times those of Tom Delay, for instance. Coincidentally, “a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000.” Edmonds also said in court that the calls “contained repeated references” to Hastert's mysterious reversal on the genocide resolution in 2000.
Hastert has said that he will retire from congress, possibly before the end of his term, making him one of many GOP House members who won't run again. The Republican exodus has been reported as a result of the Party's diminishing stature, but remember, incumbents are reelected in America at a rate of 99%. Another possible motive for these exits may be that they are the results of a deal with the Democrats—don't investigate us and we'll go quietly. With Denny and the Republican majority out of the way, the resolution breathes anew.
But Hastert's status as a bribe-taking scumbag aside, it's Pelosi whose inadequacies are at the fore today. If this is truly just a move to help secure her own reelection in a race where she'll be facing antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan in the leftest city in the country, then Pelosi is not only stupid; she's dangerously stupid, and her statements on the matter prove it. “This isn’t about the present Turkey, this is about the Ottoman Empire,” she said recently, further reinforcing the irrelevant nature of the bill. Yeah, stick it to that long-dead empire! And even worse: "While that may have been a long time ago, genocide is taking place now in Darfur, it did within recent memory in Rwanda, so as long as there is genocide there is need to speak out against it."
But that's exactly the problem here. “As long as there is genocide,” she says, but what she means is, we must speak out against genocide...once there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. The only reason the Democrats are pushing this bill is that it is a hollow, meaningless gesture, a false display of righteousness, the very easiest thing they can do to act as thought they give a damn about the unjust killing of hordes of the oppressed. I mean, look around: The horrendous persecution and murder in Sudan has been well-known and relatively well-publicized for years now, and we're doing nothing. And our government shies away from officially labeling it genocide, because then they might have to do... something. And, as regards historical crimes, I don't see any congressmen drafting bills to condemn the truly epic American atrocities of slavery and the extermination of Native Americans, which can't honestly be called anything other than genocide. But a bill like that might actually mean something, might require actual courage.
Call it genocide, or ethnic cleansing, or massacre, or “mass killing;” I really don't care. The fact is that it is happening now—right now, in more places than most people know, and it's on the verge of happening in many others, including Kurdistan. If we're not going to do anything about it today, it's completely pointless and nauseously hypocritical to risk triggering another genocidal episode involving people who are still alive, just to make a show of condemning century-old atrocities. The message is clear: the time to care about such unimaginable horrors is not when they are ongoing, but long after condemning them would require any sort of action on our part.
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