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Confronting history

first_imgFortunately, the Foreign Affairs Committee had the will to reject Turkey’s lobbying efforts to kill the resolution. The panel stood its ground even though the 27-21 vote approving the resolution caused Turkish lawmakers to threaten to cut off U.S. access to a Turkish air base that supports U.S. operations in Iraq. One has to wonder why a nonbinding resolution would spark such threats. America’s values drive our policy of encouraging democracy and human rights in the Middle East. We water down those values when we allow the deniers of past genocides to prevail. If now is not the right time to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, it’s only because that time came long, long ago. REP. Jane Harman, D-El Segundo, contends that now is not the right time for Congress to pass a resolution affirming that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide. But when, exactly, would be a good time, after the next genocide? Harman, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, now says: “We should avoid taking steps that would embarrass or isolate the Turkish leadership.” Like President George W. Bush, she says Turkey is playing a constructive role in the Middle East. That is true enough for the most part. But failing to recognize the horrors of history tarnishes America’s image as a moral force in the world. How can we have the resolve to label the situation in Darfur for what it is – genocide – and then soft-pedal the first genocide of the 20th century? 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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