"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Armenian genocide: why here, why now?

So, because things in the Middle East aren't complicated enough, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has decided to confront what is clearly the most pressing issue over there: the killing of Armenians in World War I. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the resolution labels the deportation and death of over a million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire between 1915-1923 "genocide". Now, I'm not debating whether or not this was, in fact, genocide, or a horrible event of some lesser degree; genocide may well be a fair description of it and nobody is pretending, like Iran's president, that it never happened. I'm questioning what possible purpose this resolution can serve right here, right now. Its passage in the House Foreign Affairs Committee has already caused massive political backlash from Turkey; passage on the House floor could seriously endanger several of our national security interests - such the transport of essential air cargo and fuel for our combat units in Iraq - and cause the Turks to show far less restraint in their dealings with the Kurdistan Workers Party. And oh, by the way, as of five minutes ago, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States. A bipartisan group of former secretaries of state have urged Nancy Pelosi to drop the subject as the potential costs outweigh any benefits, but thus far, she's refused. And so, one of the most insane pieces of paper ever to grace the House floor, directed against a government that no longer exists, in a country whose borders were redrawn almost a century ago, concerning an event whose perpetrators are long dead and beyond the reach of justice, is about to torpedo a crucial foreign policy area for this country. Thank you, Democratic Congress.

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