Friday, 12 October 2007

So what is genocide?

The US congress has defied the Bush administration and condemned the 1915 genocide of Armenians as ... genocide.

This hasn't been popular with the Bush and his acolytes. Prior to the vote, the President warned that condeming genocide was "not the right response" and described the genocide as "historic mass killings" (1).

I don't see a problem with describing genocide as genocide, but I can appreciate that Republican presidents have struggled with the concept. In 1988, the Prevention of Genocide Act 1988 (2) was passed by the senate, condemning the genocide of the Kurds in Iraq. It would have prevented trade and aid to Saddam Hussein's regime, but it never made it onto the statute book. Instead, facing a presidential veto, it died (3). Saddam, at that time, was our friend, you'll recall, and the receipient of a lot of military and economic aid from the west.

Bush's failure to support this criticism of the Armenian genocide is entirely predictable. The Turks, after all, are our ally in the war against Islamic Terror, just as General Mussharaf in Pakistan is an ally, never mind that he overthrew a democratic government on the road to become such. Just like Saddam Hussien was our ally when he attacked Islamic Iran. In 1987, criticism of Iraq was judged unhelpful. Now, the same sort of language is being used to describe criticism of Turkey.
1 - "House panel OKs Armenian genocide resolution," unattributed Reuters article, with (oddly) attributed additional reporting by Caren Bohan, Matt Spetalnick, 10th of October, 2007.(
2 - Text available here:
3 - "One Man's Battle to Stop Iraq," unattributed CBC transcript, 26th March, 2003.(

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