Cultural Revolutions

The Death of Genocide

A congressional resolution recognizing as “genocide” the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 collapsed on October 25, when its sponsors—led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)—asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set the matter aside until “the timing is more favorable.”  The nonbinding resolution passed the Foreign Affairs Committee two weeks earlier, but the Bush administration and the government of Turkey successfully combined lobbying efforts to make its passage in the full House unlikely.  Schiff promised to bring it up at a later date, once the resolution’s supporters are “absolutely confident” they have the votes.  This means that the issue is off the table indefinitely.

The losers in the affair are congressional Democrats.  Initially, 225 supported the bill, but many started having second thoughts when General Petraeus, among others, warned of the adverse effect of its passage on our relations with Turkey at a critical time for U.S. troops in Iraq.  Pelosi’s early support of the resolution, her subsequent wavering, and her final volte face are seen on both sides of the aisle as the major gaffe of her tenure (thus far).

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was quick to assert that the affair reflected flawed judgment on the part of Democratic leaders and undermined U.S. national security.  “Given...

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