The "Never Again" That Dare Not Speak its Name

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As anticipated, Barack Obama has broken his campaign promise to officially recognize the nine-decade-old genocide of Armenians as a "genocide."

Barack Obama today downplayed his support for a controversial US Congress resolution accusing Turkey of carrying out a genocide against the Armenian people in 1915.

Speaking during a visit to Ankara, the US president – who has previously described the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians as "genocide" – said he had not changed his view but had been encouraged by negotiations between Turkey and Armenia on the issue.

Obama told a joint news conference with the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, that he did not want to focus on his own views but wanted to be a partner in efforts between Armenia and Turkey to come to terms with what happened.

Presidents, once in office, are always "encouraged" by bilateral progress on the issue. Even if, just one year previous, they say stuff like this:

I also share with Armenian Americans – so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors—a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Obama's double-talk is becoming a feature, not a bug.

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  1. Politics is like getting laid. You say all the sweet things they want to hear right up until you’re shooting your load in or on to them. Only Politics is like a massive forced bukkake that we all take changing “donors” along term limits. And what keeps us covered in goo is the fact that the next folks in line are telling us that they’re not going to get it in our eye while secretly planning to aim straight for it.

    Yeah, I’m kind of horny this morining…

  2. And may need more sleep judging by the horrid grammar and spelling.

  3. Damn, Kyle. You need to start rubbing one out before you post here. I know i do.

  4. Damn, Kyle. You need to start rubbing one out before you post here. I know i do.

    Yeah, ever since Kerry Howley left…

  5. I probably shouldn’t say this, but-

    So what? As long as the Turks are not currently rounding up Armenians and gassing them, I cannot see this as a particularly high priority for anybody except politicians whose pollsters have convinced them a vast bloc of Armenian swing voters will somehow sweep them into office.

  6. Pols ignore voters, but often seem to get all wadded up about ‘voting blocs’ no matter how insignificant on a national scale. Would the Cuban embargo still be in place if it weren’t for the perceived voting bloc of that bunch of superannuated “cubans” in Miami?

    Such matters can make politicians behave even more irrationally than normal. If the administration were going to wrap itself around issues of genocide and actually be consistent (HA!), it would have to cut off all relations with Russia and Germany and Japan and…

  7. It’s just Matt picking at nits. I suppose the whole teleprompter meme wasn’t working so He’s trying a different tact 😉

    on a more serious note, Obama isn’t following through on all his promises? OMGWTFBBQ! you mean reality gotten in the way of campaign promises? Say it ain’t so!?!

    Really Matt, don’t you have better things to do with your time? like maybe covering why police broke up a pillow fight in a park and confiscated the pillows because they didn’t have a pillow fight permit?

    Or maybe why you have some dude go off the deep end and taking out Police Officers cause Obama’s gonna take all his guns away!

  8. So I guess this would rule out more Obama support for the ICC, or would he be just hypocritical about it.

  9. I have a theory on why the Kindle2 winners have not been anounced.

    The winners were in this set: joe, MNG and Caesar

  10. Obama’s becoming the Cathy Young of US presidents.

    “Armenia calls it a ‘genocide.’ Turkey calls it ‘an unpleastness.’ They’re both right and both wrong, and there’s some middle ground we can occupy.”

  11. Never fear people of Armenia, Obama will stand by his word if it is ever convenient.

    http://www.notoriouslyconservative.com

  12. bloodstar,

    Tell whoever programs your TelePrompter that it is “tack,” not “tact.”

  13. High,

    If true, that would suck.

  14. Yes, bloodstar. It’s “tack”, as in the nautical reference to changing direction with the trim of the sails.

  15. This thread is getting tacky.

  16. on a more serious note, Obama isn’t following through on all his promises? OMGWTFBBQ! you mean reality gotten in the way of campaign promises? Say it ain’t so!?!

    So, bloodstar, I guess when Obama breaks his promises, we should just shrug it off?

    While I would agree that his campaign promises were transparent lies when made, unfortunately I was in the minority. Perhaps by hammering on this point now, we can limit the effectiveness of cheap populist demagoguery in the future? Would that be OK with you?

  17. We’re always tacky, here.

  18. Bronwyn,

    I’m glad I’m not alone here in my efforts to get the rank in file to tow the line when it comes to the military/naval metaphors.

  19. My dad is a graduate of Texas A&M; he was first mate on the school ship. I learned my port from my starboard early 🙂

    /Carefully avoids reference to father’s teaching the difference between bow and stern for fear of the double entendres hidden therein.

  20. mitch,

    I think you mean navel.

  21. Obama’s double-talk is becoming a feature, not a bug.

    This would imply that Obama keeps talking about doing the wrong thing, and then implements the opposite, right, policy.

    This is 180 degrees from reality.

  22. I learned my port from my starboard early 🙂

    /Carefully avoids reference to father’s teaching the difference between bow and stern for fear of the double entendres hidden therein.

    Shouldn’t that be “ports”? 🙂

  23. Obama lied and pandered during his campaign? Who could have possibly forseen that?

  24. Would the Cuban embargo still be in place if it weren’t for the perceived voting bloc of that bunch of superannuated “cubans” in Miami?

    No.

  25. Why does it matter what he calls it? Does someone benefit if POTUS uses that word to describe what happened? It was genocide plain and simple, no gray, no nuance, and every person with a brain knows that.

  26. Shouldn’t that be “ports”? 🙂

    Like port 80?

  27. Mitch, it’s “tow the lion”, originating from the Days of Yore when people had to tow lions.

  28. Bunny,

    Were they towing them with pink elephants?

  29. “Obama’s double-talk is becoming a feature, not a bug.”

    Oh, please. It’s not “becoming” anything. He’s always been a lying hypocrite, and anyone now claiming sudden awareness of that fact is just too damned stupid to vote.

  30. toe the line

    can’t believe I missed that one!

  31. somebody help me. Did mitch invoke RCz law? Or was it joez?

  32. Bronwyn,

    I am thinking multiple laws and jusrtidictions here. Might be a hat trick.

  33. Daniel Larison’s take on this seems worth mentioning. I think he’s got his eye on the right issue. The question is whether there is truly an opportunity here to improve the relations between current day Turkey and Armenia, an opportunity that was not present during the Bush administration, and whether seizing that opportunity is worth losing the genocide recognition fight one more time. I’m skeptical, but that skepticism is not based on any well-developed understanding of the current state of Turkish-Armenian politics.

    From the point of view of U.S. politics the issue is whether the Obama administration is just being strong-armed by the Turks (as usual) or if there are some backroom negotiations going on.

  34. Lying from politicians is only important if the guy you didn’t vote for won the election. Otherwise, it’s just ‘the reality of the situation’.

    Please.

    Can’t we expect better from our elected leaders? It’s a PROMISE afterall.

    And yes, that was a rhetorical question.

  35. Honestly, I can’t understand why we care what the Turks think of us.
    What the hell do we need them for anyway?

  36. Obama lying: bad (but utterly predictable).

    Armenian genocide 90 years ago: very, very bad.

    “Label” dispute 90 years later: I don’t give a fuck. Seriously, I couldn’t be bothered to pay $50 out of my own pocket to see the US get this “right” if that would do the trick, so, a fortiori, if this issue would adversely affect the foreign policy interests of the US (which routinely cost me MORE than $50), fuck it. For a change we aren’t being fuckheads by bombing people, or starting wars, or the like–we are just being balky about a label. BFD. And please don’t tell how important it is to have the right label applied. We’ve officially recognized historical genocides elsewhere, and then didn’t do a goddamn thing when it was going on again in our time (e.g. Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, Dafur, etc.)

  37. “Honestly, I can’t understand why we care what the Turks think of us.
    What the hell do we need them for anyway?”

    Let the situation in Russia go to shit and you’ll remember real fucking quick.

  38. Free Constantinople!

  39. Obama lying: bad (but utterly predictable).

    Armenian genocide 90 years ago: very, very bad.

    “Label” dispute 90 years later: I don’t give a fuck. Seriously, I couldn’t be bothered to pay $50 out of my own pocket to see the US get this “right”

    What are your thoughts on the Holocaust? Sure, three or four times more people died during that and it was half as long ago, but it seems like the same deal.

    Would you be cool with a President going to Germany (or Iran, more likely) and holding back on calling the thing what it was?

  40. In the above comment, substitute “Jews” for “people”, since many non-Jews were also killed by the same Nazis, at the same time, and in the same way, if not for the same (anti-semitic) reasons.

  41. Obama lied and pandered during his campaign? Who could have possibly forseen that?

    Aw, now, he’s a black guy, so it’s all good.

  42. Aw, now, he’s a black guy, so it’s all good.

    But we didn’t elect him based on race. Nope, it was them high ideals and wonderful ideas, you know, the ones that he goes back on now and according to some idiots we’re not supposed to pay attention to.

  43. Let the situation in Russia go to shit and you’ll remember real fucking quick.

    Really? NATO now includes the three Baltic states, Bulgaria, and Romania. Ukraine and Georgia are also seeking NATO membership.

    That eliminates most of the reason for Turkey being included in the first place.

  44. I don’t know–Ronnie stuck with Bitburg (Waffen SS, who also murdereded US troops) after it became diplomatically impossible to back out. Doesn’t seem much different.

    Nations have to act in their current interests. While getting the right label on the Armenian genocide seems just (obviously I have no problem with it), it just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things for our world today. Sorry, I am just being realistic–idealism feels good, but it doesn’t feed the bulldog. Alienating Turkey over the issue is foolish. They have been a valuable member of NATO for 50 years.

  45. “Really? NATO now includes the three Baltic states, Bulgaria, and Romania. Ukraine and Georgia are also seeking NATO membership.

    That eliminates most of the reason for Turkey being included in the first place.”

    Sweet Jesus, learn to read a map or a history book. Or if that is too much try Googling the words “Dardanelles” and “Bosporus”.

  46. This article says it for me. The mainstream media sucks they are players in this “charade” as well!

    ***

    President Obama’s New Lemming?

    President Obama, in Turkey, speaking on the subject of the Armenian genocide stated, “Well, my views are on the record and I have not changed views.” Obama was mindful not to use the “G” word.

    Seems the tracks are laid out, not doubtful of collaborated, calculated interests, once again throwing integrity, U.S. moral standing, and human-rights under the bus. Obama Officials are considering postponing the annual April 24th commemortive Presidential statement.

    What’s striking, this President unlike Presidents of the past, is well versed on Armenian genocide. Going so far as to speaking one on one with Samantha Power, author of the book, “A Problem from Hell” explores America’s understanding of, response to, and inaction on genocides in the 20th century. Professor Power is now a top foreign policy adviser for the President.

    I wonder if Ms. Powers realizes she put herself in “A Problem From Hell”. Is Power just another lemming in Washington?

    Everyone knows the so-called “Turkish-Armenian rapprochement” is just another charade used to help stifle genocide recognition. Armenian Officials made countless statements that the Armenian genocide is not a precondition to rapprochement, because it is a fact.

    “I think that the announcements that put forward preconditions to the establishment of Armenian-Turkish relations can be viewed as an attempt to fail the advances registered during the negotiations,” stated the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian.
    Link: http://www.bloggernews.net/120371

  47. Matt Welch thanks for the article, enjoyed it!!

  48. What would be good is if the US, UK, and France would lead the way in owning up to our own roles in the violent destruction of old Turkey.

  49. Jesus you people are gullible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwR83GZjwdo&feature=related

    Did anyone bother to view or read what Obama said when asked the question, or did you just take Matt Welch’s word for it about his answer?

    Suckers. You’ll believe anything if it confirms your biases.

  50. I skim this site about once every two weeks to confirm that it is still written and read by dishonest morons.

    The answer continues to be yes.

    So, gonna write any more conspiracy theories about gun confiscation and FEMA camps, or let the bodies cool off in Pittsburgh before you go back to riling people up over scary fantasies?

    How’s that Fairness Doctrine thing coming, wingnuts?

  51. The Obama Truth-O-Meter – the catalogue of Obama campaign promises kept, broken, or still waiting – that the bloggers on this site said they were going to use to keep track, but have since decided to ignore because it doesn’t make up silly shit like this post, can be found here.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/

  52. I believe Turkey did commit genocide against the Armenians. I don’t think congress should be making statements about history in general, including this incident. If congress does acknowledge the Armenian genocide, I won’t be upset about it.

  53. Sweet Jesus, learn to read a map or a history book. Or if that is too much try Googling the words “Dardanelles” and “Bosporus”.

    I said “most of”. Having the Ukraine on our side gives us control on both ends. We can take if from Turkey if we really need to.

    Not that they are going to run off and sign up with the Russians just because their feelings get hurt.

  54. Largest tax increase on the lowest %10 of earners in the History of the United States joe.
    “Not one thin dime”?

  55. BFD. I bet that by now, there’s not a single person left alive who was killed then.

  56. @joe from Lowell 5:37, 5;40, 5:53
    So, ummm, your saying that Obama says it’s a genocide on a Youtube video posted in 2008 is proof that he isn’t going out of his way to use the term now that he is president, and you also say that everyone who thinks otherwise is a wingnut conspiracy theorist. Also you post a link that says exactly the opposite of what you are trying to prove. I feel bad asking this but, are you actually mentally handicapped or do you just act like it when you post stuff online?

  57. BFD. I bet that by now, there’s not a single person left alive who was killed then.

    Is there a statute of limitations on genocide?

    Since most of the Jews who survived the camps are dead are we going to just shut up about the Holocaust – say if Germany decides they will deny that the Nazi government ever did such a thing? Please explain how the rule of law is negated in these cases of mass murder in the millions, based on ethnicity and religion. Civilization, what’s that?

  58. PS Of course your statistics are correct.

    There are, however, a few people left alive who managed to survive as children after their families were killed.

  59. Dear President Obama: What happened to the promised “change” ?

    It seems: If friends do it this is not genocide at all but “views” and “events” or “tragedy”. But genocide is genocide and genocide remains as genocide!

    White House is sanctioning Turkish lies and denial policy!

    White House should have the courage to call a spade a spade despite Turkish blackmails!

  60. Once again a new president in White House is looking for excuses and justifications to sanction Turkish shameful denial policy and occupation of “Wilsonian Armenia” by Turkish.

    READ MORE ON Wilsonian Armenia” :”The Arbitral Award
    on Turkish-Armenian Boundary
    by Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States of America”

    http://eafjd.eu/IMG/pdf/Arbitration_English_for_Brussels_final.pdf

  61. Turkey is laying and laying

    Turkish has with the “Wilsonian Armenia” a problem not with the fatc of Armenian Genocide! Turkish is well aware of the fact of Armenian Genocide!

    http://eafjd.eu/IMG/pdf/Arbitration_English_for_Brussels_final.pdf

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