Obama Breaks Armenian-Genocide Promise for 6th Year in a Row


Happy Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day! Or as I prefer to think of it, Barack Obama/Samantha Power Sanctimony Reversal Day.

Never forget: Here is the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and then-adviser to candidate Barack Obama, delivering an emetic of a video plea to Armenian Americans in February 2008, assuring them that when it comes to the April 24 "National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man"—in which U.S. presidents are (according to House Joint Resolution 247 from 1984) "authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry who were the victims of the genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923, and in whose memory this date is commemorated by all Armenians and their friends throughout the world"—Obama as president would at long last "call a spade a spade." Given Power's stature as a self-described "genocide chick," whose 2002 book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide influenced a generation of liberal interventionists including Barack Obama, the G-word promise had weight:

Genocide Chick was not speaking off the cuff. Just weeks before, candidate Obama issued a statement that read in part:

[T]he 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.

Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. […] America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.

Fourteen months later, Obama decided instead to be like his four predecessors, and let America's official language be determined by its desperate need to use Turkey for staging and diplomatic purposes in Washington's never-ending military involvement in the Middle East. The charade was then repeated in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Today's version looks like this:

"I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed," Mr. Obama said, calling the episode "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century." […]

"A full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests," the president said. "Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We continue to learn this lesson in the United States, as we strive to reconcile some of the darkest moments in our own history."

Minus some of the humanitarian-intervention sanctimony (and national self-criticism), the G-word switcheroo is a bipartisan tradition. Here's George W. Bush in 2000, getting Armenian-Americans' hopes up:

The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.

Bush's old man, too, got in the act during his election year, saying as the sitting vice president that:

The United States must acknowledge the attempted genocide of the Armenian people in the last years of the Ottoman Empire based on the testimony of survivors, scholars, and indeed our own representatives at the time.

And so much for that, etc. The phony-promise tradition is not limited to presidential victors, either. Here's candidate John Kerry in 2004:

I join Armenian Americans and Armenians worldwide in mourning the victims of the Armenian Genocide and I call on governments and people everywhere to formally recognize this tragedy. Only by learning from this dark period of history and working to prevent future genocides can we truly honor the memories of those Armenians who suffered so unjustly…. [I call on President Bush to] refer to the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide in your commemorative statement.

And here's John Kerry in 2013, when sitting in a position of diplomatic responsibility:

The U.S. government clearly acknowledges and mourns as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. These events resulted in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and the United States recognizes that they remain a great source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent as they do for all of us who share basic universal values. The President honors the victims every April 24th on Remembrance Day, so that we never forget this dark chapter in history.

Seems to be a word missing there…. Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, experienced a similar conversion story when heading up U.S. foreign policy.

There's a lesson here, beyond the perennial reminder to never trust a politician who can smell the Oval Office: All U.S. foreign interventions, including those sold with the purest of humanitarian motives, require unseemly compromises that degrade the very morals that Washington claims to uphold. If it's possible to be a consisten truth-teller and committed interventionist at the same time, no recent resident of 1600 Pennsylvania has pulled off the trick.

NEXT: John McClaughry on the Death of the Jeffersonian Spirit

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  1. The president is a man of the world. He’s not going to contain his broken pledges to just the people of the United States.

    1. Yeah, he’s done a lot worse lying with much worse consequences here at home.

  2. Yawn. What year is it?

    1. 3114.

      You slept for a millenium give or take 10%.

      1. Damn I missed 2112.

  3. There are not enough numbers in the universe to count that lying bastard’s lies.

  4. I’m still waiting for them to denounce the First Council of Nicaea as heresy.

  5. He would have called it genocide, but the rights holders objected.

    1. Everytime he says genocide he has to pay Judas Priest a nickle.

      1. Everyone’s after Geno. Of course, he probably had it coming…

  6. Can someone explain to me why we can’t Irk the Turk (TM)? Are we so afraid they’ll leave NATO in a huff?

    1. They might get pissy about letting us use their country as a staging ground for our interventions into the middle east.

    2. We have a crapload of military presence in the country. We need Turkey a lot more than we need Armenia, politically.

      1. The point being that if the Turkish government throws us out over a statement of historical fact, then perhaps they were fair-weather friends to begin with prone to Islamist double-dealing like our “friends” in Pakistan.

        1. I don’t disagree. Turkey has us over a barrel, politically and militarily. Armenia has no political clout whatsoever. Ipso facto, we don’t alienate Turkey.

          You’re the one that asked why. I told you why.

          1. Turkey has us over a barrel, politically and militarily.

            Only because we put ourselves there during the Iraq wars.

    3. Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk was the first President of modern-day Turkey. From the mid-1920’s until the late 1930’s, he transformed Turkey from a typical muslim caliphate shit-hole, into a fairly modern, secular nation. The current President of Turkey, Abdullah G?l, is the first president of Islamist background in the modern history of Turkey. G?l is currently turning Turkey back into a muslim caliphate shit-hole.

      1. That’s true, but especially ironic considering it was the Young Turks (the Committee of Union and Progress) who instigated the Armenian Genocide.

        1. That term “progress” has all sorts of unintended consequences when used by those that abhor real progress. On another note does anyone really believe that Samantha Powers is anything but a lying POS.

  7. I don’t know where I come out on any of this, but I’ll participate in being outraged about something all the same.

    Rabble, rabble, rabble, rablle, rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble, rablle, rabble, rabble!!

  8. Anyone else having problems getting to the link “Genocide Chick”?

  9. “…unshakeable conscientiousness on human rights…”

    Thanks a lot Samantha. I had to wipe coffee off of my monitor.

    1. unshakeable conscientiousness on human rights, when its not too inconvenient.

      That’s the thing about getting on your high horse. Its a long fall.

      Fuck these foul creatures, every single one.

  10. Such lies. Every right-thinking person knows that every genocide in the last 10,000 years was committed by White Christian Corporations against peaceful, community-loving minorities to try to pave the way for the evil, racist, teabagging Koch brothers to undermine democracy, steal food from the poor, and pollute the earth with their dirty oil. I, for, one praise our Dear Leader for standing up to this spurious assault on our brethren across the world and refusing to engage validate this Christonormative fallacy.

  11. Obama as president would at long last “call a spade a spade.”


    1. I never got that one.

      1. I didn’t either until last monday. One of my (black) classmates used that phrase and the professor responded with “i can’t believe you just said that!”

        After a quick wikipedia search, we found 2 nuggets of info. 1) Just like every other piece of gardening equipment, spades were used as a slur against blacks; and 2) the phrase “call a spade a spade” has nothing to do with that slur.

        1. I’ll admit to having been called a “rake” from time to time.

          1. Heh. Yeah, I was a bit puzzled by that garden implement thing.

            Same here…once upon a million years ago.

        2. I always figured it came from card games. But I never say it, on account of who needs the hassle.

          I prefer to say “call a fucking idiot a fucking idiot.”

        3. “Just like every other piece of gardening equipment, spades were used as a slur against blacks”

          Pruning shears? Trowels?

          1. Hoes?

          2. Planter’s nuts. Tater tots.

          3. Dibblers?

      2. The saying? You never heard anyone use the expression ‘black as the ace of spades’?

        Thus a black person is a spade.

        It is used to belittle someone, but it really is just a statement of fact. The fallacy is that dark skin alone makes one inferior. Like all racial insults it is based on a simpleton’s way of seeing things.

  12. If they want it referred to as a potrzebie for 15% off, why not? What would you do for a Klondike bar?

  13. Isn’t the bigger question why we have to have such “days” assigned in the first place? And why does the Armenian genocide gets second place after the Holocaust in terms of publicity whereas there have been many many others just as bad? And third, why are we talking about any genocide that is more than 100 years old but not about the ones ongoing now?

    1. What is the cutoff point for genocide discussion? It has been 70 plus years since the Jewish holocaust. Perhaps their time is up. Maybe they should close that museum in NY too. These people are still waiting for the acknowledgement promised/ sold to them for their votes.I do hope they remember next time that H. Clinton has already declared her doubt of its reality as a matter of historical debate.

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