Charles Krauthammer has more thoughts on Nancy Pelosi's attempt to pass a resolution condemning a long-ago Armenian genocide, in a move that would be perceived as a slap in the face to modern-day Turkey:
The same House of Representatives that has been complaining loudly about the lack of armored vehicles for our troops is blithely jeopardizing relations with the country through which 95 percent of the new heavily armored vehicles are now transiting on the way to saving American lives in Iraq.
And for what? To feel morally clean?
How does this work? Pelosi says: "Genocide still exists, and we saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur." Precisely. And what exactly is she doing about Darfur? Nothing. Pronouncing yourself on a genocide committed 90 years ago by an empire that no longer exists is Pelosi's demonstration of seriousness about existing, ongoing genocide?
Indeed, the Democratic Party she's leading in the House has been trying for months to force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq that could very well lead to genocidal civil war. This prospect has apparently not deterred her in the least.
"Friends don't let friends commit crimes against humanity," explained Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which approved the Armenian genocide resolution. This must rank among the most stupid statements ever uttered by a member of Congress, admittedly a very high bar.
Does Smith know anything about the history of the Armenian genocide? Of the role played by Henry Morgenthau? As U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Morgenthau tried desperately to intervene on behalf of the Armenians. It was his consular officials deep within Turkey who (together with missionaries) brought out news of the genocide. And it was Morgenthau who helped tell the world about it in his writings. Near East Relief, the U.S. charity strongly backed by President Woodrow Wilson and the Congress, raised and distributed an astonishing $117 million in food, clothing and other vital assistance that, wrote historian Howard Sachar, "quite literally kept an entire nation alive."
So much for the United States letting friends commit crimes against humanity. And at the time, the Ottomans were not friends. They were an enemy power in World War I, allied with Germany. Now the Turks are indeed friends, giving us indispensable logistical help in our war against today's premier perpetrators of crimes against humanity -- al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan. Friends don't gratuitously antagonize friends who are helping to fight the world's foremost war criminals.
So why has Pelosi been so committed to bringing this resolution to the floor? (At least until a revolt within her party and the prospect of defeat caused her to waver.) Because she is deeply unserious about foreign policy.
At least for the moment, the resolution is in doubt, but serious damage has already been done. Pelosi's "vow to bring the measure to a vote outraged Turkey, which recalled its ambassador and threatened to cut off the use of its military bases to resupply U.S. troops in Iraq." In addition, "Turkish legislators on Oct. 17 authorized the use of military force against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, a step that may further destabilize Iraq and disrupt oil supplies."
It's not an impressive outcome for a political party whose members assume that their own skills of diplomacy are vastly superior to those of the sitting president.