The world eagerly awaits the Democrat-controlled US Congress passing a resolution condemning the French for framing the Knights Templar. After all, nearly 700 years after Jacques DeMolay was burned at the stake in Paris, documents come to light that rehabilitate the once powerful order. They weren’t heretics, they were just rivals to King Philip’s power, and he owed them a lot of money, so he conspired with the pope to have the order accused of heresies and suppressed. And he just happened to inherit the Templars’ considerable property throughout France. Philip lied, Templars died.
So come on, Democrats, where’s that resolution denouncing the current French government for the sins of King Philip in the 14th century? We’re only 7 years away from the 700th anniversary of DeMolay’s execution, chop chop. Might as well throw in the Catholic Church while we’re at it, since Pope Clement was more than complicit in the crime.
While we’re at it, let’s pass a resolution condeming Italy for the Roman sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I’m sure there are dozens of other historic crimes that the Democrats can busy themselves with while today’s actual crimes and threats go uncondemned.
Passing these resolutions would make about as much sense as the one the House has actually passed, which states US condemnation of the Armenian genocide, a horrific event that took place 90 years ago when Turkey was known as the Ottoman Empire.
This isn’t to minimize the Armenian genocide, but for heaven’s sake it’s been 90 years. Turkey wasn’t even Turkey. But the Turkey of today is much aggrieved at the resolution, has been warning that the resolution would harm the already tottering US-Ankara relationship, and after the House passed it, Turkey noted its displeasure by recalling its ambassador to the US. That’s a symbolic gesture, but Turkey could respond in more concrete ways including increasing its military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish independence being another major sore spot with the Turks. The Turks are over-reacting, but it’s not like they didn’t telegraph their annoyance with this condemnation.
Lest we all get a kick out of annoying Turkey, a country that has done its part to annoy us over the past few years to be sure, most materiel that gets used in Iraq passes through Turkey on its way. The troops don’t; they pass through Kuwait. But much of the munitions and weapons they use pass through Turkey. Do we really need to go back 90 years and pass a resolution that is sure to annoy them? Is there a point to this exercise?
Well, yes there is. With the Democrats, it comes down to identity politics as usual.
Pelosi, whose congressional district has a large Armenian population, has brushed aside such concerns and said she supports bringing the resolution, for the first time, to a full vote in the House, where more than half of the members have signed on as co-sponsors. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has passed such a resolution before, is set to vote on it today.
House Resolution 106, officially the Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide, has been pushed doggedly by a congressman whose Southern California district contains the largest concentration of Armenian Americans in the country. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D) won his seat in 2000 after his Republican predecessor was sandbagged when then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reneged on a pledge and pulled the bill from the floor after a last-minute plea from President Bill Clinton.
Again, none of this should be misconstrued as minimizing the brutal treatment of the Armenians by the Ottomans. In fact, it would be instructive for Congress to spend some time boning up on the history that they’re passing resolutions on. What motivated the genocide? They would also do well to read up on the Barbary wars of 1802-1805 or so, the first war that the US fought against its first self-declared enemies, who just happened to be a band of state-sponsored piratical jihadists. Congress would do well in fact to study up on a lot of history, so that the heads of various relevant committees might finally know the difference between a Sunni and a Shia. But what Congress ought not do, and all 8 living Secretaries of State agree with this humble blogger’s take on this, is reach back into history and selectively condemn this or that extinct regime for this or that crime when it can have serious consequences in the here and now.
It’s been 90 years, Congress. What is the point?
More: I’m taking some criticism in email over this post, and from people whom I respect and admire. That’s fine, friends can disagree and remain friends. Where I come down on this is that the Democrats are in denial, right now, about the threats we face right now. A sizable chunk of the Dem base believes 9-11 was an inside job. Another sizable chunk believes that even if 9-11 was an actual attack, we had it coming and jihadist ideology has little or nothing to do with anything. Most of the rest of the Dems may privately believe that the jihadist threat is real, but the evangelical Christian threat is more real and more pressing. They’re all but useless on the war. And it’s this party that’s passing this resolution, knowing full well that it’s going to damage our relations with Turkey, a country with which we have rocky but mostly, even now, useful relations. I’m not for coddling Turkey by any means, and the fact is that Turkey’s refusal to let us enter Iraq from Turkish soil in 2003 greatly hurt the war from the start. If we’re going to condemn them for something, how about that, since the present government and people actually did it?
I want us to win the war, period. If this resolution, condemning Turkey without any underlying understanding expressed of why it committed the Armenian genocide, helps us win the war and prevent future genocides like that promised by Iran’s poisonous president, I don’t see how. I do see how it hurts our war effort, and I do see how that in turn may spawn future genocide, and therefore I think this resolution is a bad idea. At this point in time, it doesn’t advance our interests.
I could be wrong, but that’s how I see it.
More: Jules Crittenden weighs in. The airbase that’s at stake, referred to by the 8 US secretaries of state, is probably Incirlik, a US Air Force base in Turkey that has played a critical role in the war against the jihad. We don’t need to lose that base. The Turks ought not be stupid enough to force us out of that base over this issue, and as Jules says, they ought to grow up and admit past mistakes like the nations of the West have. Germany would be a prime example for them to follow. But we really don’t need to lose Incirlik.