Monday, April 06, 2009

Obama declares lack of war

In 1944 Eisenhower’s chief of staff told de Gaulle that French troops could lead the liberation of Paris only if they used only white troops and not colonial ones.

Barack Obama was in Turkey today, giving that “major speech in a Muslim capital” he’d promised. He told the Turkish parliament, “The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.” Of course not, it’s an “overseas contingency operation.” Police action?

The other word he avoided, even when prodded by reporters at a press conference, is genocide, as in that little local unpleasantness in 1915. This is the guy who said last year, “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide.” He seemed to think that the factual matter of whether a genocide did or did not take place should be decided by negotiations between Turkey and Armenia, and “I’m not interested in the United States in any way tilting these negotiations one way or another while they are having useful discussions.” Heaven forfend that the US in any way tilt for or against genocide deniers.

Including Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who was standing right there, responded with some tilting of his own, equating the massive state-sponsored genocide against ethnic Armenians with the much smaller number of Muslim Turks: “And unfortunately, some citizens of the empire then were provoked by some other countries and there were many internal clashes and many people lost their lives. And we share the sorrow of all those who lost their lives, but we have to remember that the Muslim population also suffered greatly at the same time. ... But unfortunately, these issues politically, especially by the diaspora, have been brought to the agenda as a way to perhaps cling to their identity.” Don’t you hate it when people keep bringing up past genocides as a way to perhaps cling to their identity?

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