Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You Say You Want A Resolution

Yes, this was definitely worth the fucking trouble.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday said it "remains to be seen" whether a House resolution labeling as genocide the mass killings of Armenians by what is now Turkey will get a vote on the House floor.


Asked about criticism that it could harm relations with Turkey -- a fellow member of NATO -- Pelosi said, "There's never been a good time," adding that it is important to pass the resolution now "because many of the survivors are very old."

"I have always supported it, [the resolution] as did the previous leader of the Democrats in the Congress, Congressman [Richard] Gephardt," Pelosi said. "Almost everybody supports this, because they know it is right. Whether it will come up or not, or what the action will be, remains to be seen."

Pelosi said, however, "other matters on the agenda that have to be dealt with first" -- issues such as modifying the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and overriding the president's veto of a bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Pelosi essentially contradicts herself here, acknowledging that there's never been a good time -- however justified the measure -- to do this, while also asserting that there are other things to attend to. Well, no shit. Do you think your party was sent with an overwhelming mandate to repudiate the evil deeds of a long-extinct empire, or to rein in a corrupt administration, its failed wars, and its Montgomery Burns-esque domestic policies? Or was it for feel-good idealistic pronunciamentos, capped with "there, I said it" rhetorical flourishes?

Now that Turkey feels, let's say, a bit less constrained by the notion of U.S. primacy and support in the region, they may be moving forward with some bright ideas of their own.

The Turkish parliament yesterday gave its government the green light for cross-border attacks into Iraq to destroy Kurdish rebel bases, defying US calls for restraint.

The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, quickly pointed out that the vote did not signify an operation was imminent. But it does represent a blank cheque for military action at any time within the next year. The authorisation was passed by 507 votes to 19, with only a small Kurdish party opposing it.

Sound familiar? So we have needlessly infuriated one of the few remaining allies in the region, who are now preparing to attack the one major group in Iraq that we were able to count on. Any other bright ideas?

And no, I'm not buying the supposed parallels between the Turkey resolution and Bush awarding the Dalai Lama a medal, although that does also seem like needless provocation of someone we have some critical interdependence with.

Say you're a rich, important man about town. You make friends with another person of some means, find some mutually beneficial ways for him to follow your example. Then, after borrowing money from him with which you buy shit from him, you tell him his wife's ass is big. Possibly not the best idea you've had, even if her ass is ginormous.

But the difference here is that Bush -- and the U.S., for that matter -- has comparatively little to lose with the Dalai Lama thing. Bush is on his way out the door, and China needs some sort of signal over their unconscionable support of the genocidal Sudanese regime. Darfur is something that's happening in the here and now. Here's an opportunity to momentarily quit pretending that it's acceptable since the U.N., per usual, will do fuck-all about it.

Incidentally, if the Democrats felt it so necessary to make some sort of moralistic point about Turkish ethnic cleansing policies specifically, they could have been much more relevant:

Copyright © November 1995 by Human Rights Watch.
For the past eleven years, the government of Turkey has been mired in an increasingly bitter war with insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK. To date, the war's toll is estimated at over 19,000 deaths, including some 2,000 death-squad killings of suspected PKK sympathizers, two million internally displaced, and more than 2,200 villages destroyed, most of which were burned down by Turkish security forces. In an effort to root out PKK fighters and sympathizers from southeast Turkey, the government has adopted increasingly brutal counterinsurgency measures, in clear violation of international law. The PKK, for its part, has also systematically engaged in violations such as summary executions and indiscriminate fire.

Both before and during this period, Turkey's NATO partners have extended generous political and military support, helping Turkey to develop a formidable arms industry and supplying it with a steady stream of weapons, often for free or at greatly reduced cost. The United States government in particular has been deeply involved in arming Turkey and supporting its arms production capacities. Although several NATO governments have occasionally protested Turkish policies, most have continued to supply Turkey with arms.


The most egregious examples of Turkey's reliance on U.S. weaponry in committing abuses are its use of U.S.-supplied fighter-bombers to attack civilian villages and its use of U.S.-supplied helicopters in support of a wide range of abusive practices, including the punitive destruction of villages, extrajudicial executions, torture, and indiscriminate fire.

I suppose some brave Democrat will get around to condemning this ugliness in, oh, about eighty years or so. High horses are sure fun to hop on, but they can be troublesome when it comes to preening around the ring on one.

Let's take a quick inventory of what the Democrats have done since coming back from summer recess:
  • Cravenly went along with a clownish effort to repudiate a newspaper ad for being insufficiently prostrate before the saintly General NewJesus' sock-puppet report.

  • Cleverly drafted their own resolution to condemn Rush Limbaugh for being his usual retard self, only to be cock-blocked by renowned nozzle-of-douche Jack Kingston's resolution praising the drug-addicted sex-tourist.

  • Talked tough about defunding the war, then went right along with Bush's raise to $2 bn per week.

  • Plans to investigate Blackwater -- this time for real, even though reports have filtered out about these psychos practically since day one.

  • Brayed loudly about the unconscionable, unconstitutional seizing of illegitimate power by the unitary executive branch -- the wire-tapping, the data-mining, the attempts to peruse second-generation phone records -- but when push came to shove, signed off on all of Cheney's proposed expansions. Perhaps the Democrats just want these same superpowers for themselves. To use for good this time, of course.

  • And now this -- unnecessarily pissing off a close ally in a massively chaotic region, with a resolution that they can't even pass! How fucking dumb is that; they don't even have that moral high ground to claim, just a pissed-off, butt-hurt ally and a lot of furtive glances.

Moral of the story: Just do what you were specifically elected to do this time around, no more, no less. Rein in Bush; end the war. Just do that. Can they make it through the next year without stepping on their collective dicks, or do they even deserve to?


Forty_Two said...

I'd like to declare that Roman slavery as unjust...

just so we can piss off the Italians.

Forty_Two said...

not as...

nobody said...

keeping in mind the utterly obvious minority party tactic of disenfranchising Democratic voters through legislative gridlock...