Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
May 7, 2010 Friday
The truth is no respecter of diplomacy. And so presidents may feel
obliged to avoid the truth for reasons of state. Which no doubt is why
the current president of the United States did his best to torpedo a
congressional resolution that would finally have recognized the
Armenian genocide of 1915 in Turkey. The slaughter of the Armenians
set the example for even worse genocides as that century went from
horror to horror, but American presidents dare not say so for fear of
offending Turkish sensibilities.
Ankara is still deep in denial even as Turkish historians begin to
come to grips with the bloody truth. When a congressional committee
dared approve a resolution denouncing the genocide, the Turks even
recalled their ambassador briefly.
So this year President Obama carefully avoided calling genocide
genocide when he issued a statement observing Armenian memorial day.
Not that the omission appeased the Turks, who objected even to the
president’s bringing up the subject.
That is always the way with appeasement; it never works. Nor does
trying to overlook the obvious. As a presidential candidate, Barack
Obama spoke openly of recognizing the Armenian genocide. But as
president, he takes care to issue only an inoffensive statement about
the matter. And offends anyway.
Tell the truth and shame the devil, goes the old saying. Instead, the
president has told less than the truth and shamed only himself.