Human Rights,  Obama

Obama’s failure to acknowledge Armenian genocide

By Andrew Murphy

When Nick Cohen wrote earlier in the year that “when it comes to promoting democracy, the emancipation of women and the liberation of the oppressed, Barack Obama has been the most reactionary American president since Richard Nixon,” my first initial response was to think, “that is a bit much.” However those who perhaps were skeptical of the Obama in Nixonland hypothesis had our skepticism confronted this week with the Congressional panel calling for a vote on recognizing Turkish genocide of Armenians . Current score: Nick Cohen 2, Skeptics O.

Last week, the US congressional panel approved a nonbinding resolution which would, some 95 years later, allow the US government to officially recognize as genocide what happened to the Armenians in 1915 by the Turks. The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-22 in favor. Besides the ‘Turkish Lobby’ (made up defense contractors), the other group involved in trying to scuttle to keep this resolution from being voted on was the Obama administration. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “we will work very hard” to keep this from passing.

Turkey of course has been a virtual state of denial for 95 years about what happened and they have used their influence and money to try and silence those who suggest otherwise. Turkey recalled their USA ambassador after the Foreign Affairs vote. In 1915 Turkey, massacred, deported and forced marched 1.5 million ethic Armenians. The parallels between the Armenian genocide and the Nazi Holocaust are obvious. Scholar Yehuda Bauer writes:

The Nazis saw the Jews as the central problem of world history. Upon its solution depended the future of mankind. Unless International Jewry was defeated, human civilization would not survive. The attitude towards the Jews had in it important elements of pseudo-religion. There was no such motivation present in the Armenian case; Armenians were to be annihilated for power-political reasons, and in Turkey only… The differences between the holocaust and the Armenian massacres are less important than the similarities—and even if the Armenian case is not seen as a holocaust in the extreme form which it took towards Jews, it is certainly the nearest thing to it.

Not only does Turkey use diplomatic pressure, but their arms merchants in the USA (e.g., Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Raytheon Co., United Technologies Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.) work to prevent the USA government from officially recognizing this atrocity. Turkey has since the 1930s been using money in the USA to spread disinformation and prevent the truth from coming out. They pressured the State Department to get MGM studios to scrap making a movie on the subject (Forty Days of the Musa Dagh) and they fund professors in the USA who offer disinformation as history.

Add this to Nick Cohen’s indictment of Obama’s lack of liberal values, the engaging with the Burma junta and ignoring the pleas of Burmese democracy activist, Nyi Nyi Aung, who languishes in solitary confinement, the Iranian Green movement who shouted, “Obama, Obama – either you’re with them or you’re with us,” and his scrapping of the Bush’s missile defense to appease Putin, and one gets the full picture: Obama is no liberal or neocon.

Perhaps the next time a Fox News rightwinger bangs on with their triangulating nonsense about Obama being a “socialist,” one should issue the following retort: what sort of socialist allows Lockheed Martin to wag the dog?