Pres. Bush’s April 24 Statement…From Bad to Worse

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Pres. Bush’s April 24 Statement…From Bad to Worse

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

I did not support George Bush’s re-election last year knowing full well that the neo-cons (neo-conservatives) occupying some of the top echelons of the Bush administration would never allow him to utter the words “Armenian Genocide.”

Nevertheless, seeing the growing anti-American hysteria in Turkey in recent months, some Armenians naively believed that Pres. Bush would teach the Turks a lesson by using the term “Armenian Genocide” in this year’s April 24 statement.

Last Sunday, Pres. Bush issued another one of his infamous “Armenian Remembrance Day” statements (his fifth in as many years in office), even though every year we ask him not to say anything at all, if he cannot say Genocide.

A close reading of the President’s statement reveals that things have gotten much worse than we had realized. The issue is no longer whether he uses the term genocide or not. It turns out that the neo-cons in the Bush administration are actually exploiting the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in order to pursue their sinister political aims.

This administration has reached such a low point that neo-cons in control of the White House are basically willing to ignore every principle this country was founded on to ingratiate themselves to the Turks for the sake of pursuing their own narrow agenda in the Middle East, despite the fact that the Prime Minister of Turkey does not hesitate to accuse the U.S. troops of committing genocide in Iraq!

Once again, the President’s handlers have put in his statement just about every euphemism in the English language to avoid saying genocide, such as forced exile, mass killings, terrible event, Great Calamity, horrible loss of life, human tragedy, and suffering.

Besides resorting to verbal gymnastics, the President, in his April 24 statement, makes unrelated and inappropriate references to the war in Iraq and calls on “the Government of Armenia to advance democratic freedoms….” He then goes on to talk about his commitment to a “peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” and “a deeper partnership with Armenia that includes security cooperation….” The President forgets that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide has nothing to do with Iraq, Karabagh or U.S. security arrangements.

The most sinister part of the President’s message is his indirect reference to the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) and his more direct reference to a study the latter commissioned on the Armenian Genocide. The President said: “I applaud individuals in Armenia and Turkey who have sought to examine the historical events of the early 20th century with honesty and sensitivity. The recent analysis by the International Center for Transitional Justice did not provide the final word….”

The neo-cons and others in the Bush administration are still pushing the dead carcass of TARC. Despite their elaborate efforts to deceive Armenians into accepting a fake reconciliation, the overwhelming majority of Armenians did not fall for their trick. Before there can be reconciliation, there has to be truth and justice - both of which are absent from the agenda of the neo-cons and their cohorts! The President, in his desperate efforts to avoid using the term Genocide, is caught in the ironic situation of describing the ICTJ study as not “the final word,” even though his own government paid for TARC which in turn paid the ICTJ to commission a study on the Armenian Genocide. The ICTJ found that the Turks did commit genocide against the Armenians. By applauding those involved in TARC and ICTJ, the President cannot but accept the conclusion of this study. David Philips and others involved in TARC and ICTJ should be concerned that the President of the United States is impugning their credibility!

To make matters worse, Pres. Bush, in his April 24 statement, is endorsing the new Turkish ploy of setting up yet another group to study what took place in 1915, by expressing the “hope that Prime Minister Erdogan's recent proposal for a joint Turkish-Armenian commission can help advance these processes.”

The Foreign Minister of Armenia as well as all Armenians immediately rejected this latest attempt by the Turks to shop for a new venue that would provide a cover for their lies. The historical record is clear. There have been Turkish tribunals and countless reports and studies by the United Nations, the European Parliament, the independent Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in Paris, and many statements by hundreds of genocide and holocaust scholars. The Armenian Genocide is a proven fact of history. What is needed is the moral courage to face the truth, not more studies, ad nauseam.

Back in 1981, Pres. Reagan issued a Presidential proclamation which used the term “Armenian Genocide.” Therefore, Pres. Bush would not be saying anything new, should he use those words again. In fact, Pres. Bush does not need to make a statement recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Let’s not fall for the Turkish/neo-con trick and get eternally stuck on the issue of trying to prove the facts of the Genocide over and over again. Let’s just go directly to the next stage: our demands for reparation and return of territories!

Finally, as far as the Turkish leaders are concerned, if they have any sense of shame at all, they would have no reason to celebrate, just because Pres. Bush avoided using the word genocide in his April 24 statement. No self-respecting nation would be happy, when the President of the United States issues a formal declaration accusing it of “the forced exile and mass killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians.”

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