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Sunday Late Nite: Pelosi & Turkey

Is Speaker Pelosi using the Armenian genocide resolution to make it tougher for George W Bush to wage war on Iraq?

There are two reasons why relations with Turkey are critically important right now. First, the Turks appear to be ready to wage war on our Northern Front in Iraq, hoping to engage and disable militant pan-Kurdish separatists they call terrorists — who the Turks say threaten their country’s internal stability.  Second, fully seventy percent of equipment used in Iraq — and thirty percent of the fuel — passes through our airbase in Incirlik. Not to mention ninety-five percent of the new up-armored IED-resistant vehicles long overdue to our troops.

Based on last week’s House Foreign Affairs Committee‘s passage of the resolution condemning the 1915 slaughter of up to 1,500,000 Armenians, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington.  It’s unclear what steps Turkey will take when the resolution is taken up by the full House, although they’ve lobbied furiously against it.  But it’s clear Speaker Pelosi means to defy the President by allowing a full House vote — this month or next.

If the Turks deny American troops, airplanes, and equipment access to Turkish airspace and withdraw permission to use the airbase, how much harder will warmaking on Iraq become? Is the Armenian genocide resolution an attempt to make an already mistreated strategic ally withdraw necessary support for Iraq warmaking? Just as Jim Webb’s troop respite amendment would secondarily limit the number of troops available to fight, will the Turks’ hurt feelings make warmaking harder?

And is this the Speaker’s intent? Why push forward a non-binding resolution decrying a genocide 92 years ago — right now? The Turks rightly point out that USAmerica has its own genocide history. Former Secretaries of State and former President Carter point out that they wouldn’t vote for this resolution if they were in Congress.

This seems a rather roundabout way to make George W Bush’s war more difficult to wage — but is that the reason it’s on the table? I wish Speaker Pelosi would be more candid with the American people about the table she sets. We’re already unhappy about her taking impeachment off the table. Why not clarify why she’s put Armenian genocide on the table — right now?

UPDATE: The NYT frames this issue:

Pelosi Says Bush Hasn’t Phoned Her About Turkey and Genocide

as if the Village were really like eighth grade. Surely Speaker Pelosi has a greater principle at stake here than simply a phone call the President’s not made to her?

(YouTube of John Lennon “Cold Turkey” NYC, 1972, by vitekmiejnek)

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