Bill Press’ column October 18 (http://www.billpress.com/columnsarchive.html) raises several questions:
1. If no time is the wrong time to declare genocide, why haven’t previous Congresses done it? Could it be that the current leadership is so invested in defeat in Iraq, that they see a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide as a way to split the Turks from the U. S., thereby making defeat in Iraq more likely?
2. With current issues like the war in Iraq and global warming to worry about, it’s difficult to see why Congress would spend time on an issue that dates to the First World War.
3. Congressional resolutions are a poor way to conduct diplomacy. In World War II when the U. S. and Britain had differing views about how to deal with the future of India, President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill hashed out the issues privately, thereby avoiding a public squabble that would have hindered the war effort.
4. What is the value of beating the Turks over the head about what their ancestors did during World War I when a serious, immediate issue requires trust and careful diplomacy: Turkey’s difficulties with their Kurdish minority, which threaten to spill over into Iraq?
5. What deterrence to future dictators will result from a Congressional resolution? One can imagine a future Hitler saying, “We don’t have to worry about the Americans. The Turks tried to wipe out the Armenians and all the Americans did was approve a piece of paper in their Congress 90 years later.”
Congress should concentrate on current issues that it can do something constructive about. The world will take far more heed of our actions than of our high-sounding rhetoric.