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April 07, 2009

They’re only words

Obama in Turkey That must have been what President Obama thought when he decided to renege on yet another campaign promise. Ironically, his campaign promise would have addressed just that line of thinking.  

In January, when he was still just a candidate for the presidency, Obama declared, "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide." Fine sounding words. Trouble is, once he set foot in Turkey, the land where this genocide occurred nearly a century ago, Mr. Obama seemed to forget all about the atrocities that once stained the streets and countryside of that nation. 

Lest you think the label we use for an event that took place almost 100 years ago is trivial, modern-day Turkey is still waging this war of words. Journalists and novelists, among others, have been tried, imprisoned and even murdered for calling the systematic annihilation of Armenians a genocide. You can read more about the genocide and some of those who have been persecuted for using this term in an article I wrote for BreakPoint WorldView a few years ago.

It's too bad the man who represents the land of the free and the home of the brave couldn't find the words to denounce tyranny and cowardice. That's a campaign promise that deserved to be kept.

(Image © UPI/Pete Souza/White House)

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Comments

Jason Taylor


It's a little hard to expect Obama to remind the Turks of that during a State visit. Or to decline a State visit that happens to be in our interest. One of the purposes of diplomacy is to cool emotions not heat them which definitely does not mean bringing out every countries skeletons. And inevitably, any country that is influential enough to be worth the bother of more then a sentimental visit will have plenty of skeletons. Policy should not be restricted to visiting Liechtenstein.

And in any case, is it not said that a diplomat is one who bravely goes abroad to lie for his country? There is only so much one can be indignant about.

Kristine

Jason, I am confident the President of the United States of America has speechwriters skilled enough to craft a message for him that calls forth the best in a nation while still addressing what he himself clearly thinks is an ongoing issue. He doesn't need to lecture them (although he does seem awfully good at lecturing), but a passing mention at the very least would have been appropriate. Don't forget--in this case, we're talking about actual skeletons, not the metaphorical kind.

Jason Taylor

Most countries also have literal skeletons as well as metaphorical ones.

Robert Kachadourian

Kristine,

Bravo for bringing up the topic of the Armenian Genocide!! 42 states out of 50 have recognized it.

This is enough evidence of its veracity.

BK

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