October 17, 2007

Nancy "Deer in Headlights" Pelosi

Hatched by Dafydd

"Zoom. What was that? That was your speakership, mate. Oh! Do I get another one? No, afraid not."

(Not John Cleese's exact words, but close enough.)

Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%) has got to be wondering, Where are the show-trials of yesteryear? It was supposed to be such a bodacious debut:

  • The war would be aborted, the troops withdrawn;
  • Bush aides and cabinet members would be investigated, disgraced, and indicted, one by one;
  • The failed "surge," health care, and tax cuts for the ultra rich would have the entire country cursing the very name of the President.

But somehow -- as in a spirit act -- the tables turned without a human touch. The war not only battles on, but now, good God, we're clearly winning! President Bush vetoed SCHIP... and rather than being overridden and humiliated, the head count looks so bad, the Democrats may not even hold the override vote. They're already spinning like mad about what they'll do when -- oops, I mean if -- they lose.

And today, the final indignity: The House once again finds itself probably unable to enact even a simple, non-binding, "sense of the Congress" resolution that condemns the killings of Armenians by the Turks and labels the massacre "genocide." Republican and Democratic erstwhile supporters are backpedaling from the resolution so fast, they're creating a backwash that's squwamping the Squeaker hersquelf:

Worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders, House members from both parties have begun to withdraw their support from a resolution supported by the Democratic leadership that would condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago.

Almost a dozen lawmakers had shifted against the measure over the last 24 hours, accelerating a sudden exodus that has cast deep doubt over the measure’s prospects. Some representatives made clear that they were heeding warnings from the White House, which has called the measure dangerously provocative, and from the Turkish government, which has said House passage would prompt Turkey to reconsider its ties to the United States, including logistical support for the Iraq war.

Until today, the resolution appeared to be on a path to House passage, with strong support from the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California. It was approved last week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But this evening, a group of group of senior House Democrats had made it known they were planning to ask the leadership to drop plans for a vote on the measure.

Those Democrats pulling away from the resolution include uber-liberal Jane Harman (D-CA, 90%) and (drumroll, please) Mad Jack Murtha (D-PA, 65%).

Look, I'm delighted that so many representatives are suddenly heeding the call of President Bush to act like adults, not petulant teenagers: Turkey is very, very touchy about the genocide charge, which can carry a heavy burden, including reparations and worse -- repatriation of bitter, vengeful descendants. They have overtly threatened to forbid United States forces from staging in Turkey preparatory to deploying to Iraq, and covertly threatened to invade Kurdistan Iraq to get at the separatist Kurds there. Both are awful possibilities that would gravely threaten our progress in the war.

But still, I'm driven up the wall and across the ceiling by the same, dumb mistake made by all four sides in this issue: The mostly Democratic supporters of this resolution; the mostly Republican opponents; the Turks; and the Armenians. Simply put, the Turkey that butchered a million Armenians from 1915 to 1918 is not the same Turkey that exists today.

That Turkey was the Ottoman Empire, which began about A.D. 1300, hit its zenith in the 17th century -- when, similar to the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean became a Turkish lake -- and was abruptly crushed in 1918 when the Ottomans joined the Axis in World War I. The British and Arabs annihilated the Ottoman Empire as the war ended.

Ottoman Empire to 1683

Ottoman Empire at its peak

Turkey limped along for a couple of years, then was partitioned into various Allied mandates (Britain, France, Italy, Greece, Armenia). Finally, in 1922, Mustafa Kemal Pasha -- whom you might better recognize as Atatürk -- rallied nationalist forces and drove out the occupying powers, scattered the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, and established a brand, spanking new country: the Republic of Turkey.

The current Republic of Turkey is no more the same country that massacred Armenians in World War I than is today's Japan the same Imperial Japan that massacred Chinese and Koreans before and during World War II, or than today's German Republic the same country as Nazi Germany; Angela Merkel is not responsible for the Holocaust; Yasuo Fukuda bears no responsibility for the rape of Nanking; and Abdullah Gül had nothing whatsoever to do with the bloody slaughter of Armenians 90 years ago.

The proper arguments to make are thus...

  • Turkey: "We feel absolutely terrible that Turkish-speaking people committed such atrocities several generations ago. Thank Allah that we overthrew that awful, evil government and instituted a modern republic in its place; for now such a thing cannot occur."
  • Armenia: "So long as the whole world remembers this first genocide of the twentieth century, we shall always remember the danger posed by cruel and heartless empires. Three cheers for the spread of Democracy!"
  • Democrats in Congress: "We have rewritten our nonbinding, bipartisan, 'sense of the House' resolution to attack, not the modern-day Republic of Turkey, but the old Ottoman Empire, the symbol of the terrors of religious tyranny and theocracy... the looming 'socialism' of the twenty-first century."
  • Republicans in Congress: "Can we please knock it off with these idiotic, non-binding, feel-good resolutions and actually pass a few appropriations bills? The Senate, the president, and the American people are waiting with bated breath."

If we could spy into the Speaker's private office, would we find her cowering under her desk, waiting for the next giant, Monty-Python sized shoe to drop?

I wonder how long until her Democratic troops realize what a dreadful mistake they made electing the Distinguished Lady from Deadhead-land as Speaker of the House. Surely one must imagine that at some point, the Democratic conference will summarily oust Ms. Pelosi and install a grownup, someone who actually has a sense of the priorities of the American people -- somebody like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD, 90%).

Until then, buy some peanuts and enjoy the carnival of the jackasses.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 17, 2007, at the time of 4:42 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Neo

The above hissed in response by: Neo [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 6:08 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

I noticed the post at hotair.com, Spain to US treasure-hunting ship: Surrender the booty, where the Spanish government claims treasure recovered from what may have been Spanish ships. Does that mean that they claim continuity with the Spanish government that conquered and enslaved the Americas? Are they willing to take responsibility and pay reparations? What about responsibility for the Inquisition from about that time?

But maybe just claiming a continuity of property rights is not the same as accepting responsibility for the government of that time.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 7:33 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/17/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 8:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Sins of the father and all that.

I've never understood why it is our business condemning something someone else did somewhere else 100 years ago. Words, words, words... I say can the talk - let's invade the Ottoman Empire and bring those genocidal scum to their knees! What's that? There is no Ottoman Empire? Oh. Never mind.

Of course in a perfect world, our words would resonate around the globe, striking fear and humiliation in those that would commit such massacres in the future. Then again, in a perfect world I would be a benevolent dictator, and the moon would be made of mash potatoes. I decree it and it is so!

One semi-serious point - I don't get why the holocaust museum is in Washington D.C., with several regional offices around the country. That is perhaps the problem. We build monuments to one holocaust, and next thing you know, every ethnic group wants the same recognition for their particular brand of injustice as well.

In fact, I think I detect a subtle whiff of anti-semitism in the desire for recognition. My particular ethnicity (which I will leave unnamed) had its "holocaust", and more than once I've heard comments along the line "If the Jews can get recognition for their holocaust, we should have it too."

The real story is that Armenian immigrants are a powerfull voice in California politics. They've been trying to get this on the congressional agenda since at least the 1980s. She is just playing to the local crowd, while trying to sabotage the war effort. We should not indulge her desire to kill two birds with one holocaust.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 10:14 AM

The following hissed in response by: DaveR

She is just playing to the local crowd, while trying to sabotage the war effort.

More accurate version: "She is just trying to sabotage the war effort, hiding behind the guise of playing to the local crowd."

And it almost worked too, because Dems have the rules rigged so that only their intentions ever get examined in the media, never their consequences. That explains why they are so consistently irresponsible, and why they play the emo card fifty times more frequently than they ever make logical arguments.

The media "cone of good intentions" has made them intellectually and morally lazy to the point where they have long since forgotten that there is a higher truth beyond whatever it is they find it advantageous to be shouting about at the moment. Being a Democrat means never having to worry about anything except the Party, including ever getting criticised for that!

The above hissed in response by: DaveR [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 11:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Although the resolution (H.Res.106 in the 110th Congress) is equally risible in all incarnations, it is not equally dangerous: It is far more dangerous to American national security today than it was in the 1990s or in 2000. (The text of the current resolution is identical to the one in 2000, I believe.)

Back then, before 9/11, we did not have armies occupying Afghanistan and Iraq; we were not transiting American military forces through Turkey; and we had only a small number of troops in Turkey. Turkey was not poised to invade Iraq to annihilate the Kurdish separatist terrorists. And we were not trying to hold a Moslem country together under direct threat of attack or even invasion by Iran.

Such a resolution shouldn't be enacted at any time; but if it must, that would have been the time to do it, when (President Clinton's claim notwithstanding) there was very little that Turkey could do about it.

Perhaps by 2003, they would have been more willing to forget about it; perhaps not. Of course, they didn't allow the 4ID to transit Turkey into northern Iraq anyway -- even without any Armenian genocide resolution; they didn't finally agree to allow transit until much later.

But it's far more dangerous, and far more obviously dangerous today than in 2000.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 3:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Dangerous then or dangerous now... the timing doesn't matter; whether you broke the pot last decade or this it is still broken! The House of Representatives is not the organization to be making moral judgments on the acts of other civilizations. Their non-binding resolutions may make a particular voting bloc feel good, but other cultures have long memories. If Hastert had pushed the measure through, we may have NEVER gotten cooperation from Turkey, and their military may have decided to work against us in our war on Terrorism... and it may be useful to remember, it's the Turkish military that wants democracy, not it's government. It's elected leaders are mostly strong Islamists. Insult the Turkish military for something it did not do and expect their support?!?

Perhaps our allies SHOULD rethink their alignments with us... right now I can't vouch for our stability or intelligence as a partner in War OR Peace. Not while half of our voters will support the party led by Nancy Pelosi.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 17, 2007 10:58 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Well stated. Another example that to wreck lefty plans, all one needs do is rely on facts and reason.
That post on Spain is quite interesting, by the way. So Spain wants the gold but not the bill that getting that gold- the massacres, theft, slavery, etc.
I think native remnant groups all over the western Hemisphere should take note.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2007 6:05 AM

The following hissed in response by: Bookworm

You're right and you're almost not quite right. I agree with you completely that it's not the same Turkey today as it was then. But still.... This reminds me of my mad Communist Aunt, raised in the midst of 1920s/1930s Berlinerisch Communism. She was lucky enough to escape Nazi Germany, and spent the war years sneaking through Europe until she managed, God alone knows how, to end up in Palestine (the predecessor to that spanking new country, Israel).

At War's end, she announced that she was heading back to East Germany to live the Communist Dream. When friends and family expressed shock and surprise, she explained that her destination was no longer the Germany that committed war crimes, but a spanking new Communist Germany, purged of the sins of the past.

In a way she was right, in that the government was a clean slate made up of "good" Communists instead of bad Nazis, but in a way she was wrong, because the people living there were the exact same people who, during the 1930s and 1940s had enthusiastically participated in purging Germany, and then trying to purge all of Europe, of anyone they deemed undesirable. Same people, new packaging.

But you're right that Turkey should make precisely the apology you proposed: it wasn't us, but they spoke the same language, so we'll apologize for them any way. And certainly Turkey is in a better situation now than the situation that existed in 1949 when my aunt elected to return to Germany. Then, lots of complicit Nazis were alive; now, I doubt that any complicit Turks still live.

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2007 9:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: Rovin

I just love finding quotes like this:

CAFFERTY: "You know, Ray Charles could have seen that was a stupid idea from the beginning. You're just doing a great job, Pelosi. Terrific."

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 19, 2007 8:28 AM

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