Is the Speaker of the House really serious about genocide, or is she simply involved in a standard Washington power play?
Suppose we assume that a million and a half Armenians died between 1915 and 1923 in a systematic and deliberate campaign; personally I know of no reason to doubt that, but I’m not a historian of the Ottoman Empire.
Now suppose the House of Representatives, 92 years later, decides to label that systematic and deliberate campaign “genocide”.
What, exactly, is the difference between a systematic and deliberate campaign by Ottomans that killed a million and a half Armenians, and a systematic and deliberate campaign by Americans that killed a million-plus Iraqis?
Is it that last half-million deaths? Or the religion of the killers? Can the wingnuts come up with some defense based on intent, or will they, as usual, escape the dilemma by denying the facts?
And what’s the difference between wingnuts denying facts, and House Speakers choosing to spend time on century-old genocides to distract attention from an equal number of deaths the Speaker’s party funded? I mean, they’re different, but do they differ in levels of culpability?
[ Update: I don’t really understand what evidence TeddySanFran considers in thinking that Pelosi is trying to stop the war in Iraq with a semantic resolution about Armenians. The argument seems a bit far-fetched. I wish it were true, but I see no reason to think so. ]
[ Update 2: It has been pointed to me that a semantic non-wingnut argument holds up against my original statement. If we define genocide as the attacker trying to exterminate a group of people, then intent, and ratio of killed to spared, are critical. By those measures, American involvement in Iraq has not been genocidal.
My original point, poorly stated, was this: what is the moral difference between killing a million and a half people in an attempt to eliminate Armenians, and killing a million-plus people in an attempt to run off with the resources they live on top of? Is it less moral if one intends to kill a million people than if one does so unintentionally? In other words, what is the moral difference between the Ottoman actions the House condemns and the war in Iraq it funds? ]