Skip to comments.Key Democrats oppose Armenian bill (including Reps. Murtha, Skelton)
Posted on 10/16/2007 5:00:34 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Key Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday joined Republicans to warn that a resolution calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide could harm U.S. strategic interests.
But despite the rebuff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, did not back away from plans to hold a full House vote sometime this year.
Pelosi also came under more pressure from President George W. Bush, who had publicly criticized the resolution last week before it passed a House committee. Bush telephoned Pelosi on Tuesday and asked her not to bring the resolution to the House floor, her office said.
"The president and the speaker exchanged candid views on the subject and the speaker explained the strong bipartisan support in the House for the resolution," a Pelosi spokesman said.
The nonbinding, largely symbolic resolution passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday despite opposition from the White House, Pentagon and former secretaries of state from both parties. It infuriated NATO ally Turkey, which hinted it might halt logistic support to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan if the bill passes.
Turkey calls the resolution insulting and rejects the Armenian position, backed by many Western historians, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War One. Turkey has recalled its ambassador for consultations over the matter.
Democrats, including Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a longtime member of Pelosi's inner circle, urged her not to bring the proposal to the floor and Republicans called the resolution another "irresponsible" foray into foreign policy.
When she traveled to Syria in April, Pelosi drew withering criticism for visiting a country the State Department accuses of sponsoring terrorism. The Armenian resolution prompted criticism from analysts and editorial writers, too.
"I've known about their position for a long time," Pelosi said when asked whether the resistance from Murtha and another leading Democrat on defense matters, Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, would cause her to reconsider.
The resolution was introduced earlier this year by Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a Californian with a strong Armenian-American presence in his district.
Armenian-Americans have been pushing for passage of similar proposals for years. Ronald Reagan, a Californian, was the only president to publicly call the killings genocide. Others have avoided the term out of concern for Turkey's sensitivities.
Murtha's office announced he would join other Democrats at a news conference on Wednesday to explain why they opposed a vote on the resolution. Through a spokesman, Murtha stressed the importance of Turkey's role in U.S. Middle East efforts.
"From my discussions with our military commanders and foreign policy experts, I believe that this resolution could harm our relations with Turkey and therefore our strategic interests in the region," Murtha said.
The United States is highly dependent on Turkey's Incirlik air base. About 70 percent of the U.S. military air cargo into Iraq transits that base, according to the Defense Department.
House aides said Murtha had written to Pelosi in February arguing against bringing the resolution to the floor.
Skelton, Armed Services Committee chairman, last week added another concern -- that the resolution could hinder a U.S. pullout from Iraq, a goal of many Democrats including Pelosi.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday it was drafting plans to bring supplies into Iraq and Afghanistan from other locations, but it would be more costly than supplying through Turkey.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, reacted angrily to suggestions that the resolution was part of a Democratic plan to pressure Bush on Iraq by sowing tensions with Turkey, saying there was "zero truth in that."
The Wall Street Journal editorial page suggested Pelosi might be seeking to "take down" U.S. policy in Iraq with the Armenian genocide resolution. Some analysts said Congress was shooting itself in the foot with the bill.
(Additional reporting by Kristin Roberts and Randall Mikkelsen)
Stupid @ss Dems...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks during a news conference in support of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), as Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) watches, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 16, 2007. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES)
Congress was shooting itself in the foot with the bill
I hope they’re using microstamped ammo so they can figure out who done it. ;-)
One has only to look at who the leaders are in the House and Senate. They make the Keystone Kops look like pros. :-)
Love how Murtha tries to depict himself as “concerned for our military interests.” Did he confer with his friends in the military before accusing the Haditha marines of slaughtering civilians??
This whole story reads like a CYA press release from a bunch of scared democrats . Good thing a Reuters Reporter was happy to help em out.
I suspect someone is reading the poll numbers.
US Speaker of the House, Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi speaks to the
media during her weekly news briefing 11 October 2007. Fearing the loss of Turkey's
Incirclik airbase, the White House has urged House speaker Nancy Pelosi not to bring
a resolution calling Armenian killings a "genocide" to a vote.(AFP/File/Alex Wong)
I agree with your analysis.
You may have missed the backstory on this one. A lot of smart folks think Pelosi and her gang are urging this resolution in order to anger the Turks, perhaps into cutting off our use of their airspace for resupplying the troops in Iraq.
In other words, yet another effort to lose the war before President Bush ends up looking good.
It’s been apologized for a few times already, and it was Reagan not Regan ;-) this is nothing more than a timely deliberate effort to destabilize the region. the dems at their lowest..
I hope theyre using microstamped ammo so they can figure out who done it. ;-)
It has that dimwit Pelosi's name and headscarf all over it.
IIRC, there have been two such resolutions in the past. How many do we need?
Pelosi is the most dangerous Speaker of the House in American history. If she’s not an out-and-out traitor (which I think she is), she’s trying her best to become one.
“IIRC, there have been two such resolutions in the past. How many do we need?”
Just in Committee. I don’t think such a resolution has ever come up before the whole House.
Turkey's ready to pull the trigger on some mf, and it doesn't care who ... the dhims are in the back rooms laughing.
I'm pissed !
Thanks for the correction. I wasn’t sure of the information.
Steny, ol pal. Are you expecting us to believe that your faked indignance over something that happened a century ago absolutely just had to be shouted to the world right now, even though in all certainty the mere proposal of such a resolution would harm our war effort and our Country?
You Democrats always think that we are soooo stupid.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page suggested Pelosi might be seeking to "take down" U.S. policy in Iraq with the Armenian genocide resolution.
Steny, ol' chum. Has it ever occurred to you that...
1. Dems might look better to voters if they were actually FOR America? and
2. There might come a time, when you grow a conscience and realize what a tragic mistake it was to "take down" your own Country, and can't run away from your indelibly horrid anti-American deeds?
This Marine Dad suspects that we will always remember what a shameless thing you are doing, Congressman Hoyer.
Good to see Ike Skelton is up from his afternoon nap.
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