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      Sen. Obama vs. Speaker Hastert

Sen. Obama vs. Speaker Hastert   27/10/2005

Sen. Obama vs. Speaker Hastert:
Integrity vs. Immorality

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

There have been so many developments on Turkish-Armenian issues in recent
days that the avalanche of news reports has overwhelmed the e-mail boxes of
Armenian newspapers. The fast pace of unfolding events has also made the
task of political commentators more difficult.

Here are some quick comments on a few recent developments:

1) Ever since the House International Relations Committee approved by an
overwhelming majority the two resolutions on the Armenian Genocide, the
Armenian-American community has been waiting to see if the Speaker of the
House, Dennis Hastert, would be kind enough to allow one of these
resolutions to come to the floor of the House for a final vote. The question
is: can Armenian-Americans apply sufficient pressure on the Speaker to make
him realize that he and some of his Republican colleagues would lose a lot
more in the next congressional elections than gain by sitting on these
commemorative bills? We are not even raising here the issues of morality and
doing the right thing, and other noble, but unfortunately irrelevant
concepts, such as truth and justice. The Speaker may have forgotten that on
April 19, 1984, he delivered remarks on the House floor supporting a similar
congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide that was approved by the
full House. “Over a million Armenians were exiled and eventually murdered by
the Ottoman Turks beginning on April 24, 1915. As a result of this genocide,
the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was effectively eliminated
through a carefully executed government plan,” Cong. Hastert uttered those
words before becoming Speaker. He also voted on June 5, 1996, for the
Radanovich Amendment, to cut U.S. aid to Turkey, until that country
recognizes the Armenian Genocide. The measure was adopted by a bipartisan
majority.

2) Speaking of morality -- a rare commodity for politicians these days -- US
Senator Barack Obama (Dem.-Illinois), seems to be one of those rare Members
of Congress with integrity. When harassed by Azeri journalists during his
recent trip to Baku over his signing of a letter to Pres. Bush asking him to
recognize the Armenian Genocide, he bravely told the Azeris: “I believe the
letter sent by the Senators to President George Bush to recognize the
genocide of Armenians reflects historic facts.” He is quoted by AzerNews as
saying that the letter to Bush indicated that a large number of innocent
Armenians were killed during the genocide. “By signing the letter, I also
defended the interests of the State of Illinois [that] I represent. Killing
civilians anywhere in the world should not be allowed, ” Sen. Obama said.
Not too many politicians would stand up in hostile territory and defend
their principled position on an issue.

3) While the Armenian-American community is trying to push through a
congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide, a small group of
Turkish-Americans, the so-called “Daughters of Ataturk,” are trying to
propose a counter bill to commemorate the alleged “massacre of 2.5 million
Turks in Eastern Anatolia by Armenians between 1915 and 1923.” This must be
a sick joke. I don’t think these shameless “ladies” would find a single
member of Congress who would stoop so low as to sponsor such a preposterous
lie for a fistful of Turkish Liras!

4) In a recent column, I wrote that the Turkish Ambassador in Washington,
D.C., Faruk Logoglu, had done a very poor job of defending the interests of
his country during the deliberations of the House International Relations
Committee on the Armenian Genocide bills. I speculated that Amb. Logoglu may
be recalled to Ankara due to his inability to block the passage of these
bills in committee. Subsequently, Hurriyet reported that Amb. Logoglu would
be leaving his post shortly. Turkish Foreign Ministry officials must have
been dissatisfied with the Ambassador’s inability to fight the Armenian
Genocide bills. According to Hurriyet, Amb. Logoglu would no longer be
affiliated with the Foreign Ministry. Instead, he would join or head his own
private think tank.

5) The British Foreign Ministry just announced that the infamous UK
Ambassador to Armenia, Thorda Abbott-Watt, would be leaving her post next
January. The readers probably recall that she insulted Armenians worldwide
last year by brazenly denying the facts of the Armenian Genocide! We say
goodbye to her and good riddance! Would she be interested, by any chance, in
replacing Amb. Logoglu at the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara?




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