President Obama issued a statement on the Armenian genocide that amounts to a contortionist act at the circus, implying the word “genocide” while twisting himself into knots to avoid using the actual term.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, committed by the Turks. Obama promised during his 2008 campaign to finally use the dreaded word to describe what happened. But, frightened of the reaction by the Turks, he is breaking his promise.
The statement he issued instead must be the warm up by his joke writers, who are piecing together his remarks for Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ dinner. Because this has to be a joke.
Obama lays it on thick, as if a surplus of emotion can atone for the deficit of moral fortitude. The statement is nearly 800 words, among them tear jerkers like “horrific,” “horrors” “solemn” “painful” “solemn” (again) “painful” (again) “terrible” and “dark.”
He tries as hard as possible to get within inches of using the word “genocide” without actually deploying it. He calls it “a mass atrocity,” which is close, and suggests – hint, hint – that he really thinks it is a genocide by declaring, “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed.” His own view of it as a “genocide” having been expressed from the safer grounds of the Senate.
How very lawyerly of him.
He uses the Armenian term for the massacre, Meds Yeghern, as if to say – hint, hint – that he agrees with them about what went down.
Without any apparent irony, he notes, “As the horrors of 1915 unfolded, U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. sounded the alarm inside the U.S. government and confronted Ottoman leaders.”
CONFRONTING THE OTTOMANS IS EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA HIMSELF IS FAILING TO DO.
As I noted Thursday, the Turks will complain, but the Turks will get over it. A genocide is not something that can become an element of realpolitik. Obama should be ashamed of himself. I’ll bet he is.