President Obama today again broke his promise to use the word “genocide” when describing the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the beginning of the last century.
“I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed,” the president said in a statement today commemorating the genocide but not using the g-word. “It is in all of our interest to see the achievement a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.”
In actuality, the only consistencies are that as a candidate Mr. Obama incessantly labeled the genocide as such and heralded himself for doing so, and since becoming president -- and suddenly having to deal with the a key ally, Turkey, which disputes that term -- he has refused to do so.
Last month the Obama administration even asked the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to cancel a vote scheduled on a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide. After speaking to Turkish President Abdullah Gül, the president had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reach out to committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.
“Secretary Clinton called Chairman Berman yesterday and in that conversation the secretary indicated that further Congressional action could impede progress on normalization of relations,” National Security Staff spokesman Mike Hammer said.
The conversation took place after the president spoke with President Gül and “expressed appreciation” for his and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “efforts on normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.” The president also “pressed for rapid ratification of the protocols,” Hammer said, referring to efforts at normalization between Armenia and Turkey.
As a senator, and then as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama often talked about how bold he was to call the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire just what it was: a genocide.
“America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said. “ I intend to be that President.”
In a January 2008 letter to the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Obama said he shared “with Armenian Americans -- so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors -- a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”
In 2006, Mr. Obama noted, “I criticized the secretary of state [Condoleezza Rice] for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, after he properly used the term ‘genocide’ to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”
Asserted Mr. Obama, back then: “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.”
Mr. Obama also stated unequivocally that “as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
His position on the matter was so strong, the Armenian National Committee of America had its own Obama File on Armenian Genocide Recognition, which included a Youtube clip of the President on the campaign trial saying, “There was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish government.”