Cynical Synapse

Mon, 26 Apr 2010

Obama Sidesteps Armenian Genocide, Calls it Massacre

Filed under: Behavior, Congress, Diplomacy, History, Hypocrits, Politics, President — cynicalsynapse @ 8:27 am

Armenian genodice

While campaigning for president of the US, candidate Barack Obama promised to label the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide. Yet, once elected, the US President has failed to call Armenian deaths genocide. April 24th was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. The date marks the first deportations of Armenians from Turkey’s capitol in 1915.

President Ronald Reagan referenced the fate of Armenians in 1981. Although he didn’t use the term genocide, the fate of the Armenians remains uncontested today.

Armenians hanging

So, while Obama campaigned he would be blunt about the Armenian genocide, political expediency keeps him from actually labeling it as such. You see, Turkey—the perpetrator of the genocide—is a member of NATO and a US ally in the Global War on Terror, which we now call Overseas Contingency Operations.

Nonetheless, a US House Subcommittee voted to recognize the genocide, but only by a vote of 23-22. This resulted in Turkey recalling their Ambassador to the US in protest.

As for Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? The latter said:

Both President Obama and I have made clear, both last year and again this year, that we do not believe any action by the Congress is appropriate, and we oppose it.

Pres. Obama did decry the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in a statement. But he stopped short of calling the pogrom genocide.

Henry Morgenthau Sr.

In 1915, US Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau Sr.’s conclusion was succinct: “If America is going to condone these offenses … she is party to the crime.”

What’s different between then and now? Today, we have political expediency. Nowhere is this more evident than between Obama’s campaign promise on the genocide and his lack of follow-through as president. As Paul Greenburg wrote in his April 20th column:

In short, when a single truth must be avoided, falsehoods multiply. And diplomats impose a discreet silence. Why offend?

Over time the Armenian massacres faded from the world’s memory, but at least one statesman remembered, and drew the inevitable conclusion: that the world would scarcely notice a little genocide among friends. Or as he put it, speaking to a group of his confidants:

It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak Western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion men, women and children. … Only thus shall we gain the living space we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?

—Adolf Hitler



  1. Boy, did you get this one right. He absolutely did not use the word genocide, which is exactly what it was. And you are right on why he didn’t. No one wants to “upset” Turkey, yet military access is the only thing we get from them; in most cases, at a great cost.

    Obama is beginning to establish a pretty wide credibility gap. While I think he’s done a couple of things the public as a whole may approve of, he’s got a long way to go if he’s to be re-elected. We’ll see.

    Comment by The Old Man — Tue, 27 Apr 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    • Thanks, Old Man. “Hope and change” seems to be more like “much the same”. Obama is long on rhetoric when it suits him and short on explanations when it doesn’t.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Tue, 27 Apr 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  2. Made up massacre photo & Hitler’s Quote are fake !

    Comment by TruckTurkey — Wed, 24 Nov 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by. The photographs are from the web so I cannot vouch for their authenticity but I have no reason to doubt them.

      I realize there is disagreement on the validity of Hitler’s so-called Armenian quote. Quibbling about exact wording of translations does not help clarify the matter. The validity of the L-3 document is less important than the notion the Armenian genocide was common knowledge in 1939. International Military Tribunal documents 798-PS and 1014-PS substantiate much of that 22 August meeting in Obersalzburg. That provides credibility to the concept, if not the exact words.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Wed, 24 Nov 2010 @ 6:17 pm

      • to doubt them;
        The original photo is in Turkish Archives’ATASE Archive: Directory of Genelkurmay Military History and Strategic Studies Archive, The pfotograph collection of WWI, Album No: 4, photograph No: 123)
        Official website:

        The women and children in the picture are indeed Turkish women and children slaughtered by Armenians in Subatan (in Ottoman Empire) on 25 April 1918. The Picture is being copied by Armenians in internet and is presented as a Picture of Armenian victims.

        Now! do u have reason to doubt them ?

        Comment by TruckTurkey — Tue, 30 Aug 2011 @ 7:56 pm

      • Thanks for stopping by. I realize this is a controversial topic and I appreciate your perspective. I’m not an expert, but I think we can agree a genocide took place which the world has not recognized.

        I did not see any of the photos I presented at the Turkish archives web page you linked to and got an error message when I tried to go to an English version of the site. Can you provide direct links to the photos I’ve used?

        I don’t consider Facebook posts a credible source and have not previously heard of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

        Comment by cynicalsynapse — Wed, 31 Aug 2011 @ 8:06 pm

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