Rohrabacher's statement on H. Res. 252, Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution
Washington, Mar 4, 2010 - Let me note that I personally would have preferred that this resolution not be brought up. It is about events that took place almost 100 years ago, it is about a crime committed by a government of a country, the Ottoman Empire, that hasn’t existed for nearly 100 years. It is about a crime in which the perpetrators and the victims are all dead, with a few rare exceptions, 3 are here with us today.
Furthermore, it is an issue that has little or nothing to do with the United States. With that said this legislation is before us. I have looked into the history that this legislation comments on. There was an Armenian uprising in an attempt to gain independence from Ottoman rule. In that uprising there was wide spread killing of civilians, both Turks and Armenians. The Ottoman troops suppressed the uprising, had it ended there, this resolution would not be before us today.
The Ottoman government after putting down the uprising decided to put an end to what they saw as “the Armenian Problem.”
The slaughter that followed, the slaughter of defeated and unarmed people, mostly non combatants, was a crime, not just against Armenian but against humanity. So because I am now confronted with voting for a resolution that is basically truthful, I cannot vote against truth.
I would add this though, this resolution is being supported based on the belief this will at long last close the book on an issue that should have been resolved long ago.
My vote and the vote of my colleagues is not intended to create more conflict, but instead to resolve it. Specifically this is a vote to set the record straight to get the issue resolved and behind us. This is not an endorsement of reparations, demanded for which will not bring healing but open the door to new and widening conflict. This is not about reparations which will not right a wrong of 100 years ago, but instead will create more conflicts today. Let us resolve an issue not open up new conflict.
With that said I will vote for this resolution because it is truthful. Turkey is a friend and has been a good ally, a nation of Muslims who represent a democratic and moderate force in the Islamic world. But because they are important and a friend does not mean we should refrain from acknowledging the truth, of a long ago crime, because it will upset a current friend. Germany was important to us in the cold war. I would certainly have rejected any suggestions that I should vote against a resolution, acknowledging the holocaust to spare Germany’s feelings. Today we reconfirm our commitment to truth, we also reconfirm that our friendship with Turkey is strong enough to withstand an acknowledgment of history as it is.