Thursday, March 04, 2010

Your Republican Party, Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, the House Foreign Relations Committee passed (by a vote of 23-22) a non-binding resolution classifying as "genocide" the Turkish massacre of over one million Armenians during World War I. While I agree that we need to call a spade a spade in this circumstance, I'm also sympathetic to Obama's protestations on the timing of the resolution, as the administration has made progress in reconciling relations between Turkey and Armenia (one of those little diplomatic successes of the administration that get drowned out by health care and other domestic issues). Basically, I agree with committee chairman Howard Berman that this probably won't affect U.S.-Turkey relations, but at the same time, I think Clinton and Obama are more than reasonable in their concern for their efforts on Turkey-Armenia relations.

However, Republicans were opposed to the measure (shocking, I know), and in their opposition, they once again revealed their true colors:

Republican Congressman Dan Burton opposed the resolution, pointing out that a U.S. Air Force base in Turkey is vital to American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Knowing that we may have to take some kind of military action down the road against maybe even Iran, we need to have as many friends in that part of the world as possible," said Dan Burton. [my emphasis]
Aside from the risible fact that Republicans are suddenly worried about having "friends" in that part of the world, there's the standout issue of who we might go to war with. That's right - Republicans still have war on Iran on their agenda. It couldn't be any clearer here. The inclusion of "maybe even Iran" is about as subtle as saying "that's a nice car you got there-it'd be a shame if something were to happen to it..."

Of course, this is the party that continues to obstruct just about every bit of legislation, every diplomat, every appointee, that the Obama administration is putting forth. Helping 1.1 million Americans get their unemployment benefits extended for 30 days? Can't happen. Helping millions of Americans gain access to health care? Socialism! Spending money on another war that would send the United States even further into debt and result in the deaths of thousands upon thousands?

That's just the Republican way!