Between 1914 and 1918 as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turkish government through a system of planned slaughter and forced deportation known as the Armenian Genocide.
But not according to Dick Gephardt.
The Bush Administration steadfastly refuses to use the word "genocide" for fear of angering one of the last (sort of) US allies remaining in the Middle East. Despite this, there have been recent attempts in both the House and Senate to recognize historical fact.
These efforts have met with little success, largely due to the lobbying efforts of the Turkish government. Their influence with the GOP is assured both by the White House's geopolitical needs and by their association with former Congressman Bob Livingston. For $9 million, Livingston was only too glad to sell out. Hell, that's only six bucks a head.
But I don't expect much from the likes of Livingston. From Speaker of the House to speaker for a house of shame isn't very far for guys like him. What is far more disturbing to me is the involvement of one of our own:
Turkey recently hired DLA Piper, the firm of former House minority leader Dick Gephardt, to provide access to Democrats.
What happened, Mr. Gephardt? Did losing the Democratic nomination in 2004 so blacken your soul that you can no longer tell what's right and what's wrong?
It wasn't always so. In 2003, Gephardt was cited by the Armenian National Committee of America for his support for the UN Genocide Convention. Or was that just politicking for the primaries? Will the real Dick Gephardt please stand up?
I understand that there is a realpolitik factor involved here. But harsh strategic realities don't excuse Gephardt's behavior. As a prominent Democratic no longer restrained by elective office, he could be a powerful advocate for the victims of a historical wrong, instead of a shill for the perpetrators' grandchildren.
Mr. Gephardt, you once famously called George W. Bush a "miserable failure" as a president. It's too bad that you've turned out to be a miserable failure as a human being.