Why now, of all possible critical moments, are congressional Democrats insisting on passing a resolution guaranteed to offend Turkey, our vital ally in the Iraq War, by denouncing the Ottoman Empire's century-old massacre of Armenians as a "genocide"?
Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts have been warned that Turkey will be deeply offended by the move and may even take punitive action against us by withdrawing their permission for us to use Incirlik Air Base, through which well more than half of our air cargo passes in route to supply our troops in Iraq. Human Events editor Jed Babbin reports that some 95 percent of the new MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush protected) vehicles, designed to save our troops' lives, pass through Incirlik. Also as a result, Turkey might decide to attack Kurdish terrorist forces against our strong urging not to do so.
What on earth are Democrats trying to pull here? They are the same people that barely blanch when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. It's not like we need to worry about offending Iran, a charter member of the Axis of Evil and by last count a sworn enemy of the United States, actively working to defeat us in Iraq.
Democrats constantly castigate President Bush for alienating the international community by "going it alone." Their presidential candidates are united in promising that if their party recaptures the White House, they'll restore sound relations with foreign nations. In a recent speech, the irrepressibly garrulous Bill Clinton stressed that this would be a major theme in the next Clinton co-presidency.
But are Democratic Party leaders, who claim to be such staunch supporters of our troops, concerned about jeopardizing their indispensable supply lines? Are they the slightest bit nervous that in response to a House committee vote on this resolution, Turkey has already recalled its ambassador, Nabi Sensoy, for consultation?
Apparently not. When a seemingly incredulous Brit Hume questioned House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer about the resolution considering the high stakes involved, Hoyer cavalierly responded, "Turkey's help to us is vital, but more vital is the United States' help to Turkey." In other words, Turkey needs us more than we need them -- presumably implying Turkey wouldn't dare cut off our supply lines.
But Turkey has denied our troops access before -- as recently as 2003. More than that, this idea that other countries need us more than we need them could be said about almost any allies Democrats complain the Bush administration has alienated. What if President Bush had responded to Democratic complaints in the same high-handed manner Democrats are exhibiting today, saying, "Our allies need us more than we need them?"
Given that there is nothing to be gained and so much to be lost by the proposed congressional resolution, how can we not be suspect, as Jed Babbin implies, that congressional Democrats might be trying to effect a withdrawal of our troops from Iraq indirectly? Is this suspicion really far-fetched?
They've tried similar ploys, like a "dwell-time" amendment attached to the Defense policy bill that would have mandated that troops have as much time at home between deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as they had in those countries. This would have virtually guaranteed we didn't have enough manpower to complete the mission -- one of several "slow bleed" tactics advanced by Democrats to undermine our prosecution of the war.
In that case, they at least have the cover of arguing that they are forcing longer stateside missions on behalf of the troops. Their motive there was suspicious but at least ambiguous. But there is no upside to their proposed resolution designed to offend Turkey. None.
I can think of only one other possible explanation for the Democrats' gratuitous insult of our vital ally during time of war. Their worldview often compels them to pursue actions driven by their so-called good intentions -- even when those actions are sure to result in adverse consequences to their intended beneficiaries, such as with promoting expansive welfare, affirmative action, nationalized health care, minimum wage laws, gun control and radical environmental measures, or opposing tax cuts and school choice.
But in the unlikely event that the Democrats' motive isn't to undercut our mission in Iraq, it might as well be -- and they ought to be held accountable just as sternly as if it were. To the extent the resolution imperils American troops, it is egregiously reckless and indefensible at all levels.
This must not pass without loud and fierce opposition. President Bush and Republican congressional representatives, along with every conservative commentator in this nation, should mobilize to expose the Democrats' proposed course of action as an outrageous assault on our fighting forces -- not to score political points but to deter these misguided renegades from endangering our troops.
This appalling stunt must not be permitted to proceed.