Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Obama's Turkey Speech

I can't muster more than an "eh". How is it any different than the 10 million speeches George Bush gave using the exact same rhetoric? Oh...right...Barack Obama has a funny middle name.

As for the issue of the Armenian genocide, I love the fact that the AP writer characterizes Obama as having "stood by" his assertion that what happened to the Armenians was, in fact, a genocide, simply because he refused to take it back when asked about it at a press conference. Let's look at exactly what he said on the campaign trail. "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President." Oh yeah, that's exactly the same as carefully avoiding explicit references in your speech (he talked about countries having problems in their pasts that must be dealt with, but his only specific example was American and its treatment of blacks), and only dealing with it indirectly when asked at a press conference. Couldn't this just as easily (and more accurately) have been described as Obama "backing off" from his previously agressive statements on the topic?

**For the record, I'm agnostic on the Armenian genocide. I simply don't know enough about that facet of Turkey's history to comment intelligently, nor do I think an explicit acknowledgement of it today by the Turkish government would actually cause anything meaningful to occur in terms of policy.

***One more point that annoys me. Can we PLEASE stop referring to the Muslim world? If I was Muslim, that term would annoy the heck out of me. The idea infers that Muslim countries can be treated as some monolithic block. I'm familiar with the concept of the Ummah and all of that, but does anyone really think that Turkey, Indonesia, and the Sudan are similar enough for politicians to get away with the phrase?