"Was It Genocide or Not?" [October 22] refers to the pending, nonbinding resolution before the House of Representatives to recognize that the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in the crumbling Ottoman Empire was indeed genocide.
Historians have acknowledged that it was the intent of the Young Turk party to expunge the Turkish lands of Christian minorities, especially the Armenians, and it was planned prior to the outbreak of World War I. And if you don't believe historians, read eyewitness accounts, including former Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau, English writer Lord Bryce, and even the New York Times. Currently, Swedish professor David Gaunt, writing on the massacres of minorities in Turkey, unearthed documents proving that Armenians were deliberately deported by the hundreds of thousands and sent on death marches. Our parents were survivors of the genocide, and we have firsthand accounts from them. To this day, Turkey continues to deny that any of these acts were deliberate, in spite of the fact that 40 American states, along with some 20 European countries, have recognized the Armenian genocide. Even if 92 years have passed, this resolution is a matter of humanitarian value that surpasses the passage of time.
Armen and Victoria Markarian
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under the guise of a ploy to win Armenian-American votes for the Democratic Party, has managed to antagonize the Turkish government, a friendly ally of the United States. I suppose she thinks that if they withdraw their support, it will be that much harder for President Bush as commander in chief to carry on the war in Iraq. She ought to realize that this is not Bush's war. This is our war. It is our husbands, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters fighting for our safety and freedom. She should get behind the war effort and support the president instead of trying to hinder his efforts. I hope and pray that when her resolution to call the Armenian deaths a genocide comes to a vote in the full House that wiser heads will prevail, and they vote against it. Perhaps then we can salvage our friendly relationship with Turkey. Armenian-Americans should have forgiven and forgotten a long time ago.
Virginia F. Birdsell
"Was It Genocide or Not?" reaffirms to all Armenians that there was a genocide and there will continue to be genocides as long as the United States continues to let countries like Turkey dictate how the United States responds to such atrocities. My grandfather saw his family killed in front of his eyes. He had to bury them with his own hands. He and my grandmother escaped from the mass killings and arrived at Ellis Island and started a new life in the Boston area. He told his children and his grandchildren about the genocide so we will never forget.
Rep. Tom Lantos and Speaker Pelosi have dealt the United States military and its leadership a blow by self-righteously condemning our ally Turkey for the tragic Armenian slaughter almost 100 years ago. While they maintain the condemnation and efforts to have it supported by Congress are based on morality and altruism, it takes very minimal insight to perceive what is really intended: to fan the flames of the fire already kindled between Turkey and Kurdish Iraq with the goal of sabotaging U.S. efforts in Iraq and, ultimately, to embarrass the administration. It is tragic that they would sacrifice the efforts (and possibly lives) of our troops serving there to gain political ammunition for themselves and their political party, particularly with the additional enormous cost of losing one of our most helpful allies.
Don McCleve, M.D.
Monte Sereno, Calif.