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Archive for November, 2008

Keeping the Eye on the Ball, not Emanuel

November 7th, 2008 by

By Khatchig Mouradian

Rahm EmanuelThe selection of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff—the first major appointment by President-elect Barack Obama—did not fare well with many Armenian-Americans who supported the Illinois Senator’s bid for presidency. While the Armenian-Americans who overwhelmingly voted for Obama showed signs of unease, those who supported the McCain-Palin ticket were quick to exclaim, I told you so!

The concerns of Armenian-Americans are understandable. Beginning with his days in the Clinton Administration through his years in Congress, Emanuel’s support has been mixed. It appears—if we are to take Robert Novak’s word for it—Emanuel opposed Clinton Administration affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. And yet, in his first term in Congress in 2003, he cosponsored Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.193) and urged President Bush in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to properly characterize the events from 1915-1923 as genocide.

Back then, Emanuel wasn’t afraid to question U.S. assistance to Turkey. In fact, in February 2003, when Congress was considering a $24 billion aid package to Turkey in return for allowing U.S. troops to open up a northern front to battle Iraqi insurgents, Emanuel was positively poetic in listing the myriad of domestic uses for those funds—from “no child left behind programs,” to college tuition assistance. Turkey eventually blocked U.S. troops from setting up the northern front.

Since 2006, it appears Emanuel has gone back to his Clinton-Administration days, counseling Speaker Pelosi not to place the Armenian Genocide resolution on the House agenda—advice that Pelosi and the House leadership did not heed.

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