Thursday, October 18, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Drop genocide resolution

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working hard to one-up the White House for clumsy, tactless behavior.

The United States does not have a lot of friends in the world. As a nation, we have military allies and trading partners, but an arrogant, incompetent foreign policy has drained a reservoir of goodwill. If the Democrats are trying to prove they can do better, a puzzling and provocative resolution insulting Turkey fails to make the case. Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee narrowly passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The suffering and death were real enough, but the link to modern Turkey is as distant as the date of the atrocities.

This legislative mischief, seemingly righteous and a long way from anyone's congressional district, has the same echo of the cultural and political ignorance that followed the U.S. invasion into Iraq: good intentions brought down by hard realities no one ever thought about or expected.

A throwaway vote on a feel-good resolution has deeply insulted a steady ally, with grim consequences for the U.S. presence in Iraq. Access to an invaluable airfield could be yanked away.

This avoidable controversy has also stirred tensions on Turkey's northern border with Iraq, where the Kurds want to establish an autonomous, if not independent, region. The White House finds itself squeezed between two allies in the war.

Democrats look inept, and the only way out is to drop a bad idea.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


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