Clark Issues Statement Recognizing the Armenian Genocide

IN OCTOBER OF 2000–DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GENERAL WESLEY CLARK JOINED WITH GENOCIDE-DENIER RICHARD PERLE AND OTHERS IN SIGNING A LETTER URGING CONGRESS TO "VOTE AGAINST [THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION] WHEREVER IT MAY BE CONSIDERED–EITHER IN COMMITTEE OR ON THE HOUSE FLOOR." IN AN OCTOBER 2–2000 LETTER–THE FORMER SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER FOR EUROPE GENERAL CLARK–ALONG WITH TWELVE OTHER SIGNATORIES–DESCRIBED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE EUPHEMISTICALLY AS "EVENTS CLOUDED BY HISTORY." THEY ALSO ARGUED THAT THE "POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGE TO US INTERESTS IN A VITAL REGION DRAMATICALLY OUTWEIGHS–IN OUR JUDGMENT–ANY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PAST ATROCITIES DURING WORLD WAR I AND ITS AFTERMATH."

FAST-FORWARD TO DECEMBER 2003: "WHAT HAPPENED IN 1915 WAS GENOCIDE," SAYS DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

WASHINGTON–DC–Democratic Presidential Candidate General Wesley Clark discussed the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and called for strengthened US resolve to prevent future atrocities–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In an open letter to the Armenian American community–transmitted to the ANCA early Monday–General Clark referenced the efforts of the United States and NATO allies to stop the atrocities in the Balkans in 1999. "Back in 1915–Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire got no such rescue," explained Clark. Noting that the Ottoman Turkish authorities "rounded up and executed Armenian leaders in Constantinople and other towns–they desecrated Armenian churches–and they ordered the deportation of the Armenian people," Clark stated "what happened in 1915 was genocide."

General Clark concluded that while many of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide who had sought safe haven in the United States have passed away–"we owe it to their memory–and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands who perished–to never forget the Armenian genocide–and to strengthen our commitment to preventing such horrors in the future."

"We welcome General Clark’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide–his commitment to ensuring that those who perished are never forgotten–and his dedication to preventing such horrors in the future," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We look forward to sharing Mr. Clark’s views with Armenian American voters throughout the United States as part of our expanding ANCA Voter Education Campaign."

The full text of General Clark’s statement is provided below.

December 12–2003

Open Letter to the Armenian-American Community

In 1999–while I served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe–I had the privilege of commanding a NATO operation that prevented genocide in the Balkans. The United States and its NATO allies halted atrocities being perpetrated against Kosovo Albanians and gave the Albanians the freedom they needed to shape their own destinies. Back in 1915–Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire got no such rescue.

Under the cover of World War I–the Ottoman authorities rounded up and executed Armenian leaders in Constantinople and other towns–they desecrated Armenian churches–and they ordered the deportation of the Armenian people–sending hundreds of thousands of men–women and children–old and young–into the barren desert–where were murdered en route–or where they died of starvation and disease. The precise death toll is unknowable–but it is likely that some one million Armenia’s were killed. What happened in 1915 was genocide.

Nearly ninety years have passed since these horrors were perpetrated–and most of the Armenia’s who miraculously managed to survive the slaughter have passed away. The United States welcomed many of these Armenian survivors as refugees–and we embraced them as citizens. We owe it to their memory–and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands who perished–to never forget the Armenian genocide–and to strengthen our commitment to preventing such horrors in the future.

Sincerely,

General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.)

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