Chapman, editorial director at the Cato Institute (cato.org)
contributed the following to The Moscow Times. Holdwater fired back to
this crackerjack journalist, who did not respond. Additional comments are
highlighted in yellow.
How could anyone so irresponsibly
content with only one side of a story have the nerve to actually offer to
teach a "Lesson"? Mr. Chapman's woeful ignorance and bias will
forever remain on record, to his
Monday, May 19, 2003
Armenian Genocide Lesson
By Michael Chapman
The U.S. government is rightly calling for the prosecution of Iraqis who committed human
rights abuses and war crimes. Unfortunately, that same U.S. government downplayed Genocide
Awareness Day on April 24, which marked the 88th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. In
that horror in 1915-17, Turkey killed an estimated 1.4 million Armenians. It's time to
stop playing politics with mass murder.
As the Ottoman Empire fell apart, nationalist Turks staged a coup and gained control of
Turkey in 1908. This "Young Turks" government was dictatorial and headed by
three men. From their own words, letters, documents, diplomatic correspondence from Italy,
America and Germany, news reports, eyewitness accounts, photographs and other
documentation, it is clear that the triumvirate followed policies to exterminate the
Armenian population by one means or another. The Young Turks used World War I as cover to
commit their atrocities while most of the world was looking elsewhere.
Thus, starting on April 24, 1915, thousands of Armenians were arrested and imprisoned,
charged with anti-government activity. Most were then executed. Hundreds of thousands of
others were killed by starvation, dehydration, beatings, rape and execution. Others were
worked or marched to death.
On May 19, 1916, government leader Enver Pasha said: "The Ottoman Empire should be
cleaned up of the Armenians and the Lebanese. We have destroyed the former by the sword,
we shall destroy the latter through starvation." In July 1916, the German ambassador
cabled to Germany, "In its attempt to carry out its purpose to resolve the Armenian
question by the destruction of the Armenian race, the Turkish government has refused to be
deterred by our representations, nor by those of the American Embassy." American
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. said in 1919: "When the Turkish authorities gave the
orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race;
they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular
attempt to conceal the fact."
In 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, "Like the genocide of the Armenians
before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it, ... the lessons of the
Holocaust must never be forgotten." In 1994, Israel's deputy foreign minister, Yossi
Beilin, said: "It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something
the world must remember. ... We will always reject any attempt to erase its record."
Jemal Pasha, Turkey's interior minister, publicly admitted that "800,000 Armenian
deportees were actually killed." Estimates by R.J. Rummel, a University of Hawaii
political scientist and respected genocide scholar, place the number killed at around 1.4
Today, the government of Turkey denies there was any "genocide" and argues that
Armenians also killed Turks during the war. The latter point is true. However, many of
those Turks were killed by Armenian irregulars fighting with the Russians during the war.
Rummel estimates that those Armenians killed about 75,000 Turks.
For three years now the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee
have tried to get President George W. Bush to recognize what happened in Turkey as
"genocide." More than 168 members of Congress have also urged Bush to do this.
Bush, in fact, had pledged to do so when he campaigned for president in 2000. But he has
not kept that pledge. Every April 24 he fudges the language to not upset the Turkish
In this year's statement, Bush referred to the killing of the Armenians as a
"tragedy" that just somehow happened.
No country wants genocide linked to its history. But facts are facts. And putting them all
on the table can help set the record straight and provide people with information to help
prevent genocide from happening again. Germany is forever stained because of the
Holocaust. But no one blames today's Germans for what happened 60 years ago. And in
Turkey's case, two postwar trials were held and the Young Turks' leaders were found
We can't pick and choose between crimes against humanity. We can't condemn Saddam Hussein
and his regime and give other regimes a pass. Of course, we can't undo the past or raise
the dead. But we can show leadership. We can recognize the Armenian genocide and talk
about it truthfully. And we can teach our children about it. I think the Armenian children
who died so many years ago would like that.
Michael Chapman, editorial director at the Cato Institute, www.cato.org, contributed this
comment to The Moscow Times.
Holdwater's June 26, 2003 response
(A note to the editor of The Moscow Times follows, at bottom)
Dear Mr. Chapman,
I've read "Armenian Genocide Lesson" at the Moscow Times.
I found it unsettling that the Editorial Director of the
distinguished Cato Institute... an organization I would have hoped
would be generally more open-minded than the general media... would be content to
rely on only one version of this academically debated story. I believe there must
have been certain factors involved for you to so freely deviate from what must no
doubt be your typical journalistic integrity... I would imagine your deeply rooted
belief system cannot allow you to consider that the Turks were anything but the
evil, barbaric villains you apparently believe so fervently.
Do you agree the genuine, unbiased, neutral facts are the only matter of importance?
I hope you value the truth, and can allow yourself to override your prejudices. If
this is the case, allow me to point out where you have been so misled.
Have you made a study of this issue? I know you have. Exclusively from the Armenian
perspective. How do I know this? Just run a search for the quotes you have felt so
comfortable in using... they are omnipresent in the countless Armenian sites. For
example, the "Armenian Quotes" page at www.cilicia.com/armo10a.html is one
of these many carbon-copy pages that you could have easily used to rely
upon your "evidence."
The page begins with a quote from Ataturk. It's cited as having been printed in
August 1, 1926's The Los Angeles Examiner, so it must be true, right? Well, you are
a journalist, and I know what you have written is awash with inaccuracies... so we
know not everything that is printed is always true.
This particular source was written by a Swiss journalist of whom
there is no record in Switzerland... on a day where Ataturk's
schedule did not record any newspaper interview activity (neither did the days
before or after)... and the final result was ignored in
Ataturk's major biographies. It is believed to be bogus. The second quote on this
page is the famous one by the Armenians' favorite moral witness, Adolf Hitler. That
particular quote could not be found in any record of the speech he gave in
preparation of Germany's invasion of Poland, where the alleged Armenian reference
was targeted against the Poles, and not the Jews. Scholars have studied the
authenticity of this quote, and it is most likely the Fuehrer never uttered these
Now let's scroll down a little to the Enver Pasha quote you were so comfortable with
using. No source is provided (at page bottom, Vahakn Dadrian is credited for
"Most of the quotes of Turkish origin"... Mr. Dadrian is not what we would
call an impartial academician; in his prosecutorial zeal, he has been known to
distort the facts. Perhaps you should read some analyses
of his scholarly merit, from one Professor Malcolm Yapp, for example) and common
sense would dictate Enver Pasha would not have "publicly declared on 19 May
1916" to have come out with such a statement. (With anti-Turkish wartime
propaganda running rampant, why would Enver politically come out with such a
damaging statement, even if it were
true? Even Hitler did not publicize his "Final Solution" to
the German people.)
I do know the source of the next Enver Pasha
quote; it is from "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story," a book that cannot be
taken seriously by any truth-seeker, once one learns of the motivations of the
source. The book was ghostwritten, its aim was to push America into the war, the
ambassador was a bigot (Morgenthau believed the Turks had "inferior
blood"), and quotation marks were freely used for conjured-up words.
You've written, "Jemal Pasha, Turkey's interior minister,
publicly admitted that '800,000 Armenian deportees were actually
killed.'" (HOLDWATER, later note: Talat Pasha was
the Minister of the Interior, and Jemal Pasha was the "Minister of the
Marine"; just one more of the many inaccuracies in Michael Chapman's
"Lesson.") Well, that's what it says on this Armenian
page... which a lesser experienced individual than yourself would be terribly naive
to take at face value. (We're going to get to those
numbers momentarily, and realize this was yet another fake quote.) I wonder why this
source is so absolutely believable for you.
(I don't really wonder why... I know the answer. You really don't
care to scratch beneath the surface.)
Most of the other quotes you present to make your case are
irrelevant. Gerald Ford? Yossi Bellin? Do you believe these men are historical
experts? (Don't you remember what Ford said about the Soviet Union during his debate
with Carter, probably costing him the election?) They
only parrot the same sources so many are comfortable with, not unlike yourself.
Because Ronald Reagan alludes to the Armenian Genocide does not prove
there was an extermination policy directed by the Ottoman state.
with Professor Rummel. In a section of his web site, he actually claims (or claimed,
the last time I checked) 2,100,000
Armenians were killed. (HOLDWATER, later note: Prof.
Rummel's statement, "Turkish dictators murdered about 2,100,000 Armenians"
applies to the period from 1900 to 1923. Rummel gives credence to sources such as
Dadrian, Housepian and Toynbee, during the latter's days as propagandist for
Wellington House. The professor also apparently believes in the legitimacy of the
Andonian-forged Talat Pasha telegrams, as well as the 1919 Ottoman and 1921
Tehlirian kangaroo courts, as he writes, "Then, two trials were held." How
could he not acknowledge the most important trail that vindicated the Turks: Malta?)
He also writes when he was a boy, he accepted
the stereotype of the "Jap." Unfortunately, as an adult, he
similarly accepts the stereotype of the Terrible Turk... and he's
obviously far from alone among Westerners, in this outlook. Almost all of his
sources are Armenian or pro-Armenian.
Did you know over half a dozen "neutral" (non-Turkish,
non-Armenian... which still generally translates to pro-Armenian)
sources of the pre-World War I period estimated from 1.0 to 1.5
million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire? (British historian
Arnold Toynbee, for example, claimed the total population of
Armenians living in Anatolia [The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were mainly
concentrated in Anatolia] was only 761,000.
["Nationality and the War," 1915.] When Toynbee was
recruited for Wellington House, the British propaganda arm, he
doubled this figure to 1.5 million in the following year's Blue
Book... a source subsequently discredited, but still referred to as
factual in Armenian web sites.) (HOLDWATER, later note:
Toynbee gave the Armenian Patriarch's figure of 2,100,000 Armenians living in the
Ottoman Empire credence in 1916's "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire," only one year after he had figured 761,000.)
From Armenian leader Boghos Nubar to the Armenian Patriarch in 1921, to a 1998
Armenian proclamation that appeared in the New York Times, the Armenians claim one
million Armenians survived. (That's what the Armenians claim, now; there were
probably more.) Please do the subtraction from a median pre-war population figure of
1.3 million, to get a clearer picture of the number of Armenian casualties.
The result of Armenian dead is from ALL causes... not just massacres, but also
famine, disease and combat; Richard Hovannisian himself estimated (in "Armenia[n]
on the Road to Independence," 1967, p. 67) that some 150,000 Armenians died of
famine while and after accompanying the Russian retreat.
Just as Professor Rummel's figure of 1.4 million to 2.1 million dead Armenians is an
impossibility (this is what you get for relying on strictly pro-Armenian
sources; more dead people than existed at the time), so is his figure for the 75,000
Turks killed by the Armenian irregulars. Perhaps Rummel was referring only to
Turkish soldiers? What is often tragically overlooked in this debate are the
defenseless Turkish villagers systematically eliminated by the Armenians. A British
colonel, for example, reported that the Armenians "massacred between 300,000
and 400,000 Kurdish Muslims in the Van and Bitlis districts." (12.9.1919, U.S.
Archives 184.021/265) The anti-Turkish 1968 book "The Kurds" reports the
Armenians killed 600,000 Kurds. Documented Ottoman archives have settled on a figure
of around 520,000 Turks/Muslims murdered, directly at the hands of the Armenians.
(2.5 to 3 million Turks died from all causes.)
Have you come across the American report of Niles and Sutherland? They went in,
totally sympathetic with the Armenians, which you can identify with... and they came
out reporting the Armenians were the ones with their hands truthfully bloody. (Their
report was suppressed, by General Harbourd.) Have you read the Bristol Papers?
(American Ambassador Bristol looked at the situation even-handedly, and is often
It appears more Armenians massacred Turks than the other way around; furthermore,
there is much clearer evidence that the Armenians acted systematically, making their
crimes more genocidal in impact. The Jewish Times agreed in its June 21, 1990
"An appropriate analogy with the Jewish Holocaust might be the
systematic extermination of the entire Muslim population of the
independent republic of Armenia which consisted of at least 30-40 percent of the
population of that republic. The memoirs of an Armenian army officer who
participated in and eye-witnessed these atrocities was published in the U.S. in 1926
with the title 'Men Are Like That.' Other references abound."
I guess since you never looked into this issue seriously, you were
evidently never aware of this other side of the coin. Perhaps you
dismissed it... since so many who share your biased perspective don't consider
Turkish lives as meaningful as Armenian ones.
Consider the weightiness of this matter. Perhaps you are aware the imperialist
powers conducted secret treaties to divvy up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire, even
before the war began. Great Britain's Lloyd George was at the head of this movement
to basically wipe Turkey off the face of the earth. As unfair as the Versailles
Treaty was for Germany (in school, I was taught this treaty was so revengefully
misguided, it paved the way for Hitler's rise)... the Germans had a picnic, compared
to the Turks. The Turks would have their right of self-determination taken away from
Under this atmosphere, with Great Britain far removed as a friend to the Turks as a
nation can get, the "Nuremberg" of World War
I began, in the form of the Malta War Crimes Tribunal. A team of
Armenian researchers headed the search for genocidal evidence, during a period that
lasted over two years... with every Ottoman document available under Allied
occupation, before the Turks had a chance to "purge" anything, as Armenian
prosecutor Vahakn Dadrian loves to claim (among others of his ilk).
Every single one of the Ottoman officials was free to go, at the end. Amazing. Why
would any reasonable person still even consider the possibility of an
Ottoman-directed genocidal policy today?
Let's review sources for the "evidence" from your perspective; the
following are what can be found in the multitude of what you enjoy exclusively
considering, the Armenian web sites:
1) Armenian Oral History
2) The missionaries
3) Ambassador Morgenthau and his band of consuls
4) The German wing, including Lepsius and Armin Wegner
5) A multitude of press accounts, particularly from the prestigious
New York Times
6) Bryce, Toynbee and the Wellington House reports
7) The Hitler Quote
8) Franz Werfel's "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh," and the
9) Pronouncements from the 1919 Ottoman kangaroo courts
If you can bring yourself to objectively assess each and every item
above (you will have to spend the time to seriously study this topic, and not just
rely on dubious quotes from an Armenian web site), you will find you might as well go
to a White Supremacist source to get an accurate portrayal of blacks.
"Facts are facts," you write. Yes. But first you have to
get the REAL facts. You are being unfair and journalistically
unprofessional by solely relying on one side of the story. For
various reasons, it has become acceptable — almost de rigueur — to express
anti-Turkish sentiments without being accused of bias or even racism. However, why
should anyone of integrity feel comfortable about jumping on such a bandwagon?
It is not "denial"... which connotes intending to be
dishonest and to cover up... to say the Armenian "Genocide"
is "as bogus as a three-dollar bill," as Christian scholar
Samuel Weems has written. If "facts are facts," the real
fact is, the Armenian "Genocide" has yet to be proven.
Massacres occurred when the Armenians revolted. If anything, the
documents and telegrams of the period show sensitivity toward the Armenians, when the
"Sick Man of Europe" was in a life and
death struggle, with mighty enemies at multiple fronts. There is
NOTHING that proves there was a state-sponsored policy of
extermination, and anyone who relies on strictly Armenian sources.... rampant with
forgeries and falsifications... is either gullible, racist, or has some sort of
If you are a genuine truth-seeker and feel you can get over your
brainwashing, before you have the audacity to give Armenian genocide
"lessons" on a subject you have obviously not bothered to investigate fully,
I invite you to pay a visit to my site utilizing
mainly impartial sources. It is my contention no Westerner has grown up with a
positive image of the Turks... thus, when they speak for the Turks, they are not being
"pro-Turk" (as the Armenians and their bedfellows have tried to discredit
anyone who displays any even-handedness, such as the ignored American Ambassador, Mark
Bristol), but... pro-Truth.
A note to the editor of The Moscow Times, to whom a copy of this
letter is being directed: don't forget, it was Czar Nicholas who
instigated the Armenians. Your forefathers were allied with the
Armenians, and some were criminally responsible in ethnically
cleansing the Ottoman civilian population... in their continuation of
the policy of your nation at the time. (Other Russians, on the other
hand, were disgusted by the Armenians' inhuman atrocities, and
several served as genuine eyewitnesses... including
Lieutenant-Colonel Griaznoff/Griyaznof, General L. Odishe Liyetze, Commander-in-Chief
Odichelidze, General Nikolayef, and the diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Tverdokhleboff).
Not a single Armenian would have been harmed by the Turks, both people having
co-existed for some seven centuries, had the Russians not used the Armenians as pawns.
If the Moscow Times chooses to voice an opinion as misguided and biased as Michael
Chapman's, I believe your publication should be especially
and ethically obligated to run a counter-point.