08 October 2007

2038) Letter To The Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee, Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

October 6, 2007

The Honorable John S. Tanner
8th District of Tennessee
1226 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

VIA FACSIMILE - (202) 225-1765

Dear John:

In both February and June of this year I wrote you in opposition to what has become known as the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

I do not know whether you actually saw my letters or whether an aide merely tallied my communication as a “for” or “against” since my letters would appear to be from someone you did not know (or your staff did not know).

With this letter I am making a personal appeal to you from an old friend and very active Democrat in Alabama and nationally. I hope you remember, it has been over 40 years now, that we were in school together at UT and that you made an appeal on my behalf to my parents regarding their position in opposition to college fraternities. I never forgot that, and I hope you will remember me as well.

John, in my thirty-three years as a lawyer and political activist, I have never made an appeal to a legislator, indeed any public official, on a personal level. I am now.

I lived in Turkey for two years while in the Air Force, not on a base, but in an apartment in Ankara where I lived among the people. I came to know them, their culture, and their history. To this day, I maintain personal relationships with Turkish citizens as well as Turkish-Americans. I think, because of my background, I am as knowledgeable as anyone can be regarding Turkey and Turks while not being Turkish.

I also know how little Americans know about them.

Over the years it seems our diplomatic efforts toward Turkey, our most important strategic ally in the region, have been to drive them away instead of to nurture the relationship. And during the Bush administration, we have stumbled over, and over, and over. The most recent Pew Research poll reveals that only 9% of Turks view the United States favorably. That contrasts with an overwhelmingly favorable attitude toward the U.S. when I was there. We have unilaterally pushed them away for years.

H. Res. 106 may be the straw that broke the Camel’s back.

If the resolution is passed by the Committee and then the House, our future relations with Turkey will, at the very least, be impaired. They may be totally destroyed.

While the resolution has no substantive impact in and of itself, it will have seriously adverse repercussions and will affect our ability to effectively operate in the region.

I implore you to vote no on H.Res. 106.

Since the resolution is scheduled to be considered on October 10, time is short. Please feel free to call me, or have an aide call me, if there is any information I might provide that will impact your attitude toward this resolution or the attitude of any other House member.

Finally, I request that you make this letter and my previous letters a part of the record in opposition to the resolution. I know there is opposition from former Secretaries of State, former Secretaries of Defense, retired generals and others. I am only a citizen seeking to be heard, albeit a citizen with considerable knowledge of the country and its people this resolution gratuitously slaps in the face.

Sincerely yours,

ORRIN R. FORD

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