Gun Control and Genocide

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April 24th marked the 90th anniversary of
the first genocide of the twentieth century: the Turkish government’s
slaughter of over a million unarmed Armenians. The key word is "unarmed."

Turks got away with it under the cover of wartime. They suffered
no greater postwar reprisals for this act of genocide than if they
had not conducted mass murder of a peaceful people.

governments soon took note of this fact. It seemed like such a convenient
international precedent.

years after that genocide began, Hotel Rwanda opened for business.

Hutus also got away with it. Ironically, at least a decade before
– I wish I could remember the date – Harper’s
an article predicting this genocide for this reason: the Hutus had
machine guns. The Tutsis didn’t. The article was written as a kind
of parable, not a politically specific forecast. I remember reading
it at the time and thinking, "If I were a Tutsi, I’d emigrate."

did not pay to be a civilian in the twentieth century. The odds
were against you.


twentieth century, more than any century in recorded history, was
the century of man’s inhumanity to man. A memorable phrase, that.
But it is misleading. It should be modified: "Governments’
inhumanity to unarmed civilians." In the case of genocide,
however, this is not easily dismissed as collateral damage on a
wartime enemy. It is deliberate extermination.

twentieth century began officially on January 1, 1901. At that time,
one major war was in full swing, so let us begin with it. That was
the United States’ war against the Philippines, whose citizens had
the nave notion that liberation from Spain did not imply colonization
by the United States. McKinley
and then Roosevelt sent 126,000 troops to the Philippines to teach
them a lesson in modern geopolitics.
We had bought the Philippines
fair and square from Spain for $20 million in December, 1898. The
fact that the Philippines had declared independence six months earlier
was irrelevant. A deal’s a deal. Those being purchased had nothing
to say about it.

then, we did body counts of enemy combatants. The official estimate
was 16,000 dead. Some unofficial estimates place this closer to
20,000. As for civilians, then as now, there were no official U.S.-reported
figures. The low-ball estimate is 250,000 dead. The high estimate
is one million.

World War I opened the floodgates – or, more accurately, the


diplomatic game is always verbal. The G-word is verboten. Turks
accept – though resent – "tragedy." Hence, all
official reports from government-funded sources all over the world
– except Armenia – refer to the "Armenian tragedy."
This game of diplomacy has been going on since the end of World
War I. Reagan was the only President to have used the correct term.
President Bush diplomatically used "mass killings" in
his a 2003 reference to
the event
. He also referred to "what many Armenian people
have come to call the u2018Great Calamity.’" Many Armenians call
it this? Really? Name two. He also said:

also salute our wise and bold friends from Armenia and Turkey
who are coming together in a spirit of reconciliation to consider
these events and their significance. I applaud them for rising
above bitterness, and taking action to create a better future.
I wish them success, building on their recent and significant
achievements, as they work together in a spirit of hope and understanding.

name two.

being even remotely diplomatic in matters genocidal, I prefer to
use the dreaded G-word. The
Armenian genocide of 1915
had been preceded by a partial ethnic
cleansing, which took two years, 1895 – 97. About 200,000 Armenians
were executed.

event served as the background for Elia Kazan’s great movie, America,
(1963), which was nominated for the Oscar in 1964.
Kazan tells a fictionalized version of his Greek uncle’s emigration
to America. Kazan’s family followed in 1913. The movie begins with
a Greek and an Armenian, friends, who are warned by their former
military officer, a Turk, of trouble coming. It comes. Turkish officials
lock the Armenian along with other Armenians inside a church. Then
they burn it down. The Greek sees this. He vows to get out of the
Ottoman Empire and go to America. The movie traces his journey.
was a sanctuary.
If ever there was a movie on America, the sanctuary,
it’s America, America.

Armenians were easily identifiable. Centuries earlier, the conquering
Ottoman Turks had forced them to add the "ian/yan" sound
to their last names. They were dispersed throughout the empire,
so they did not possess the same kind of geographical concentrations
and strongholds that other Christians did in Greece and the Balkans.
They never did organize armed resistance forces. That was what led
to their destruction. They could not fight back.

were envied because they were rich and better educated than the
ruling society. They were the businessmen of the Ottoman Empire.
The same was true in Russia. The same resentment existed in Russia,
though not with the intensity of the resentment in Turkey.

estimates range from 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians killed. Most
of these deaths were low-tech but high efficiency. The army rounded
up hundreds or thousands of civilians, drove them into wilderness
areas, and waited until they starved to death.


is still the official position of the Turkish government that this
was not genocide; it was a relocation for military reasons. You
see, there was a revolt being planned by Armenians and Russians
in the border region of Van. This was the explanation provided in
1915 by the Turkish Consol General in New York, in a
statement published in the October 15, 1915 issue of the New
York Times
. An autonomous republic was set up in Van, which
was run by someone named Aram. (We read it here first.)

somehow, things just got out of hand. The government was powerless.
You know: just like all other governments during wartime with respect
to the activities of officials in defense of the nation. Helpless.
What’s a government to do? Therefore, in recent days, a
minor official for the Turkish government has apologized

apologize to the Armenians for us and our ancestors not having
been able to prevent the Genocide." These are the words of
Jashar Arif, representative of the International Exchange Confederation,
who is a Turk. He has arrived in Armenia together with several
other Turks to take part in the events of the 90th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Turkish government still maintains that the rulers had expected
the Armenians to join with Russians to fight Turkey. As recently
as April 24, the Philadelphia Enquirer reported that Yasar
Yakis, the head of the Turkish Parliament’s European Union Affairs
Committee, explained the reasons for the relocations. "The
Armenians were relocated because they cooperated with the enemy,
the Russians, and they . . . killed Ottoman soldiers from behind
the lines."

were systematically killed all over the Empire, not just on the
Russian border. Relocation to a camp usually means providing food,
shelter, and basic amenities. It doesn’t mean letting people starve
in the wilderness.

written text of the government’s order is controversial.
was a state secret. One version was smuggled out of Turkey in 1916.
It is posted online. As with all such secret orders, it should not
be accepted automatically. But it serves as a starting point for
full-scale research: open archives openly arrived at.

fellow countrymen, the Armenians, who form one of the racial elements
of the Ottoman Empire, having taken up, as a result of foreign
instigation for many years past, with a lot of false ideas of
a nature to disturb the public order; and because of the fact
that they brought about bloody happenings and have attempted to
destroy the peace and security of the Ottoman state, and the safety
and interests of their fellow countrymen, as well as of themselves;
and, moreover, as they have now dared to join themselves to the
enemy of their existence [i.e., Russia] and to the enemies now
at war with our state – our Government is compelled to adopt
extraordinary measures and sacrifices, both for the preservation
of the order and security of the country and for the welfare and
the continuation of the existence of the Armenian community. Therefore,
as a measure to be applied until the conclusion of the war, the
Armenians have to be sent away to places which have been prepared
in the interior villages; and a literal obedience to the following
orders, in a categorical manner, is accordingly enjoined on all

– All Armenians, with the exception of the sick, are obliged
to leave within five days from the date of this proclamation,
by villages or quarters, and under the escort of the gendarmerie.

– Though they are free to carry with them on their journey
the articles of their movable property which they desire, they
are forbidden to sell their lands and their extra effects, or
to leave the latter here and there with other people, because
their exile is only temporary and their landed property, and the
effects they will be unable to take with them, will be taken care
of under the supervision of the Government, and stored in closed
and protected buildings. Anyone who sells or attempts to take
care of his movable effects or landed property in a manner contrary
to this order, shall be sent before the Court Martial. They are
free to sell to the Government only the articles which may answer
the needs of the Army.

– Contains a promise of safe conduct.

– A threat against anyone attempting to molest them on the

– Since the Armenians are obliged to submit to this decision
of the Government, if some of them attempt to use arms against
the soldiers or gendarmes, arms shall be employed against them
and they shall be taken, dead or alive. In like manner those who,
in opposition to the Government’s decision, refrain from leaving
or seek to hide themselves – if they are sheltered or given
food and assistance, the persons who thus shelter or aid them
shall be sent before the Court Martial for execution.

happened subsequently was fully consistent with this order.

Turkish government said in 1989 that the archives regarding the
non-existent genocide were now open.
But, as it turned out,
they were not open to Armenians studying the non-existent genocide.

the archives prove, according to the Turkish government, is that
the Turks were the victims of mass murder by Armenians. Yes, it’s
hard to believe. But that’s what the archives show. We can take
the Turkish government’s word for this. On April 25, a report appeared
on the website of the International Relations and Security Network
which is partially funded by the Swiss defense agency. Here,
we read:

say at least 1 million of their ethnic kin died between 1915 –
17 as a result of a deliberate policy of extermination. They say
the policy was initiated by the Committee of Union and Progress
(Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti), or CUP, which then ruled over the
empire. Ankara claims the death toll is grossly inflated and that
300,000 Armenians died during these years. It also says the deaths
were the result of negligence, interethnic strife, or wartime
operations. It says the CUP leaders – also known as the Young
Turks – had no intention of wiping out the empire’s largest
remaining Christian community. While admitting to the massive
deportations of 1915 – which followed the massacre of 200,000
Greeks – Turkey’s official historiography says the transfers
were aimed at preventing Armenians from collaborating with Russia.
Tsarist Russia was then at war with the Ottoman Empire and its
German ally. Turkey’s official historiography also asserts that
more than 500,000 Turks died at the hands of Armenians between
1910 – 1922.

April 25, 2005 – hot off
the site – we learn of that ruthless counter-genocide.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Onur Oymen said
on Monday, "if you must express grief about Armenian casualties,
you also have to talk about more than half a million Turks who
were killed in the same incidents."

a written statement, Oymen said that the decision of the U.S.
president Bush not to use the term "genocide" represents
the reality.

must not be too happy about Mr. Bush’s statements, told Oymen.
"We know for sure that 513,000 Turks were butchered by Armenians.
Don’t we have a right to ask for sympathy for the murdered Turks?"

you are going to mention these incidents and express grief for
the Armenians who lost their lives in those incidents, it is our
right to expect a word of sympathy for more than half million
Turks in the same incidents."

right, his story is a bit scrambled. It’s now up to 513,000 Turks
in 1915 – 17, rather than 500,000 Turks 1912-22. But it’s all
there. In the archives.

are also assured by a spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Justice
that Turkey has had enough of this genocide nonsense. Quite enough.
On April 25, 2005, posted this story.

Minister of Justice and Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek has indicated
that, after many years of leaving the issue of so-called genocide
to historians, it is now high time for Turkey to start disproving
all allegations in various countries.

time, indeed! Those historians, tied as they are to misleading primary
source documents, simply cannot be trusted. They do not pay sufficient
attention to primary source documents of official Turkish assurances
for 90 years that nothing was happening or had happened, preferring
instead to cite unreliable eyewitness accounts of what did happen.
Armenian political influence is behind this.

noted that Armenians influenced the parliaments of the countries
in which they are powerful and succeeded in obtaining parliament
decisions in their favor in 15 countries.

yes: the well-known Armenian International Network, which dominates
parliaments around the world.

Turks, we wished that, instead of turning incidents of the past
into a topic of hatred and anger, they should be brought to daylight
by the historians with an approach looking at the future. . .

on our archives and confidence in our history and culture, we
can say that no genocide took place.


has stuck in the craw of the Turkish government for almost 90 years
is an official report issued by the British government, The
Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915–1916
If you don’t think governments stick by their official versions
of history, consider this April
22, 2005 story in London’s Financial Times

challenges genocide u2018fraud’

Vincent Boland in Ankara

April 22 2005

Turkish parliament was yesterday preparing to ask the UK to repudiate
a historical document that is considered to form the basis of
the claim that Armenians were victims of genocide by Ottoman Turks
during the first world war.

initiative comes on the eve of Sunday’s 90th anniversary
commemorations among Armenians of what they regard as the start
of the massacre of up to 1.5m people.

move is likely to exacerbate the bitter dispute between Turks
and Armenians. Supporters of the Armenian cause, particularly
in France, are lobbying for the European Union to delay the start
of Turkey’s accession talks for EU membership until Turkey acknowledges
a "systematic extermination" in 1915.

MPs completed and signed a letter to both houses of the UK parliament
arguing that the document was "a fraud based on fabrications,
half truths and biased reports and perceptions" of what happened
and "a masterpiece of propaganda and tool of deception".

document, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916,
was written by the British historian Arnold Toynbee and included
in a publication known as the Blue Book, by Viscount Bryce, a
British diplomat. It was an official Westminster document, which
is why the Turkish parliament wants the House of Commons and House
of Lords to act.

rejects the charge of genocide. It insists that the true death
toll among Armenians was about 600,000 and that many died from
the effects of civil war, starvation and deportation. It says
the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Turks at the time are overlooked.

letter, which was made available yesterday by the Turkish parliament
in the original Turkish and in English translation, will be sent
to London imminently.

letter says British propaganda in the first world war aimed to
portray the destruction of the Ottoman Empire as a key aim of
the war, to "render British colonialism in Anatolia and Mesopotamia
palatable", and to encourage the US to join the Allied side.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed into many nations after the war.
Its Anatolian heartland is now Turkey.

British embassy in Ankara declined to comment on the letter. Some
Turkish historians say the document has stood the test of time;
others say Mr Toynbee later distanced himself from its findings,
which were based on eyewitness accounts.

official UK position is that the massacres were "an appalling
tragedy" but that the evidence is not "sufficiently
unequivocal" to categorise them as genocide under the 1948
United Nations Convention on Genocide.

letter says British propaganda in the first world war aimed to
portray the destruction of the Ottoman Empire as a key aim of
the war, to "render British colonialism in Anatolia and Mesopotamia
palatable", and to encourage the US to join the Allied side.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed into many nations after the war.
Its Anatolian heartland is now Turkey.

British embassy in Ankara declined to comment on the letter. Some
Turkish historians say the document has stood the test of time;
others say Mr Toynbee later distanced himself from its findings,
which were based on eyewitness accounts.

official UK position is that the massacres were "an appalling
tragedy" but that the evidence is not "sufficiently
unequivocal" to categorise them as genocide under the 1948
United Nations Convention on Genocide.

James Bryce was a master historian. His book, The
American Commonwealth
(1888), is still read by American
historians as a primary source document regarding educated English
opinion about America. He served as Ambassador to the United States
from 1907–13.

name Arnold Toynbee may ring a bell. By the 1950s, he was one of
the most prominent historians on earth. His 12-volume study (1934–61)
of 26 civilizations is unprecedented in its breadth. The
Treatment of Armenians
was his first major publication.

some Armenian organization has not bought a copy of Adobe Acrobat
Pro 7 and scanned in the full volume, with the documents, remains
a mystery to me. The book is in the public domain: pre-1923. But
Toynbee’s summary is online.
This section, which appears in Part VI, "The Deportations of
1915: Procedure," is enlightening. Read it carefully. It is
the crucial aspect of the entire genocide. The government confiscated
their guns.

decree went forth that all Armenians should be disarmed The Armenians
in the Army were drafted out of the fighting ranks, re-formed
into special labour battalions, and set to work at throwing up
fortifications and constructing roads. The disarming of the civil
population was left to the local authorities, and in every administrative
centre a reign of terror began. The authorities demanded the production
of a definite number of arms. Those who could not produce them
were tortured, often in fiendish ways; those who procured them
for surrender, by purchase from their Moslem neighbours or by
other means, were imprisoned for conspiracy against the Government.
Few of these were young men, for most of the young had been called
up to serve; they were elderly men, men of substance and leaders
of the Armenian community, and it became apparent that the inquisition
for arms was being used as a cloak to deprive the community of
its natural heads. Similar measures had preceded the massacres
of 1895 – 6, and a sense of foreboding spread through the
Armenian people. "One night in winter" writes a foreign
witness of these events," the Government sent officers round
the city to all Armenian houses, knocking up the families and
demanding that all weapons should be given up. This action was
the death-knell to many hearts."

own a copy of The Treatment of Armenians. Or, rather, my
wife does. In it, there are two accounts of events in Van, which
is where the Turks say a revolt broke out, thereby justifying the
forced relocation. These reports were written by Y. K. Rushdooni
(as it is spelled in The Treatment of Armenians), my wife’s
grandfather. They are extremely detailed: street
by street activities. Some might think they are just too detailed.
Not so.

K. Rushdoony had a photographic memory. Once, his son Haig caught
him in his easy chair in front of the fire, head down, eyes closed.
“You were sleeping,” Haig kidded him. “I was meditating on what
I have just read,” he replied. “Come on,” Haig said. “You were asleep.”
He handed Haig the book. “Ask me anything about the pages where
the book is open to.” Haig did. He said that his father began answering
each question, word for word, by what was on the page. He went on
for two pages. Haig told me this story 50 years later and confirmed
it yesterday. “It was the only time I ever challenged him.” When,
in his old age, Y. K. began to lose his eyesight, he memorized dozens
of psalms, so that he could read them at family gatherings. If his
sons knew, they did not tell him. Haig, a Ph.D. in geography, has
a good memory. Rousas John, his older brother, was also generally
regarded as no slouch in the memory department – a master of
the footnote. Ask him a question after one of his lectures, and
you might get another lecture. (His dying words, after he had briefly
exposited a passage that his son had read to him on his deathbed,
were these: “Are
there any questions?
“) But, compared to their father, they both
said, they were outclassed.

her way home in 1915, his pregnant wife came across her father’s
remains in the street. He had been hacked to death. Y. K. took her,
his young child, and a 100 sterling note that had been given to
him when he graduated from Edinburgh, and fled across the border
into Russia. The boy drowned in the escape. The money – hard
currency – got the two of them across Russia to Archangel,
and from there they bought passage to the United States. Rousas
was born in 1916 in New York City.


disarmed the Russians. Stalin committed genocide against the Kulaks
in the 1930s. At least six million died.

model for 1968 Gun Control Act
– even the wording was
taken from Hitler’s legislation of 1938, which was a revision
of the 1928 law passed by the Weimar government. A good introduction
to this politically incorrect history of American gun control
is on Jews for the
Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

Mao’s troops took a village, they would kidnap rich people. They
would then offer to return the victims in exchange for money. The
victims would be released upon payment. Then they would be kidnapped
again. This time, the demand was for guns. Then they would be released
again. This made the deal look reasonable to the families of the
next victims. But once they had the community’s guns, the mass arrests
and executions began.

idea that the individual has a right of self-defense is written
into the U.S. Constitution: the second amendment. Carroll Quigley,
who taught Bill Clinton history at Georgetown, was an expert in
the history of weaponry. He wrote a 1,000-page book on medieval
weaponry. He argued in Tragedy
and Hope
(1966) that the American Revolution was successful
because the Americans possessed weapons that were comparable to
those possessed by British troops. This, he said, was why there
were a series of revolts against despotic governments in the eighteenth
century. When government weapons became superior, the move toward
smaller government ceased to be equally successful.

is a reason why governments are committed to disarming their citizens.
They want to maintain the monopoly of violence, no matter what.
The idea of an armed citizenry is anathema to most politicians.
After all, what’s a monopoly for, if not to be used?



doesn’t happen whenever the would-be targets own guns.

27, 2005

North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money
. Visit
He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An
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