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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade), Part Sixteen

       "As the evidence became overwhelming, Ambassador Morgenthau--in his quintessentially direct way--repeatedly confronted Talaat Pasha about his government's treatment of the Armenians.  'Why are you so interested in the Armenians?'  Talaat angrily asked Morgenthau.  'You are a Jew;  these people are Christians. . . .Why can't you let us do with these Christians as we please?'  Indignant, Morgenthau answered,
                    'You don't seem to realize that I am not here as a Jew
                     but as American Ambassador.  My country contains
                      something more than 97,000,000 Christians and
                      something less than 3,000,000 Jews.  So, at least
                      in my ambassadorial capacity, I am 97 per cent
                       Christian.  But after all, that is not the point.  I
                       do not appeal to you in the name of any race or any
                       religion, but merely as a human being. . . .The way
                       you are treating the Armenians . . . .puts you in the
                       class of backward, reactionary peoples.'
       'We treat the Americans all right,' Talaat answered.  'I don't see why you should complain.'
       'But Americans are outraged by your persecution of the Armenians.'
       'It is no use for you to argue,' Talaat answered on another occasion;  'we have already disposed of three quarters of the Armenians;  there are none at all left in Bitlis, Van, and Erzerum.  The hatred between the Turks and the Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish with them.  If we don't, they will plan their revenge.'  Morgenthau then tried to persuade Talaat by reminding him of the economic consequences of wiping out the Armenian population.  'These people are your business men.  They control many of your industries.  They are very large tax-payers.' 
       'We care nothing about the commercial loss,' replied Talaat.  'We have figured all that out and we know that it will not exceed five million pounds.'
       'You are making a terrible mistake,' Morgenthau answered, and repeated the statement three times.
        'Yes, we may make mistakes,' he replied, 'but'--and he firmly closed his lips and shook his head--'we never regret.'  Not long after, Talaat boasted to the ambassador, 'I have accomplished more toward solving the Armenian problem in three months than Abdul Hamid accomplished in thirty years!'"  The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian, pgs. 274-275.

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