Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/25/21: “Genocide,” Crisis” And “Honeymoon”

John-Tenniel-Humpty-Dumpty

The good news is that I’m back at the keyboard, though at a ridiculous hour. The bad news is that I’m here because I’m out of pain-killers, and my mouth is killing me. [UPDATE: I started this post at 3 am, couldn’t continue, and now it’s after noon. I’m clearly a weenie. I’m pretty sure my father endured worse pain than I am dealing with all through his life and repeatedly after his foot got blown up in the war, and he never complained once…]

Yesterday marks a great moment in ethics, and my plan was to mention it on time. On that date, April 24 in 1863, Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whose three sons served in the Civil War, created what became General Orders No. 100. Reflecting his many writings on the topic, it was a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was subsequently borrowed or adapted by many European nations, including influencing the Geneva Convention. Unique when it was written, Lieber’s code was the product of a committee of four generals and Lieber, who were tasked by Union General Halleck to draft rules of ethical combat. The the 157 articles established regulations and standards for the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, flags of truce, and much more. The document was written almost entirely by Lieber, and there was nothing like it.

1. President Biden does the ethical thing that President after President didn’t have the guts to do…He finally authorized referring to the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian genocide as “genocide.”

Good. Any President since 1916 (that’s Woodrow Wilson through Trump) could have made official the historical reality, but keeping our Turkish allies happy by enabling their long denial was deemed more pragmatic. Of course what the Ottoman Empire did to its Armenians was genocide. An estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million Armenian men, women, children, elderly and ill Armenians were marched to the Syrian desert in 1915 and 1916, with many thousands killed on the way. There they were placed in concentration camps. After another wave of massacres in 1916, only 200,000 of those deported survived. Many of these were forcibly converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim households. Still more massacres and ethnic cleansings of Armenian survivors were carried out by the Turkish nationalist movement after World War I. Naturally, the Armenians’ property was confiscated in the process. The genocide reduced the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by an estimated 90%

2. And yet, ironically, the same administration refuses to use the word “crisis” to describe the current illegal immigration mess at the Mexican border, a crisis entirely created by Biden’s implicit invitation to aliens to break our laws and eventually benefit from doing so. Thus Politico, part of the Left’s propaganda and disinformation apparatus, sent out a memo to staff telling them not to use the term “crisis,” and to “avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context. While the sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for the Biden administration and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, it does not fit the dictionary definition of a crisis. If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom.”

The situation indeed fits the dictionary definition of “crisis.” Politico also doesn’t seem to be troubled at all that it and every other news source referred to a similar but far less massive wave of children showing up at the border when Trump was President as a “crisis.”

3. And this is why nobody can trust the news media. Are President Biden’s first hundred days a success or failure with the American people? I have read several news items stating that he’s doing, as Tony the Tiger would say, “GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT!” NBC crowed, “Poll: At 100 days, Biden’s approval remains strong. Can the honeymoon last?”

That’s strange: over at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, we are told,

President Joe Biden earned one of the lowest approval ratings among presidents in the modern era during his first 100 days in office, according to a new poll. The ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted April 18 to April 21, found that Biden’s approval rating stands at a paltry 52%, far below expectations that Democrats had for the new president they predicted would be a mostly unifying figure. In fact, Biden’s approval rating is “lower than any president at 100 days in office since 1945,” according to ABC News. Only Gerald Ford, who was publicly damaged by his decision to pardon Richard Nixon, and Donald Trump had lower approval ratings for their first 100 days in the White House….Overall, the average approval rating for the 14 presidents from Harry Truman to Biden for their first 100 days in office is 66%, meaning Biden is 14% below the average.

This tells me that the AUC successfully destroyed the healthy and patriotic tradition of U.S. citizens uniting behind a newly elected President whether they voted for him or not, by setting out to de-legitimize President Trump and subjecting him to insults and contempt from the moment he was elected. This, as I warned at the time, will permanently weaken the office while dividing the nation. Even with the news media refusing to criticize Biden or even report serious missteps and gaffes, his approval consists only of those who voted for him in November. That’s not a ‘honeymoon.”

4. Now comes the revenge against those who dared to try to give Derek Chauvin a fair trial. Maryland is going after Dr. David Fowler, its former chief medical examiner who testified for the defense. Fowler, called as an expert, testified that he would have classified George Floyd’s death as “undetermined” rather than homicide. He said that he believed that Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease and perhaps from carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust. Well, clearly having an opinion that inconveniences the metaphorical lynch mob determined to destroy the ex-cop cannot be tolerated, so hundreds of woke doctors signed a letter to Maryland’s attorney general calling for an independent review of all those who died while in police custody during the 17 years Fowler served as chief medical examiner. The doctors objected to the “undetermined” classification, claiming it falls outside standard practices and conventions regarding in-custody deaths.

So Attorney General Brian Frosh and Gov. Larry Hogan have ordered a formal review. Will this chill the willingness of future experts to testify in the defense of future unpopular defendants? Of course it will, and I believe that is the intent.

15 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/25/21: “Genocide,” Crisis” And “Honeymoon”

    • This is vicious and unprecedented. Where did this take no prisoners approach to one’s adversaries become standard operating procedure? Get a load of this from a review of the recent Phillip Roth biography by an author (Bailey) who is being accused of rape and other sexual misbehavior:

      “That said, Bailey’s publisher has made a horrible decision in “pausing” the book’s distribution. Yes, its author turned out to be a terrible person, but that is hardly a reason to literally cancel his work. Many writers are terrible people. (I am perhaps not so great, myself.) Readers should be trusted to decide for themselves whether to buy a book by an accused rapist. I understand not wanting to publish a book by a bad person in the first place. I would not give a book contract to anyone who ever worked for Donald Trump or Fox News, for starters. They should be shunned by all people in every aspect of their lives. But once you’ve committed yourself to publishing a work, your own decision has been made and it becomes your job as a publisher to protect and defend freedom of expression. If you’re feeling guilty, feel free to give the money to a fund for rape victims. This book does not, in any way, poison the public discourse; canceling it, however, does.”

      Did you see that slipped in? A vicious swipe at anyone who worked in the Trump administration. They should be pariahs for the rest of there lives, cast beyond the pale, condemned to wander day and night for eternity. Again: “I would not give a book contract to anyone who ever worked for Donald Trump or Fox News, for starters. They should be shunned by all people in every aspect of their lives.”

      I think Trump Derangement Syndrome is a deficient diagnosis. These elite NYC lefties have a deeper problem: They are right and anyone who doesn’t agree with them is evil. This is not good for a civil, democratically governed society. And these are the people who are saying democracy dies in darkness? They mean democracy dies when it’s not run the way we want it to be run.

      • 4. I think at some point Dr. Fowler will win a very large judgment and nice retirement from his employer. I certainly hope so.

  1. Why have you not finished Part 3 if the Pandemic Creates a Classic and Difficult Ethics Conflict?

    I share this tweet frlm Paul Krugman.

  2. And here is a tweet from Maxine Waters.

    Does the Julie Principle apply?

  3. Biden’s approval rating is “lower than any president at 100 days in office since 1945,” according to ABC News. Only Gerald Ford, who was publicly damaged by his decision to pardon Richard Nixon, and Donald Trump had lower approval ratings for their first 100 days in the White House…

    How can both of those sentences be true at the same time?

    • Looks like just a simple failure to paraphrase accurately. The ABC story continues past Jack’s close quote to say “save” [except] Ford and Trump. Jack has his tooth and ABC has its truth. 😉
      The main point remains; Biden’s approval rating is poor, yet the media put a positive spin on it.

  4. 106 years ago today Talaat Pasha, Minister of the Interior of the tottering Ottoman Empire, ordered the arrest of nearly 300 Armenian writers, politicians, clergymen, attorneys, and other prominent citizens in Constantinople. A second wave would bring the number to about 600. Ultimately about 2,500 would be arrested and detained throughout the empire. Few would survive, although some did eventually get to put pen to paper later and describe what happened. 3 weeks before there had been a mass disarmament of Armenians including the seizure of household knives. 2 months before Enver Pasha, the minister of defense, had ordered that all Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman army be demoted to workmen, while all Armenian young men not in the military would be conscripted as workmen, This meant to be loaded up with supplies and trudge miles on almost no food, then shot when you could do no more. It was a masterstroke first step in a planned genocide of the Armenian people (although the Turks equally mistreated ethnic Greeks, Lebanese, Chaldean Christians, and other minorities).

    Almost overnight, and before there was time to organize to resist or call for help, the Armenian people found themselves mostly defenseless, leaderless, and unable to do much to stop what followed. The Turks moved them in caravans from their homes to “refugee camps” in Lebanon and Syria, but maybe 10% ever got there. Many starved, for they were given little food. Many more were killed with makeshift weapons by Turkish civilians who the guards did nothing to stop, sneering that this was saving them using bullets later. In a few places such as Van, there was some resistance, long enough for Russian troops to arrive and evacuate whoever they could.

    Unfortunately, the aid was too little, too late, and the Armenians as a people were essentially erased from central Asia. What is more, when the allies finally mediated an end to what eventually became a war between the Greeks and Turks, they allowed a secret annex to the treaty that would grant amnesty to the perpetrators of this act of genocide. Exhausted from World War I and not interested in starting another war, they sold the ethnic minorities down the river in exchange for the Turks giving up all claims to lands outside the Turkish homeland of Anatolia.

    No perpetrator of a planned genocidal act has ever been luckier than Turkey. They escaped accountability because the other powers didn’t want to go to full-scale war to save non-European minorities. Then they got to sit back and do nothing during World War II, before they joined the Allied cause in February 1945, and only to stop the Soviet armies then rolling south from rolling right on over them. After that they joined NATO and played the role of “outpost” against the Soviets… on the condition that NATO give them $10 in aid for every $7 they gave Greece, not interfere in their internal politics, and say little about their past terrible human rights record, while they spread the myth that this was just a civil war or an internal matter. Unfortunately today it looks like their luck has run out.

    The picture I chose to put with this article on facebook was an ugly one, showing Turkish officers with the severed heads of Armenians. However, what happened here was one of the ugliest acts of the 20th Century, and it was done for the ugliest of reasons. It’s also proof that this was about hate, not anything else. Those who fight an enemy they think worthy of honor bury them, or at least let their own bury them. It’s only those who think the dead are unworthy of any honor who engage in desecration of their bodies and take the time to make a photographic record of it. If this makes you uncomfortable, then it has achieved its purpose, you SHOULD feel uncomfortable about it. What happened here was what happens when hatred and tyranny are allowed to combine and become all-powerful. The hatred here was ethnically based and religiously based, but any other kind of hatred is just as bad, and must never be the basis for this kind of evil again. If someone says one race or another is evil, or one race or another is superior, which is the other side of that, see it for what it is: hatred. If someone tries to push disarmament of the general population, ask why. If someone wants to silence writers or leaders, don’t let it be done. Budding tyranny needs to be nipped before it reaches this point.

  5. Brian Frosh would have felt right at home in the Third Reich. He uses his position for purely political ends and Hogan exemplifies cowardice in the face of opposition.

    • Obviously you’ve got a front row seat on these Terrapin (why aren’t the Maryland teams called the Soft Shell crabs? Yum!) capers.

  6. I am very happy about Biden’s action and I applaud him.

    We all know he is punching at Erdogan because he cannot and will not punch at President Xi and yet needs to talk tough on SOMEONE, and, as an Armenian, I’d still, if given a choice, pick to not have a president whose balls are held in a vice by a Communist dictatorship.

    Still, I rejoice in this small consolation prize.

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