Confronting the “triumvirate of moral cowardice”

One hundred and eight years ago, my grandmother, uncle, aunt and my 13-year-old father – along with their entire village – were purged and exiled into the barren sands of the Syrian desert with only an armful of belongings. Along with the rest of Western Armenia, my father’s Christian village and family were among those whom the Turkish pashas determined to exterminate. Their ancestral homes were pillaged and destroyed, and churches rooted in centuries of history were torn down with their irreplaceable artifacts representing centuries of civilization. Their fate was left to starvation, thirst, the swords of merciless Turks and rampant disease as they trekked into an unknown destiny. A million and five hundred thousand did not survive, including my grandmother, uncle and aunt.

One hundred and eight years ago, the world stood silent. America waived its conscience, and history repeated itself in the past weeks as the entire indigenous Armenian Christian population of Artsakh (Karabagh) was murderously marched out in the genocidal purge of another ancestral homeland carved out of its statehood in Azerbaijan. The modern venal, murderous, amoral 21st century pasha is Ilham Aliyev, a corrupt, dictatorial oligarch who has enriched himself at the fossil fuel troughs of the Caucasus and, unbelievably, as he collaborates in the death and purges of Christians, is embraced and coddled by President Joseph Biden and his spineless Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his lickspittle NSC Adviser Jake Sullivan.

This triumvirate of moral cowardice has stood aside in the face of a tinhorn dictator in a backwater mountain region while he has soullessly set about the repeat of 1915’s systematic and calculated cleansing. Once again the population’s target is babies, its elderly, its women and its working men. And as Aliyev set his sights on expanding his empire into adjoining regions, Biden wrings his hands in confusion – issuing empty pronouncements through his low-level appointees of “sympathy and concern,” even as he continues military aid to Baku.

Now comes the further rub. The so-called passion and outrage from the Congress and Biden’s colleagues in the Democratic Party has been meaningless – including that coming from Armenian-Americans in the Congress. They wring their hands with letters and resolutions politely “urging” Biden to take action. They make “requests” to Biden for “proper actions.” Congressmen make themselves feel good by signing letters calling for sanctions and caterwauling about Aliyev’s mass violation of every conceivable standard of morality known to man. None of this helps.

What the Democrats in Congress – Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier – need to do is to quit their polite promenade with Biden, Blinken and Sullivan and call them out for their moral cowardice. What will make Biden act is if Pelosi goes into the Oval Office and tells him that anything less than action, intervention and immediate assistance is cowardice on Biden’s part – and to make public statements attacking Biden for his inaction. Does Schumer have the courage to say to Biden: “Mr. President, if you can be pushed around by a low-life like Aliyev, how can we expect you to stand up to thugs like Putin or strongmen like Xi Jinping?” Like I have proposed for Pelosi, Schumer needs to go public with such statements – to embarrass Biden to act.

There is a reason to hold public office, and that is to achieve a service that those of us without power cannot.

As for Eshoo and Speier, the two of them are on the high moral ground to ask Biden if he has any sense of how he is now being viewed in the Armenian-American community – as callous and disconnected from reality. They might ask him a simple question: How would he feel if he was forced to leave his home in Delaware with nothing but the clothes on his back and a handful of memories – and not even his precious Corvette? And, again, those statements should not be only made in private – but loudly in public, before cameras and in press conferences – to place a blanket of shame on the shoulders of their party’s leader.

Doesn’t the official Democratic Party understand that they have the political, moral and persuasive power to shame the President into action like others cannot? And when they don’t act as I have just proposed, then they, too should be viewed through the lens of moral condemnation.  There is a reason to hold public office, and that is to achieve a service that those of us without power cannot. Letters written by eager staffers, full of empty words, are going into files to be lost in the archives. The real leaders of the Democratic Party – those I have named and many others who claim to stand by the side of the Armenian-American community – can show where they truly stand by using armaments of action, not cotton candy. This is one time they can portray themselves honestly and genuinely and not hide behind Capitol Hill fluff.

I speak only for myself and for no organization or cause.  Only for the memory of my father and his village.

Ken Khachigian

Ken Khachigian

Ken Khachigian served as a communications aide and speechwriter for President Richard Nixon and subsequently assisted Nixon in the preparation of his memoirs. He served President Ronald Reagan as chief speechwriter in the White House and as campaign strategist and speechwriter in Reagan’s two landslide presidential campaigns. He authored Reagan’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide in a 1981 presidential resolution. In California, Khachigian served as George Deukmejian’s close confidant and principal campaign strategist for Deukmejian’s two victorious gubernatorial campaigns.
Ken Khachigian

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  1. Ken is correct, of course, but don’t expect anyone in DC to listen. Like a lot of us, he is lucky he was raised in Visalia.
    On the other hand, Ken, how much time did you spend in the service? That’s who has to deal with that sort of thing.

    • Ken your timing is so crucial to the salvation of our homeland.
      May our Lord Bless your wonderful comments with action for our brothers & sisters in peril.

  2. Ken, of course, you’re correct but I’m afraid your hopes the power brokers of the Democratic Party will act are hopeless. It’s no coincidence that these last two years the World is in turmoil because as the adage goes; “when the U.S. sneezes the World gets a cold”. Well, the U.S. has really sneezed these last two years and as a consequence the World is in grave turmoil. Just as it was in 1915 while the World was distracted, the evil perpetrators made their move against the small Christian nation surrounded and constricted by Turkey and Azerbaijan, both Muslim nations with historical atrocities perpetrated towards Armenia. Without a strong “World Order” which the U.S. used to lead, Armenia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, and the rest of the “free world” are in peril. We Americans need to wake up, and elect new leadership that can restore order to America and provide stability in the World.

  3. Ken is unmatched.He is a voice in the wilderness. Muslim is a religion of war.
    Ottoman empire was an evel empire.

  4. Your article of Feb 14 in the WSJ is a disgrace. It clearly shows what is important to you and what your values are, a pressed shirt, a barber…
    You could not find any other fault with Biden and his achievemnets in office, therefore this is what you resorted to, making it sound like this President is in office for the trappings of the office, we get it if you were in his shoes that would important to you…
    The President you support was ranked last by historians as the worst president in history, is a pathological liar, psochopath, and will soon be a convicted felon. Good job for supporting the worse of the worse, I am not surprised given what is important to you…a pressed shirt and a barber…

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