QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
March 26, 2002
JERRY FOWLER: Well, I’m sure that people are going to have a lot of questions but I’ll take the prerogative of the host and ask the first one.
Thank you very much. That was incredibly moving and intriguing.
The question I have is if you imagined a world where there was a lot more genocide prevention and there was intervention when prevention didn’t work, and we’d have to be honest and say that it’s not going to work all the time. For one thing just finding the right places to do prevention is a difficult thing. What would that world look like? We see in Bosnia once the international community went in they’re still there. In Kosovo they’re still there. Afghanistan, which some people would say was the genocidal situation under the Taliban, certainly one that had many of the ingredients, the international community is going to have to be there for a long time.
If they’d gone in Rwanda instead of letting the RPF take care of the genocidal government it would still be there. What will that world like that? Is that going to be what David Rieff has called the liberal imperialism? Is that something that we can live with? Is there going to be a limit to the number of these situations that can be taken on? How does that have effect on nongenocidal situations that nevertheless have a calling for international intervention?
SAMANTHA POWER: I have such a hard time imagining that world that it’s very hard to answer the question. It feels so over-determined.
Let me challenge the question a little bit and then try to respond to it in good faith. But the places we have seen meaningful American intervention are places where you get values but not values alone, values plus either a strategic interest, a perceived traditional vital interest or whatever or, as I mentioned, a political interest.
It strikes me that that knowing that and understanding that is something that we all have to work with and that recognizing that means that there’s going to be an inherent selectivity to who we choose always and there would be, and by “we” I mean America, I mean the NGO community, I mean universal organizations that do ground themselves in universal principles are themselves daily deciding how much time to spend on HIV in Africa and how much time to spend on Mugabe and how much time to spend on abuses now in Afghanistan and how much of a leash to give the new Afghan.
I mean, we’re always deciding what to own and what to privilege, and I suppose you’re doing such great work on Sudan here. I’m hoping the National Security Archive is going to take up the FOIA process on Sudan. You have a constituency in this country that you’re able to partner with which is the religious right who have also owned this issue because of the persecution of the Christians. I would not judge you for choosing Sudan because it feels that there might be a window of opportunity or a chance for political momentum. I’m not saying that that’s why you made the choice. In fact I don’t think it is. But it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you did. If you actually said boy, how can we force multiply, and this has such immoral and un-universal consequences in terms of the victims who are not the chosen ones.
I mean, in a sense you hear a lot of people. I find it quite shocking having lived through nonintervention in Bosnia a little bit first hand but the extent to which people distinguish the Bosnians and the Kosovars from the Rwandans, like you have to be a white European in order to be a victim who matters. Well, it’s true that there are side effects to being European. The New York Times is more willing to cover it. People were more likely to have gone on vacation on the Adriatic Coast. The bureaucrats tended to be on the fast track and thus had more confidence.
There are a lot of things that come out of being in Europe but one of the things that didn’t come out of being Europe was a prompt response to genocide. So there was a lot of things that helped in the end to tip the hour glass, as it were, but some of those features anyway didn’t have the instant effect that we would have liked.
In answer to your question about what it would be like if there weren’t this built-in selectivity and if we all didn’t have to choose our battles and make very unpalatable choices I think it would be a world in which the United States its first leadership move after issuing the Presidential decision directive and issuing all the public speeches and getting the American people on board to turning “Never Again” into “Not on my Watch,” which really seems to me is the shift that needs to be made or the supplement that needs to be uttered, but the next set of conversations would have to be with our allies, and they would have to be in service of recognizing unique strengths and capacities and political constituencies in other countries.
That is, if we’re serious then it becomes a difficult conversation and an essential conversation but a conversation that’s nowhere near to happening, which is about how do we divide up this colossal burden if we’re serious and how do we divide it up also knowing that we won’t know when we’ve done prevention. So all people will know about is that we’re spending an awful lot of money in places they’ve never heard of in service of goals that they’ll never see being achieved. It’s a very difficult conversation.
It’s not in so many ways but part of it would have to be not just Western European countries chipping in, and they have more ripe, probably, domestic constituencies right now than we do, especially with us fighting the war and terror after 9/11, but they’ve been more willing to do peacekeeping and do the touchy-feely stuff for longer. So having real conversations with them where we do contingency military planning around specific hot points but also strengthen the regional capacities and recognizing that even though the Nigerian and the Liberian precedence for intervention in neighboring states are not those that we would necessarily want to emulate they might, especially in the Nigerian case, well have been better than nothing and that in the short term we are in the land of imperfects and least bad options, and so we really should be thinking about who could be summoned probably in their case less diplomatically and more in terms of trying to create an international presence that deters killing. So I would respond in that way.
QUESTION: Hi. You mentioned [indecipherable] reactions about genocide [indecipherable]. You talked about not seeking additional information and you talked about sheltering imperfection. Now, I read the first chapter of your book [indecipherable] and I found that all of these principles or observations were reflected in the way you wrote this chapter.
I looked at your quick notes. There was one reference to Professor Stanford Shaw, who argues that this was not a genocide case, that mass mortality on both Armenian and Muslims [indecipherable]the Turkish and Kurdish was a result of an aggravation of many, many symptoms, civil war aggravated by world war and invading forces in [indecipherable] therefore do not seek out additional information, do not [indecipherable] and rely on piecemeal information that gives the impression [indecipherable] that to induce your evidence by starting out with your conclusion saying there was not really genocide [indecipherable] is how I can prove it because you mentioned Morganthau very, very extensively and you seem to basing your whole argument on his writings but you do not rely on his actual cables and diaries [indecipherable] that he and some Armenian friends wrote based on his diaries and his cables, and there’s very good book by [indecipherable] that type of a story behind the Morganthau story.
SAMANTHA POWER: I read that book, yes.
QUESTION: So I was wondering whether you feel that, for example, on the matter of apathy and indifference the tens of thousand of Muslims, Turks, and Kurds who died at the hands of Armenian rebel forces, invading Russians and [indecipherable] insurgencies that [indecipherable] before 1915 doesn’t matter because you do not mention even one [indecipherable] casualty [indecipherable].
SAMANTHA POWER: One of my limits, unfortunately, is that I speak neither Turkish nor Armenian and I am a lawyer and a journalist and not a full-time historian of the Armenian genocide or of Turkish history.
I’ve read, I think, all of the books available in English that you mention and I have no dog in that fight. I don’t have an Armenian boyfriend. I don’t have any Armenian blood. All I can tell you is I went in with no dog in the fight and with an open mind in terms of the selectivity and came to the conclusions that I reached and I did read all the primary sources and the cables and the press coverage of the time and I relied heavily actually on some of the trials the Turks themselves did of the perpetrators of what were then called crimes against humanity. It wasn’t called genocide until much later as the word did not exist then.
But the Turks themselves were very good locally at beginning a process of accountability. Unfortunately, that was aborted with a change in the regime and with Ataturk’s nationalism and with his understandable resentment at British meddling. So I relied heavily on those as well.
All I can say again is that I didn’t live it first-hand. I was very persuaded by the evidence that I read. There is an inherent selectivity in the book in terms of killings of other groups. At every event understandably there are people who are complaining about my case selection, and I’m the first to be apologetic about it. I just had to choose my battles and I was looking for cases where the United States was proximate to doing something and was grappling with a policy response, not with a military response necessarily.
I left out the cultural revolution, Stalin’s purges. I have short mention of Biafra and Indonesia. I just couldn’t do everything, and I really wanted to give my best just reckoning with some of the major cases of the systematic targeting of minorities, and I didn’t think that the target in the other direction rivaled even by a fraction what had been done to the Armenians and so I made that judgement and responded.
QUESTION: You mentioned [indecipherable]. There was a conference in Istanbul March 15 [indecipherable] on the anniversary of his murder. There were six foreign historians that spoke, including [indecipherable], who wrote the book The Myth of Terrorism. What some of them mentioned is that the Armenian that you mentioned in the book who murdered [indecipherable] was actually used by the British as a ploy against getting [indecipherable] back to Turkey because of the [indecipherable]. There’s a big involvement of oil in this [indecipherable] which continues even today. [indecipherable] was killed not as a revenge by an Armenian but by a British [indecipherable].
As you know, British did a tremendous propaganda against Turkey, Ottoman Empire, which is a mistake when we say Turkey because Turkey did not even exist. You mentioned Turkish. That’s not correct and the British wanted the Americans to enter the war. Arnold Toynbee invented all kinds of stories, in fact lies, to get American people in. Morganthau never left Istanbul. He arrived on [indecipherable]and the book that he wrote is full of lies and false interpretations. [indecipherable]is the one that you never mention in your book. Why don’t they [indecipherable]. I cannot believe you don’t mention [indecipherable]. He was the US ambassador the first years of [indecipherable].
There is a book coming out on April 6 by a Christian, former judge Samuel Reeves. It’s called Armenia, the Great Deception. I would recommend that you buy that book. He proves that the Armenian church was involved in [indecipherable]. If you read a book by William Saroyan, a great American author whose parents were born in Turkey, he says that in any other church [indecipherable] --
JERRY FOWLER: Is there going to be a question at the end of this?
QUESTION: So why have you not mentioned [indecipherable] in your book? Why have you not made research on public pressure murder? Those are my questions.
SAMANTHA POWER: My book was a seven- year investigation into US responses to genocide in the 20th century. It is an imperfect product. I have not read everything. I have read more than I wish I had read, and I can’t really give you a response different than the one that I have just given. We will disagree on the appropriateness of including this case probably till the end of time. I did my best.
QUESTION: There’s a very capable comments of our church that just [indecipherable]
QUESTION: I want to talk about the latter part of your book [indecipherable]Cambodia and Iraq side by side [indecipherable] but one I think is really helpful in seeing how the world has evolved and changed in that period, not so much only in US policy but it’s perhaps true that in the case of the Iraq and Cambodia it was hard to confirm what was going on in those countries, whereas in the cases from the 1990s it was hard to appreciate but confirmation was possible, and so when we go around this museum and think about many of the cases of genocide of the past we think about concealing genocide and efforts of secrecy, whereas if we think of the last decade that’s not so much the case.
It’s more of obscurity and misinforming people of what’s happening. And the question is just how you see the -- if this what we call the information age both enabling bystanders to be informed of what’s happening but also the perpetrators are able to monitor the responses, and I think Milosevic and others and the Rwandans were able to test and then see whether they could go forward and they can test for responses and make assessments, and so rather than working with secrecy they were working with a new way of committing genocide which is seeing what they can get away with and then gradually extending that and then, of course, there’s always miscalculations that can be committed.
But convicting Milosevic is going to very harsh and it’s partly because of his masterfulness and being able to test right up to the edge.
SAMANTHA POWER: Yes, just a brief response if I could. I think it’s a very acute observation. There’s a brilliant book by a British sociologist named Stanley Cohen called The Denial of Atrocity, and he talks about the shift with ever-increasing information sources and rapidity of communication, the shift from a mode where denial took the form of denial of fact so it didn’t happen, no, it happened, it didn’t happen, and he talks about shift away from that where you see the “it.” That is, you see the bodies. You get the evidence in something closer to real time. But the shift is then toward denial of interpretation.
So even if you see the 7,000 Muslim men and boys, which you didn’t, of course, in real time in Srebrenica, but if you began to excavate remains the Serbs could still say it was a civil war, they started it, they attacked us, they were soldiers. That is, the bodies themselves don’t get you all you need or even the market massacre in Bosnia in February ’94, 68 people murdered, and [indecipherable] could come out and say yeah, okay, there might have been 68 bodies but, I mean, this was laughable, of course, but that they were prosthetics or bodies that had been taken out of the morgue. Milosevic’s response to the purge of the Albanians was yes, okay, there may have been a million people who crossed the border into Macedonia and Albania after Operation Horseshoe in the midst of the NATO bombing but it must be people walking in circles to be counted twice and three times. I mean, this is an amazing way of shifting interpretations even around numbers and facts that are available.
And then thirdly, though, the shift is even if you can establish the facts, get a shared interpretation with the aid of information and maybe with a little political will, there’s still a denial of implication so that you’re moving along, you’re in a sense moving the bar again and again, and I think that’s an important way to think about it, that devices, and it is that “we didn’t know” to “we didn’t fully appreciate it” is a good example of it, that for all of the information deluged and for the impossibility of the silence we saw in the face of the Cambodia crisis, although the papers haven’t exactly been brimming with reports from Southern Sudan. I mean, information, even if it’s available on the internet, isn’t necessarily channeled in politically relevant meaningful ways but that you do the shift and there’s a greater capacity to build a constituency.
Human rights groups have contributed I think greatly, especially the more professionalized they become and the more rigorous they are, and they are very, in learning how to debrief refugees.
The only other point I want to add because I think your point is such a smart one about the way communication works in the other direction and I just want to agree with you that I was really struck about the extent to which especially lately, as you say, in the last decade or two, and I think this was true of Saddam, too, though, actually in the ’80s but the extent to which they are monitoring our press and our public statements and that they know us so much better than we know them or that they are predicting our movements and are concerned with our every breath. It really is striking and I hadn’t made the link with technology as such as a way in which they were learning to develop their PR statements around what information was allowing them to see.
But every interview I did in the Serb Republic and Serbia proper, I would be greeted by somebody who’d have, not everyone, but almost everyone, a manilla folder with my name on it with all of my recent articles and inevitably every interview would have to begin with their debunking of every claim that I’d made and it’s just striking, whereas I was like, we’d go in and I’d ask my colleagues if we had a way of distinguishing people.
This is going to sound dreadful, but I would say because all these people and these names and people I hadn’t met before until I had been there a while and I would just say goodie or baddie. That was the extent of my sophistication. I learned quickly on the basis of usually what came out of their mouths and the level of hate that they were capable of propagating. But they really do know us well as a result of this technology.
QUESTION: First of all, I want to thank you for the book. I think, you know, there are probably debatable points of history thesis [indecipherable] I think everybody in this room [indecipherable] so I appreciate what you’ve done.
My question is this. Can you walk us through a thought experiment? Pretend this mythical country is about to have the warning signals of what may become genocide. Cables are starting to be written by State Department personnel. UN people on the ground maybe as part of the food program starting to see these things. What would you like to see unfold?
SAMANTHA POWER: I would ask for, as always, a slight amendment in the question in that I think some first-order things need to happen so if part of your question is the political commitment has already been made that genocide does matter to US policymakers and then in that context we start to get wind of these or do you want to take the facts as they are now?
QUESTION: We can add that on.
SAMANTHA POWER: Well, it’s up to you. I mean, in a sense, we could Rwanda happening today or we could imagine Rwanda happening if a President had made a series of public statements about genocide happening. If it happened today, if we had a similar scenario, we had a cable like that, let me just walk you through that as if it happened today.
I think what you’d want is, as I indicated, Kofi Annan and Nick [indecipherable], his deputy in New York, staging a press conference and saying this is what we fear is about to unfold. We are going to bring this before the Security Council. We’re going to have high-level consultations about what needs to be done. We are recognizing that we can’t be everywhere and that the UN peacekeepers on the ground there are limited in their numbers, in their military capacity, and in their mandates. We have some real problems. If this were to deteriorate we would be in trouble.
Rwandan specialists were never cultivated. You would have a very, very quick deployment of at least assistant secretary level US officials, preferably not only from the State Department on the diplomatic track because, again, that bias until we get our Presidential statement is inevitably going to be toward negotiation and conflict resolution, things that actually can abet genocidaire and indeed just be stalling devices while people arm up in service of these plots but preferably also to not just State Department people but either National Security Council people would be ideal but also specifically Pentagon people.
Part of the problem now is that there is an incredible operational capacity and creative capacity in the Pentagon among senior officers and actually what I have found is an immense moral commitment to the idea of stopping genocide in the abstract. I mean, the problem has not been the Pentagon and the senior officers. They have in certain instances I think inflated what it would take to get the job done but in part I think what they’re doing is testing their political masters to see how far are you willing to go. Are you going to pull the rug out from us again like in Vietnam or like in Somalia?
What has been missing in the Pentagon is any real human contact with the people in question so that a lot of that I think capacity for both understanding the specific ground situation and not just always taking the highest estimate as to what it would take but actually getting a sense maybe of what is doable with what number but a lot of that only comes with ground contact with the parties in question and a much better, I think, region-specific understanding of what goes on, not brandishing Rwanda with the same brush as Somalia or Burundi with the same brush over Rwanda even, for that matter, but actually getting out there and sending a high-level, again, I think the Assistant Secretary, maybe the deputy assistant secretary-level delegation which on returning to this country has the ear of somebody much higher up so that you’re signaling with your every gesture that it matters to the United States.
The other thing you’re doing is if you’re serious you’re calling the newspapers rather than working the other way around. You’re calling the Hill staffers who you think might be receptive so those who speak for people, let’s say, if we’re talking about an African crisis spot, people who might represent members who are on the African Committee or members of the Congressional Black Caucus or whatever, and you’re information sharing; that is, because you’re committed to stopping it you want to know everything you can know and you want to know who your allies are before it degenerates further.
And so these are the kinds of preparatory steps and you really are talking to your allies, your European allies, who may, depending on the country in question, have a history of colonial intervention and meddling that makes them too biased to listen to without skepticism but also often makes them very well connected with the ground specifics. So that would be just a first cut.
QUESTION: I don’t know if you have time to spend -- do you think the French were complicit in the genocide of Rwanda? Did they know -- did the French government know what they were contributing to?
SAMANTHA POWER: I think so. Again, it’s my area of expertise. I’m not a Rwanda-ist but everything that I’ve read has persuaded me that they knew two things. One, they knew that the Hutu government was aligned with extremist militia that were systematically exterminating Tutsi, that is, once the killing started. Ahead of time they knew about the armaments. I mean, they aided many of the armed shipments that came in.
QUESTION: Do you think they knew when they were shipping arms what they were doing?
SAMANTHA POWER: No, because again this is why I went on at such length about warning. They knew that they were aiding a government that they supported, and that’s what I was going to say. The second thing they knew was that there was war between a Tutsi minority that they deemed to be part of an Anglo axis or at least hostile to their perception of a French sphere of influence. I mean, it sounds so anachronistic but I really am persuaded by my interviews that there really was this sense, and the French reply like --
QUESTION: Linda Melvern says also.
SAMANTHA POWER: I would defer to her, who has just really spent all of her years focusing just on the one case and [indecipherable], obviously, who was in the French government and other French officials have come out and have spoken about this but the reason I’m saying that they saw two things, they saw destruction of Tutsi, but I mention the second thing because they saw that destruction very much carried on in the context very much like the Turkish-Armenian debate, actually, but in the context of a Tutsi rebellion, and they saw it as a way of stamping out the rebellion was to stamp out the Tutsi. I mean, they wouldn’t have been so self-conscious about it but the threat that they felt most meaningfully was the threat indirectly to French influence but the threat to the Hutu government posed by the Tutsi army such that reprisal killings and excesses that took place in response were deemed it’s war, what you can do.
I think that was the attitude and they didn’t do a good job of parsing, very few people do, and war and genocide do tend to, again, co-exist and so it can be confusing and often there are rebellions that give sometimes motive and often pretext for doing that which you may have been inclined to do anyway, and it’s up to us on the outside to just do a better job parsing these two scenarios and these two forms of violence.
QUESTION: It doesn’t seem that it was in any way balanced, the killing of Tutsi versus Hutu, during that period of time, the late ’80s-early ’90s. Would you agree and did the French know that?
SAMANTHA POWER: I would agree but again their feeling would have been that there was only one rebellion going on and that was a Tutsi rebellion, so in order to stamp out the rebellion. I don’t agree with this but this is I’m saying what their way of rationalizing and filtering would have been the Tutsi have invaded beginning in 1990. The Tutsi want to change the status quo. It’s very hard to be an anti-status quo power or entity.
I mean, you’re fighting human nature as well as the diplomatic realpolitik and preference for stasis and self- preservation. So these rebels were deemed to in a sense implicate, and this was the same of the few Armenian rebellions that did take place in Turkey, but there was a sense in which the isolated individual sometimes crimes and often military excursions damned by association the entire collective.
So I think that would have been the French way of responding, just as it was the Hutu government’s way of responding initially as they themselves incrementally made their way along and racheted it up toward an outright plot of extermination.
QUESTION: Okay, last thing. I mean, you can’t judge but, I mean, do you think they were in conscience, the French? I mean, were all --
SAMANTHA POWER: I don’t know what that means any more. I mean, I know that they thought they were.
QUESTION: Were they honest about it?
SAMANTHA POWER: No.
QUESTION: Did they know what was going on?
SAMANTHA POWER: No, they backed a regime that killed 800,000 people.
QUESTION: So they knew.
SAMANTHA POWER: Well, they knew but they told themselves a story. They’re people just like us. They’re people who consider themselves moral, who probably go to church, who don’t beat their wives and they allow genocides and they backed a genocidal regime because for complicated reasons they were incentivized to see it in that way.
I mean, god, I’m not forgiving it at all. They were absolutely in bad conscience in terms of the outcome but you have to understand what stories perpetrators are telling themselves, bystanders, and the abetters and the collaborators with perpetrators in order to try to combat it because otherwise it’s like, well, gosh, if we just had more moral people in government the world would be so very different. And I’m not sure. I mean, I think we have serious institutional design questions and political constituency questions that are going to have to aid the moralizing of that government, and so, I mean, I think it’s deplorable and there’s no way to look back on what the French did as anything other than that and the only reason I’m giving you their account is that I think that’s what we’re going to see in the future.
Look what we’re doing in the war on terror. We’re about to partner with regimes that if they’re noy committing genocide they’re certainly committing systematic atrocities against their people. Will somebody else write a book about that and say we abetted maybe the Russian genocide against the Chechens because we were fighting a war on terror and needed Putin on our side? Maybe. But we now because we’re living in the time understand our mind set and why we’re doing it. I don’t think we should excuse it. I think we should change our policy.
QUESTION: I would have a number of comments and questions about the first chapter of your book but in light of your earlier answers I know that [indecipherable] going into that and I have a question about the international law approach to the question of genocide, in particular [indecipherable] you are also a lawyer. As we all know and we have just seen the Armenian-Turkish issue is --
SAMANTHA POWER: Fraught.
QUESTION: The communities are very sensitive and recently in Turkey there have been a number of people [indecipherable] there are movements to go to the international court in the Hague as prescribed in the UN convention on genocide. What would you think about such a suggestion?
And also a second question would be how the definition contained in the second article of the genocide [indecipherable] in Turkey. Now, we know that the initial draft that was submitted to the UN the definition referred to also political groups as groups that could be targeted for genocide. But then the term “political groups” was omitted but not only that. They also added “as such” in order to emphasize the racist nature of the mens rea that would underlie the action.
Now, we’re talking about genocide in Cambodia. Now, which do the unfortunate people [indecipherable] the people who were suspected of being part of the former intelligentsia, were they part of the national, ethnic, or racial, religious group or are most just referred to -- some people suggesting that genocide was carried out by the Taliban. What do you think about the two schools of narrowly and more literally interpreting this definition and what are the ramifications of this?
SAMANTHA POWER: Which of your six questions do you want me to answer? I think it’s a very good question about the narrow definition whether the Holocaust or whether an intent to exterminate every last member of the group should be the standard. Even though it’s not in the convention, and you’re clearly familiar with the drafting history, was never contemplated as the standard for concern or for diplomatic action. But it is the man on the street understanding of genocide, and I actually think it’s one of the reasons, one of the many reasons, that the Turkish government has fought so hard to avoid the ascription is that they feel rightly, I think, that it wasn’t an intent to exterminate every last Armenian, and they know that people hear “genocide” and that’s what they think it was. I shouldn’t speak for your government but my understanding is that there is a willingness to concede at least some of the atrocities that were carried out but a reluctance to use the words “in part” because of the association with the narrow definition that you describe.
I’m not sure where to start. The idea of going to the International Court of Justice for a retrospective finding of genocide, it’s been suggested also to the Kurds that they do that. They will need a state party to do it so it would be Armenia proper, I suppose, that would have to go. That’s an unusual circumstance.
One of the reasons so few cases have been brought before the International Court of Justice is that states are so unwilling to bring genocide charges against other states for fear of violating diplomatic protocol and it’s rare that you have a victim group that actually then gets personified in a state. Bosnia was a country that brought charges against Yugoslavia because it was an inheritor. It was both a victim and it gained state identity but no other country was willing to do it. The Kurds can’t do it because they don’t have a country, obviously.
I think the Genocide Convention is a much more permissive standard for genocide findings than obviously the narrow definition, and I think to show that the Turkish government at that time attempted to destroy the Armenian group in specific areas, especially if you go the approach the ad hoc tribunals are using at the United Nations. They’re able to talk about groups in specific areas as such and I think that the language of destruction and inclusion of multiple acts apart from killing as well would make that quite a persuasive case.
Whether the Armenians should spend their political capital investing in yet another attempt to get recognition of this in that form I’m not sure that it makes sense but it’s really up to them as to what they want to do.
In terms of your other question about Cambodia and as I understood it, it was why is it in the book. Using the Genocide Convention definition as it stands, so with the political omission, I mean, using the convention, using the law, Cambodia still counts. I mean, they systematically targeted ethnic Vietnamese, Buddhist monks, ethnic Cham, Muslims, and wiped out those groups, wiped them out.
And I talk about that in the book if you read the book. I talk about justifying inclusion those grounds, that, I mean, not even narrow, according to the Genocide Convention that kind of way of doing it. There’s also the term that was introduced which is “autogenocide” which is Khmer on Khmer violence where you are destroying a group, and it was used in the Cambodian contest, that happens to be of the same ethnic origin or group but you’re doing it, again, on group grounds so you’re destroying an ethnic group as such. It just doesn’t say as such as an ethnic group. I think that’s totally at odds with the spirit of the drafting of the Genocide Convention, but I happen to think that there was an original sin in that drafting, and the reason the Soviets insisted on the exclusion of political groups is because they were murdering their political enemies.
And so, I mean, in a sense I’m a little bit have it both ways in that I’m deferring to the Genocide Convention and allowing it to cover the Armenian case and distancing myself from that particular omission which I think is egregious. But I happen to have the defense that there also was conventional, traditional, legal genocide committed in Cambodia, and I just happen to think that when two million people are murdered because of nothing they do but simply because of who they are it belongs in this book which is different from saying whether it would make a good ICJ case which I’m not sure in the Cambodia case that it would for people who aren’t of those ethnic groups that I mentioned.
JERRY FOWLER: Well, with that I think we’ll wrap up.
SAMANTHA POWER: Thank you.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you again, Samantha, for coming.
SAMANTHA POWER: Thank you, Jerry. Thanks to all of you.
JERRY FOWLER: And thank all of you.