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  Ed Erickson Responds to Vahakn Dadrian's Libel  
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Vahakn Dadrian served up his usual menu of offense in an effort to try and discredit a genuine scholar, in an article TAT has already explored. Dr. Erickson did not take the ugly attack lying down.



LTC Edward J. Erickson, USA (ret)

19 May 2006

Board of Editors
Journal of Political and Military Sociology
C/o Sociology Department
Northern Illinois University
Dekalb, Illinois 60155

Re: Review of Ordered to Die, A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War
by Vahakn Dadrian (Winter 2003)

Dear Sirs,

I apologize for the lack of timeliness in responding to Vahakn Dadrian’s 2003 review of my work. I was at war in Tikrit, Iraq at the time and it was only recently that I became aware of its existence. I regard the Dadrian review as largely polemic and as a libelous personal attack on myself. Frankly, I am surprised that the editors of the JPMS published it.

Eric J. Erickson

Dr. Edward  J. Erickson previously
served in the Gunner Battalion
 during Operations Desert and Storm

I will not argue Dadrian’s critical points – he is entitled to his opinions about my work on the Ottoman Army. I would point out that the heart of his concern about my book (about 2/3 of his review) deals overwhelmingly with the nine pages (of 265 pages) that cover the Armenian massacres and deportations of 1915. More to the point, I am deeply troubled by the fact that he deliberately misquoted my words to build a broad circumstantial case about my qualifications to write the book. He then used this in a trail of guesswork, innuendo, and fraudulent dialogue to arrive at a damaging and slanderous conclusion in which he stated that I “allowed myself to be manipulated, wittingly or unwittingly, for the production of a considerably incomplete, biased, and, therefore, tainted volume.” I am also troubled that the editors of JPMS failed to verify or question such an inflammatory and derogatory review.

First, on the structure of the book, which Dadrian criticized as being written from “the Turkish side of the hill” and “reliant on Turkish sources” (leading to his conclusion of incompleteness). By design, the book was written to fill a void in the extant military historiography of World War I by informing the historical community of what the Turkish record said about the war (xv-xvi). By design, it focused at a high strategic level. And, by design, it intentionally deletes many areas of the conflict that are exhaustively and previously covered in English and German and I made the point that the book complements other existing histories (xviii). In the same paragraph of the review Dadrian continued by disparaging my personal relationship with the Chief of the Turkish General Staff on the basis that “the main animus in the entrenched Turkish culture of denial relative to the historical fact of the Armenian genocide comes from the Turkish military establishment, especially the Turkish General Staff, the omnipotent crux of that establishment.” In fact, in his foreword to my book, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu noted that he disagreed with some points in my book related to the Armenian Rebellion (xiii). .

Regarding my qualifications as an author, Dadrian stated that “nowhere in the book does he explicitly indicate, for example, that he knew either Ottoman or modern Turkish to a degree necessary to read and understand fully the contents of the myriad documents referenced in the book. Rather, the reader is informed that author Erickson had to rely on the help of a Turkish “translator and researcher.” Dadrian continued by saying “how badly an author must be eager to write a book on a subject matter the quintessential material of which is an account in a language one does not dominate?” These are insulting and libelous assumptions. In fact, I wrote “To the director of the Turkish General Staff’s Archive’s Division, Major Tufan Yorgancioglu, translator and researcher Ahmet Caliskan, and Librarian Gulumser Mutlu, my thanks for making my research easier and far more fun than it probably warranted”(xxi). The sentence speaks to identifying people who helped me in the archives rather than to signaling somehow that I relied on a translator. Moreover, I also wrote “All errors are my own as are any mistakes in the translation of Turkish documents” (xxii). Dadrian deliberately misquoted me to raise the question of my qualifications and credibility. This is not a small matter. I believe such accusations should have been checked by the JPMS editorial staff - if only because my book was published as an academic monograph by a reputable mainstream press that referees manuscripts. In fact, I am a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and I qualified in the army as a Turkish and a German linguist (as well as residing in Turkey for five years and Germany for nine years).

Dadrian stated that “the author claims that he examined about ten volumes of the Turkish official histories…” and followed this with “The necessity to use non-Turkish sources becomes unavoidable.” Again, Dadrian misquoted me to cast doubt on the credibility and completeness of my work. In fact, I wrote “I first acknowledge these officers who in 1993 got me off to a good beginning by providing me with about ten volumes of the Turkish official histories…” (xxi). The sentence speaks to thanking people rather than to identifying the number of sources. A cursory check of my bibliography shows thirty-two official histories (which I acquired by the time I wrote the book).

 "Dadrian deliberately misquoted me to raise the question of my qualifications and credibility."

Moreover, “Erickson likewise overlooks, or perhaps was induced to overlook, another aspect of the vital role of the army” in the Armenian genocide. Dadrian continued, “There is no way to know whether Colonel Erickson was afforded unfettered and complete access to all relevant files of the archives of the Turkish General Staff – assuming for a moment that he would have no appreciable trouble in fully comprehending the Ottoman and Turkish language contents of the respective documents.” In fact, I wrote “The vast bulk of these records, particularly those dealing with sensitive political and military issues, are unavailable to researchers” (214). In context, the sentence speaks to the existence of a mass of documentation that has only been partially mined by scholars – in no way does this imply that I overlooked, or was induced to overlook, relevant material. As a practicing historian I know of no archives in this country or any other, for that matter, where researchers have “unfettered” access to all files. Again, accusations such as these are no small matter.

Although I could continue with other deliberate obfuscations, misquotes, and slanderous comments in Dadrian’s review, I will conclude with these facts about myself. I have a doctorate in history; I am a retired regular army field grade officer and I am a graduate of the army’s Command and General Staff College; I am a qualified linguist in Turkish and German; I have never taken any money from the Turks nor have I ever published anything through subvention. Moreover, no Turkish officer or government official ever asked me to alter my findings. Neither did any Turk “manipulate” me or “induce” me to produce a “biased, and therefore, tainted volume.”

Finally, I resent the distortions and implications contained in the Dadrian review of Ordered To Die that the JPMS published. To make matters worse, Dadrian has copied the JPMS review and enlarged it into an essay (in which these lies are repeated) titled The Armenian Genocide: A New Brand of Denial by the Turkish General Staff – By Proxy, which is now widely circulated on web sites sympathetic to his beliefs. I believe that my reputation as a historian and a scholar has been demonstrably damaged by the Dadrian review and by the editors of the JPMS, who allowed the review to be published. I would, therefore, ask that this letter be published in a future issue of the JPMS and that an apology or retraction by the editorial board be issued. You may reach me at eerick@[withheld] for verification or comment.

Very Respectfully,

Edward J. Erickson, Ph.D.



JPMS cover

Holdwater: It does not seem that the Journal of Political and Military Sociology published this letter. The JPMS and Dadrian have a history together. One of the footnotes in his libelous article points to a  Dadrian piece the JPMS had published ("The Role of the Turkish Military in the Destruction of Ottoman Armenians: A Study in Historical Continuities," Journal of Political and Military Sociology, vol. 20, no. 2, Winter 1992, p. 277), and in the JPMS's web site (their "Contents of Previous JPMS Journals" page), we can see that the JPMS published in their "Special Issue" (Volume 22, No. 1: Summer 1994; "Reprinted with corrections, Spring 1995") a collection of five Dadrian essays, edited by the Armenian Genocide Hound Dog, Dr. Roger Smith. Stephen Feinstein's hateful CHGS site has included this work as among their "Armenian Genocide Resources."

On their home page, the JPMS boasts that they have "set high standards of scholarship and excellence." How can they say such a thing, if they have permitted the highly unscrupulous and unscholarly Vahakn Dadrian to contribute articles?

Could their credibility-busting partisanship on the false Armenian genocide be because the founding and current editor is George A. Kourvetaris (a one-time officer in the military of his native country), assisted by Andrew G.Kourvetaris (Also from the Dept. of Sociology, University of Illinois; Dadrian is a non-historian sociologist, as well), and their associate editors include such potentially unbiased people as Stephens Constantinides, Constantine Danopoulos, and from  Panteion University, Athens, Greece, Kleomenis S. Koutsoukis?



Works by Ed Erickson on TAT:

Erickson's "Armenian Rebellion" Chapter

Armenian Massacres: New Records Undercut Old Blame

"West" Accounts


Armenian Views


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


This Site

...Is to expose the mythological “Armenian genocide,” from the years 1915-16. A wartime tragedy involving the losses of so many has been turned into a politicized story of “exclusive victimhood,” and because of the prevailing prejudice against Turks, along with Turkish indifference, those in the world, particularly in the West, have been quick to accept these terribly defamatory claims involving the worst crime against humanity. Few stop to investigate below the surface that those regarded as the innocent victims, the Armenians, while seeking to establish an independent state, have been the ones to commit systematic ethnic cleansing against those who did not fit into their racial/religious ideal: Muslims, Jews, and even fellow Armenians who had converted to Islam. Criminals as Dro, Antranik, Keri, Armen Garo and Soghoman Tehlirian (the assassin of Talat Pasha, one of the three Young Turk leaders, along with Enver and Jemal) contributed toward the deaths (via massacres, atrocities, and forced deportation) of countless innocents, numbering over half a million. What determines genocide is not the number of casualties or the cruelty of the persecutions, but the intent to destroy a group, the members of which  are guilty of nothing beyond being members of that group. The Armenians suffered their fate of resettlement not for their ethnicity, having co-existed and prospered in the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but because they rebelled against their dying Ottoman nation during WWI (World War I); a rebellion that even their leaders of the period, such as Boghos Nubar and Hovhannes Katchaznouni, have admitted. Yet the hypocritical world rarely bothers to look beneath the surface, not only because of anti-Turkish prejudice, but because of Armenian wealth and intimidation tactics. As a result, these libelous lies, sometimes belonging in the category of “genocide studies,” have become part of the school curricula of many regions. Armenian scholars such as Vahakn Dadrian, Peter Balakian, Richard Hovannisian, Dennis Papazian and Levon Marashlian have been known to dishonestly present only one side of their story, as long as their genocide becomes affirmed. They have enlisted the help of "genocide scholars," such as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Samantha Power, and Israel Charny… and particularly  those of Turkish extraction, such as Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek, who justify their alliance with those who actively work to harm the interests of their native country, with the claim that such efforts will help make Turkey more" democratic." On the other side of this coin are genuine scholars who consider all the relevant data, as true scholars have a duty to do, such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Erich Feigl and Guenter Lewy. The unscrupulous genocide industry, not having the facts on its side, makes a practice of attacking the messenger instead of the message, vilifying these professors as “deniers” and "agents of the Turkish government." The truth means so little to the pro-genocide believers, some even resort to the forgeries of the Naim-Andonian telegrams or sources  based on false evidence, as Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Naturally, there is no end to the hearsay "evidence" of the prejudiced pro-Christian people from the period, including missionaries and Near East Relief representatives, Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others. When the rare Westerner opted to look at the issues objectively, such as Admirals Mark Bristol and Colby Chester, they were quick to be branded as “Turcophiles” by the propagandists. The sad thing is, even those who don’t consider themselves as bigots are quick to accept the deceptive claims of Armenian propaganda, because deep down people feel the Turks are natural killers and during times when Turks were victims, they do not rate as equal and deserving human beings. This is the main reason why the myth of this genocide has become the common wisdom.