May 30, 2012

Obama's Poland gaffe — you know, it was a Poland gaffe that lost the election in 1976 for Gerald Ford.

What Obama said was "Polish death camps," a terrible misstatement, carelessly referring to the geographic location of the camps without noticing the implication that that the Polish people ran those camps.

What Gerald Ford said, in a crucial debate with Jimmy Carter, was: "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, an there never will be under a Ford administration." In a 1989 interview, Jim Lehrer asked "why did you say that?"
There's no question I did not adequately explain what I was thinking. I felt very strongly, and I, of course, do so today, that regardless of the number of Soviet armored divisions in Poland, the Russians would never dominate the Polish spirit. That's what I should have said. I simply left out the fact that at that time in 1976, the Russians had about 10 to 15 divisions in Poland. Well, of course the presence of those divisions indicates a domination physically of the Poles, but despite that military occupation of Poland by the Soviets, it never in any way ever destroyed the strong, nationalistic spirit of the Polish people. And I felt, and of course, I'm pleased now the Poles are going to throw the Russians out And the quicker they do it, the better. And I'm proud of what they're doing, and, of course, I get a little satisfaction that maybe I was right in 1976.

JIM LEHRER: Let's go back at the time you said that. I'm sure you've replayed this in your mind a million times. I don't have to remind you what happened. You gave that answer, and then there was a follow-up, and you repeated it, so my question is did you have any idea that you had said something wrong?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Not at the time. Not at the time, because as you may remember, I included Yugoslavia, and Hungary, I believe, and Poland in the initial answer, and I said the Soviet Union does not dominate these countries. They're autonomous, and of course, it related to an earlier comment I had made about the Helsinki accord, which had established the borderlines of all the Eastern and Western European countries. So at the time, I did not feel that I had made an error. In retrospect, obviously, the inclusion of a sentence or maybe a phrase would have made all the difference in the world.

JIM LEHRER: When did you realize that you had made a mistake, or at least or do you honestly believe you made a mistake, now, sitting here now?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Well, I can see that I made a mistake in not adequately explaining what I had in mind. I have never had any doubts, none whatsoever about the strength of the Policy people to throw the Soviet or the Russian forces out, and to reestablish an independent Poland. I felt after the debate was over that I had overall done well because we had pointed out that Mr. Carter had been calling for significant reductions in military expenditures, which, of course, was not the right policy, and I pointed out his lack o experience in foreign policy military decision making. So when I finished the debate, I felt very comfortable. But the press focused in on that one exchange, and I happen to think that most of the press distorted the facts, and overly emphasized something that was not the most substantive issue in the whole debate.

JIM LEHRER: Do you happen to remember that just as the debate was over, when you first talked to your aides, your family, or whatever, did anybody say to you, Mr. President you made a mistake, you did bad on this one statement.

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: The first comments by my staff were that we had done very, very well overall. But then when the press, in their own analysis --

JIM LEHRER: Immediately, you mean right after the debate.

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: The press that were making the post debate analysis focused in on that, and made very adverse comments about my comment. Well, when that press reaction became the dominant one, of course, the whole feeling that I had won this debate overall changed quite dramatically.

JIM LEHRER: How important do you think that was to the outcome of the election?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: It was a factor. As you also know, we ended up losing by only a point and a half, or maybe two points. So any one of a number of problem in the campaign could have made the difference. The second debate might have made a difference. The pardon of President Nixon might have made a difference. The timing of certain economic news that came out in October that indicated we were not doing as well in coming out of the recession if the news we got in because through mid-November on the economy had come in mid-October, I think we would have won, because through November, economic news was good. The October news just before the election was not very good. So any one of a number of three or four problems, difficulties could have made a difference. We only had to change 6,500 votes in Ohio out of 4 million, and about 20,000, as I recall, in Hawaii and we would have won the election.

JIM LEHRER: When you lost the election, did you ever fly back some night by yourself thinking if I just had not said that in that debate about Poland and Eastern Europe, it might have come out differently? Did it haunt you?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Not at all, Jim. I have always had the attitude, what's gone past you have to forget, and you have to look down the road and build for the future. Of course, Betty and I hated to lose. We did our best. But once the verdict was there by the voters we had no remorse. We didn't sit around and moan and groan. We had a new life to lead, and we started planning whatever our future would be.
By the way, I watched the debate at the time, and I understood what he meant as he said it. I heard how the spinners spun it immediately after the debate and saw how it played in the media and how much it hurt him. If only there had been bloggers back then to push back! 

137 comments:

BigFire said...

Not to worry. The media will cover for the Chosen One. After all, nothing he does is wrong.

ndspinelli said...

Poland was one of our strongest allies in the years prior to Obama. He has shit on them much worse than this stupid gaffe.

pm317 said...

I heard how the spinners spun it immediately after the debate and saw how it played in the media and how much it hurt him.

--------
Kind of like what happened to Gore with "I invented the Internet" which he never said but the meme got spread with a WAPO reporter saying it and who was asked to take it back and give a correction and she refused to do it.

MadisonMan said...

You have to be willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history to think 'Polish Death Camps' means that the Poles were running them. Careless phrasing yes, but that's about it.

(FWIW, I see the phrase 'Polish Death Camps' and I see a command)

I thought the same thing about Ford's inept phrasing -- physical domination is not total domination, after all.

Petunia said...

The media and the useful idiots will give him a pass, just like they've been doing for the past five years.

edutcher said...

Problem is, the phrase, "Polish death camps", isn't in the lexicon, so you really can't say this was that natural a mistake. People would usually say, "Nazi death camp". Of course, President Choom seems to know nothing of American or Western culture.

As I say, the case for all that marijuana and cocaine use rotting his brain isn't that big a stretch.

PS Of course, people who saw the debate thought Ford won until the media "analyzed" it.

MadisonMan said...

P.S.: Economy. It's the Economy.

traditionalguy said...

Dubchiks Prague/Czech spring of 1968 was a slight easing by the descendants of the Good King Wencyslas of Bohemia, and they awoke the next morning with Soviet tanks everywhere.

Remembering that day, the Czech's have since produce Vlaclas Havle who is fighting the Green Gang at the UN World Government and the Whitehouse branch fearlessly.

But Putin takes our Master and Commander Obama at his word. Defending the what's their names is not even a speed bump. The Poles, who are thePoles anyway???

Just another bunch of Catholic superstition believers resisting their extermination relying on the USA of old.

pm317 said...

At best careless and at worst, ignorance and incompetence. We may not have kings and queens but we could at least expect the best of minds of our times in training and life experience to represent our country. That is not the case here. The man is a nincompoop but he is good at being a bully politician. Standards for the office went downhill with Bush II (even his parents agree with that -- because they are wringing their hands that the more competent Jeb Bush may miss his chance altogether).

Old Dad said...

MadMan wrote:

"You have to be willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history to think 'Polish Death Camps' means that the Poles were running them. Careless phrasing yes, but that's about it."

How so? The President read these words off a teleprompter. They had, apparently, been carefully scripted by staff. One assumes that the President reads his important formal remarks before delivering them.

I'll go with careless, and stupid, and I'd add extremely offensive, but I'd attach these adjectives to the President and his staff.

Jane said...

I think this is more than "careless phrasing" though. Ford was speaking extemporaneously, trying to communicate an idea that didn't come out right. Obama was giving a speech whose proofreader was ignorant enough of history to not know that this would be a jarring phrase (and either Obama himself is equally ignorant, or he doesn't read his speeches in advance). It's even odd that the adjective "Polish" is in there -- there were no Nazi death camps (in the sense of camps killing people immeidately upon arrival as opposed to the slow death of starvation) anywhere else but Poland, and the listeners already know he's talking about Poland from the prior reference to ghettos.

Thanks for the link on Ford, though -- I'd wondered about that.

S said...

I didn't watch Obama make this statement; I figure if I had, I would have thought, "that's an unfortunate turn of phrase," but I certainly wouldn't have had any trouble understanding what he meant.

This strikes me as pretty minor, especially compared to skipping the President's funeral and pulling out our defensive missiles because Russia told us to. But my intuition for what people will take offense at isn't always spot on.

kcom said...

Whether you think it was a small mistake or a big mistake the point to be taken is that our ally considers it a huge mistake. Isn't the first rule of diplomacy not to piss off your friends? Especially if it's not over a matter of principle. Isn't that the basic level of competence required of a president in foreign affairs?

bagoh20 said...

Poland can just suck an egg. This is the One, dammit, and he's awesome. They need to get with the program or eat a drone.

Mitchell said...

Germany should take offense that Poland thinks it's superior.

Big Mike said...

As I commented on another post, to me the gaffe really belongs to administration spokesman Tommy Vietor, who agreed that Obama "misspoke" and further described Obama's words as a "misstatement." What the administration should have responded is along the lines that Obama's phraseology is mildly ambiguous, and relies on everyone's understanding that the death camps were set up and operated by Germans

That's what genuine "smart diplomacy" would have done.

No, I take that back. Genuine smart diplomacy would have had a translator look over the text for potential problems in the translation. I don't know Polish but I have a working familiarity with a different Slavic language and the difference between "in" and "belonging to" is pretty thin.

Pogo said...

There remains much shame in Poland over their capitulation to the Nazis, and the death camps keep it right in front of them.

They helped, and sometimes in full agreement. Poland shares this nasty truth -of its inhumanity- with many nations.

Only the USA has spoken so often and freely and openly of its sins that pointing them out elicits no shock, merely argument over the interpretation.

Obama made an academician's error.

Big Mike said...

@"S", you may be onto something. Obama couldn't fly over the North Atlantic to reach the Polish President's funeral because of a volcanic eruption in Iceland (go here to see what happens when a 747 flies into a volcanic plume). But surely there was some safe routing, e.g., south of the Azores and up into Italy?

It's not hard to take offense at someone who treats your country with disdain.

bgates said...

You have to be willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history to think 'Polish Death Camps' means that the Poles were running them

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski called it a matter of "ignorance and incompetence."

MadisonMan, do you think the Polish Foreign Minister is willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history?

Glen Wishard said...

The Poles believe that Obama is trying to sell them out to the Russians on missile defense. They believe this because it's probably true.

It wouldn't be smart of the Poles to make all of their suspicions about Obama public. So they take this opportunity to make their dislike of Obama public, and invite people to wonder why. Not so dumb, boys and girls.

Rusty said...

I know who all the Poles living Illinois are going to vote for.

roesch/voltaire said...

Pogo for once I have to agree with you on the shame the Poles face over their complicity with what went on in the camps. Still it is a dumb remark for Obama to make about death camps in Poland run by Nazi's with the help of some Poles.

Quaestor said...

MadisonMan wrote:
Careless phrasing yes, but that's about it.

Careless? Simply that? I doubt it. If Obama had a real education, as opposed to mere schooling, he'd have seen the error on his TelePromter and corrected it on the fly.

This not is the first slap in the face the Poles have taken from Obama.

Cedarford said...

Pogo said...
There remains much shame in Poland over their capitulation to the Nazis, and the death camps keep it right in front of them.

===============
I do not detect "shame" in the Polish memories of WWII. The Poles were simulaneously attacked on both sides by overwhelming force by the superior in every way German military and by masses of Russians on the other front.

More Polish Catholics died in WWII than Polish Jews.

If there are regrets, it perhaps may be that the Poles were incredibly stupid and obstinant over the fate of the majority Germans in the city of Danzig...and blundered by giving Hitler the opening for a larger war.

MadisonMan said...

do you think the Polish Foreign Minister is willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history?

He sounds aggrieved that the world does not perfectly comport to how he wants it.

I wonder if he's met the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

traditionalguy said...

By 1940 the prearranged elimination of Poland from all maps had been ececuted with USSR taking half and Germany taking half. The Katynn Forest mass execution Marxist style had been buried. THERE WAS NO POLAND.

The Germans built their death Camps on the new German land.

The Poles do not accept any guilt for the Holacost done by Germans in German Death camps. Why should they?

Michael Haz said...

Imagine the media screams if Reagan had said the same thing.

But it's Obama, so there'll be understanding.

MadisonMan said...

Quaestor: Who do you think has more important views: The person who doesn't vote for Obama because of his inept phrasing, or the person who doesn't vote for him because of his handling of the US Economy?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It seems that Obama's Team and Obama himself are so woefully ignorant of many things.

Politically, they make so many mistakes from silly stuff like sending inappropriate gifts to the Queen of England and to very serious insults to nations that we should be supporting. It seems that they have no grounding in American History or the most simple political and diplomatic etiquette. It is like a bunch of Frat Boys, who partied their way through high school and college are now in the White House chanting...toga toga toga. They think they are the smartest people in the room and don't see how ignorant they really are.

In addition. The cultural isolation of Team Obama and Obama from the cultural norms and attitudes of the "fly over people doing the dance of the low slopping foreheads" and the "bitter clingers to their religion and guns" is becoming ever so obvious.

They have no idea what other groups think, how they will react to things like endorsing gay marriage. Furthermore, it doesn't seem that they care. Even minor issues, to them, like Obama being ignorant as how to pronounce Corpsman show to the rest of us how completely out of touch,foreign and UNPREPARED Obama is.

Seriously. Does the man not try out his speeches before reading them on the telepropmpter. Is there NO one in his administration to say...."hey....that isn't right!"??

They are ignorant children who have been given power beyond their ability to use wisely. We need to quickly and decisivly get that power away from them before they totally burn down the house.

Put some adults back in charge.

Hurling Dervish said...

as Gross reminds us, in at least one respect many Poles applauded Hitler: just as he offered a final solution to Germany’s Jewish problem, he was taking care of Poland’s, too. Nazi policies toward the Jews, the legendary underground Polish diplomat Jan Karski reported to his government-in-exile in London in 1940, formed “a sort of narrow bridge where the Germans and a large part of Polish society meet in harmony.”

It wasn’t only Karski saying so. Eyewitnesses in the Warsaw ghetto saw Poles watching approvingly or even helping out, acting as spotters as German soldiers shot Jews. Polish girls were overheard joking, “Come, look, how cutlets from Jews are frying,” as the ghetto burned. Nazi accounts of Judenjagd, or “Jew hunts,” detailed how Poles pitched in to find any stray Jews the Germans somehow managed to miss. As the deportations proceeded, and practically before the trains had left for Chelmno or Belzec or Treblinka, Poles gathered on the outskirts of towns, waiting to plunder Jewish property or move into Jewish homes.

- From a review of Jan Gross's book, Anti-Semitism in Poland.

Cedarford said...

Rusty said...
I know who all the Poles living Illinois are going to vote for.

=============
Won't matter for Illinois, where the Daley machine and welfare blacks of Chicago dominate the State. But it just might in heavily Polish Ohio and moderately Polish Pennsylvania.

As for Illinois proper, the state is being bankrupted by Chicago. There is nothing the people of Southern Illinois want more than to be able to break away from Chicago's money-sucking grip and become part of another State.

CWJ said...

S and kcom have it right. The Poles are the one's upset here. This administration has snubbed Poland repeatedly. They are probably and rightly unwilling to give this much slack.

Also, since Madisonman invoked history, the Poles have fought for decades to counter the perception that they were active collaborators with the nazis in running the camps. Calling the camps Polish reopens that wound.

Only someone willfully stupid and completely ignorant of post-war history wouldn't know that to many, "Polish death camps" would imply that Poland was complicit in running the camps.

Pogo said...

@Cedarford
Poles participated in the exposing of Jews, rounding them up, guarding the camps, and killing.

And not unwillingly. It wa ugly. Hard to face. Not everyone was in The Resistance. Like the French, there were willing participants.

Patrick said...

NUMBER TWO LOOKS VERY READY TO GO:
http://metobs.ssec.wisc.edu/aoss/cameras/hawkcam-flash.html?dontcareboutdupes=true

ricpic said...

I wonder if Barry knows you can see Russia from Poland? Actually I don't wonder at all. Nor do I wonder whether Barry knows whether Poland is east or west of Germany. I know he doesn't know, doesn't care, and has given absolutely zero thought to the disastrous effect of his colossal world encompassing ignorance. Caveat. He knows one thing: it's payback time, baby.

Icepick said...

I know who all the Poles living Illinois are going to vote for.

Yeah, but what about all the dead Poles in Illinois? Who are they going to vote for?

...

As to the gaffe: stupid and careless, compounded by a weak apology AFTER the Poles showed offense. THAT makes the Administration incompetent, arrogant, and plain butt-stupid assholes. President Obama just should have said that the Poles "punch above their weight-class" and left it at that.

carrie said...

I bet that most young people today wonder why the Poles are offended by this. Schools teach kids about the holocaust but seem to skip over the fact that Hitler also wanted to eliminate ALL of the Poles--Jewish and Non-Jewish. I think that the Nazis killed almost 6 million Poles, about half of them Jewish and half of them non-Jewish. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_crimes_against_ethnic_Poles

pm317 said...

I think Obama's easy instinct is to say something forbidden/unsavory about his subject. That is how he controls, by pushing people's buttons. Kind of like 'I know what you did this summer and I am willing to say it' type of grenade.

tim in vermont said...

"Kind of like what happened to Gore with "I invented the Internet" "

You are right, he said he "took the initiative in creating the internet." Much more god like and befitting of a divinity school dropout.

Oh look, they pulled the URL from the Independent's web sit.

It is even gone from the Wayback Machine...

http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/gore-was-lazy-dope-as-student--at-harvard-722288.html

You can find that it was linked on Lubos Motl's site here: http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/03/hannes-alfven-medal-2011-syun-ichi.html

These are the kinds of reasons that Gore lost, not because people substituted "invented" for "created."

Jay said...

MadisonMan said...

He sounds aggrieved that the world does not perfectly comport to how he wants it.


And you sound like an Obama voting obfuscator.

Michael K said...

I have to agree with DBQ. These people in the White House, including Obama, are just ignorant of history and geography. They could probably give the page number for something in the Whole Earth Catalog but they don't know world and US history. Most of them were stoned when that was taught in school and the younger ones were never taught that history.

When Ford blundered on Poland, I was screaming at the TV. It wasn't something that had to be spun. In Cheney's books, he write that they tried immediately to get Ford to issue a correction but he wouldn't do it it a couple of days. Cheney was running his campaign.

Cedarford said...

Hurling Dervish said...
as Gross reminds us, in at least one respect many Poles applauded Hitler..
==============
Part of the problem was that on top of traditional anti-Semitism based on religion and Jews dominating certain economic sectors .....the prominence of Jews in bloody liquidations the Reds conducted from the Ukraine up to the Baltics created a huge new reservoir of hatred for the Jews when the Reds were ousted by the Nazis.

Not realizing the Nazis would be worse, the victim families of communist Russian-Jewish murder campaigns CHEERED the Germans at 1st when they arrived in Eastern Europe. And not just in Poland. Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus all had suffered under the Soviets in the years before the Germans invaded. And wanted payback.

Had the Germans been smarter and not abused the E Europeans worse than the communists, the war's outcome would possibly have been different.

tim maguire said...

Have the Poles weighed in on this yet?

It doesn't seem like that big a deal, the sort of run-of-the-mill ignorance I've gotten quite used to with this president.

Whether or not Obama knew what he meant (maybe he thinks Poles did run the Death Camps in Poland), we know what he was saying. I doubt anybody heard this and thought, "oooh, those darned fascist Poles!"

So I'll let the Poles decide how offensive this was to the Poles. It doesn't affect my already very low opinion of the education level of our president.

Michael K said...

Pogo, large numbers of Poles escaped the Germans and fought with the Allies. There were Polish paratroops on D-Day and Polish fighter pilots. THere was a terrible dilemma after the war about what to do with them

DCS said...

I watched the CBS Evening News. They covered Bob Dylan getting the medal, period. Not word one about "Polish Death Camps." The MSM are so in bed with Obama, it's still not funny after all this time.

Jay said...

So I'll let the Poles decide how offensive this was to the Poles.

There have been multiple news stories indicating they are offended.

Poland’s PM said remarks by President Obama identifying Nazi death camp as Polish hurt all Poles.

AllieOop said...

I agree with Madison Man, no one with any intelligence or honesty, would think he meant that the Poles ran these camps. Poland was an occupied nation, as was all the countries that had camps. One thing that some folks may not realize is that every single country that had a camp and Jewish population were complicit in rounding up and identifying who was Jewish.

On the other hand these countries also had citizens who were patriots, had active underground armies and had righteous people who saved many Jews lives at great risk to their own.

carrie said...

Poland's prime minister is demanding a response from Obama.

tim maguire said...

Right, Jay. I just poked around and from the standpoint of an American used to our president showing that a Harvard education ain't all that, I am not particualrly moved by this.

But the Poles do seem to be offended and I am offended for them. I mean that straight--while they have skeleton's in their closet (just as Pogo says), there is much about this hard-luck people to truly admire.

Jay said...

As a reminder, Obama began his administration by breaking the US missile defense treaty with Poland.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the sort of run-of-the-mill ignorance I've gotten quite used to with this president

Well, you shouldn't have to 'get used to it'.

The man is supposed to be piloting the ship of state. He is representing all of us (supposidly ha ha ha). It is important that we have a competent person flying the plane that we are all on. Instead we have the crew from Airplane flying us into the ground.

Old Dad said...

AllieOop wrote:

"Poland was an occupied nation, as was all the countries that had camps. One thing that some folks may not realize is that every single country that had a camp and Jewish population were complicit in rounding up and identifying who was Jewish."

Where to begin? Poland, as a nation state, ceased to exist after it was partitioned by the Nazis and Soviets. There was no "country" to be complicit in Nazi atrocities, or not--only people.

Pogo said...

I love the Poles. Married one. A marvelous history. A pope who will become a saint.

This is a sin they bear. Stupid of Obama to run their noses in It.

Rusty said...

roesch/voltaire said...
Pogo for once I have to agree with you on the shame the Poles face over their complicity with what went on in the camps.



Complicity?
If caught harboring a Jewish fugitive, a polish family was shot. Husband, wife, children, grandparents, whoever was in the house. You can understand why help was not more forthcoming, can't you? Not cooperating with the Nazi regime was a capitol offense.
Many Poles risked their lives to help Jews.
All of eastern Europe was exposed to this enlightened national Socialist policy.

MayBee said...

This is similar to the time Obama bungled all the facts of a Medal of Honor winner, confusing men, confusing who was alive, and confusing companies. He simply didn't bother to get it right.

That's what happened here, but on an international scale.
The worst part of the apology:“The President was referring to Nazi death camps operated in Poland. The President has demonstrated in word and deed his rock-solid commitment to our close alliance with Poland.

That's just outrageous. Obama has snubbed Poland several times, and surely Obama knows that.

AllieOop said...

Old Dad, I am aware they were partitioned by Germany and Russia and ceased to be a nation. But if one could've asked the Poles, in their minds and hearts they were still a nation, they did not consider themselves to be German or Russian citizens.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

I agree with Madison Man, no one with any intelligence or honesty, would think he meant that the Poles ran these camps.

Reason # 8437 outlining why political correctness sucks. It emphasizes neither intelligence nor honesty...mostly because if it did, that would make dumb people and liars feel bad.

MayBee said...

Careless phrasing yes, but that's about it.

That's not it.
Even Obama knows that certain words describing events are very important to other countries. That's why, when he ran for president, he vowed to finally talk about the Armenian genocide and Dare To Use That Term.

Of course he chickened out, but that word is very very important to Armenians. Obama's problem is of course that same word is a big problem for Turkey.

Obama tried to use the Argentinian name for The Falklands. He knew that name would please his host.

The phrase "Polish Death Camps" is known to offend our dear ally. When you are the ruler of the free world you get that stuff right or it looks like you don't care.

Matthew Sablan said...

I understood he meant to say that these were death camps that happened to be geographically located in Poland.

But, you know, if Bush had said it. So, I won't dog pile on him for the slip. But, I'm also not planning to ride to anyone's defense over it, either.

Sort of like Amercia. Mercia me, that's just bad... hey! This comment gets to pull double duty.

Old Dad said...

AllieOop,

Do you suppose the 3 million Poles slaughtered by the Nazis were complicit? Weren't they Poles, too?

Your argument is bigoted.

Shanna said...

the Poles have fought for decades to counter the perception that they were active collaborators with the nazis in running the camps. Calling the camps Polish reopens that wound.

Doubtless. Not everyone in Poland was a saint, but there were a hell of a lot of poles murdered too. They don’t own the death camps and it’s bizarre how the poles seem to get the most criticism of any occupied country for what the Nazi’s did. Hungary’s actions were pretty bad and you don’t hear much about that. The only country that really saved their Jewish population was Denmark.

As to the gaffe: stupid and careless, compounded by a weak apology AFTER the Poles showed offense. THAT makes the Administration incompetent, arrogant, and plain butt-stupid assholes.

Indeed.

AllieOop said...

Old Dad, you are either being disingenuous yourself or being an ass.

My parents in Slavonia, Croatia Yugoslavia when the German army invaded, I have heard first hand what happened to the Jews of their towns and their fellow citizens who turned them in. Also stories of their fellow citizens who were sent to death camps themselves for hiding Jews.

Also my husband was Jewish, most of his extended family in Europe were killed in those death camps, the ones who survived emigrated to the US, many stories of what occured there were discussed years later with my generation by those who could speak of those events.

Jane said...

Poland as a nation was dismantled during the war. Many Poles (and -- from what I've read -- even more Ukranians) were happy to help the Nazis. There were many Poles who risked their lives to hide Jews, but, to a greater degree than in Western Europe, also many who didn't hesitate to turn in their Jewish neighbors when their hiding place was discovered, perhaps after first robbing them of their belongings. My understanding is that one of the reasons why Jews at various points seemed to willingly accept their death at the Nazis' hands is that there was nowhere to go.

At the same time, the Nazis were willing to let the Poles live, but only as slave labor. The complicity of many Poles in the Holocaust does not diminish their own suffering.

I just can't help but think that the speechwriter was tremendously ignorant of history not to recognize "Polish death camps; hmmm, that sounds wrong. Let's rephrase that."

Matthew Sablan said...

Not history, basic grammar.

If we taught kids to diagram their sentences, they'd see what Polish looked like it was modifying. But, alas, the sentence diagram is dead. Long live txt.

Aggravation is on my word verification bubble.

MayBee said...

Especially when you've just been recently seen patting Medvedev's arm after asking him to pass on to Putin that patience will give Obama more latitude.

Obama pulled support for Bush's missile defense in 2009 without first telling Poland. He skipped the president's funeral, and went golfing the same day. He's given reassuring messages to Putin. He said something that offends Poland.

And then Vietor "apologizes" by saying Obama has shown commitment to Poland? That is sooo offensive.

Bryan C said...

It was a stupid mistake which was predictably offensive to the Poles. Who were, after all, the audience.

"One thing that some folks may not realize is that every single country that had a camp and Jewish population were complicit in rounding up and identifying who was Jewish."

I think it's more accurate to say that every single country had people within them who were complicit with the Nazi's plans. Some people out of fear, others out of bigotry, others with a simple lust for power.

But most countries were not, in fact, complicit with the Nazis. Which is why there's a clear distinction between Nazi-occupied countries and those governments who were actually complicit, like Norway under Vidkun Quisling.

Old Dad said...

AllieOop:

You seem to think that your personal history constitutes all of history. It doesn't. How many Poles were complicit in the Holocaust? Do you have even approximate numbers?

Some were. So what? Lay off the bigoted generalizations.

MadisonMan said...

Old Dad, I am aware they were partitioned by Germany and Russia and ceased to be a nation. But if one could've asked the Poles, in their minds and hearts they were still a nation, they did not consider themselves to be German or Russian citizens.

Gerald Ford would agree.

AllieOop said...

Yes Bryan, you are right. Perhaps my choice of words was misleading, but that was not my intent, I think that most thinking people would've realized this, hmmmm, somewhat like Obama's messed up phraseology and knee jerkers who jumped all over it.

Shanna said...

Some people out of fear, others out of bigotry, others with a simple lust for power.

But most countries were not, in fact, complicit with the Nazis.


Indeed. We are talking about occupied countries. It take incredible heroism to face death to save strangers.

Shanna said...

most thinking people

Not to pick on you particularly Allie, but I just hate this phrasing. It's sounds smug.

AllieOop said...

Old Dad, what is your problem?! I in no way said the entire population of Poles were guilty. You are off on some irrational tangent.

Scott M said...

somewhat like Obama's messed up phraseology and knee jerkers who jumped all over it

When you are raised up on a pedastal as the smartest guy in the room, whether you said you were or all of your loyal minions kept repeating it over and over again, human nature dictates that a good deal of people will want to knock you off of that height.

He fucked up. Hopefully he's actually sorry for it and not just politically sorry, ie, "misspoke". I say "he" because he is responsible for his administration's doings. Perhaps if he had ever had a real job, he would understand that aspect of being in charge.

Christopher in MA said...

I agree with Madison Man, no one with any intelligence or honesty would think he meant that the Poles ran these camps.

Of course not. I know what the dog-eating clown meant. But, as you recall, Bush's pronounciation of "nuclear" was trotted out by the left as proof that he was a drooling mongoloid who shouldn't be given anything sharper than a rubber ball. So, in the spirit of punching back twice as hard, I think it is well worth shoving this minor gaffe right in the faces of all the fools who voted for this most intelligent, charismatic, brilliantest president EVAH!

rhhardin said...

Being offended is the modern way.

If the Germans ran an airport in Poland, it would be called a Polish airport.

It's a case of taking offense over nothing.

wdnelson93 said...

"...political correctness sucks. It emphasizes neither intelligence nor honesty...mostly because if it did, that would make dumb people and liars feel bad."

Scott M. ftw

Old Dad said...

AllieOop:

You said that every single country occupied by the Nazis was complicit with the Holocaust, and then Bryan said that "most were not" and you agreed with him, and blamed it on poor phrasing.

So let's see, I should really have read "every single occupied country" as "really very few."

Got it.

MayBee said...

People who want to pooh-pooh Poland's offense are misunderstanding. They are telling us they think our president does not care about them.

Then Vietor comes back with an answer claiming Obama has been good to them, when he has not. Which is basically his way of telling them to screw themselves, this is the best they are getting from Obama's America.

Jon Burack said...

Look, I have very little respect for Obama and especially for his sense of history. But first, this was a slip of the tongue more than a historical inaccuracy. In any case,while the Poles have the right to expect a correction, spare me any sympathy for their hurt feelings. It is a LOT more than just a few people complicit with the Nazis during the occupation. Poland was an absolute hell hole for Jews before World War Two. I know. I have examples in my family. And I once interviewed a Holocaust victim from Poland extensively who also wound up in Auschwitz. Her stories of growing up in Poland would make your hair stand on end. One little detail I recall, her REGULAR encounter with signs on shops reading "Jews and Dogs Not Allowed." For much of the 1920s and early '30s, Polish Jews looked to Germany as an enlightened land one would like to move to. The Poles have WAY too much to answer for from that era to be getting hot and bothered about this little mistake.

AllieOop said...

Shanna, I don't think Old Dad is thinking about what I said, I believe he is reacting out of emotion, which I'm a bit perplexed at. To think that there was no collaboration with the Nazi's is just not reflected in history.

That does not mean that every single Pole, or European of other occupied areas were guilty. Poland did suffer terrible losses under the hands of the Nazis, who is disputing that? Not I.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the Germans ran an airport in Poland, it would be called a Polish airport.

No. That would depend on who owns it.

If the Germans "own" it and operate it it is a German airport located in Poland. If the Chinese own and operate a bank in New York, would you call it an American bank or a Chinese Bank?

Cedarford said...

Jane - "At the same time, the Nazis were willing to let the Poles live, but only as slave labor. The complicity of many Poles in the Holocaust does not diminish their own suffering."

================
The term "complicit" has been tossed around a lot by Holocaust lawyers seeking payouts from nations other than Germany, from various US and Brit companies...

It is a smear that hardly wins friends and influences people.

It ignores that being under war occupation of a ruthless enemy - be it the Soviets, the Germans - narrows options of the citizenry considerably. And it ignores at war's outset that much of Europe saw two great enemies - Fascism and Russian-Jewish Bolshevikism.

MadisonMan said...

But, as you recall, Bush's pronounciation of "nuclear"

So you blame Bush for this too.

Lots of Bush blame today on this blog.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have very little respect for Obama and especially for his sense of history. But first, this was a slip of the tongue more than a historical inaccuracy. In any case,while the Poles have the right to expect a correction, spare me any sympathy for their hurt feelings.

I'm not about to try to defend the Polish or discuss the Nazi death camps.

This is about the President of the United States....yet again.....making foolish diplomatic errors that embarrass our country and offend (whether you agree with them or not) other countries that are supposed to be our allies.

Stupid, ignorant and uninformed.

Words have meaning. Syntax is important.

The President of the US should be more aware of this and more careful than anyone since the words coming from THAT office have consequences that can affect us ALL.

The fact that he doesn't seem to have any fact checkers or any layers of proof reading, diplomatic support staff is troubling.

Either he refuses to take direction or he is surrounded by morons.

I think both.

MayBee said...

Amen, DBQ.

traditionalguy said...

Whether the long suffering Poles are overreacting to another betrayal is up to the Poles to judge, unless Obama makes a public apology. How hard is that to do. He should just put down the Drone Targeting Death List and say some thing nice to the our silly European Allies.

Oh yeah, by being our allies the Poles became targets on Obama's Freeze Out and Put Down Priority List. After all he promised Putin to do whatever Putin wants in exchange for....What???

Don Jansen said...

Poland did not cease to exist during WWII. It had a government in exile. Poland had the 4th largest army among the Allied forces. Poles fought valiantly and were indeed crucial to Allied victory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_contribution_to_WWII The efforts of some to demean the Polish people by singling them out for anti-Semitism prior to WWII is interesting. I supppose the righteous may feel comfortable sitting in judgment rating the nations on some scale depicting a continuum of anti-semitism. One wonders about that mentality. The notion that antisemitsm was unique to Poland is however is incorrect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-semitism#Twentieth_century

chickelit said...

The Germans ran their flag up the Poles but it didn't fly. I recall seeing postwar maps in German with vast swaths marked "currently under Polish administration" (zur zeit unter polnishe Verwaltung). The Russians had their way afterwards as a bulwark against future incursions. The Poles have always been throwing off one yoke or another. But Poland has been in the news recently with respect to missile defence systems and I for one don't know whose side POTUS is on vis-à-vis Poland's best interest.
____________
My word verification was an actual photograph of two numbers.

Jon Burack said...

Dust Bunny Queen et al. I am sorry. I see nothing of importance at all in this with regard to Obama. So the Poles are upset. Big deal. If this is all they can find to be upset about with Obama, they are a lot less critical than they should be. But on this one, I stick by what I said. People here seem out to stick it to Obama on everything and anything, and I believe it clouds their judgment as much as the left's hatred of Bush did theirs. I say it is totally trivial, as trivial as Romney's dog on the top of the car. And I say again, spare me any sympathy for the Poles on the issue of their complicity with anti-Semitism during the Nazi era. They should just shut up and reflect on their own past.

MayBee said...

If this is all they can find to be upset about with Obama

It isn't.
Which is why they are so upset.

MadisonMan said...

Either he refuses to take direction or he is surrounded by morons.

I'd say the former. He's the smartest person in the room after all. Is there evidence that he will listen?

I doubt he's surrounded by morons, unless you mean tone-deaf -- but Democrats so frequently are. Exhibit A.

Shanna said...

The efforts of some to demean the Polish people by singling them out for anti-Semitism prior to WWII is interesting.

I think it's interesting as well. Especially since there were so many Poles murdered by the Nazi's as compared to countries like France. It's awfully easy for us to sit in judgement on people who would have been murdered in a heartbeat for going against the Nazi's.

Either he refuses to take direction or he is surrounded by morons.

It must be both. Somebody wrote this speech for him.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I see nothing of importance at all in this with regard to Obama. So the Poles are upset. Big deal

If it were a one off, you might have a point.

However, it is a repeated and frequent pattern of behaviour to insult his audience by his lack of knowledge, constant misstatements, dumb remarks, inaccurate remarks, geographic and historical ignorance.

Insult the Argentinians. Piss of the Poles. Alienate the US Military. Insult the British. It goes on and on and on. It isn't just this ONE slip.

The man is just careless and incompetent and an embarrassment.

The difference is that if it were Bush or anyone with an "R" behind their name there would be no end to the media bashing about the stoooopid. But, because it is Obama, the smartest President evah!!! the media is all .....nothing to see here.....move on.

verification word: Revolution

Pogo said...

" It's awfully easy for us to sit in judgement on people who would have been murdered in a heartbeat for going against the Nazi's."

I did not judge, not at all.

Rather, I pointed out why the Poles saw this as more than a mere slip of the tongue, but an egregious error.

Poland suffered much under the Nazis and then under the Soviets.

And they were anti-semites, many of them. Some exposed Jews, or served as death camp guards and felt nothing. Others were saviors, hiding the Jews.

Rife with saints and sinners, just like the rest of us. This issue is a particularly painful one for them.

Which is why this was particularly stupid of Obama.

Scott M said...

there would be no end to the media bashing about the stoooopid

A point of order, ma'am. It's spelled "teh" stoooopid.

Original Mike said...

"However, it is a repeated and frequent pattern of behaviour to insult his audience by his lack of knowledge, constant misstatements, dumb remarks, inaccurate remarks, geographic and historical ignorance."

I'm beginning to think that the characterization of Obama as "the smartest guy in the room" is actually a disguised insult of the rest of us.

Blue@9 said...

I agree with Madison Man, no one with any intelligence or honesty, would think he meant that the Poles ran these camps.

No, but it shows serious incompetence on the part of Obama's speechwriters, and this is not the first time.

Words matter in diplomacy.

Remember the craziness because Bush used the word "crusade" in a speech?

Cedarford said...

Jon Burack - "And I say again, spare me any sympathy for the Poles on the issue of their complicity with anti-Semitism during the Nazi era. They should just shut up and reflect on their own past."

================
Good luck trying to define all nations under "it is/was all about the Jews!" criteria.
No one in Europe thinks the suffering in the war and who was lauditory or complicit in this or that is solely a function of how they interacted with Jews.
In many nations, they lost significant numbers to communist purges Jews were prominent in...so the matter isn't actually about some harmless fringe group that was utterly off by themselves and not meddling in anyone else's lives.
(Of course, you can say that all the East Euros painted the Jews with too broad a brush and were not selective in who they defined as real enemies in the Jewish population.)

They more and more reject the Holocaust Industry war guilt accusations.

It's 70 years in the past, long since been time to move on, and cease savaging European nations on some scale of loving or disliking Jews...or Arabs..or gypsies...etc.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A point of order, ma'am. It's spelled "teh" stoooopid.

Nerd!

LOL

F47 said...

Anti-Jewish violence in Poland, 1944–1946
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Jewish_violence_in_Poland,_1944%E2%80%931946

Shanna said...

Rather, I pointed out why the Poles saw this as more than a mere slip of the tongue, but an egregious error.

Oh I understand, and I completely agree with you on this point.

And it is not something that rolls off the tongue. 'Polish death camps'. It's not a commonly used phrase. It's particularly odd that Obama would use it particularly in this context!

Cedarford said...

Pogo - "Poland suffered much under the Nazis and then under the Soviets."

I'd correct that to Poland (and Latvia, and The Ukraine, and Lithuania, and Estonia, and Hungary) suffered huge liquidations by the Soviets/internal communists. Then avenged themselves against those "class enemy liquidation" killers, when the Nazis were in charge.

Even while they soon learned Nazis acted even worse than the prewar Bolsheviks...

Then of course when the Soviets seized their lands...the Russians and Jews meted out payback against class elements that worked with the Nazis or just did as told simply to survive.

Tough time to be a East European...caught between the two lethal enemies of National Socialism and Red Terror.

CWJ said...

I find it interesting the extent to which some commenters minimize the significance of Obama's gaffe, while citing incidents of Polish anti-semitism.Exhibit A: Jon burack.

That this very thread has turned into a referendum on Polish guilt or innocence automatically shows precisely why Obama's gaffe was foreseeably significant, and not some minor misunderstanding.

Pogo said...

"shows precisely why Obama's gaffe was foreseeably significant, and not some minor misunderstanding."

Exactly.

Jon Burack said...

Cedarford,

Next to you, Obama deserves high praise. What total and utterly obscene b.s.

You say, "In many nations, they lost significant numbers to communist purges Jews were prominent in." Poland between the wars had no communist purges. It did have pogroms against the Jews, in Vilnius in 1934, Grodno in 1935, Przytyk and Minsk in 1936 and Brest in 1937. Niall Ferguson has a good account of the situation in Poland before the Nazi takeover in his book "The War of the World." Jews were segregated, reviled and mistreated by wide swaths of the population. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with communism. You are repeating what in fact was the central mythic excuse of the Nazis themeleves in using this argument. Jews in Russia were a disproporionately large share of the Bolsheviks, it is true. So what? The vast majority of Jews, like the vast majority of eveyrone else there, were not Bolsheviks.

As to the suffering in World War II, I do not believe I said a thing about it being all about the Jews, So your point about that is totally irrelevant. Aside from which, I really do not care what the Europeans today do or do not think about their suffereing in World War II. But most of all, I do not care what the Poles do or do not think about Obamas trivial mistake.

MadisonMan said...

Remember the craziness because Bush used the word "crusade" in a speech?

So you're saying the reaction this time is also just craziness?

Jon Burack said...

Cederford again! Good Grief. You are repeating your errors and making them more vile by the minute. The communist horrors you refer to took place in Poland after World War II, not before it. Before it, Poland was not in communist hands. Your notion that Poles merely took revenge on (Jewish) "communist liquidators" when the Nazis showed up is pathetically ignorant. Polish anti-Semitism goes back way before the rise of Bolshevism, and Bolshevism had nothing to do with what Poles did to Jews in the 1920s and '30s. The entire mythology of a Jewish capitalist-communist conspiracy was used by the Tsar and later by the Nazis to mobilize hatred in their own interests. You are playing their game a century later. To do this while standing in judgment of Obama's trivial mistake is sickening. As to the rest here, a lot put their hatred of Obama above everything. Some things are MORE important, however, not less important, than something Obama said.

phx said...

I love it when Republicans and conservatives talk about the issues.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I love it when Republicans and conservatives talk about the issues.

Me too.

The issue is that Obama is an incompetent nincompoop who continually makes mistakes and insults his audience.

Discuss.....

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valentine Smith said...

This can only be seen as an intentional insult to the Poles, much like the return of Churchill's bust. Chicago's rife with Poles, and O obviously hates them. Tone deaf? I think not. It's the simplest explanation.

The Germans were absolutely diabolical in how they managed their final solution. The Jewish quarter in Warsaw was slowly strangled before the establishment of the ghetto. Once the Poles surrendered, the Germans established the Judenrat, the Jewish Council, to rule the Jewish population. They had a brutal police force, who initially extorted whatever riches they could extort. They established House Committees for every apartment building. All to forcibly implement Nazi policy. Rock meet hard place.

No nation is without some guilt for the holocaust. As an aside, George Soros was a teenage enforcer for his Judenrat father in occupied Hungary. The foundation for his vast wealth and twisted totalitarian ideology.

Cedarford said...

The communist horrors you refer to took place in Poland after World War II, not before it. Before it, Poland was not in communist hands.
=========

Sorry, you are wrong, Before the Nazis arrived, the Reds had conducted massive liquidations against "class enemies" in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and the half of Poland the Reds got before the Germans rolled East.
Add to that in the run-up to WWII, Red Russians and Red Jews were prominent in drafting and implimenting class, Orthodox and Christian priest "death lists" in Hungary, Russia, and in Spain during the Civil War.
This had a strong impact on other countries with significant numbers of religious Catholics and Orthodox.

Fascism was a counterbalance that drew support from many who had seen the type of people the Red Russians and Red Jews put on their death lists. Many in the Fascist movements in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and in Latin America were activists that had their minds focused by the fact that People Like Themselves were the ones the Red Terror ultimately sought to liquidate.

Neo said...

This may be the first Polish gaffe for President Obama, I still think this rates #2 behind President Obama's decision to scrap a missile-defense agreement the Bush Administration negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland.

Scott M said...

I still think this rates #2 behind President Obama's decision to scrap a missile-defense agreement the Bush Administration negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland.

Don't be foolish. The large and growing number of Obama administration-selected important dates coinciding with other, more ominous events in history are just a large and growing number of coincidences.

If you think otherwise, you're a racist clinger.

mark said...

How can people defend Obama on this? It was his prepared speech.

This would be like speaking to a Chinese and Japanese audience and talking about "the Chinese Death Camps" of WWII. Do you think the Chinese people would have a problem with that statement? Given how many were killed in the death camps that Japan ran on Chinese soil?

President Obama didn't fire off a blogger comment, speak off the cuff, or send a quick email. This stupid statement was prepared, edited, and then read off a teleprompter.

If you are defending him. I'm sorry that you don't understand the importance of speaking correctly.

Larry J said...

In addition to his stupid statement about "Polish Death Camps", Obama recently said something as least as stupid in Iowa:

Speaking Thursday afternoon in Newton, Iowa, President Barack Obama pitched his idea for $5 billion in new tax credits for manufacturers that make equipment—such as windmill blades and solar panels—for “clean energy” companies.

“Nobody wants a handout,” Obama said. “Nobody wants to get something for nothing.”


The majority of the Democrat constituency wants something for nothing! Could it be that Obama just isn't very smart after all?

ThomasD said...

You know who else applauded Hitler?

Progressives.

phx said...

You know who else applauded Hitler?

Progressives.


Absolutely. These are the same people who support Obama.

As I say, who can't love it when the Republicans talk about the issues? Repubs love it, and Dems love it more. Win-win.

Michael K said...

" But first, this was a slip of the tongue more than a historical inaccuracy. "

So TelePrompTers have tongues ! Who knew ?

Jon Burack said...

Cedarford, you have this all confused -- in addition to your disgusting apologetics linking Jews and Communism. First, there was a brief Polish-Russian War in 1919-1920. This was a war involving the Red Army, overwhelmingly NOT Jewish. Yes some Polish Jews participated in a fake Bolshevik-backed government briefly, but it did not organize any mass slaughter of anyone on its own, as it did nothing on its own. It did what non-Jew Lenin and non-Jew Stalin et al told it to. Whatever was done in Poland that year, in other words, was done by Russian Bolsheviks who were always majority non-Jews no matter how many Jews joined them. In any case, that Polish-Russian war was over in a year.

Otherwise, everything else you are talking about is from the time after the Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939 which divided up Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. Whatever took place in the Soviet sector of Poland after that has nothing to do with Polish anti-Semitism in the 1920s and '30s, obviously. In any case, it is simply obscene to categorize Leninist or Stalinist mass murder as in any sense Jewish or justifying any hatred of Jews. Obscene.

MayBee said...


This would be like speaking to a Chinese and Japanese audience and talking about "the Chinese Death Camps" of WWII.


Exactly! Let's hear Obama honor a Chinese dissident by talking about the Chinese Rapes at Nanking. After all, it was in China and the Chinese were raped.

Then everyone can talk about how horrible the Chinese human rights record really was at the time, rather than how egregious an error it was.

Shanna said...

Exactly MayBee.

So TelePrompTers have tongues ! Who knew ?

Heh. If Obama were speaking off the cuff it would be bad enough, but if it's written in a speech it means something. It could mean his administration is full of idiots with no sense of propriety or history, or it could mean that it was a purposeful slam. You be the judge.

William said...

There's the odd paradox that those countries that were allied with Nazi Germany such as Bulgaria and Italy were able to shelter and spare a far larger part of their Jewish population than those that actively fought Nazi occupation. The Poles may have been anti-semitic, but those feelings were nothing compared to their anti-Nazi hatred. They did not, for the most part, risk their lives to save or shelter Jews, but, in the tens of thousands, they did die fighting the Germans. Just as a matter of curiousity, do those here who condemn the Poles for anti-semitism blame the Italians less for the atrocities of WWII. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel that your moral calcuulus is off.

Ralph L said...

A third possibility is that his NSC and speechwriting staffs are deliberately trying to make Obama look bad. Considering how self-centered and obnoxious so many of his speeches are, can we rule this out?

William said...

The Danes were famously tolerant and protective of their Jewish members. It should also be noted that they were tolerant of their Nazi occupiers. There was no active resistance movement and German soldiers were sent to Copenhagen on R&R.

Unknown said...

"Seriously. Does the man not try out his speeches before reading them on the telepropmpter. Is there NO one in his administration to say...."hey....that isn't right!"??"

That's really his problem. He gives several speeches a day. He just reads off the Teleprompter something some 20-something Ivy League grad wrote the day before. No wonder he sounds like a moron.

L:ee said...

"Seriously. Does the man not try out his speeches before reading them on the teleprompter. Is there NO one in his administration to say...."hey....that isn't right!"??"

That's really his problem. He gives several speeches a day. He just reads off the Teleprompter something some 20-something Ivy League grad wrote the day before. No wonder he sounds like a moron.

Unknown said...

------You have to be willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history to think 'Polish Death Camps' means that the Poles were running them.

Actually, you have to be willfully stupid and completely ignorant of history to even use the phrase "Polish Death Camps".

This is another data point that demonstrates that Obama is not culturally an American. They weren't learning about the Holocaust in Indonesia.

Unknown said...

-----If the Germans ran an airport in Poland, it would be called a Polish airport.

It's a case of taking offense over nothing. ----


Ladies and Gentlemen!! I give you the dumb post of the thread!

MayBee said...

The way he is handling this, and Poland/Russia in general, is a perfect illustration that foreign policy does not actually = "I killed Osama".

Rusty said...

Fascism was a counterbalance that drew support from many who had seen the type of people the Red Russians and Red Jews put on their death lists. Many in the Fascist movements in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and in Latin America were activists that had their minds focused by the fact that People Like Themselves were the ones the Red Terror ultimately sought to liquidate.



Fascism was Mussolini's way of making communism palatable to the middle class. Being a good socialist he knew there would be no revolution from the peasant class. Change would only come about when you an recruit the people that actually make society work.
BTW Communist that were jews simply thought of themselves as communists first and jews second.
BTW Very few camp guardsin Poland were actually Polish. They were mostly Ukranians and Baltic conscripts, Latvians, Lithuanians etc. Germany had a policy of not having camp Guards of the same nationality as their inmates.Kapos
were fellow jews.

I'm going to have to consult with the elders to find how we are going to deal with an antisemite like yourself.

Jessica said...

Obama made a gaffe, and it's true that the camps were not administered by Poles. However, the Polish outrage is a bit much for me. The Poles were highly complicit in the Holocast, even if they simultaneously hated the Germans. It's my understanding that the Poles went on killing Jews even after the Germans had begun abandoning the camps.

Don Jansen said...

Polish anti-semitism is a complex issue. The notion that Poles were just evil bigots and deserve to be spat upon by anyone who wanders down the pike ignores much of the historical reality of the times, in particular the pernicious influence of Russian propaganda. http://www.lehigh.edu/~inber/sovietoccupation.pdf

rworking said...

Interesting reminder of Gerald Ford's remarks, Ann.

I'm no fan of Obama's, but having made the same gaffe myself, I am perhaps a bit more understanding. He owes the Poles an apology, but it's silly to imply that he doesn't know that the Germans built the death camps, as many of his critics do.

Here's my take.

http://rworking.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/obamas-polish-gaffe/

Unknown said...

and then Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter, lost the NEXT election after the president's translator mistakenly wrote into Carter's speech that Jimmy "understood the lusts of the Polish people. I can still remember seeing the newsvideo of Polish dignitaries exchanging nervous glances while Carter was speaking. Even worse, the speechwriter liked the line so much he kept repeating it throuhout the speech. (Instead of "lust", he meant to say "aspirations"

What is it about Poland and presidential politics?

Stephan Nalezny said...

Antisemitism was everywhere before WWII. In Canada before the war in a major city ,one elderly man told me there was a sign on the boardwalk that read, " no Jews or Blacks allowed" You do not need to go to Eastern Europe to find it. What about the 2 shiploads of Eastern European Jews who showed up in New York in 1939 that were turned back by the USA? What about the lack of any action on behalf of the West when they knew mass killings of Jews were taking place in the death camps?
Human nature is human nature, one does not truly know how they would react in a similar circumstance!
Joh Burack is an anti -slav based on his posts. There is a lot of anti-slavic sentiment in these posts. What a shame given these people so actively purport to be judges of actions and intents of mass amounts of people in Eastern Europe. Read the book by Timothy Snyder, BLOODLANDS, Europe between Hitler and Stalin for a better understanding of the immense complex decisions that had to be make by many relatively uneducated people in a time where there was not mass media or internet?