After All These Years, Shouldn’t Obama Amateur Hour Be Over?
It will surprise no one who’s been paying attention to learn that President Foot-in-Mouth has said something stupid yet again. This time, he managed to offend a country that was occupied and brutalized by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II. Nice job with that, Barry.
Poland demanded a “strong and clear response” from the U.S. after President Barack Obama’s mention of a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Pole who told the world about the Holocaust.
“We can’t accept such words in Poland, even if they are spoken by a leader of an allied country,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists in Warsaw today. “Saying Polish concentration camps is as if there was no German responsibility, no Hitler.”
I suppose one could argue that the Poles are overreacting. After all, the camp to which Obama referred was in Poland. On the other hand, Poland, the first country invaded by Hitler’s armies, spent six years in solid resistance even as some others in Europe virtually rolled over (Yes, France, I’m talking about you). Obama must have been aware of this, since he made the remarks while posthumously honoring Polish-born American Jan Karski for his heroic resistance efforts.
Yet the president seems arrogantly ignorant of the fact that occupied Poland was Polish in name only; Germany was in control in all respects. The Nazi camps within Poland’s boundaries (including Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more people died than at any other camp) were German-built and German-run.
Even though Jews were the primary target of Nazi atrocities, Hitler also waged an explicit campaign of annihilation against Poland. More than five million Poles, both Jewish and non-Jewish, were killed by the Nazis in “prison, death camps, raids, executions, the obliteration of ghettoes, epidemics, starvation, overwork or ill treatment.” That the outside knew anything at all about the camps before the war ended was due in no small part to Witold Pilecki, a Russian-born Pole who was deliberately arrested and sent to Auschwitz, whence he was able to get intelligence out to the Polish resistance and, through them, a horrified world. Countless other Poles, in high and low places, fought against Hitler with everything they had.
Even if Obama could be forgiven his ignorance of history, how in the world could he think that a non-apology (“We regret this misstatement”) from an underling (a National Security Council spokesperson) is an appropriate response to the offense he caused Poland’s leaders and people? President Bronislaw Komorowski sure isn’t buying it. It takes a special kind of stupid to screw up the way Obama did and then, after complaints, make it worse by having his lackeys issue statements designed to gloss over it. The President’s apparent cluelessness prompted blogger Glenn Reynolds to quip sarcastically, “Good thing we got rid of that dumb cowboy, Bush.”
Speaking of Bush, where is the sophisticated brilliance, supposedly so lacking in the 43rd president, that Obamatons insisted was so necessary after eight years of supposedly disastrous foreign policy and alienation of our allies? Sadly, it seems to be non-existent, as we see over and over. Web sites documenting Obama’s many other “misstatements” abound, but I have a few personal favorites:
- I can count this high — As a presidential candidate, Sen. Obama tried to impress a gathering in Oregon with his extensive travel on the stump. “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states, I think. One left to go. Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go to…” The country has only 50 states, and that’s been the number for all of Obama’s lifetime.
- I see dead people — The candidate offered this gem in tribute to the service members who have given their lives in our country’s defense. “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes—and I see many of them in the audience here today—our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.” Maybe he thinks that fallen heroes are simply heroes who have stumbled.
- What’s a few extra zeros among friends? — In an effort to demonstrate his grasp of natural disasters, Obama once commented on a deadly tornado. “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The real death toll was 12.
- What we’re doing isn’t working; we need to do more of it — At a post-election press conference, President-Elect Obama took care to warn the nation that he could provide no quick fixes. “I have said before and I will repeat again. It is not going to be quick, it is not going to be easy for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that we are in.” Apparently he’s never heard the Will Rogers adage that when you’re in a hole, it’s best to stop digging.
- Who is the official White House Pig Latin interpreter? — Early in his administration, Obama told reporters at a NATO conference, “There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing, and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.” If world languages were one of Obama’s interests, he would know that there is no language called Austrian. Most people in Austria speak German.
- Hey, that’s how it looked on the teleprompter — At the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast, Obama recognized a Haitian-American service member who helped in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. “One such translator was American of Haitian descent, representative of the extraordinary work that our men and women in uniform do all around the world. Navy Corpsman Christian Brossard.” A lovely tribute, but he called Brossard a “corpse-man.” Three times.
- Protocol? We don’t need no steenkin’ protcol — At a state dinner hosted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in honor of his first official visit, the president made a speech (that was much too long, but that’s another issue). Then he invited the assembled guests to “please stand with me, raise your glasses, as I propose a toast. To Her Majesty, the Queen.” When he paused, the musicians began playing the British national anthem. Instead of doing the sensible thing and keeping his mouth shut, he resumed speaking while the anthem continued.