May 29, 2012 No Comments ›› Infidel كافر
Excerpted from Economist: FEW things annoy Poles more than being blamed for the crimes committed by the Nazi occupiers of their homeland. For many years, Polish media, diplomats and politicians have tried to persuade outsiders to stop using the phrase “Polish death camps” as a shorthand description of Auschwitz and other exemplars of Nazi brutality and mass murder.
Unfortunately this seems to have escaped Barack Obama’s staff. In what was meant to be an encomium for the heroic wartime work of Jan Karski,a Polish resistance hero who vainly tried to alert the world to the Holocaust, Mr Obama (presumably accidentally) let slip the phrase “Polish death camp”.
Even in the middle of the night, the reaction in Warsaw was incendiary. Poland wants Mr Obama to apologise to prime minister Donald Tusk. America’s most important ally in the ex-communist world already feels bruised by the administration’s shilly-shallying on issues such as missile defence (back in 2009 Mr Obama’s adminstration chose to announce its backtrack on that on September 17th, the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. That was akin to giving America bad news on pacific security on Pearl Harbour day). America has not lifted visa requirements for Poles (who can die alongside Americans in Afghanistan but not visit them without humiliating bureaucratic hassles). And instead of providing the promised Patriot missile battery to protect Warsaw, it sent some toy rockets as part of a sales pitch. (That, at least, is how Poles see it).
The White House emailed me this:
“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.” – Tommy Vietor, NSC Spokesman”
America’s damage control can be impressively prompt. But not doing the damage in the first place is even better.