While posthumously bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Polish WWII resistance member Jan Karski, President Obama made reference to “Polish death camps”.
The problem is while there were death camps in Poland they were run by the Germans. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor issued a mealy mouthed apology stating that the President merely “misspoke”.
This was simply not good enough for Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk:
If these were “Polish death camps”, then from whose hands did the uncle of the President of the United States liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp? When someone says “Polish death camps,” it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler – that is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride.
This truth about World War II is important and must also have importance for every other nation. I am convinced today, our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction – a clearer one, and one which perhaps eliminates, once and for all, these types of mistakes – than just the correction itself and the regret which we heard from the White House spokesperson. We take note of these words, but it seems it woul be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. That is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well-defined interest. I believe our allies are capable of such behavior. Thank you very much.
This isn’t the first time President Obama has insulted Poland. He did so in September 2009 when he cancelled the ballistic missile defense systems proposed by George W. Bush which were to be built in Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to appease, er, reset relations with Russia.
President Obama has made apologizing for America’s actions one of the hallmarks of his presidency. The time has come for President Obama to apologize for his own misdeeds. It’s time for Obama to man up.