Sunday, 1 June 2008

Obama Slips Up Over Auschwitz

Hillary Clinton suffered irreparable damage to her reputation with her remembrance of landing in Bosnia under sniper fire only for a TV clip to turn up showing her stepping off the plane smiling and shaking hands with the natives. She claimed to have been tired and had misspoken.
Fast forward a few months and hey looks it Obama in New Mexico, let's listen into what he has to say.
"I had a uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps."
And so up went the chorus of "hang about son" from everyone with even the most basic knowledge of history.
There could be several reasons for such a painfully embarrassing slip up. Obamas uncle could have been part of Stalin's Red Army who did actually liberate the prisoners from Auschwitz or we can take his campaign runners explanation that he actually meant to say Buchenwald, Obama just confused the names of the concentration camps. Fair enough, could happen i guess but it is only just this side of credible to confuse the two, especially as Auschwitz is easily the most infamous concentration camp.
It does seem a theme that American and British accounts of the second world war routinely write the Soviets out of the story and cast the US and UK as the heroes, thus creating the false impression among the general public that Germany was defeated by the US and Great Britain.
Whatever the reason behind Obamas slip, whether it was a lie, confusion or ignorance, he cannot afford to be so careless with his speeches again and stay credible.


Nate Peele said...

It would not surprise me at all to find out that Stalin's uncle was in the Red Army.

Anonymous said...

I don't know...maybe another storm in a teacup. The media focus on all these gaffes to the exclusion of the good, which is frustrating.

Cheezy said...

"It would not surprise me at all to find out that Stalin's uncle was in the Red Army."

It would surprise me - at least a little bit anyway. The Red Army only came into existence during the Russkie Revolution, by which time, I think Big Joe was about 40-something... Maybe he had one of those 'young uncles', the product of a couple who continue to have a vigorous sex life well into their autumn years... Actually, considering it's Russia we're talking about, where it can get decidedly nippy when the lights go out, then perhaps this is a good possibility...

As regards Obama, yes that does sound like a bit of a slip of the tongue... but he still talks far less shit than the other two, doesn't he? Personally I'm more worried about Gramps McCain getting his Shias and his Sunnis confused than I am about Obama throwing a sickie on the day they wrapped up WW2 in his history class...

Lucy said...

My thing with this is that if McCain had said it, we would have been jumping on him for being old and forgetful and is liable to be trying to remmeber where he put his slippers with the zippers on the front when it matters. Everyone piled on Hillary over her Bosnia claim so only fair we jump on Obama when he messes up if only to make him think clearly before he opens his mouth next time.

annie said...

be honest: how many americans would even recognize the word buchenwald? so many know little or nothing about world history. but lots about american idol! hopefully auchwitz registers with many, but i don't hold out much hope for that either. we are talking dumbed-down nation.

he made a mistake. at least he didn't claim to be shot at though-a bit of a difference there.

Jennyjinx said...

Blogger comments is messed up for me again. I've only got about a two inch window here and can't scroll. So please excuse any typos in advance.(Nevermind. Opened in New Tab and all seems well)

Actually, Obama's grand-uncle, Charlie Payne,was in the unit that liberated Ohrdruf. He actually wasn't lying, he probably just didn't have the timeline and/or family history memorized. Also, it's typical of many Americans to call grand uncles and aunts just "uncle" or "aunt".

Anyway, for verification please see this post at Sadly, No! Some rightwing tard actually wrote to a website dedicated to the vets who liberated that particular camp- just to say Obama was lying. He wasn't. The guy wasn't extactly happy to be harassed in such a way. After the webmaster basically told the tard to screw off, the idiots decided he probably wasn't really a vet. Hmmph.

Here's the link:

Something else to read:

Check out the comments too. Some of those rightwing tards need slapped silly.

Also, I would like to note that my paternal grandfather was a POW in one of the camps, but I don't know which or for how long. He managed to live and NEVER spoke of it to anyone other than my grandmother. And she didn't get all the details- it was such a horrible experience.

One more thing, you should check out the site dedicated to that particular unit. I don't know if there are more out there (I'm still doing some research), but the history told is heartbreaking.

Jennyjinx said...

Everyone piled on Hillary over her Bosnia claim

Because she lied. She went to Bosnia, but she was never under fire. Kind of like when McCain went to the Green Zone in Iraq and declared "All is well!" while he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and surrounded (around as well as from above) by military body guards. LOL

Jennyjinx said...

That Balloon Juice link is wrong. Here's the right one:

Anonymous said...


It was just a mistake. It was not a big mistake (nobody was hurt).