Camp memories: Obama and Reagan


Joseph Cannon
May 28, 2008

On Memorial Day, Obama announced that his uncle helped to liberate Auschwitz — and that the experience was so traumatic that the uncle had to spend six months in an attic.

In fact, Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. I don’t believe the "attic" story either. In 2002, Obama said the following:

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Here he refers to the grandfather, not the uncle, and we have no talk of entering the camps personally. Anyone who spends six months in an attic based on hearsay from other soldiers must be very sensitive. By the way: Treblinka was also liberated by the Soviets. Patton’s army liberated Buchenwald and Mauthausen.

Do I consider this gaffe important? Not really, although I’m ticked off by the double-standard. Despite Obi’s chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, the CDS-sufferers still pretend that the Bosnia affair was the single worst lie in the history of mankind. What I find extremely cute is the parallel to Ronald Reagan — who also claimed to have participated in the liberation of the concentration camps.

It is no coincidence that our first MTV-era president, Ronald Reagan, was fond of telling audiences stories of how he had helped liberate concentration camps at the end of World War II, when his only experience with a Dachau or Treblinka was sitting in a darkened room watching movies of those events. "You believed in it because you wanted to believe it," Reagan once told a reporter who thought he had seen Reagan on the set of a movie which didn’t feature him at all. "There’s nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time."

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