Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The newest Obama gaffe: Uncles, Auschwitz, and history

Barack Obama has a problem. He makes too many mistakes, and as long as the media is in the tank for him, they're not going to call him on any of his inept comments. His most recent one concerns his uncle participating in the liberation of Auschwitz:

"I had an uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family is that when he came home he just went up in the attic and he didn't leave the house for six months."

Now this can be taken as pandering to two groups which he seems to have a problem with. First, he could have been trying to show veterans and current serving soldiers that they can count on him to stand up for them and support them. Second, it could have been a veiled pander to Jewish voters, showing them that his family's history in standing up for the Jews is enough to put those voters at ease.

The problem is that, as noted by the Purple Avenger at AoSHQ, it was the Red Army that liberated Auschwitz:

Auschwitz of course is in Poland. It was liberated by the Red Army on Jan 27 1945. Poland, on most maps is usually placed to the east of Germany, although we may need to investigate the geography textbooks the Messiah used as a child...

The Allies were wrapping up the battle of the bulge in late January of 1945 -- the Rhine crossings were still well into the future when Auschwitz was liberated.

So, either he lied, he's misinformed, or he got the camp wrong. Transterrestrial Musings tries to locate who this uncle is, and they also note that the camp he meant to say was Buchenwald. What's significant about Buchenwald? Buchenwald was a forced labor camp, not an extermination camp. It saw an extraordinary amount of death which came mostly from the camp conditions, and malnourishment. Over 1,000 Soviet POWs were summarily executed there, but the labor prisoners weren't. Again, this was not a camp like Auschwitz. (Dachau was a concentration camp, mainly for political prisoners, not a death camp like Auschwitz.)

But what we discovered, thanks to Transterrestrial Musings, is that the camp in question probably wasn't even Buchenwald. As they note, The Virginian catches the real camp in question:

According to the Obama camp, the “uncle” who was actually a great-uncle who did not liberate Auschwitz but instead participated in the liberation of a labor camp called Ohrdruf (a name likely unrecognizable to most Americans under age 70).

Ohrdruf, per the President, Society of the 89th Division, WWII:...these camps which I and others prefer to refer to as slave labor camps, were not engaged in any discernible program of extermination of certain groups such as the Jews. An after action report of the G-5 staff (military government) of the 89th Division was given to me with a query from a young lawyer in Belgium. The survivors of many of these camps were administered to by military government personnel and were found to be victims of sickness, starvation and slave labor to the extent that most of them were in very bad shape. These people, along with many others became classified as displaced persons (DP's); some of them spent many years in DP camps in Germany before finding a new home elsewhere. But in answer to my query, there was no connection between the activities of the concentration camps and these slave labor camps.

So what we appear to have is something that’s commonly known as “resume inflation.” And that’s what you get when you have a man who has no real experience. When what you have is an empty suit who is trying to pretend that there is substance there.

As Transterrestrial notes "You know, if I were an Obama staffer, I'd start fact checking everything he says, to try to stay ahead of the blogosphere. If this turns out to be true, that press release that the campaign put out yesterday is going to be pretty embarrassing."

This is embarrassing for Obama because the story keeps changing. He can't explain why he used Auschwitz, or how the military records show that his uncle was more likely to have participated in the liberation of Buchenwald. Then the press release states that Ohrdruf was the camp in question. This is bad in many ways because it's reminiscent of John Kerry's "Christmas-not-in-Cambodia" story which also switched constantly. First it was Navy SEALs, then it changed from that to a CIA agent. Then he eventually shut up about it because he was nailed on his lie. Can we prove Obama was lying? That this was "resume inflation?" No, not yet we can't. It'd be nice if Obama gave a few more specifics about this so it could be fact-checked.

Publius II


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