The White House is explaining President Barack Obama’s remarks when he described a World War II era German Nazi concentration camp in Poland as a “Polish death camp.” According to the Washington Post:
The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero.
The president’s remark had drawn immediate complaints from Poles who said Obama should have called it a “German death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland,” to distinguish the perpetrators from the location. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski called it a matter of “ignorance and incompetence.”
Obama made the comment while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. Karski died in 2000.
While President Obama and his staff will write this off as a simple gaffe, Poland is sure to feel uncomfortable with him to begin with anyway. In September of 2009, he stabbed Poland and the Czech Republic in the back when it came to missile defense. (H/T Fox News):
In September of his first year in office, Mr. Obama betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic, our allies on missile defense. They had previously agreed to host missile interceptors and radars necessary to defend against inbound missiles from Southwest Asian countries like Iran. In so doing, they had stuck their necks out—gaining the ire of their traditional adversary and former occupier Russia—to show their commitment to NATO, their American allies, and a civilized order that rejects being held hostage by a future Iranian nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Obama canceled the deployment. In return, he and his Secretary of State received a number of feel-good photo opportunities with Russian leaders but little else. Russian help on Afghanistan never materialized—substantially none of the military goods our troops need to fight in Afghanistan have ever even transshipped through Russia.
Considering that in March, Mr. Obama was caught on a hot mic discussing the missile defense issue with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and was heard to say he would “have more flexibility” with it after winning a second term, Polish anger towards Mr. Obama even before today’s remarks is indeed deserved.