Apologizing to the mullahs but not to Poland (WORLD TRIBUNE) Jeffrey T. Kuhner 06/01/12)
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President Obama has insulted Poland. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama referred
to “Polish death camps” during World War II. His comments inflamed
Polish public opinion. Mr. Obama has demeaned and degraded the
victims of Nazism. He has also exposed his ignorance.
The irony is that Mr. Obama’s statements were expressed during a
ceremony commemorating World War II Polish resistance hero Jan Karski
with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. Karski was one of
the first witnesses to the Holocaust taking place in Nazi-occupied
Poland, and sought to alert the world.
The White House has said the president “misspoke” and that
it “regrets” the comments. Poland’s leaders want more; its foreign
minister demands that Mr. Obama issue a full apology.
They’re right. The impression Mr. Obama’s words give is that Poles —
not Nazi Germans — presided over notorious concentration camps, such
as Auschwitz. This is a gross error. Poland’s curse was that it lay
between Germany’s dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet strongman Josef
Stalin. In 1939, the German Wehrmacht invaded and quickly conquered
Warsaw. Despite brave resistance, the country was partitioned between
Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. Much of the Holocaust occurred
on the Eastern Front, especially in Poland and Ukraine. On Polish
soil, for example, the Nazis established a series of death camps. The
goal was to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population. Ultimately, 6
million Jews were systematically murdered.
It is often forgotten, however, that Hitler’s victims also included
millions of Slavs, Catholics, Gypsies (Roma), homosexuals and the
disabled. According to Nazi racial doctrine, Slavs were
deemed “subhuman” — fit only for slave labor. Hence, countless Poles
(and others) perished at the hands of Nazi butchers. Mr. Obama’s
comment reveals his lack of basic historical understanding. Millions
of Poles died in defiance of Hitler’s rule; the president has now
slandered their memory. He should apologize immediately.
Yet, Mr. Obama is not the only one to forget fascism’s real legacy.
The post-modern West is characterized by hedonism, consumerism and
secular liberalism. Most no longer know the past — or even care to.
The horror of fascism, especially in Europe during the 1920s and
1930s, is that it was popular, widespread and rising. Its myth-
making, calls for a New Order based on economic collectivism and
ethnic purity, intense hatred of parliamentary democracy, virulent
anti-Bolshevism, and romantic appeals to blood, race and empire — all
of this propelled fascist movements across the Continent. Fascism
combined xenophobic nationalism with state socialism. Hitler’s
National Socialism was seen by many as the wave of the future — a
much-heralded “Third Way” that transcended decadent capitalism and
It cast a mesmerizing spell upon most peoples of Europe. Fascist
regimes came to power in Italy, Spain, Vichy France, Norway, Greece,
Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Some of the most savage Quisling states were erected in the Balkans.
Romania’s ruler, Marshal Ion Antonescu, unleashed a murderous rampage
against Jews and Gypsies. In Croatia, the sadistic Ustashe led by
Ante Pavelic slaughtered numerous Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-
fascist Croats. Contrary to myth, Serbia also had a genocidal
collaborationist dictatorship. Led by Gen. Milan Nedic, Belgrade’s
fascists engaged in the comprehensive extermination of its Jewish
population. By the summer of 1942, Serbia had become completely
Judenfrei. Even Allied or neutral countries, such as Britain, Ireland
and Sweden, possessed fascist movements.
This is what makes the Poles so remarkable. Guided by their deep
Catholic faith and unflinching patriotism, they stood up against the
two seminal evil ideologies of the 20th century — Nazism and
communism. Poland is a Christ nation. It has been crucified
repeatedly throughout its long, tragic history. Like a phoenix, it
has re-emerged from the ashes of Teutonic totalitarianism and Great
American liberals have a long history of betraying the Poles.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt strongly supported Britain’s policy
of appeasement against Hitler — including the infamous Munich
agreement. When the Fuhrer’s forces invaded Poland, FDR refused to
lift a finger to help. At Yalta, he abandoned Eastern Europe to
Stalin’s brutal occupation.
Mr. Obama has betrayed the Poles again. He has withdrawn plans to
install missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic in
order to placate Moscow. He has repeatedly called for a “reset” in
relations with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. This is the same Mr.
Putin, who openly says that the collapse of the Soviet empire
was “the greatest tragedy of the 20th century.” Mr. Obama has
essentially consigned Eastern Europe to Russia’s sphere of influence.
He has emboldened our enemy at the expense of our closest friends —
especially, Poland. And now he is rubbing proverbial salt into the
wound by refusing to apologize for his outrageous comments.
Fascism is not dead. It has only mutated into a new form: Muslim
extremism. Both strains, the European variety and today’s
Islamofascism, share similar traits — hatred of Western civilization;
the desire for global domination; a cult of violence, war and
martyrdom; an appeal to emotion and irrational impulses; and the
overwhelming, pathological desire to destroy the Jews.
The center of world fascism is no longer Berlin, but Tehran. Iran’s
theocratic regime not only denies the Holocaust. It seeks to complete
Hitler’s “Final Solution”: The annihilation of the Jewish people and
the Jewish state. Hence, this is why it is desperate to attain the
Mr. Obama, however, is willing to apologize to Iran’s mullahs but not
to the Poles. In his 2009 Cairo address, he asked Tehran to forgive
America’s alleged “imperialist” past — including U.S. support for the
1954 Iranian coup. In his eyes, fascist fanatics are worthy of
apologies. Their victims are not. (Copyright © 2012 East West
Services, Inc. 06/01/12)
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