Buchenwald and Barack Obama

Before leaving Chicago last weekend, I had the chance to visit a large Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of town. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother are buried there, and I was grateful for the opportunity to look at the photographs on their footstones and connect, even for the short time allowed by a looming thunderstorm and need to get to O’Hare International for our flight out of town.

I don’t know enough of my family history to know if and how we were affected, firsthand, by the Holocaust. What I do know, however, is that in the rows and rows of headstones and footstones in that cemetery, thousands likely were. And while I’ve never had the chance to visit any of the concentration camps throughout Europe–though this summer, while in Poland, I’d like to–I’ve never shied away from reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. History has a way of repeating itself, and has a greater chance of doing so if its lessons are forgotten.

Today, President Barack Obama stood at the entrance of Buchenwald and vomited forth some empty rhetoric about recognizing evil and making sure the tragedies which took place on those grounds and places like it never happen again, all one day after he stood in Cairo and lauded Islam, all one day after he compared the horrors of the Holocaust with the sixty years the Palestinians have spent wandering the desert without a homeland. Hmm . . . six million Jews die at the hands of the Nazis, or 60 years of a nomadic-but-sedentary existence?

(NOTE: After being challenged in a comment, let me just be clear — Obama’s words at Buchenwald were very nice. They were well said, well written, and delivered in a heartfelt manner. The problem, for me, is that they were empty words, at least when contrasted with his speech yesterday.)

Afterward, NBC’s Tom Brokaw actually asked Obama–I kid you not–what the Jewish people could learn from the things he saw and said at Buchenwald . . . and how those lessons could contribute to their treatment of the Palestinian people.

When I saw that, later this evening, I just about fell out of my chair.

“There’s no equivalency there, Tom,” Obama said, about 24 hours after he applied a moral equivalency between six million Jewish lives snuffed out and a wandering people without a homeland. Then, Obama said that the the only way for a “lasting peace” is through a two-state solution. Essentially, that Israel must trade land for peace.

The Palestinian people are not interested in land. They proved that during the Clinton years. They proved that when the Israelis constantly conceded land–even land taken by force by Israel in retaliation for being attacked–but the Palestinians continued to harass and attack Israel. Palestinians will only be satisfied when there is no Israel left, and will continue to attack innocent people until they have their way.

You know, sixty five years ago right now, some of our bravest young Americans were eating a final meal, cleaning and lubricating their weapons, packing their parachutes and otherwise preparing for the D-Day invasion. They laid their lives on the line for freedom in Europe, they fought and died so that good could prevail over evil. Now, a president who pretends to honor their tradition and their sacrifice only sullies it by gallivanting across the landscape rich with their blood, deeming freedom an imposition and touting blissful ignorance to a history of evil just begging to repeat itself.

That’s it for me, in terms of the partisan, political aspects of this weekend’s anniversary. Tomorrow is about remembering the sacrifice made by those brave young men.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a liberal Democrat trying to honestly understand where conservatives are coming from, please answer me these questions:

    "Today, President Barack Obama stood at the entrance of Buchenwald and vomited forth some rhetoric about recognizing evil and making sure the tragedies which took place on those grounds and places like it never happen again."

    For the quote above, what would rather have him say? Seriously, I think its fair to say it was a typical statement; if Bush had said that would there have been any issues?

    "Chooses? Or "forced" to cover her hair? Or "forced" subjugation?"

    I know thats from another blog entry but I was just wondering, do all conservatives not take the time out to actually LEARN a bit about Islam? I was baptized Protestant, but am still unsure of where my beliefs actually fall (I do have a strong faith in God but have issues worshiping Christ on the same level as God). So maybe its the liberal and path of self-understanding I am still on that makes me interested in other religions, but since Islam has become such a hot topic, I think the motivation to actually UNDERSTAND Islam and its teachings was more of a motivator for me to study it a bit. That said, why is it that every conservative I speak to is completely ignorant and quote sterotypical claims to who Muslims actually are? Why does there seem to be such an undertone of discrimination against them in your articles? If you knew anything about Islam, then you would know that there are feminist movements that work to secure a woman's right to wear the veil. There have been cases of men wishing women to remove them, but women feel unprotected from their "perverted" eyes. Why is it that you conservatives can't just accept other cultures and beliefs and move on? Islam is a BEAUTIFUL religion.

    Btw, I was the one that posted that "zakat" is one of the pillars of Islam the other day. I can post in a non-partisan way despite the fact that I don't agree with basically anything you say.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When I heard Obama speaking about what he saw at the concentration camp, I almost sensed some sincerity from him…. until, I, like you realized that his words rang hollow in the context of his overall lack of understanding of what happened to the Jewish people there. Where is the empathy? Words mean nothing if they are empty and as I listened to Ronald Reagan's speech and was reminded of what a true patriot he was and how he could communicate from the depths of his soul because he truly meant what he said. If I could say anything to Obama it would be that as he attempts to connect with those who were a part of this great experience of good against evil to remember that he owes them a debt which requires him to preserve and defend this nation as they did so willingly and unselfishly..he dare not squander what they treasured enough to die for we will not allow it. Thank God for America.

  3. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    Anonymous liberal,

    I appreciate what you have to say. "Vomited forth" is a little strong. I mean, I did like what he had to say — the problem is that I'm not sure there was anything behind it, especially considering what he said and what he didn't say (including the words "terror," "terrorist" or "terrorism") the day before.

    I need to temper my language a little bit, though. It's not that his words were bad — it's just that they were just words.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Jeff, for your tribute to the men and women who served so selflessly in WWII – especially those who were the first to face almost certain death at the hands of the entrenched German gunners as they exited their landing craft in the waters at places like Omaha Beach. What guts and resignation it must have taken to keep one's knees from buckling out of fear of what they knew they faced the minute that ramp went down.

    I was a child of ten on that day, and I have always wondered if I could have done what they did. My cousin, who was only eight years older than I, was with the 101st Airborne and made the jump into France in the pre-dawn hours on D- day. He was one of he lucky ones who survived the landing and the brutal slog across France and into western Germany, only to experience the horror of being one of the first to liberate the concentration camps. He was a hero, and I'd like to honor him by speaking his name to all who read this; M/Sgt Fredrick ("Sonny") Partington (deceased), from Lowell, MA.

    Whenever I think about that day, and all of the others like "Sonny" but didn't survive, I feel great sadness that we don't know more of their names – those guys whose lives were never lived out like ours; no chance to come home to loved ones, to be married, have homes, raise children – simply to experience, as I have, the kind of life that they preserved by giving up their own.

    I'm old now, but I can still remember the war so clearly from a young boy's perspective. Everyone's life was affected and/or involved (or better yet, consumed) by the events of the times. Almost every home displayed the little "star flag" hanging in the window, one star for each person from the home who was in the service. When the star turned from blue to gold, you knew that someone wasn't coming home and you grew quiet when you walked past that house.

    I'm the last generation to have experienced the emotions, the sounds, the sights, the songs – the whole atmosphere of those long four years, and I wish that there was some way to tell my sons and grandchildren what a totally united country felt like in the 1940's, but unless you've been there, you'll never know.

    When my time to serve came, less than ten years later in the waning days of the Korean conflict, it was much different. That conflict was, in the eyes of the public, just a slight distraction from the post-WWII exhuberance – unless you were one of unlucky ones to have been caught up in it. (I strongly suggest reading Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter". My copy of that book is autographed by my friend, Lt.Col. Robert Taggart, Ret.,(Bob died this past December at the age of 98), who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of '44-45 and later, in '51, landed at Inchon in Korea, just in time to experience that "coldest winter". He was another great patriot that I've been blessed to know.

    Then I think of our current president and the times that we live in and I want to puke, but at the same time, I'm thankful that I knew a time when America was different and gave birth to a different kind of man.

    God bless all of the "Sonney"s and Old Bob Taggarts of those times, and forgive us for failing to preserve the kind of America that they left in our care.

    (another) Old Bob

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous liberal & Jeff;
    Spoken by any other, it would be a great speech. But for the one that wants to take away from the Jews… just words. And from the one that has said that words mean something, they ring hollow from the O-man

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, don't apologize for the TRUTH..although "vomit" implies an involuntary action to me so maybe "hurl" would be better since that would be a voluntary action. It amazes me that our liberal friends always want us to 'temper down' our harsh speech and tip toe around the issue. I think what many of us feel when Obama speaks his flowery rhetoric is that many times the reality is clouded..when he declares that the US does not want to 'dictate' but 'listen', we know he means he is going to dictate to Israel that they halt all settlement activity. Also, anonymous liberal characterizes conservatives as intolerant of other religions…what country on this planet offers more tolerance and freedom to other religions? Many of us have sought to understand Islam but some of our impressions have come from the members themselves who have lived under this system. Is there freedom for other religions in Saudia Arabia, Iran or Egypt? Surely, this liberal poster is aware of the oppression women have endured under this system as recounted by the women themselves. We don't make up these horror stories. If you truly want to learn more, read some of the books and articles by Walid Shoebat who is a converted Muslim terrorist.He can give you an accurate history of this religion. Only the naive do not take them at their word when they tell us they seek our destruction and the destruction of Israel. Obama has made it clear that his dictates will be to Israel and his compassion to the Muslims.

  7. elspeth says:

    Anonymous liberal,

    John 3:16 tells us God sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life.

    You've studied the beautiful religion of Islam. I wonder why you have not studied Christianity if you were baptised Protestant.

    Had you done so, you would know why God sent Jesus to shed blood for our souls and save us from our sins. There is no other way to the Father but through the Son.

    The Bible tells us in Malachi 1:3 and Roman 9:13 that God hated Esau. I have pondered this for a long time. How can the God of Love hate anyone? By studying Christianity, you will learn that Esau's descendents were the Edomites, and they were unnecessarily unkind to Israel, the descendents of Jacob.

    I believe the conflict with Israel still exists today in the form of Palestine.

    I have learned that the religion of Islam is based on the sayings of a mortal man.

    As a youth, I often wondered how Christians can dismiss all other religions. It is in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Many may say that Christ was also a mortal man and merely a wise and good teacher. But He could not have been both good and wise as He claimed to be the Son of God. If I claimed to be the Son of God, I would be locked up for being nuts.

    Christ was regarded a threat by the leaders, not nuts and someone to be dismissed as a fruitcake.

    The divination of Christ far outways the sayings of a mortal man.

    I personally know there are not enough forces on earth to stop God's will – no doubt or concern for where my faith lies.

    The conflicts in all the world are without a doubt God's will. Each human will be guided by the good or evil in their heart and be compelled to act upon it.

    And this will continue to the end of days. I for one know there is a special place in Heaven reserved just for me.

    As for your other questions, I was not compelled to answer those. However, I hope my viewpoint and faith witness to you as the truth.

    God bless you, and God bless America.

    elspeth

    P.S. As always, Jeff, thank you for this platform of information and open discussion.

    verification: percast

  8. observer says:

    Today, President Barack Obama stood at the entrance of Buchenwald and vomited forth some empty rhetoric about recognizing evil and making sure the tragedies which took place on those grounds and places like it never happen again, all one day after he stood in Cairo and lauded Islam, all one day after he compared the horrors of the Holocaust with the sixty years the Palestinians have spent wandering the desert without a homeland. Hmm . . . six million Jews die at the hands of the Nazis, or 60 years of a nomadic-but-sedentary existence?

    And on which anniversary will BHO ever make a lecture speech to his own country before a mirror of himself to himself about "other" atrocities his own influence (as well as his wife's) promotes to this day??:

    http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/08/baipaobamamp3.html

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1725788/posts

    http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/02/terri_schiavo_s_1.html

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/03/30/sunday-meditation-obama-and-the-punishment-of-unborn-life/

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/01/21/obama-lift-ban-funding-groups-providing-abortions-overseas/

  9. Gail B says:

    Anonymous liberal,

    Thanks for your comment(s) and genuine efforts to understand conservatism or conservatives.

    Can you explain what religion IS behind the attacks on Americans at the WTC, etc.? If it's not religion, why do they attack us?

    The U.S. gives billions of dollars in foreign aid. Plus, we send food, water, and clothing in times of disaster. Our soldiers have fought with their armies for their freedom, saving them from Communism. Our military stands ready around the world. Even our Republican presidents have been criticized for caring more about the welfare of foreign countries than for ours.

    Where did the money came from to do this? From free enterprise, capitalism.

    Who will give a damn about the United States after our economy sinks into becoming that of a third-world nation with no domestic source FOR foreign aid?

    Our regime leader told us "no new taxes." The liberal Congress passed an unbelievably large stimulus/pork package which thus stripped the states of tax income, forcing them to raise taxes to dig out of billions in shortfalls. (Way to go, 111th Congress!)

    Our federal government cannot spend its way out of a recession because the government has no product to make a profit by. Its money source is from the rapidly decreasing numbers of employed taxpayers.

    Why are the numbers decreasing? Because Obama(?) is punishing big business by higher taxes. Remember, businesses pay no taxes–they pass them on to the consumer. The economy slows down even more.

    Obama(?) is not boosting the economy. The Democratic Party's own website (and I've quoted this from their agenda in previous comments) acknowledges that capitalism and free enterprise is the engine that fuels the economy. The liberal Democrats are taking over large corporations for the sole goal of their MONEY. They know that the middle class cannot support their goals. They want to make EVERYBODY dependent upon the government, so that no one has more than they need for their own existence. They want CONTROL.

    Where have we gone wrong? We have run big business out of the country. We have put our future generations into insurmountable debt. We have endangered the U.S. dollar. We have set into motion a train of havoc and ruin, and We the People are sitting on the tracks.

    We have a man sitting at the Resolute Desk who has broken every promise he made during his campaign except the one of change. He has lied to us repeatedly. His cabinet members have lied to us. He claims to be a Christian, yet he bows double to a Muslim king. He denies Christianity in America, the very basis of our government.

    Anonymous liberal, it goes on and on and on and on. Americans, as Jeff has said, would prefer to watch American Idol or Survivor than to dig into "who they were" who attacked us. We do understand that Christianity has taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, if an attack against the United States was not a Christian deed, WHAT WAS IT? We are told that it's an Islamic Muslim's deed.

    We know that all Muslims are not terrorists. We just do NOT, as a whole, believe with certainty that those who attacked us were not Islamic Muslims.

    There are snakes of all kinds. Some are venomous; some are harmless. Because there are many who cannot differentiate between the two, they are afraid of all. When we understand, when we can recognize our danger, what to fear and when to fear. (I am using snakes as an analogy; I'm not calling Muslims "snakes.")

    So, I hope you see now why We the People are upset. The man at The Desk goes overseas and apologizes for America's history, sucks up to the Muslims, Communists, and Socialists. His great ideas and agenda have deepened the recession, increased unemployment (now 9 percent), and ILLEGALLY taken over private industry.

    I have a copy of the U.S. Constitution beside me. I can't find where the federal government can FIRE a CEO of a private business. That is what the Board of Directors is for.

    I voted the Democratic ticket for half a century. See how stupid I am?

  10. Gail B says:

    Jeff, I have seen photos of the death camps. My late aunt's friend shot the pictures.

    It's easy to understand one reason the Holocaust is said not to have happened. It was too horrible to admit that it's true.

    But I've seen the photographs. Only an insane person could have unleashed that extermination of mankind.

    And, I don't mind admitting that it frightens me how much Hitler and Obama(?) are similar in their messages.

  11. Anonymous says:

    To the "Anonymous" who said that all conservatives are "completely ignorant", knock if off with the pseudo intellectualism. Painting with such a broad brush belies your actual bias against those who express a viewpoint with which you disagree.

    And actually, I would reject your claim that most of us of being "completely ignorant" of very few things, the knowlege of which is available through common experience, reading, observation, and instruction, but particularly Islam. If you examined my booksheves, you would find more than a half-dozen well-respected books, including large sections of the Q'uran, on this subject.

    Islam is about as "beautiful" as a Black Widow spider. Left to itself, it is, depending on your perspective, quite beautiful, but just try to treaten it or invade its territory, then watch out.

    I'm surprised that you can have doubts about "The Prince of Peace" and yet have positive thoughts about a religion that engages in Sharia law, the adherents of such would gladly behead all of His followers. Now, that's incredible!

    The above notwithstanding, I DO encourage you to continue to visit Jeff's blog and engage in an honest, full-throated, debate on the issues and perceptions which separate us.

    Respectfully,

    Old Bob

  12. Rix says:

    As an Israeli, an IDF soldier and a proud murderer of quite a few Palestinian terrorists, I have a question I ask every liberal-minded person who considers him- or herself fair and balanced.

    According to a number of Palestinian-conducted polls among Gaza strip inhabitants, between 75 and 92 percent of local population supports killing as many Jews as possible. Now, what kind of political, economic and possibly even military turmoil would Israel endure if a reverse poll conducted in Tel-Aviv would discover similar numbers?!

  13. Dee says:

    Jeff, thank you for this article and thanks to all who have posted here. I am truly getting fed up with BO apologizing to the world about the US. The country that he was elected to represent. If it is so terrible, he should have declined the presidency. Our country has lost many soldiers while protecting and freeing other countries. We send troops and aid to all those who experience disasters. We are not perfect and neither is any other country. I have not heard one other leader apologize for the mistakes their countries may have made in the past. If the USA is so terrible, why do so many want to come here? I listen to the leftist elites and how they complain about the USA but none of them ever move out. How much money did other contries send us to rebuild and recover from 9/11? He wants to destroy capitalism and feels that the wealthy are greedy. How many times has a poor person hired someone to work for him? What class hires and creates jobs? Yes, some of the golden parachutes are outrageous but these are the people who keep the country running. I learned a long time ago that there will always be someone who has more than I do and someone who has less. I would like to hear BO say, just one time, that he is proud to be the POTUS and not because of his race but because of the country that enabled him to be where he is.
    Enough of my rant. God bless the USA.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dee, as I watched the ceremonies in remembrance of D Day, I looked at the Obamas and wished that I could believe they were moved by these reminders of what our nation has sacrificed for others to enjoy the same freedoms we enjoy. I wondered if Michelle would realize that there is MUCH that should make her proud of this country..maybe everything didn't directly involve her, but it certainly affected the quality of her life today. I want to believe that they love this country and realize that they OWE it to these brave men and women who gave everything for others and those who serve now and those who work hard to provide for their families..they owe it to this nation to be as HONORABLE and COURAGEOUS as those heroes of D Day. How could they look into the eyes of those who experienced this horror and not be humbled and resolve to do what is right? The words were there and I hope they don't ring hollow and empty as he continues this grand EXPERIMENT.

  15. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK says:

    Once again, I salute Rix!!!

  16. La Muse Poetique says:

    A friend of mine has a quote on their page that says "When the Palestinians put down their guns, there will be no more war. When the Israelies put down their guns, there will be no more Israel."

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