So today, I have to go there — and not just because of Barack Obama’s use of the term “Polish death camp,” either:
Allahpundit has done a good job of explaining the diplomatic debacle Obama created with these three words, but perhaps the White House should be reading it, because they clearly don’t understand the impact of this insult, nor the easiest path to dealing with it. Obama got a lot of flak from the Right about the tenor of his appearances abroad in his first year in office, calling it the “apology tour,” but that’s exactly what’s needed in this case — and it doesn’t even require the tour. It could take the form of a public appearance, with a reporter selected to ask the question that would prompt a prepared response along these lines:
I’m glad you asked me that, [favored reporter]. You know, when I honored the valiant Polish freedom fighter and humanitarian Jan Karski, I made the mistake of associating the location of these camps with the brave Polish people. Of course I didn’t mean to do that, but I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for that insensitive remark. As we all know, those camps were operated by the same people who were at the time brutally occupying and oppressing the Polish people, who had to fight for another forty years to free their nation from foreign domination after the Nazi death camps were liberated.
That’s all it would take — perhaps 30 seconds of Obama’s time, and just a slight serving of crow over a real and hurtful insult to a nation that has had to fight bravely for its very existence for centuries. Anyone can make a mistake and thoughtlessly insult a friend, but a real apology offered immediately will suffice with a friend, too. Instead, for two straight days after Obama insulted Poland, he’s sent his flunkies out to the media to stammer about “regret.”
That’s about as amateurish as it gets.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!