January 26, 2005


Auschwitz adds to U.S.-EU friction (Judy Dempsey, January 26, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

To the long list of what separates the United States and Europe these days, add the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, to be marked Thursday in a solemn ceremony that will bring together almost all of Europe's most important leaders, but not President George W. Bush.

For some prominent Poles, the attendance of Vice President Dick Cheney is a bitter disappointment. The Auschwitz ceremony will include President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Horst Köhler of Germany, President Jacques Chirac of France and President Moshe Katzav of Israel.

Although Auschwitz holds very different associations for each of these leaders - Putin represents the liberator, Katzav the victim and Köhler the perpetrator - the passage of time and the immense changes in Europe since communism crumbled in 1989 have allowed all three to share this anniversary.

Some believe the American president should be part of this occasion, which they see as a symbol of Europe's enlargement and its decision, after World War II, to renounce war and national sovereignties in favor of a still uncertain experiment in unity.

"I would like to see the president of the United States attend the liberation of the Auschwitz commemoration," said the distinguished Polish medieval historian Bronislaw Geremek, a former dissident, foreign minister and now member of the European Parliament.

"Auschwitz represented the end of the totalitarian regime," Geremek said...

No it didn't.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2005 9:31 AM

Perhaps Bush could go and then mention a couple of words in his speech: Katyn and Kolyma. Make Putin squirm.

Posted by: ratbert at January 26, 2005 1:26 PM

Bush has a country to govern, is in the midst of changing over his cabinet, is fighting a war and staging an election in Iraq. He simply doesn't have time to come to this ceremony. If he had chosen to go to it, speaking as a betting man, it is a dead lock that the Democrats and the MSM would be complaining about him wasting time with foreign travel while there is important business to be done in Washington. Had he gone, we would undoubtedly have been treated to hackneyed lines from tedious hasbeens like Al Franken and Barbara Boxer about how Bush didn't need to be in DC as Cheney really runs things.

This bimbo from the IHT is obviously too stupid or ill-prepared to know that the Heads of State of Israel and Germany have no real duties but instead are basically ceremonial positions. The effect of sending them is no different from sending a Vice President. Blair, Sharon, Howard and Schroeder are not there, why should Bush be?

Chirac will go anywhere they serve free food.

Posted by: Bart at January 26, 2005 6:03 PM