January 11, 2008


Bush Says U.S. Should Have Bombed Auschwitz (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/12/08)

Bush was visibly moved as he toured the site, said Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner Shalev.

''Twice, I saw tears well up in his eyes,'' Shalev said.

At one point, Bush viewed aerial photos of the Auschwitz camp taken during the war by U.S. forces and called Rice over to discuss why the American government had decided against bombing the site, Shalev said.

The Allies had detailed reports about Auschwitz during the war from Polish partisans and escaped prisoners. But they chose not to bomb the camp, the rail lines leading to it, or any of the other Nazi death camps, preferring instead to focus all resources on the broader military effort, a decision that became the subject of intense controversy years later.

Between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were killed at the camp.

''We should have bombed it,'' Bush said, according to Shalev.

In the memorial's visitors' book, the president wrote simply, ''God bless Israel, George Bush.''

The memorial was closed to the public and under heavy guard Friday, with armed soldiers standing on top of some of the site's monuments and a police helicopter and surveillance blimp hovering in the air overhead.

''I was most impressed that people in the face of horror and evil would not forsake their God. In the face of unspeakable crimes against humanity, brave souls -- young and old -- stood strong for what they believe,'' Bush said.

''I wish as many people as possible would come to this place. It is a sobering reminder that evil exists, and a call that when evil exists we must resist it,'' he said.

It was Bush's second visit to the Holocaust memorial, a regular stop on the visits of foreign dignitaries. His first was in 1998, as governor of Texas. The last U.S. president to visit was Bill Clinton in 1994.

Imagine, a president who cries for others and for his country's failures.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2008 9:14 AM

Maybe not a saint, but surely an extraordinary man.

Posted by: erp at January 11, 2008 11:13 AM

Saints have to have at least two documented miracles. W's already accomplished one.

Posted by: Bartman at January 11, 2008 12:39 PM

A nice sentiment, but I hope he understands that we didn't have GPS-guided bombs back then. B-17s would have most likely either missed or just killed the prisoners, while taking them away from missions that were directly defeating the Nazis.

Strange but true: early in the war it was decided that it wouldn't be worthwhile to target Germany's electrical generation plants. (The Ruhr dams were an exception.)

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 11, 2008 3:03 PM

George Bush is a treasure of a man. The emotion-mongering of the the past couple of weeks shows just how vapid (and petty) his successor will be, unless Fred is elected.

And to think that nobody really knew, until he handled Gore's antics in the debates.

I will always remember Bush stopping on the campaign line in Akron to console the girl whose mother was killed on 9/11. And how so many of the scheduled emotional meetings that he has are done behind closed doors.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 11, 2008 11:16 PM

He is a truly decent man and I say that with as much scorn as possible for all the inexplicable hatred regularly hurled at him. (Although I admit to finding his effects on liberals quite amusing.)

He is a much greater man than his enemies, this much I know is true.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 12, 2008 2:37 AM


Just curious...What do you reckon it is, specifically? Getting democracy to Iraq, I suppose?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 12, 2008 2:47 AM