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Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008

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The Dailoy Telegraph

London, Saturday, January 12, 2008

George Bush admits US Auschwitz error

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem

PRESIDENT George W Bush has said that America should have bombed the Nazi death camp Auschwitz during the Second World War.

The comment, which Mr Bush reportedly made to his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a visit to Israel's Holocaust museum Yad Vashem, appeared to be the first acknowledgement by an American president of failure to strike Nazi death camps.

George W Bush visits Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

According Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, Mr Bush had tears in his eyes at two moments during an hour-long tour of the museum.

Upon viewing an aerial shot of Auschwitz, Mr Bush said the ruling not to bomb it was "complex."

He then spoke to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's decision, clearly pondering the options before rendering an opinion of his own, Mr Shalev said.

"We should have bombed it," Mr Bush said.

Tom Segev, a leading Israeli scholar of the Holocaust, said the seemingly spontaneous comment was the first time an American president had made this acknowledgment.

click for origin

David Irving comments:

DO I smell a major class-action lawsuit now pending against Uncle Sam by those nice folks next door?
   On the non-bombing of "Auschwitz", many things need to be said:
   The British and Americans were fighting a major war with great precision and single-mindedness. Many horrors were being inflicted on many peoples on both sides. The way to end the horrors, with no special favours to one people or another, was to end the war.
   It was as simple as that.
   The British may well also have seen little urgency in helping a people whose terrorists were throughout that same war fighting British troops in Palestine, culminating in the assassination of Lord Moyne, a close friend of Winston Churchill.

click to enlarge

Birkenau (Auschwitz II),
Aug 23, 1944: click for fullsize

   As for bombing "Auschwitz" -- what precisely do they mean by that? The site was vast, bigger than Heathrow or O'Hare. Bomb the "gas chambers"? Even now historians cannot agree which buildings were gas chambers, and just how long would it take the Germans to rebuild?
   Bomb the bridges and railroad lines? The same answer applies: it routinely took Albert Speer and Xaver Dorsch of the Todt Organisation one to two days to put back bombed railroad lines into action, as both men told me. How many Allied airmen would have had to pay for this costly diversion with their lives?

THERE is one other point, which I have made before.
   On March 23, 1962, forty-six years ago, I asked Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, commander-in-chief of RAF Bomber Command, why he had not bombed the site (see picture above). The controversy was beginning to boil over even then.
   "Mr Irving," he replied, "If I were given the choice of being burned alive by British incendiaries and being killed by cyanide gas, I know which I should prefer."

REFERENCE to Tony Blair reminds me that we should all congratulate him -- but we won't -- on getting his two million pounds a year, nothing-much-to-do job with US bankers J P Morgan.
   This ne'er-do-well prime minister, who sold out Britain's interest in the Middle East by joining Britain to Bush's murderous and criminal adventure against Iraq, probably does not know that it was J P Morgan, the same bank, which acted as liquidators when Britain became formally bankrupt on December 6, 1940: the bank oversaw the sales of all Britain's overseas assets -- railroads in South America and the like -- to pay for the munitions which President Roosevelt kindly agreed to furnish (in breach of US neutrality).
   Churchill sold out the Empire to continue his war (thus incidentally making the Holocaust possible); Blair betrayed our soldiers, and the same bank will be seeing him all right in his old age.
   Not many of your newspapers will have spotted the irony of this.

The Allies had detailed reports on 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.

Between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were murdered at the infamous Polish camp. While in Israel Mr Bush also paid a brief visit to the Sea of Galilee in the north, speaking to local Christians at the Mount of Beatitudes where, tradition has it, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.

He emerged from his two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories saying he was confident that agreement between the two sides to end decades of violence could be reached by next January.

Tony Blair, who met Mr Bush in his role as international mediator to the developing Palestinian state, said he was "cautiously optimistic" a deal was possible within a year -- if only because failure was not an option.

"It's hard for me to see how you're going to get a peace agreement done if the present initiative fails, because if it fails things will move backwards again," said Mr Blair.

"There is no alternative but to push forward and to do so with determination." ....

Bush: US Should Have Bombed Auschwitz

Jan 11 12:41 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - President Bush had tears in his eyes during an hour-long tour of Israel's Holocaust memorial Friday and told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should have bombed Auschwitz to halt the killing, the memorial's chairman said.

Bush emerged from a tour of the Yad Vashem memorial calling it a "sobering reminder" that evil must be resisted, and praising victims for not losing their faith.

Wearing a yarmulke, Bush placed a red-white-and-blue wreath on a stone slab that covers ashes of Holocaust victims taken from six extermination camps. He also lit a torch memorializing the victims.

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.

"We were talking about the often-discussed 'Could the United States have done more by bombing the train tracks?'" Rice told reporters later aboard Air Force One. "And so we were just talking about the various explanations that had been given about why that might not have been done."

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.

Bush, making the most extensive Mideast trip of his presidency, was accompanied on his tour by a small party that included Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

At the compound, overlooking a forest on Jerusalem's outskirts, Bush visited a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust, featuring six candles reflected 1.5 million times in a hall of mirrors. At the site's Hall of Remembrance, he heard a cantor sing a Jewish prayer for the dead.

Shalev presented Bush with illustrations of the Bible drawn by the Jewish artist Carol Deutsch, who perished in the Holocaust.

Deutsch created the works while in hiding from the Nazis in Belgium. He was informed upon, and died in 1944 in the Buchenwald camp. After the war, his daughter Ingrid discovered that the Nazis had confiscated their furniture and valuables but had left behind a single item: a meticulously crafted wooden box adorned with a Star of David and a seven-branched menorah, containing a collection of 99 of the artist's illustrations of biblical scenes.

The originals are on display at Yad Vashem. The memorial recently decided to produce a special series of 500 replicas, the first of which was to be presented to Bush.

Debbie Deutsch-Berman, a Yad Vashem employee whose grandfather was Deutsch's brother, said she was proud that Bush would be given her relative's artwork.

"These are not just his paintings, they are his legacy, and the fact that they survived shows that as much as our enemies tried to destroy the ideas that these paintings embody, they failed," she said.

Later Friday, Bush was to wrap up his three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a visit to Christian holy sites in Galilee before departing for Kuwait, the next stop on his Mideast tour.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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