John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Betrayal, Pure and Simple

Posted on September 17, 2009
A Betrayal, Pure and Simple

According to Wikipedia: “The 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland was a military operation that started without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939, during the early stages of World War II, sixteen days after the beginning of the Nazi German attack on Poland. It ended in a decisive victory for the Soviet Union's Red Army. The Red Army quickly achieved its targets, vastly outnumbering Polish resistance. About 230,000 Polish soldiers or more (452,500[11]) were taken prisoners of war. The Soviet government annexed the territory newly under its control and in November declared that the 13.5 million Polish citizens who lived there were now Soviet citizens. The Soviets quelled opposition by executions and by arresting thousands. According to data published by IPN in 2009, they sent 320,000 to Siberia and other remote parts of the USSR in four major waves of deportations between 1939 and 1941. IPN estimates the number of Polish citizens who perished under the Soviet rule during World War II at 150,000 . Some earlier estimates cited much higher numbers of victims.”

Eighty years later, to the day, the Obama Administration made a startling announcement. They were going to scrap a plan to strengthen Poland’s security (and America’s) by putting missile defense system within Poland’s border.

President Obama is from Chicago, or at least he likes to say he is. More Poles live in Chicago than in any other city in the world, save for Warsaw. You get a day off of school in Chicago on the first Monday in March to celebrate the March 4th birthday of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish hero in the American Revolutionary War. If Obama really understood his hometown, he wouldn’t have announced what many will see as an act of treachery on the 80th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland.

Anyone who has been even casually following what the Russians have been up to lately knows that they haven’t been playing nice with their neighbors. They invaded Georgia, they have been intimidating Ukraine, they have been bullying Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, they have threatened their neighbors in Asia. The Russians are bad dudes.

The Polish understand this fact better than anybody. When the Russians invaded Georgia, the Poles were more than happy to have President Bush announce his plan to put defensive missiles in their country. They remember, vividly, Soviet Russian terror.

America has always been a strong supporter of the Polish people and Polish sovereignty. Part of that is domestic politics. The Polish can be an important swing vote, and they vote not only their pocketbooks, but also for the candidate who offers the strongest defense of their homeland. The Poles loved Ronald Reagan, because he stood strong against Soviet imperialism. The Poles loved George Bush for the same reason.

My prediction is that this day will long be remembered by Poles everywhere. To send this kind of signal on the 80th anniversary of the Soviet Invasion of Poland is remarkably bad domestic politics. It sends exactly the wrong signal to the Russians, who see this as a sign of weakness. And for the people of Chicago, who proudly sent their own to the White House, this must be seen for what it is: betrayal, pure and simple.

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