A New Yorker magazine article that has generated national political controversy over its cover image depicting Sen. Barack Obama as a Muslim has reprinted as fact a discredited distortion of the Holocaust made in several speeches by Obama.
It also reprinted military claims by Obama about his family that are inconsistent with records.
The lengthy article by New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza quotes an antiwar speech Obama delivered in Chicago in 2002 in which the Illinois senator claimed U.S. troops serving alongside his grandfather during World War II liberated the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
The U.S. Army did not liberate Auschwitz, which is in southern Poland and was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945. America liberated the Nazi concentration camps of Buchenwald in Germany and Mauthausen-Gusen in Austria.
But the New Yorker piece quotes Obama stating in 2002, “My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s Army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow-troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don’t oppose all wars.”
The fact checkers at the New Yorker may have missed the widespread media attention garnered in May when Obama made similar comments during a Memorial Day speech at which he told an audience his uncle liberated Auschwitz.
“I had an uncle who was one of the, part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps,” Obama said in speech in New Mexico. “And the story in our family was, is that when he came home, he just went up into the attic, and he didn’t leave the house for six months.”
Obama was using the story to promote better benefits for troops.
When the media pounced on the story, pointing out the U.S. did not liberate Auschwitz, Obama’s campaign spokesman Bill Burton issued a correction. Obama was referring to his great uncle, a member of the 89th Infantry Division that liberated the Ohrduf camp, part of Buchenwald, in Germany, said Burton. Burton said the great uncle, Obama’s grandmother’s brother, is still alive.
The New Yorker’s reprint of Obama’s claim about his grandfather also contained another inconsistency – the grandfather, Stanley Dunham, did not sign up for the U.S. army “the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed.”
WND reported in May Army records showing Dunham signed up June 18, 1942 – six months after Pearl Harbor.
In his autobiography, “Dreams of My Father,” Obama states his grandfather never engaged in combat.
“Gramps returned from the war never having seen real combat, and the family moved to California, where he enrolled at Berkeley under the GI bill,” he writes. “But the classroom couldn’t contain his ambitions, his restlessness, and so the family moved again.”
The New Yorker did not immediately return a phone call request for comment.
It was Lizza’s New Yorker article that caused a campaign storm this week when the magazine printed a cover image depicting Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle sporting an afro and carrying a machine gun in the Oval Office. A picture of Osama bin Laden hangs over the fire place in which an American flag is being burned.
The New Yorker explained its image was meant to be a satirical depiction of the distorted way some Americans view Obama.
The cover “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are,” a New Yorker statement said.
“Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” said the New Yorker.
But Obama’s camp didn’t think the cover was funny, calling it “tasteless and offensive.”
Sen. John McCain said the cover was “totally inappropriate and frankly I understand if Sen. Obama and his supporters would find it offensive.”
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