Obama Relies On Far Left Crank For Churchill Quote… Gets Burned
I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, ‘We don’t torture,’ when the entire British–all of the British people–were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat….the reason was that Churchill understood — you start taking shortcuts, over time, that corrodes what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.
President Barack Obama
100 Day Press Conference
LA Times Blogs
At the 100 day press conference, ABC Reporter Jake Tapper asked President Obama tonight if the previous administration used torture:
President Obama was so impressed with Winston Churchill (although he sent his bust back to Britain) that he quoted the great leader as saying, “We don’t torture.”
As reported earlier, the president must have forgotten about these German prisoners at Bad Nenndorf, near Hanover:
For almost 60 years, the evidence of Britain’s clandestine torture programme in postwar Germany has lain hidden in the government’s files. Harrowing photographs of young men who had survived being systematically starved, as well as beaten, deprived of sleep and exposed to extreme cold, were considered too shocking to be seen.
While it’s nice to hear the President invoke Sir Winston, the quotation is unattributed and almost certainly incorrect. While Churchill did express such sentiments with regard to prison inmates, he said no such thing about prisoners of war, enemy combatants or terrorists, who were in fact tortured by British interrogators during World War II.
The word “torture” appears 156 times in my digital transcript of Churchill’s 15 million published words (books, articles, speeches, papers) and 35 million words about him–but not once in the subject context. Similarly, key phrases like “character of a country” or “erodes the character” do not track…
Churchill spoke frequently about torture, mostly enemy murders of civilians. His daughter once told me, “He would have done anything to win the war, and I daresay he had to do some pretty rough things–but they didn’t unman him.” But if Churchill is on record about “enhanced interrogation,” his words have yet to surface.
Power Line adds:
Obama apparently relied on left-wing internet crank Andrew Sullivan for the fake Churchill quote, which is a bit worrisome in itself.
Sure enough. Obama got his Churchill talking points from Far Left crank Andrew Sullivan.
Why is this not surprising?
More… Jonah Goldberg offers Obama some advice on his sources.