Is Obama Running Interference for Russia Over Katyn?

Recently President Barack Obama caused a firestorm by referring in a speech to "Polish death camps" while awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom medal to a Polish freedom fighter. The Polish government was very angry with this, demanding an apology for the insult ; the death camps in Poland belonged to the German Nazis, not the Poles. Most pundits have chalked this up to ignorance, or poor word choice. But is that the case?

Mr. Obama has repeatedly insulted Poland. He pulled out of an agreement to place a U.S. missile defense system there, in 2010 he skipped the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 94 other Polish officials who died in the Smolensk air disaster to play golf, and now he has horribly insulted the Polish nation by referencing "Polish death camps" as if it were the Poles and not the Germans who were mass murdering innocent people.

But if this was not just a slip of the tongue, why would Mr. Obama do this?

On April 16, 2012 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the case of Janowiec and Others v. Russia that the old Soviet Union was guilty of war crimes for the massacre of Polish officers at the Katyn Forest, and that subsequently the Russian government was guilty of violating the victim's survivor's rights by engaging in a cover-up, classifying documents and generally impeding any investigation into the actions of the Soviet Union. The murders in Katyn occurred between April and May of 1940 -- this is the 72nd anniversary of this particular war crime. Almost 21,000 Polish officers lost their lives during their stay at the prison camp at Katyn.

The Polish government has been demanding an accounting for Katyn for a long time. In 2009 the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution calling the Soviet actions at Katyn an act of genocide, for instance.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama has vowed a "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations. How does one go about that? Stonewalling the Strategic Defense Initiative is a big help to kowtowing to Moscow, Remember, Mr. Obama promised "more flexibility" in killing missile defense  to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who courteously promised to pass the word along to Vladimir aka Vladimir Putin,. 

At any rate, Mr. Obama has followed a policy course than can best be characterized as appeasement towards the Russians. One must ask if Mr. Obama is running interference for the Russians, attacking Poland in the interest of creating "parity" between Poland and the U.S.S.R.?  Is this a part of the "reset" whereby Mr. Obama attacks an ally in an effort to take some of the heat off of Russia? 

Certainly Mr. Putin was complicit in the cover-up during his last tenure of office. According to the Russian journal Gazeta:

"But constant delays with the investigation of Katyn during Putin's era, and the unwillingness to close this page once and for all during Putin's presidency, both caused Russians to have contorted opinion on Katyn, or no opinion at all."

And indeed the April 17 2010 death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and most of his government occurred in Russian airspace near Smolensk as they were traveling to a memorial of Katyn. Coincidence? Given the decidedly unhealthy nature of opposition to Putin or his government, one must question this event.

Remember, Mr. Obama did not attend the funeral, preferring to spend the afternoon golfing. And now Mr. Obama speaks of "polish Death Camps". It is a bit strange.

Yes, it is a matter of speculation that Mr. Obama is running interference for Moscow, but given Obama's craven attitude towards Moscow and her new Tsar Putin, one has to consider the possibility. Is this part of the price for some other strategic favor, perhaps to get Russia to stand down in the event of military action against Iran? We can't know that, but strange coincidences make one wonder.

Timothy Birdnow is a St. Louis based writer. His website is