Barack Obama's Bitburg Moment

Berlin Victory Tower

Barack Obama has apparently given up on the idea of attempting to draw parallels between himself and John F. Kennedy by going to Berlin. (Not to say there aren’t obvious parallels: unprepared and feckless to be sure but too early to have the Bay of Pigs.) He’s still going to Berlin. And we’re informed that he will bring his HOPECHANGE carnie act to the Siegessäule. The Victory Monument.

The next round in Germany’s favorite parlor game – where will Barack Obama give his public speech during his visit here next week – is under way.

All bets are now riding on the Victory Column in the former West Berlin, with the Brandenburg Gate visible less than a kilometer and a half, or a mile, away in the distance. The Obama campaign has yet to announce a location and declined to comment on the reports.

In 1985, Ronald Reagan paid a visit to Bitburg cemeteryin the, then, Bundesrepublik Deutschland. A crap storm ensued because some of the German war dead in the cemetery were Waffen SS.

The Siegessäule, as the name implies, was built to honor “victory.” Now which victory, we have a right to ask, has Germany had since Blücher, (Field Marshal not Frau) saved Wellington’s bacon at Waterloo that an American politician would wish to be associated with?

In this case apparently three of them appeal to the Obama campaign. The Danish-Prussian War, when Prussia forever removed the threat of Danish hegemony from Europe and snapped up the Danish duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in the process. The Austro-Prussian War in which Prussia snapped up a handful of German principalities. And the Franco-Prussian War in which Prussia eliminated the remainder of the German statelets and took Alsace and Lorraine from France in the bargain.

And we all thought Obama was going to be a wuss on defense policy.