Ed Driscoll

Perhaps Mr. Obama Should Trade in the White House for a White Suit

Because he certainly appears to have spent much of his life permanently trapped on Fantasy Island: “Obama’s grandfather tortured by the British? A fantasy (like most of the President’s own memoir),” Toby Harnden of the London Daily Mail reports:

A new biography of Barack Obama has established that his grandfather was not, as is related in the President’s own memoir, detained by the British in Kenya and found that claims that he was tortured were a fabrication.

‘Barack Obama: The Story’ by David Maraniss catalogues dozens of instances in which Obama deviated significantly from the truth in his book ‘Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance’. The 641-page book punctures the carefully-crafted narrative of Obama’s life.

One of the enduring myths of Obama’s ancestry is that his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who served as a cook in the British Army, was imprisoned in 1949 by the British for helping the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebels and held for several months.

Obama’s step-grandmother Sarah, Onyango wife, who is still living, is quoted in the future President’s memoir, as saying: ‘One day, the white man’s askaris came to take Onyango away, and he was placed in a detention camp.

‘But he had been in the camp for over six months, and when he returned to Alego he was very thin and dirty. He had difficulty walking, and his head was full of lice. He was so ashamed, he refused to enter his house or tell us what happened.’In a 2008 interview, Sarah Obama claimed that he was ‘whipped every morning and evening’ by the British. ‘They would sometimes squeeze his testicles with metal rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together. He was lucky to survive. Some of his fellow inmates were mutilated with castration pliers and beaten to death with clubs.’

But Maraniss, who researched Obama’s life in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and the mainland United States, found that there were ‘no remaining records of any detention, imprisonment, or trial of Hussein Onyango Obama’. He interviewed five people who knew Obama’s grandfather, who died in 1979, who ‘doubted the story or were certain it did not happen’.

This undermines the received wisdom that Obama’s grandfather was a victim of oppression, an assumption that has in turn fuelled theories that Obama harbours an animus towards Britain based on a deeply-rooted rage about the way Onyango was treated.

Might want to ask for the Churchill bust back then, eh?

Related: Also in the Daily Mail, another item regarding failed American Democrats features a brutal juxtaposition between headline and photos.

Update: Mark Steyn quips, “So it looks as if the explanation that Obama sent back the Churchill bust because the Brits tortured his grandfather doesn’t quite hold up. Maybe he sent it back because the bust kept hitting on his composite girlfriend.”