In an August 22 New York Post op-ed dedicated to stripping President Obama of credit for the recent events in Libya, historian and author Arthur Herman inserted the following line:
In short, our president largely sat on the sidelines as Britain and France used our jets to get what they wanted -- and now, European opinion, starting with the Financial Times, is urging Obama to put American boots on the ground as part of any NATO peace-keeping force.
How ironic: An American president who prides himself on his anti-colonialism -- even returning a bust of Winston Churchill to Britain because of how Churchill treated Kenya 60 years ago -- has facilitated the biggest neo-colonialist power grab in decades.
Of course, Obama did no such thing. Although stated as fact by Herman, the idea that Obama returned Churchill's bust as revenge for Britain's involvement in the Kenyan Mau Mau revolution of the 1950s is actually the product of a bizarre year-old conspiracy theory spun by former Fox News host Glenn Beck. As a February 14, 2009, article in the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph made clear, the bust was on loan to the White House and was scheduled to be returned:
A British Embassy spokesman said: "The bust of Sir Winston Churchill by Sir Jacob Epstein was uniquely lent to a foreign head of state, President George W Bush, from the Government Art Collection in the wake of 9/11 as a signal of the strong transatlantic relationship.
"It was lent for the first term of office of President Bush. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009.
"The new President has decided not to continue this loan and the bust has now been returned. It is on display at the Ambassador's Residence."
At the time, the White House further confirmed that the bust had been returned because "[i]t was already scheduled to go back."