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“You forgot Poland” is a popular catchphrase adopted by George W. Bush’s detractors to poke fun at his tactless rebuttal during the first debate of US Presidential elections in 2004. Since the rise of Bushism and related jokes in the mid-2000s, “You forgot Poland” has become one of the most recognizable quotes uttered by the former US president.
The first round of Bush-Kerry Presidential debate was held at the University of Miami on the evening of September 30th, 2004. One of the more interesting questions prompted by the moderator Jim Lehrer was “Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?”, referring to the declining public approval of US military operations in Iraq that began in March 2003.
In answering the question, Senator John Kerry (D) essentially advocated the presence of US troops in Iraq, but also accused the incumbent president of failing to round up adequate international support and lacking necessary skills in diplomacy.
Sen. John Kerry: “Secondly, when we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That’s not a grand coalition. We can do better.”
Moderator: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
President Bush: “Well, actually, he forgot Poland.” And now there’s 30 nations involved, standing side by side with our American troops.
In response to Senator Kerry’s sharp criticism, President Bush began his rebuttal by pointing out that Kerry forgot to mention “Poland” as part of the Iraqi invasion coalition. Indeed, Poland was technically credited as one of the four countries that helped van-guarding the invasion, but in the context of the debate, it seemed largely irrelevant whether the coalition consisted of three or four nations, as neither scenario fit the description of “grand coalition” headlined by the Bush administration in the early phase of the war.
Although the search queries for “you forgot Poland” died down soon after the event, it went on to become a long-lived YTMND meme spanning years.
Excerpt from YTMND Wiki:
The You forgot Poland YTMNDs from 2004 were satirical references to George W. Bush’s unanticipated retort to John Kerry during the 2004 Presidential Electoral Debate. John Kerry had omitted Poland as a member of the coalition participating on the War on Terror (whether or not this was intentional is debated) and Bush took it upon himself to enlighten Kerry.
The newer Forgot Poland sites contain no real world political message. This type of YTMND is quickly becoming popular, though it has very little to do with the original “forgot poland” political fad. The original YTMND was posted by deevo in October of 2004 (which is now deleted). Since then, “Forgot Poland” sites merged with the influences of DaltonofZeal2, Kassius, and AegisReflector to pull away from lame political jokes and pushed more towards its own unique realm
The first “You Forgot Poland” YTMND that shows up in a search was created on October 3rd, 2004 by Stevesbored and currently has 29,000 views.
The YTMND satirizes Bush’s insistance that Poland played an important part, but equating it with Melvin’s Stapler, a running joke in the film Office Space that is popular amongst YTMNDers.
The most viewed “You Forgot Poland” YTMND was created on October 5th, 2004 by zachbg and has over 46,000 views. The YTMND mashes the meme together with Eminem’s “Forgot About Dre.”
The highest rated of these YTMNDs is a more skilled mashup of Poland with “Forgot about Dre” created by Nitesky on April 27th, 2008.
There are a total of 286 “forgot poland” YTMNDs that have been produced steadily from 2004 through 2009. See the YTMND search results for the most up to date stats.
Another theme of many of these YTMNDS is low quality sound (the aforementioned Bush quote – and other clips from the same context like “30 seconds” – “KHAAAN!!”, “NOOOO!!” etc., see YTMND Wiki for a more complete listing), extreme sound volume, messy visuals and the message “VOTE 5” inserted in one way or another
“Polend” (as the word is often intentionally misspelled) sites form the most notable subcategory (along with KHANTMNDs) of noise sites (not a term in general use), which share the characteristics of noisiness and intentional sloppiness. All noise sites sharply divide the YTMND public (the YTMNDrs who hate Poland sites are referred frequently to as “Poland forgetters”)
Makers of Poland sites are “organized” as Forgot Poland Army (FPA), the “official” board of which is found here
Some notable examples: