In his latest reminder to the world that the president believes the United States to be at fault for most — if not all — major problems across the globe, Barack Obama apologized to the Japanese while in Hiroshima this week.
President Barack Obama told the world on Friday in Hiroshima that the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945 arose from humanity’s worst instincts, including “nationalist fervor or religious zeal.”
The war that ended in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he said, “grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.”
The speech — delivered on the eve of Memorial Day weekend — was billed by the White House as anything but an apology, but Obama’s words betrayed his true sentiments.
Obama, a native of Honolulu who grew up near Pearl Harbor, said nothing about the fact that Japan started the war; nothing about the fact that the Japanese were responsible for the slaughter of millions of civilians throughout Asia and the Pacific; nothing about the fact that the Japanese refused to surrender after hundreds of thousands had already been killed in conventional bombing.
Obama implied that Americans had not yet considered the human cost of the atomic bomb: we had to “force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell” and “force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see,” he said.
He described the moral dilemmas of nuclear warfare as if no president, and no American, had considered them before. But he left out the moral case for ending the war, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths avoided because of Hiroshima.
The move astounded many for its timing as much as the content of his speech. On the eve of Memorial Day, when the United States remembers and honors its veterans, the commander in chief of the armed forces has just cast doubt upon the heroism of the Greatest Generation. This has led to calls for Congress to censure the president.
There is really only one response to Obama’s gesture, and it goes beyond media disputation and moral condemnation.
It must be made clear that at Hiroshima, Obama represented no one but himself — not the Greatest Generation who fought the war, and not the generations of Americans who have grown up enjoying the freedom that victory over Japan secured.
Although the White House claims the speech was not an apology, one only needs to watch it or read the transcript to dispell this lie. With eight months remaining until Obama leaves the Oval Office for good, he still has plenty of time to apologize to North Korea, Iran, and ISIS before he goes.