It Is Time For The USA To Apologize for Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki
“One of America’s greatest strengths is the power to lead by example. The President should use that power to lead the world to Hiroshima and away from nuclear weapons.”
This advice came last week from Congressman Mark Takano, in the wake of a supposed leak by a Japanese newspaper, announcing that President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima next month, and ceremonially acknowledge the great loss of life there at the hands of the USA.
The news was quickly denied by both the American and Japanese governments, though neither government stated that the visit will not happen. The official word is that no decision has been made.
There’s been a great deal of gnashing of teeth about the idea of such a visit by a sitting U.S. President. People are asking: Would the visit be tantamount to an apology?
Well, so what if it would. It’s been 70 years since the United States launched the only nuclear weapons attack in all of human history, and it’s long past time that our government apologized – not just to Japan, but to the entire world, for unleashing generations of terror as a consequence.
Many Americans like to justify the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by saying that the use of nuclear weapons was justified because Japan and the USA were already at war – although Japan was clearly nearing defeat anyway. A massive attack against civilian targets is never justifiable, however, regardless of the purported strategic value of such a maneuver.
210,000 people, almost all of them civilians, were killed in the American nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those attacks make the violence of September 11, 2001 look meek by comparison.
In present day America, we’re supposed to believe 1) That World War II was a morally upstanding endeavor and 2) That the attacks of September 11, 2001 were a totally unprecedented act of barbarity of the sort that Americans would never engage in.
This mythology of righteous war and special victim hood is part of what keeps the United States from dismantling its massive nuclear arsenal, even at a time when the crudely unbalanced Donald Trump is racing toward power over the Nuclear Button.
We need the President of the United States not only to acknowledge that the nuclear bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened, but that the attacks were dreadfully morally wrong. It’s not for the sake of Japanese feelings that this should happen, but for the political stability of our own country.