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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.

8 thoughts on “It Is Time For The USA To Apologize for Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

  1. Mark says:

    Although I agree with most of the positions taken here, I disagree with you on this one.

    You need to understand the status of the war in 1945. The US had been inching its way across the islands of the Pacific. The Japanese were not easily ceding these islands to US forces and we had to take them one at a time with huge losses of American troops. Japan, although weakened and clearly losing the war, was not about to surrender. American generals and the administration realized that only an invasion of the main Japanese islands (Honshu, Kyushu, Hokkaido) would force Japan to surrender. Considering the losses American had suffered taking the numerous small islands across the Pacific, the US administration reasoned that the losses we would suffer taking the main Japanese islands would be immense.

    Dropping the atomic bombs was done to save American lives. Yes, hundreds of thousands died in the blasts, but an invasion of the main Japanese islands would have resulted in a large number of deaths. Probably not as many as were killed by the atomic bombs, but certainly the deaths would have numbered in the tens of thousands and may have exceeded 100,000. Cities other than Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been bombed in the same way we bombed Germany. Given the choice of seeing hundreds of thousand of Japanese die versus seeing tens of thousand of US service men die, I can understand why the Truman administration chose to drop the bombs. We had already seen 400,000 soldiers killed by the war. Nearly anything that could be done to shorten it would be worthwhile.

    Dropping the bombs was a strategic act of war, a war we did not start. An apology is not necessary.

    1. Dave says:

      Fighting back is against Peregrin’s religion.

  2. ella says:

    “”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.””

    In a perfect heaven there is no need for weapons of any kind. Certainly the world needs to stop escalating the damage we are doing to the planet. Japan started the war on the US,and they are a very dedicated and devoted people. They sent pilots to deliberately crash into war ships. One man could kill thousands in minutes, up to days depending how long it took them to drown, or be eaten by sharks. Apologize for dropping the bombs that ended that war? No, not for that, or for showing the world that we do posses the means by which we could destroy the planet. Much talk says just life as we know it. But the sad truth is, we could actually split the planet – destroy our home. The home of so many others of plant and animal lives who have nothing to do with it. We need to stop escalating destruction and look to the other side of the spectrum. Quit deceiving ourselves, and others.

  3. Jon sanders says:

    I echo Mark’s sentiments. I, too, support most of the the positions on this site – not this one. As a semi-serious student of WW2, I believe one must put themselves in the mind-set of the decision-makers of the time. Naturally, retrospective opinions vary, but period analysts believed that Japan was still a serious power (the Japanese forces in Manchuria were a major concern), and that an Allied Invasion of the Japanese mainland would cost both Japanese and Allied lives well into the millions. The Japanese leaders had instilled a fight-to-the-last- person mentality in the population, to the point where women and children were supplied with toxic-tipped spears to assist in repelling the invaders. U.S. citizens were increasingly weary of the war, War Bond drives (seven up to that point) were becoming much less successful, Great Britain had lost nearly a generation, and it would take decades for Russia, let alone Japan and Germany
    , to recover from the devastation the war had caused. Truman had no way of knowing how the nuclear age would evolve – he only knew that the war had to come to an end, quickly.

  4. Jon sanders says:

    Hey, Site Monitor, where did my post go? Yesterday I posted an agreement to Mark’s post above. It was added to the COMMENTS section and has just now disappeared. It was a pretty good post, too – and not disrespectful or troll-like.

  5. Jon sanders says:

    Forget it. The post just got resurrected and has been reinstated. Probably just a cyber-hitch.

    1. ella says:

      Jon Sanders, you wrote very nicely what seemed to emotional to say. Retrospective memory of the reactions of parents is different too. The people who were associated with making that decision, at least in part, lived with nightmares for the rest of their lives. It was, at the time, the quickest and overall least devastating option available. It kept the consequences of starting the war in the nation that started it, and to this day they have no desire to ever go to war again. That is worth a lot. And they do not want nuclear weapons.

      1. Jon sanders says:

        Thanks. Other elements leading to the need to end the war rapidly was the Allied knowledge that the Japanese had, with the help of Germany, developed three other weapons that could have had a significant impact. One was a jet fighter airplane which was more effective than any Allied aircraft and could be used by the Kamikazi pilots to wreak much more effective havoc on the Pacific Naval fleet. The second was a huge submarine that could carry three aircraft capable of attacking US cities on the west coast. The third was an atomic bomb, which Japanese scientists (with the assistance of their German allies) were very close to developing. Japan’s hope had always been to attack the continental United States, and had wanted to keep its grip on the Aleutians to assist in that mission (for the same reason Okinawa and Iwo Jima were so important to the Allies). Japan wanted to develop a nuclear weapon, place it In a submarine-based airplane piloted by a Kamikazi and fly it into a west coast city. The more one knows about WW2, and what the Allies were up against, the more one realizes just how fortunate we were. Just a few bad decisions made by Japan and Germany (invasion of Russia, the decision not to invade Great Britain, and the Pearl Harbor attack) and the war very well could have ended much differently.

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