As this author has previously stated, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a great act of humanity. It was also as awful as it was necessary. With an armada gearing-up to lead thousands upon thousands of young Allied soldiers to their death and with Japanese civilians preparing to fight to the last death, what was brewing at the time of the bombing was sure to be carnage on the most-massive scale.
The atomic bomb(s) ended that. It was painful and horrible but so very, very necessary.
President Obama, on Friday, became the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima- a visit that is a PR victory for Japanese militarists.
His visit did not include an official apology, but the president’s mere presence is an apology in itself. Pathetically, the nation’s weakest “leader” was treated to a public scolding almost immediately after entering Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scolded the president for the death of a Japanese girl that died by the hands of a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa- a military installation held by the U.S. that still serves as a thorn in the side of Japanese nationalists.
If we had a real leader, Obama would have told Abe what was what. Instead, Obama treated Abe to a PR victory by visiting Hiroshima and calling for a reduction of nuclear stockpiles.
However, Abe did not reciprocate the gesture. While Obama visited the place where the war ended, Abe will not visit the place where the war started for the U.S.- Pearl Harbor.
“At this moment, I don’t have any specific plan to visit Hawaii,” Abe said
While Obama visiting Hiroshima can be seen as a telegraphing of weakness, the leaders of Japan hold a duty to apologize for the nation that helped propel the world into all-out war.
Germany has apologized over and over again for their atrocities and militarism that helped bring chaos to the world. Since their defeat, they have conducted themselves in accordance with bearing the shame that the atrocities warrant.
Japan, however, has offered meek quasi-apologies for only a fraction of the war crimes of which the leaders of yesteryear are guilty.
In fact, Japan honors the legacy of 1,068 confirmed war criminals in their famous Yasukuni Shrine that honors the nation’s war heroes.
With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that Abe does not wish to make a visit that would be seen as an apology for the cowardly sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. However, while it is hardly surprising, it is disappointing to see that Japanese leaders still have not come fully to terms with the shameful conduct of past leaders.
Obama offered a (too) generous conciliatory gesture to Japan. Abe owes a long-overdue apology for Pearl Harbor and a visit to the site where so many were murdered by a cowardly, unprovoked military action.