So it’s official: President Obama will be stopping at Hiroshima, the site of the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on May 27 during his state visit to Japan.
The visit is “historic” in the minimal sense that no American president has visited Hiroshima before. The real issue is not whether an American president is visiting Hiroshima, but which one. If it were one of the Bushes, or even Bill Clinton, that would be one thing. But President Obama has an unfortunate record of seeking opportunities to apologize for things America did before he became president, and looks forward to moments when he can publicly cast the foreign policy of his predecessors in a bad light — even 70 years later.
As for those words, we are told by administration officials the president will not make any apology for actions taken in the past — i.e., the decision to drop the bomb — but will be speaking about the future, i.e., the need for a world without nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, our prevaricator-in-chief has a miserable record for keeping his word, so the impulse to utter some words of regret (or to make some reference that makes President Harry Truman’s decision look akin to a war crime) may simply be too much for him.
The president’s very appearance at Hiroshima bears the hallmark of an apology, regardless of the words he utters.
Set aside the certainty that Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortened history’s bloodiest war by a year or possibly more, and probably saved half a million American lives — not to mention the million and a half Japanese who would have perished in a prolonged fight to the death for their home islands.
The truth is that the American Left has had it in for Harry Truman for dropping those bombs for a long time. Leftists convinced themselves back in the 1970s that Truman did it not to end a world war but to start a new one, the Cold War, by intimidating the Soviet Union with American power — while also demonstrating our racist contempt for Asians (never mind that the bomb was originally built to use against the Germans).
When Obama visits Ground Zero, it will be his last big chance to get that “America is a racist country” theme out there. Will he able to let it go unremarked?
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But that’s not the real reason why this visit is a blunder — and not just for America but for Obama himself. It will only remind people that his vaunted agreement with Iran to stop its nuclear-weapons program has been exposed as a fraud by no less than the New York Times Magazine in its recent interview with Obama’s foreign-policy Svengali Ben Rhodes. There can be little doubt now that Iran is going to get an atomic bomb, which means other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and possibly Turkey, will follow suit.
A nuclear-armed Middle East is coming, God help us all. For the man who has made that possible, and who has done more than any president in history to encourage nuclear-weapons proliferation, to make a speech at Hiroshima on the need to abolish nuclear weapons, achieves new heights of absurdity, even for this administration — not to mention new heights of hypocrisy.
— Arthur L. Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurLHerman.