The Corner

Today’s Questions for the President

A secret administration cable released by Wikileaks shows that during your November 2009 trip to Japan, you had planned to apologize for the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. The Japanese government threw cold water on your idea.

The estimated death toll from the bombing of Hiroshima is 70,000; for Nagasaki, 40,000. The figures for each may be as much as 10,000 higher, due to later deaths from radiation exposure.

Why were you planning to apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was it because of the large number of casualties caused by the bombing? If so, did you also plan on apologizing for the bombing of Tokyo where an estimated 100,000 were killed in in March 1945? How about an apology to Germany for the fire bombing of Hamburg in July 1943 that killed 50,000?  Or the approximately 25,000 that  were killed in the fire-bombing of Dresden in February 1945?

If the number of casualties caused by our bombing of those cities was not what motivated you to apologize, why does the use of atomic bombs merit an apology but conventional weapons do not?

More than 100,000 U.S. troops were killed in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Admirals King and Nimitz, as well as General MacArthur, estimated that an invasion of Japan to force surrender would result in an American casualty total several times that amount. Japanese casualties would dwarf the combined casualties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why, then, would you apologize for actions taken by the United States that likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives?

Did you consider the possible effect an apology from an American president would have on dissident groups within Japan? Did you consider how our current enemies around the world might perceive such an apology?

What are your criteria for apologizing on behalf of America to our former and current enemies?

Do you consider the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings atrocities? If so,when proposing your apology, did you consider whether Japan should apologize for the atrocities (Bataan, Truk Massacre, Wake Island Massacre, Tokyo Prison Massacre, etc.) committed by its troops against Americans?

What benefits do you believe accrue to the United States from your apologies?