On the eve of his trip to Vietnam and Japan, Barack Obama told Japan’s largest TV channel NHK, yesterday that he will not apologize for the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Why? Because he has learned as President that Presidents have to make difficult decisions during wars:
“I think that it’s important to recognize that in the midst of war, leaders make all kinds of decisions. It’s a job of historians to ask questions and examine them, but I know as somebody who has now sat in this position for the last seven and a half years, that every leader makes very difficult decisions, particularly during war time.”
Harry Truman was thus not just excused, but perhaps fatefully held up as a war-decision maker by Obama.
As is his wont, Obama lied that he is, and has been an activist for nuclear disarmament worldwide, and it is Russia which is not willing to reduce nuclear stockpiles.
Obama will be the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima. But on April 11, John Kerry became the first Secretary of State to visit Hiroshima. Kerry did not make any apology either, but his words and demeanor made a contrast to Obama’s “hard decisions have to be made” attitude. Kerry after what he called a “gut-wrenching” tour of the museum at the Hiroshima Memorial Park, said that the museum “is a harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all of our effort to avoid war itself. War must be the last resort—never the first choice.”