On 6 August 1945, the United States made a decision that has been debated passionately since. The date marks the death of at least 100,000 Japanese civilians in the city of Hiroshima; and the first use of nuclear weapons in known history. Since the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the morality of even having such weapons, much less using them has been a hot topic in many areas of discussion. At the time of the event, many Americans completely supported the decision; however, today the thought of using nuclear weapons is one of the most appalling imaginable. Ironically, one of the safety balances that existed during the Cold War that no longer exists was the mutual annihilation factor of the US and the USSR having ‘equal’ numbers of warheads.
Recently, during a G7 gathering, US Secretary of State Kerry visited the site. This makes him the highest ranking US government official to ever visit the site. Kerry’s honor will be short lived, as Pres. Obama will be touring the Hiroshima site during his visit later this month. The announcement has drawn criticism that even just showing up at the site can be seen as an apology.
Hello! People see just what they want to see anyway, when they look with an agenda!
This is one time where I have to tell Obama critics they really do need to grow up. If the general practice should be that heads of countries should never attend the sites of previous conflicts with mass casualties then all world leaders would have to go to the Moon to make any trips. Human history is full of such disasters, some will say that it is human nature, but I say it is evil nature, which is different, not that humans cannot be filled with evil, they can. I also believe that holding on to wrongs forever is just as wrong as the original crime and creates just as much destruction.
While I have no issue with Obama going to Hiroshima, I would be less accepting and supportive if he was making an official or even unofficial apology. It was a decision made during in a war with the intent of winning the war. Just like it would be insignificant for Japan to apologize for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Apologies for acts during war should be limited to war crimes and other illegal acts of participants in the war, both military members, as well as, civilians. It should also be understood that civilian casualties are a part of war; yes, they should be limited and every effort should be made to limit them, however, they will occur.
In this case, for a war that most of the surviving combatants and civilians have already died; what will “sorry” change?
Will it turn back time? Would that ensure something better?
Will it bring the dead back to life? Will that definitely improve the world?
Will it change history? Will that make either country more just?
Participants in wars should be the most honorable and just that society has to offer, sadly that is rarely the case and even less so today. That being said it is not fair or just or right to judge wartime actions by peace time standards. In addition, demanding or demeaning things like official apologies is less important than moving forward by learning from the past. I do believe that it is possible for President Obama to visit Hiroshima without apologizing and it being a good and positive thing. In truth, official apologies have no true or real or sincere value, they are at most political stunts and thus irrevocably flawed from conception.