America Owes No Apologies to Japan
Obama will soon visit Hiroshima to pay respects to the dead.
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness,” George Washington declared in 1793. “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.”
It appears that Barack Obama wants to end his time in office in much the same way he began; by touring the world, highlighting and apologizing for America’s supposed sins, and minimizing or ignoring all the good we have done in the world.
He began his first term with an apology tour. On April 3, 2009, in Strasbourg, France, Obama declared, “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. … [T]here have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” Three days later, in a speech to the Turkish Parliament, Obama doubled down, saying, “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. … Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans.” These would be just two of many apologies Obama would make for America in the years to come.
This month, Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on it 70 years ago in a bid to bring World War II, the most deadly war in history, to an end.
Though the White House says that Obama will not be issuing a formal apology, and the Japanese prime minister says he will not be asking for one, the fact that Obama will be visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum, and calling for an end to nuclear weapons, certainly gives the feel of an unspoken mea culpa.
While all good and decent people should mourn the unnecessary loss of life anywhere and at any time, it is important to put the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in proper perspective. First of all, Japan initiated hostilities against the United States, a neutral nation, on December 7, 1941, when waves of bombers decimated the U.S. Pacific Fleet with a surprise attack on our base at Pearl Harbor, costing us thousands of lives and millions of dollars in ships and equipment.
The U.S. would then enter the war on the side of the Allied powers, and over the course of the next three years, almost half a million of our young men would lose their lives in the defense of Liberty against the forces of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.
Over the course of five weeks in February-March 1945, the U.S. would sustain nearly 7,000 casualties and more than 19,000 wounded in the Battle of Iwo Jima, a tiny but heavily fortified island held by the Japanese, with three airfields being used to attack U.S. Pacific Fleet forces. The Americans sought to take the island and use it as a staging area for an attack on the Japanese mainland, as well as denying the island to the Japanese as a launching point for attacks on American forces. This Battle of Iwo Jima was followed shortly after by the Battle of Okinawa, in which more than 20,000 Americans died, and more than 55,000 Americans were wounded. In the same battle, an estimated 110,000 Japanese were killed.
As historian Victor Davis Hanson recounts, “Over the next three months, American attacks leveled huge swaths of urban Japan. U.S. planes dropped about 60 million leaflets on Japanese cities, telling citizens to evacuate and to call upon their leaders to cease the war. Japan still refused to surrender and upped its resistance with thousands of Kamikaze airstrikes. By the time of the atomic bombings, the U.S. Air Force was planning to transfer from Europe much of the idle British and American bombing fleet to join the B-29s in the Pacific.”
In short, it was clear that the Japanese were willing to fight until the last man, woman and child were dead.
Hanson offers further clarity, noting that, prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs, “Perhaps 5,000 Allied bombers would have saturated Japan with napalm,” at the cost of countless lives. We were also facing the prospect of invading mainland Japan, where more than a million Japanese soldiers and perhaps four million dug-in, well-prepared defenders would be awaiting our arrival. How many more lives would have been lost?
Between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, approximately 210,000 Japanese were killed. Yet despite those deaths, the defeated nations of WWII (Germany, Italy and Japan) would suffer far fewer casualties than the victors, even though they were the aggressors who sought the subjugation of their neighbors. Following the war, America, as we have done repeatedly, poured vast amounts of our national treasure into rebuilding the nations of our former enemies.
So before Obama offers any apologies for the U.S.‘s past actions — or even appears to mourn those actions — he ought to be reminded that no nation in history has done more, and asked less in return, to defend the free nations of the world from those who would conquer us. The U.S. has borne a disproportionate share of the loss of blood and treasure needed to secure freedom, and whatever our shortcomings, we owe an apology to no one.
And if Obama truly wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons, he should never have given more than $100 billion in released funds to Iran, the world’s premier sponsor of global terrorism, and a nation in open pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities. His foolish give-away to Iran has stoked fear in other Middle East nations at the thought of a nuclear Iran hegemon, and they are now pursuing their own nuclear weapons.
However warm and fuzzy the thoughts of a nuclear weapon-free world would be, it is not reality, and we would be fools to disarm even as our most dangerous enemies pursue these weapons.
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