The Bible warns that our words have the power of life and death, a lesson which President Barack Obama may be learning following a controversial speech last week. Kicking off Memorial Day weekend, President Obama paid a visit to Hiroshima, raising ire and drawing criticism for allegedly apologizing on behalf of the US for dropping a nuclear bomb on the site in 1945 and effectively ending WWII.
While Obama did not actually apologize at any point in his speech, he was also called to task for neglecting to mention American bravery and for drawing a moral equivalence between Axis and Allied powers.
There is no question that the effects of nuclear war are devastating, but many political commentators and media figures found a lack of context in Obama’s empathetic words to Japanese survivors.
“In case you were wondering, at no point did Obama mention Pearl Harbor and the dead there, or the more than 100,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Pacific theater, or the half-million to one million Americans who would have had to sacrifice themselves to storm the island of Japan using conventional means,” wrote Ben Shapiro for Daily Wire.
“What Obama did NOT do in his speech in Japan was to praise America’s fallen warriors, the men and women whose bravery and sacrifice saved the world from nuclear war over the 71 years since that first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945,” pointed out Tom Tancredo in his article for Breitbart.
Likewise, Obama’s failure to distinguish between the motives of the Nazis and their supporters and those of America and her allies elicited resentment.
“The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations,” Obama noted. “Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.”
“This is disgusting,” commented Shapiro. “If you can’t spot the bad guys and the good guys in World War II, of all conflicts, you’re on the side of a valueless nihilism that allows the possibility of future world wars – after all, you can’t take a strong stand against evil if it doesn’t exist. Japan was wrong. America was right. Germany was wrong. America was right. End of story.”
Tancredo indicated the timing of Obama’s speech added insult to injury. “We can honor our fallen warriors this Memorial Day only by remembering such moral distinctions, not forgetting them as Obama did at Hiroshima.”
Stopping just short of an apology, Obama took responsibility for ushering an age of “atomic warfare”, claiming, “[W]e can choose a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”
In Obama’s estimation, this is the lesson of Hiroshima. “The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.” He called on nuclear nations to defy the “logic of fear” and work towards eliminating their weapons stockpiles.
Yet, as Jim Geraghty pointed out in the National Review, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t the dawn of atomic warfare. Nobody’s used an atomic or nuclear weapon since then.” Shapiro added that research suggests Hiroshima and Nagasaki have actually reduced the number of war fatalities since 1945, “largely because everybody knows that if things go too far, someone will push the button.”
Obama implied, as well, that there is never a good reason to go to war. “How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.”
“What Obama proposed in his speech in Japan is moral disarmament, and the consequences of that moral capitulation will be horrific if the world follows his advice,” Tancredo fumed.
“Does Obama’s generation see no evil in the world — and no virtue in America — that would justify the use of those terrible weapons?” he later added.
“Some religions are worse than others,” stated Shapiro. “Some ideologies are worse than others. But not according to Obama. We’re all equal in sin, according to the President of the United States – and the only solution is to destroy American nationalism,” replacing it with a “borderless, nationless, valueless world.
“Hiroshima happened because the world slept as fascism rose…If we go to sleep again, our enemies will use that reverie to rise. But …more Americans now think using the A-bomb was wrong than right. The result will be more Hiroshimas after 70 years of nuclear peace.”