Obama’s Big Hiroshima Hug

During his visit to Hiroshima as the first U.S. sitting president to do so, President Obama didn’t outright apologize for the events of 1945, as many who objected to the visit feared he would. But he came perilously close by stating that the memory of lives lost in Hiroshima should never be forgotten.

“Make no mistake, it is the next stage, maybe the last act, of [Obama’s] apology tour,” said John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador.

“We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women, and children, thousands of Koreans, and a dozen Americans held prisoner. Their souls speak to us,” said Obama.

With his second term winding down and his legacy uppermost in his mind, he visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Obama conversed with 91-year-old survivor Sunao Tsuboi, and hugged survivor Shigeaki Mori, a 79-year-old historian, The Washington Post and other news outlets reported.

Obama urged an opportunity to grow the “moral imagination” and to assure that atrocities such as this never repeat themselves.

“The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well,” Obama said.

John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador, called Obama’s remarks a “not-too-thinly veiled attack on Harry Truman, whose morals apparently didn’t quite make it up to Barack Obama’s high standards.”

He added, “This is a typically subtle Obama speech in many respects, but, make no mistake, it is the next stage, maybe the last act, of his apology tour.” Bolton shared those comments with Breitbart News Daily.

Bolton also noted that mainstream media coverage of Obama’s Hiroshima visit missed the point that Obama "simply does not believe that the exercise of American power leads to a more peaceful world."

The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the deployment of the world’s first atomic bomb, killed some 140,000 people. President Truman and U.S. military advisers at the time believed the bombings saved the lives of scores of U.S. troops by eliminating the need for a ground invasion of Japan, and that it brought the war to the swiftest possible end. Other presidents before Obama did not venture to Hiroshima because they did not want to apologize for Truman’s authorization to detonate the bomb.

"When you look at what he said overall, it’s a criticism of the United States."

In the guest book at the memorial site, Obama wrote, "We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons."

Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe placed large wreaths atop a cenotaph memorializing the bombing victims. Obama then closed his eyes and shared a quiet moment in front of the memorial.

Obama's visit lasted about an hour-and-a-half all told.

"He listed, in this speech, several causes of war," added Bolton of the visit. "One of them that he did not list was self-defense, which was why we were in World War II to begin with. I think when you look at what he said overall, it’s a criticism of the United States. Maybe he doesn’t use the phrase ‘I apologize,’ but it’s certainly a confession of error, in his view."

Last Modified: May 27, 2016, 2:12 pm

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