On 27 May 2016 President Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the site of the deployment of the first Atomic Bomb, whose anniversary, 6 August 1945, occurred Saturday.
Everything we now know about the dropping of Little Boy over Hiroshima, and Fat Man over Nagasaki several days later, tells us that these were unnecessary. Russia had declared war on Japan, virtually every other Japanese city had already been firebombed into smithereens, and the country was willing to surrender. Yet the august President Truman decided to make a political display and consume the lives of hundreds of thousands by unleashing the force of the atomic nucleus.
I applaud President Obama for the visit, but once again, as in the failed rescue of the American people from the depredations of Wall Street in 2008, he came up short: there was no apology.
If ever any act of genocide demanded an apology it was this. Instead, Obama called for a ‘moral revolution’.
I would like to ask the president if the principles of his moral revolution are embodied in the extrajudicial drone assassination program over which he presides, and the extralegal limbo of Guantanamo Bay, which he pledged to eliminate when running for office. Or the continuation of a war in Afghanistan against a country that has never threatened the United States. Or the invasion of Libya. Or the instigation of an illegal coup in the Ukraine. Or the support of Israel’s extramural incarceration of the Palestinian people in Gaza.
If in fact that is the case, then perhaps we should be spared that kind of revolution and those kinds of principles.
Had, however, the self-proclaimed leader of the free world insisted that he would NOT allow people around the world to be killed at the whim of a cabal of Tuesday morning bureaucrats, had he nationalised the banks that failed and created, with taxpayer monies, a banking system with regulations and safeguards, and had he done the only decent and human thing to do on his visit to Hiroshima and simply apologise for this unnecessary and genocidal display, then his greatness would be assured.
It is instructive, in these days of political charlatanism and opportunism, to revisit the majestic speech made by a truly great president back in 1962, at American University. It was a speech whose complexities and humanities cast the platitudinous sound bites of our current politicians in the deepest of shades of ignorance. On June 10, 1963, John F. Kennedy said:
“I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war—and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament—and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitude—as individuals and as a Nation—for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward—by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the Cold War and toward freedom and peace here at home.”
Can you seriously imagine any of the current candidates uttering anything like this? NATO is bristling on Russia’s borders, the ravages of illegal invasions and wars throughout the Middle East are creating human migration on a scale unseen for ages, and the ONE PERCENT are amassing more and more wealth at the expense of the inferior 99.
Let us mark the anniversary of Hiroshima’s devastation by humility and dedication to restoring democracy, and the rule of law . . . somehow, somewhere—and soon. We really don’t have much time left.
Dr. Garcia is a Philadelphia-born physician and author who resides in New Zealand. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.