Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Issue formal apology for the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
The bombing of Hiroshima caused the deaths of over 100,000 men, women, and children. President Obama recently visited Hiroshima, becoming the first ever sitting U.S. president to visit the site of the first ever atomic bombing. While speaking at the site about the event, President Obama chose to look forward, which is noble. However, as many speculated, he did not even so much as utter an apology for the superfluous use of force employed to stop the Japanese in their tracks at the end of World War II.
While Japan was without a doubt an extreme aggressor in the world-altering mid-20th Century conflict, the decision to drop bombs of that magnitude was an action never again repeated, and for good reason: over 100,000 people were killed, many of them innocent. The mere existence of nuclear programs worldwide has been a divisive issue and President Obama has notably held aspirations of a world free of nuclear weapons for some time. He spoke of such a world in 2009 in Prague, a speech which netted him a Nobel Peace Prize.
While President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima alone acknowledges that he recognizes and honors the impact of what took place on August 6, 1945, it must be stated that action, while deemed necessary by the Truman Administration, came with a heartbreaking cost. Some would even go as far as to consider the nuclear strike on Japan a war crime, for it cost lives that had no direct impact on the conflict at hand. That alone should be enough to justify an apology, even if that apology must be framed in terms of the U.S.-Japan conflict.
No one is trying to undersell the egregiousness of Japan’s actions during the Second World War, but the magnitude of retribution against the island nation must be appreciated for what it is – a Hail Mary pass to quickly and decisively end a conflict. This Hail Mary pass came with a high innocent death toll, a heavy burden that sits on the shoulders of U.S. history. The least that could be done is to ask forgiveness for such a unilateral action. Sign the petition to ask President Obama to issue a formal apology to the Japanese government and to survivors of the atomic bomb drops on Japan.
Dear President Obama,
While your visit to Hiroshima is indeed an admirable and unprecedented one, we believe the time has come to fully acknowledge the actions of the Truman Administration due to their profound effect on human life in Japan. While no one is trying to paint Japan as a victim of the Second World War, the decision to blink out over 100,000 lives, the vast majority of which were innocent men, women, and children, is a unilateral move with severe worldwide repercussions. The loss of life and the crippling of an entire nation are at least worth an apology, even if it’s one framed within the context of the conflict that led to Truman’s decision.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to extend a formal apology for the decisions of the Truman Administration to the Japanese government and the survivors of the nuclear strikes. While looking forward from the event is a noble endeavor, your history as a man who dreams of a nuclear-free world dictates that you should fully understand the magnitude and the sadness of the even. Only through a formal apology can the true depth of the incident be appreciated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Hiromichi Matsuda