We know, you never watch the videos on Wonkette, because they are usually of terrible people saying terrible things. But take a little time to watch this White House video of President Obama’s speech at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. This is a guy who knows how to do solemnity. And no, rightwing idiots, reflecting on what war is, what nuclear weapons do, and why we should never use them again is not an apology — though god knows there’s plenty to apologize for. It’s about responsible use of power, which is the kind of thing we’d like our leaders to give some thought to now and again.

This is not an apology. This is simple decency:

Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.

Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.

To anyone thinking Obama was out to flatter the sensibilities of a former enemy, that reminder of “thousands of Koreans” was a deliberate but subtle jab at rightwing Japanese nationalists who deny Imperial Japan’s virtual enslavement of Koreans before and during the war.

Obama moved on to a reflection on the history of human warfare and technology:

Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction […]

Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.

The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.

We couldn’t help but think of Kurt Vonnegut’s very similar but far less diplomatic thoughts on the same topic:

I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better. I fully expected that by the time I was twenty-one, some scientist, maybe my brother, would have taken a color photograph of God Almighty — and sold it to Popular Mechanics magazine. Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable! What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

Obama’s speech wasn’t an apology. It was a question. We have these horrifying weapons. They’re a fact of our existence. So what do we do with them? Obviously, some warmongering bomb-lovers will condemn Obama for his weakness in actually stating the effect of the place — and if you’ve been to Hiroshima’s Peace Park, you know it is a genuinely quiet, holy place where you have to think about August 6, 1945:

That is why we come to this place. We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war and the wars that came before and the wars that would follow.

Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.

Obama — liberal fool that he is — insisted that we aren’t chained to militarism, that The Bomb isn’t our destiny. If the U.S and Japan could become allies, if Europe could become a single (if fractious) economic community, then maybe we can make some progress toward not destroying ourselves with our best killing machines:

And perhaps, above all, we must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.

For this, too, is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.

We see these stories in the hibakusha. The woman who forgave a pilot who flew the plane that dropped the atomic bomb because she recognized that what she really hated was war itself. The man who sought out families of Americans killed here because he believed their loss was equal to his own.

President Obama went on to say that the principles in the Declaration of Independence right down to the “endowed by our creator,” which your wingnuts like to accuse him of leaving out — are “an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans.” And darned if he didn’t manage to connect the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the moral lesson of Hiroshima:

The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family — that is the story that we all must tell.

That is why we come to Hiroshima […]

Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.

The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we 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.

It’s also worth noting that, for the first time in American history, the nuclear “football” — the briefcase with all of the nuclear attack plans and launch codes — has traveled with a sitting U.S. president to the place where atomic weapons were first used. In that satchel are the codes capable of launching 22,000 Hiroshimas. Let’s take a moment to think about why we want someone sane having access to that briefcase. We want a president who isn’t having wet dreams about saving some money by encouraging Japan and Korea to develop their own nuclear stockpiles.

We originally planned to write this piece with a brief mention of Barack Obama’s Hiroshima speech, and then some extended mockery of the righwingers who are busy freaking out about Obama going on yet another “apology tour,” like John “Bomb Everything” Bolton, who called the visit “shameful” because “Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.” And then we watched Obama’s Hiroshima speech and decided to focus on that instead, because it matters, damn it. And John Bolton can go fuck himself.

[The White House on YouTube / NYT transcript / DefenseOne / CBS News / New York Post]

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  • Villago Delenda Est

    This country is not worthy of this man.

    • laughingnome

      I agree sometimes but we did vote him in twice by good margins. What drags us down is off-term elections when really motivated money buys off enough wingnuts to win in legislatures and congress.

      • JCfromNC

        Arguably, it’s our lack of participation in those non-presidential elections that mark us as unworthy. But the shit-tons of money definitely aren’t helping the situation.

    • Robin M. Blind

      You are SO right! To paraphrase the Bard: “He is a man, take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again.”

  • limberrat

    Sanity and Respect? What are these strange values?

    • PubOption

      Ideals that Wingnuts can take exception to, in the name of American exceptionalism.

  • Msgr_Moment

    “So did that Kenyan socialist take nuking Japan off the table? What a yooooooge loooser.” — D.J. Turnip.

  • JustPixelz

    “And John Bolton can go fuck himself.”

    Another eternal and universal truth.

    • GunToting[Redacted]

      Angry Ned Flanders is Angry.

      • Once&futureFred

        Something tells me Bolton isn’t as ripped as Flanders..

  • Tendernob

    “Look, I like Hiros who weren’t shima-ed, OK?”
    ~ Trump

  • doktorzoom

    Confession: When I say “if you’ve been to Hiroshima’s Peace Park, you know it is a genuinely quiet, holy place,” I’m talking about visitors, not necessarily locals. When I went there, I did the solemn history thoughts thing, but there were also a bunch of Yakuza guys (you could just tell) having a fine old time playing with a brand new RC car. We gave them a wide berth.

  • JustPixelz

    “…saving some money by encouraging Japan and Korea to develop their own nuclear stockpiles.”

    A good plan. Unless Japan decides they want some payback for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also unless an ally like Korea becomes and adversary. Imagine if Iran had been clever enough to get some nukes back in 1978 when they were still our friend.

  • Oneofthebobs

    Seriously, the right wouldn’t have been satisfied if Obama had waved the “football” around and reminded everybody that we could do a lot worse today.

  • DoILookAmused2u ?

    Has anybody thought of telling John, Former UN Ambassador for W, Bolton that we are allies with Japan now?

    • limberrat

      What the hell is an ally? – John Bolton

      • wurman

        Ambassador John “Get the US out of the UN” Bolton, who also, too, and furthermore wants the United Nations to pack up and get out of New York City and create a new headquarters somewhere in the Middle East–maybe even Dubai, maybe next door to Halliburton.

    • Michael Smith

      A historical enemy though. And we know wingnuts never support a conciliatory stance toward a previous enemy of the United States

  • anwisok

    I’ll say something snarky in a minute, but for some reason the screen’s kinda blurry right now.

  • SuspectedDemocrat

    Meanwhile in cray-cray land, Bobby Knight’s endorsement of Trump described Truman “having the guts to drop the bomb in 1944… And here’s a man who would do the same thing”

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Bobby Knight needs to be hit with vote-laden chairs.

  • weejee

    Time for a Bhagavad Gita moment…

    Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds

    / What came to mind for J. Robert Oppenheimer when Trinity, apt name, was successful

  • Even though he wasn’t a perfect president, I am really going to miss this man.

    • chimichanga

      I logged on to say just that… I’m going to miss President Barack Obama. (“Where Have All the Flowers Gone…” In the background. Damn

    • dshwa

      If ever there was a moment to say you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of good, this would be it.

  • Painter of Goats

    Yes, this speech is about simple decency. So of course the right are railing against it. They have none.

    • coozledad

      I can’t think of a moment where the pity of war was so righteously laid out. The idea that the grief it brings belongs to everybody. It is our disease.

      I lost it when he was speaking with the survivors. Japan was the victim of its own nationalist right. It was, by extension, the victim of the ideas of 19th century race science and imperialist dogma.

      Republicans still cling to those things. It’s their lifeblood.

  • Gayer Than Thou

    Did conservatives’ mothers never tell them you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?

    • Villago Delenda Est

      They were all hatched.

      • Querolous


    • Skwerl King

      or by incinerating them.

  • Matt Carpenter

    why be decent when you can be John Bolton and make hilarious ha-ha’s about bombing Chicago

  • SayItWithWookies

    If we spent half as much time and money and blood, sweat & tears building and improving the good things in this world as we do blowing shit up, imagine what today would look like.

    • Skwerl King

      But I still like to blow things up.

      • Pickwicknext

        Where would Michael Bay and/ Brett Ratner’s careers be without explosions?

        • Skwerl King

          Granted I had a lot of friends that got to work on the nukes in 1950s. They just like to blow things up. They used to have A-bomb parties in the desert watching them explode. They also had organs removed from their bodies as a “precaution”. I would like to go to an A-bomb party, but not on Earth, because that shit makes our caribou radioactive and shit.

          My point. I’ve started my holiday drinking early. That’s my point.

          • Lamashtar

            Well, I hear we might nuke Mars into having an atmosphere again, so never lose hope!

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Dwight Eisenhower would agree with you.

  • Tallmutha

    How dare an American president assert our common humanity with a former enemy!

  • ManchuCandidate

    As a descendant of formerly Japanese enslaved Koreans and having been to Hiroshima as an impressionable teen, I agree that nuclear weapons should be considered weapons of absolute last resort not casually tossed around as part of a bullshit jocular foreign policy advocated by unserious insecure dipshits (yeah I am looking at you fucking Trumpites and the grand orange doofus himself.)

    • Skwerl King

      Not enough upfists, as my father would have been piloting landing craft in the invasion of Kyūshū. He had a zero percent chance of surviving as the Japanese guessed correctly where we would land and were going to throw everything at the landing crafts.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Same here, my dad was in the Coast Guard and was skipper of a landing craft. In wartime, the Coast Guard provides warm bodies to the blue water Navy.

      • ManchuCandidate

        The bomb did one thing right. It saved the Japanese people and hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers from the funeral pyre of Yamato Damashii.

        Let us never use them again… but we probably will being the idiot humans we are.

        • Blank Ron

          It’s funny to think about it that way, but yeah. It would have been a bloodbath, and the world of today would be unimaginably different.

          • If you can find it, read the book The Burning Mountain. It’s a novel about the invasion of Japan if the bomb had not been dropped. Be warned though…major bummer. I can see why it wasn’t made into a movie.

          • Blank Ron

            Bummer or not, that’s the kind of book that I love to read. Just have to find a copy that my budget likes. Thanks!

      • Bitter Scribe

        My dad was a South Pacific Marine. He might have been excused from the invasion because he came down with dengue fever, which shrunk him down to 120 lbs. on his 6’3″ frame. But I’m glad it never came to that.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    “Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.”

    ….ummmmmmmm, last I checked WWII ended in 1945 and the Japanese are one of are biggest trading partners

    • theblackdog

      Beat me to it, but yeah, as far as I know we actually like the Japanese now.

      • Skwerl King

        And my Zen meditation center is expanding!

    • limberrat

      Last I checked, we were allies…

    • coozledad

      I’m old enough to remember John Bolton beating off to the idea of an empire of the sun.

    • OrdinaryJoe

      Stupid man? Has no idea of the post war history? MacArthur’s occupation policies were intended to root out the pre-war political sensibilities of the Japanese and plant in their place western liberal representative democracy, including an American style constitution, in effect to make the post war Japanese the moral equivalent to us.

  • lucidamente

    Waiting for @realDonaldTrump to tweet, “See, this is why we don’t win any more.”

  • Michael Smith

    But if we have to learn lessons from our past, how are we supposed to justify “carpet bombing” the Middle East?

    Obama just allowed the terrorists to win.

  • schmannity

    Trump’s version of this same speech:


    • SuspectedDemocrat

      …now go get your own nukes.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …so what you are trying to tell me is “making the Middle East glow” is a bad thing?!?!

  • Beanz&Berryz

    President Obama makes me feel both proud and humble. What a treat to have him as our President.

  • memzilla

    I got into a… discussion with an Austrian sysadmin who was excoriating the US for dropping two atomic bombs, and reminded him that his country happily lifted its border gates so the Wehrmacht wouldn’t scratch the paint on their new panzers.

    Inasmuch as the invasion of Japan was estimated to cost 1,000,000 dead and 4,000,000 American wounded, I will brook no argument that we had any choice. But that doesn’t mean I am happy about it.

    That said, FUCK WAR and especially chickenhawks and profiteers.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      A great deal of the discussion of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki relies on information that was not available to Harry Truman and his advisors, and overlooks the estimates of what an invasion of Kyushu would have cost in terms of lives (on both sides) let alone an invasion of Honshu.

      FUCK WAR is the bottom line here.

      • Lamashtar

        Yes. In hindsight, Truman came to regret it. More information, seeing the true human toll…we don’t know what FDR would have done, or Truman if he’d known about everything from the start.

    • limberrat

      From all sources I have read, Truman may have initially struggled with the decision, but he wasn’t going to let more soldiers die after the hell that they experienced in Okinawa.

      • wurman

        Yes. The Japanese suicidal insanity on Okinawa was one of 3 pillars supporting the decision to use nuclear weapons–12,520 US military were killed, 94,000 Okinawans died, and 94,136 Japanese troopers were destroyed. The 2nd was “bushido.” The 3rd was Pres. Harry Truman’s personal background. Truman enlisted in 1905 and became a corporal in the Missouri National Guard. He became a major in the Army artillery during World War I. His combat experiences were extensive. He returned to the Nat’l Guard and was promoted to Colonel in 1932, stayed active as a regimental commander through the 1940s, and retired in 1953. Pres. Truman saw no moral equivalency between himself and Tojo. The revisionist histories of his decisions are nonsense.

    • LadyLaz

      Agreed. I’ve been reading what Japan did to our military men as well that they captured. I am proud we paid reparations to our American-Japanese citizens because we stood up for our values. But I am also glad we didn’t do sheet like dissect them alive, which the Japanese did to some of our folks.

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      While the moral pros and cons of dropping those bombs can make for a lively debate amongst the Monday morning quarterbacks, the real lesson is- don’t let things get so bad that that even becomes a possibility.

      • dshwa


      • Blank Ron

        And FFS, stop ENCOURAGING them to get that bad.

    • Sardonicuss

      I remember my dad explaining how he felt about Hiroshima and Nagasaki to me as a child.
      He had just spent a year completing his 31 missions “touring the skies of Europe” as a bomber pilot, and had come home: only to spend months training in B-29’s (like the one’s that dropped the bombs). According to him, it was all hands on deck time and he had been told to prepare to re-deploy to the Pacific soon since, as we later learned, the Japanese generals were preparing the main island for all out defense, including the combat training of all members of the civilian populace.
      The Generals refused surrender even after the bombs were dropped, and the Imperial government was trying to negotiate with the Russians until the very last minute.
      Revisionism is nice 70 years down the road, but in point of fact, the nukes probably saved far more lives than they took: American certainly, but probably Japanese as well.
      We knew that the Japanese had actually dropped payloads of fleas infected with the bubonic plague on cities in China: who could have ever expected a military that would do that, would consider surrendering to a beach invasion of their home island?

      • jqheywood

        My Dad too. He flew B-24s in the 8th AF (445 BG), and was back home transitioning to B-29s preparing for being shipped out to the Pacific for Olympic when the war ended. I’ve got real mixed feelings about the bomb. On the one hand it was horrible. On the other, if it were not dropped, there is a very real chance that I would not be sitting here right now.

    • Michael Smith

      Yeah, and it’s hard to paint the Japanese as noble savages who fell victim to American imperialist cruelty.

      Still, some people say Truman’s main reason for dropping it was to intimidate the USSR. Or at least, that he was killing two birds with one stone by using the bomb.

      But honestly, once you start into a war all bets are off. That’s why the concept of war crimes is a joke. War is the biggest crime there is.

      Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History has an excellent episode called “Rational Insanity,” in which he describes the way that Euro-American concepts morality rapidly deteriorated during WW1 & 2 until it got the point that dropping the largest bomb in history on 100,000+ civilians seemed perfectly reasonable.

      • coozledad

        You can lay some of this directly at the feet of the slave economy of the West, which was so reluctant to let it go it continued trade with the South (Even the belligerents continued the cotton trade through special congressional licensing) in the face of the South’s deployment of practically suicidal column formations at the dawn of deadly accurate rifled weapons. It was a short step from being able to accept twenty or thirty thousand dead in a single fight to the misery of trench warfare, whose proving ground was Petersburg,VA.

        Lee drafted the specs for WWI, and Hitler ultimately approved of the rationale.

        • Villago Delenda Est

          The military attaches of the European powers flocked to Civil War battlefields expecting to see Napoleonic tactics employed. Due to rifles and cartridges, the firepower of infantry increased dramatically, resulting in a new form of warfare that few expected. Petersburg was indeed a dress rehearsal for the Western Front of the Great War.

        • LadyLaz

          This. The civil war, which was a little horror, is considered the first modern war….

      • kareemachan

        “How about a nice game of chess?”

        • LadyLaz

          Lol. War Games right

  • limberrat

    John, I know you have difficulty telling who is our enemy, but guess what? Japan is our ally you fucking idiot.

    • Blank Ron

      But they were the enemy once, and every American knows that means they’re the enemy forever!

      • Villago Delenda Est

        This explains our “special relationship” with the United Kingdom.

  • baconzgood

    You realize we are the only country to explode other human beings with an atomic device. We shouldn’t be proud of that.

    • DoILookAmused2u ?

      But they were duds. We have real ones now. Thermonuclear, with multiple warheads.

    • Louise McWilliams

      I’ve never heard anyone say they were proud of exploding ppl with atoms…would you have been prouder if we had shot them with machine guns. Obama speech was great but I didn’t feel the same about Abe’s lack of introspection about other victims of that war.

      • baconzgood

        Mike Bolton is proud of it. Or didn’t you read that part.

      • baconzgood

        I’d also like to point out in war it’s generally shooting other soldiers and not destroying a city full of a lot of citizens. I would have been appalled if US troops would have gone into either city and shot everyone.

        • Serai 1

          Cities. We destroyed three at least.

      • Serai 1

        You’re not going to pretend that we could have waged the obscene amount of devastation that we did with machine guns, are you?

        • Lamashtar

          Please don’t fetishize nuclear weapons so much. Yes, they are powerful. But there are more powerful weapons that we can make now.

          • Serai 1

            Um, I’m not the one fetishizing them. Or did you not read anything I wrote?

      • jqheywood

        Ya know, I wouldn’t want either to happen to me or the ones I love, but I think instant obliteration from a nuclear weapon would be preferable to what happened to people caught in one of the fire raids (20 or so cities in Japan; Hamburg & Dresden in Germany). The lucky ones asphyxiated; others were boiled alive as the rivers and fountains they were hiding in boiled away, or were baked in their shelters.

    • Serai 1

      Yep. For all that we scream about how awful other countries are, the only country on earth that has proven without a doubt its willingness to use nuclear weapons is US.

  • Villago Delenda Est

    John Bolton, the American von Ribbentrop.

    • kareemachan

      The human-asshole hybrid.

    • Serai 1

      Closer to Ron Vibbentrop, I’d say.

  • coozledad

    I watched that speech this morning, and it couldn’t have been more effective if it were the opening paraphrase of this.

    It reminded me why my wife and I risked our personal safety for him in 2008. or even better, why personal safety is bullshit these days.

    Best president ever. folks.

    • Right there with you. I couldn’t agree more.

    • masked mumbler

      It’s just too bad he to deal with the worst legislative branch.

  • Jeff in the desert

    I admit knowing nothing about the state of Japan at the time of dropping the atomic bomb, but my father-in-law was a Marine in the Philippines and said the Japanese were on-the-run. But not arguing that, talk about terrorism…dropping a weapon of mass destruction killing 140,000 mostly non-combatants. And repeating that a couple days later……that follows the rules of war ( if there could be such a thing)?

    • LadyLaz

      Look below. Someone posted the numbers of lives that would have been lost on both sides had we had to do a land invasion of Japan. Japan was on the run, but they would have died to the last man woman and child before they let us roll over them on their home land. These were the people who invented the kamakazis. My hub is a huge WW2 buff with some fascinating books on the Pacific War that I have taken a peek. Truman made the call that less would die this way. And I think history has determine he was right.

      But to quote people below. Fuck War. It breaks the heart.

      • IHaveThoughts

        When I visited the museum and I was in tears, asking my dad why we had done it, told me that our president had looked at the options and determined that the Japanese would fight until the absolute end and that the bombings were what looked like the better option, kill count-wise. He told me we did the best with what we had at the time and we learned from it, but that WWII was full of unimaginable horrors on every side. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been horrified more by WWII than most of the other wars we studied in school. Maybe it’s because WWII was more recent or maybe it’s because technology had come far enough along to make it truly horrific.

        • doktorzoom

          It’s why Studs Terkel’s great oral history collection, “The Good War” has those irony quotes in the title.

        • Lamashtar

          I think its because war crimes were so common that pointing out only one of them seems pointless. Nagasaki was bombing civilians? So what? Japanese doctors were experimenting on Chinese. East Asians were being enslaved and murdered by course. And this is just the Pacific war. We were all guilty.

      • Lark_in_the_AM

        My elderly neighbor while I was in grad school was a Japanese woman who emigrated here in the 60s. She was from a small village on the invasion route near Kagushima, and she told me that the army had passed out bamboo swords and told them to fight to the death, and she had no doubt that they would have complied. She thought that she (11 at the time) and her 9 year old brother were only alive because the bombs forced the Emperor to surrender. It was found out later that the Emperor had to smuggle the tape of his radio address out of the palace – the warlords would have fought on, but had no choice after the Emperor spoke.

      • notfromvenus

        Well, I think we can say *both* that it was a terrible act and also that the alternatives were worse, or at least seemed so at the time.

        It’s like…. if you kill one person in order to save a bunch of people, you still have to live with committing murder.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Total war does strange things to people. The war in the Pacific was fought with barbaric savagery on both sides, as was the war in the Soviet Union.

      • LadyLaz

        This. WW2 all around. I recently read Maus. The ovens, the bantan death march, our internment of Japanese Americans (a least we didn’t put em in ovens, but still). The pacific war was… chilling. My husband’s grandfather fought in the Pacific. He never would speak about it.

        • WomanComingHome

          My grandfather also fought in the Pacific. I know virtually nothing about his service – it was never a subject of discussion.

          And yeah, Fuck War.

          • LadyLaz

            I think it was really common. My FIL and his brother went into the military. They could never extract any details from their dad. They have been searching for more information for years.

        • dshwa

          My grandfather never would either.

        • kareemachan

          My father was a Marine in the South Pacific. He wouldn’t talk about it either. Mom said he used to wake up screaming from nightmares some times. I totally get the not talking about it. We need to be reminded sometimes, tho. Sadly enough.

        • Serai 1

          Oh, man. Maus really fucked me up. What a work of art that pair of books is.

          • LadyLaz

            Really blew my mind. Glad I read it.

    • Louise McWilliams

      I am the widow of a veteran of WWII. War is in fact hell for everyone and that is why I admire Obama’s speech. For those not of that generation remember than the Japanese were told to surrender or else, they chose or else, bomb dropped, another demand for surrender to Japan’s government…no….bomb number two dropped…they decide to surrender. Stopped the killing in a horrible way after millions were killed all over Asia. Monday I will think about my 18 yr old uncles who had to go, North Africa, Battle of the Bulge, flying the hump in Myanmar…came back with cancer, shrapnel in their bodies permanently, Gold Star Mothers…..There is plenty of reason to hate war on all sides…and they all suffered and many died and many children didn’t survive or weren’t even born…one has to cry and seek change. Germany did, but Japan not so much…I hope Abe listened carefully to Obama’s thoughts and feelings…B he went a long way.

      • dshwa

        Thats not entirely accurate. The Japanese were willing to surrender and end the war but wanted to keep the imperial government intact. We wanted surrender and regime change. The unwilling to surrender narrative is slightly misleading in that regard.

        • Villago Delenda Est

          There was a great deal of miscommunication in the backchannels about this. The Soviets didn’t help, on purpose, it seems, for their own ends.

        • Serai 1

          Besides which, it’s incredibly obtuse to talk about not wanting to surrender as if WE wouldn’t do exactly the same thing. Would America roll over the first time it was demanded? Of course not. We’d keep flailing away until half the country was on fire. THEN we’d say okay, you win.

        • wurman
  • jerry

    “It is more honorable to save a citizen than to kill an enemy.”

  • Joshua Norton

    I’m trying to avoid thinking how many offensive things Donald Trump could come up with if he’d been there.

    No doubt something like, “I prefer allies who have never been nuked.”

    • Serai 1

      Trump would never go there, so it’s something we don’t ever have to imagine, luckily.

  • baconzgood

    Let’s not forget how Japan is white washing the tape of Nanking

    • Louise McWilliams

      tape = rape

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Some of the Japanese do have a very bad habit of, shall we say, obfuscating all the crimes committed in the name of the Emperor during the late unpleasantness. Which is why they had to endure the unendurable, in the end.

      Let us ponder this as people go around playing the victim card.

    • doktorzoom

      Japan (or some parts of Japanese politics/culture) has some seriously weirdass myopia about the war years, some of which was encouraged by MacArthur’s occupation: If the problem was the Militarist government, the thinking goes, then today’s government doesn’t need to take any responsibility for past crimes. See John Dower’s excellentEmbracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, which is one of those books I’d make everybody read if I were Philosopher-King.

      Also, the occasional conservative PM going to the Yasukuni Shrine isn’t a big deal because that’s just honoring the patriotic war dead. On the other hand, you also have radical teachers’ unions who fought against flying the national flag or singing the Kimigayo anthem in schools.

      When we lived there, my ex and I used “A land of many contrasts” as shorthand for all kinds of Japanese strangeness.

      • AlasAnAss

        And it’s not exactly as if we here in the land of many processed cheese toppings have our house in order when it comes to historical honesty.

        • doktorzoom

          You mean in this Christian Nation founded on the Bible, where the War of Northern Aggression was caused by tariffs, blacks were happy under segregation before being enslaved by welfare, Joe McCarthy was right, and Ronald Reagan won the Cold war by shouting at a wall?

          • therblig

            are you quoting a texas elementary school history book?

          • AlasAnAss

            That sounds familiar.

          • H0mer0

            did he get his idea from Gandalf?

    • Serai 1

      And your point is? Because you don’t seem to have one, son.

    • jqheywood

      And Unit 731, which made the Nazi doctors like Mengele look like amateurs (and the US Gov’t which gave them immunity from prosecution in return for their research notes). Sigh.

  • yyyaz

    A humbling example of lucid oratory, Mr. President, thank you. I feel obligated to point out, however, that it is no longer a “radical notion” that we are all part of the same human family, but an established fact.

    • Blank Ron

      To the wingnuts foaming at the mouth about the speech, it’s not just a radical notion, it’s an outright lie.

      • yyyaz

        Thrashing, screaming and clawing to get out of history’s dustbin is a shitty way to go through life.

  • Look Closer

    Can anyone here imagine a President Trump speaking with such clarity and honesty? I’m so going to miss this president!

    • Flashman

      Clarity and honesty, yes; civility, humanity and thoughtfulness, no.

      • phoenix00

        I severely question the honesty part

    • H0mer0
  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    I haven’t been to Hiroshima, but I have been to Pearl Harbor; it was packed with Japanese tourists paying respects, with bowed heads and solemn demeanors. If I had the opportunity to visit Hiroshima I would do the same. That we need to sometimes reflect on the horrors that nations unleash on one another, and try to learn not to do that again, is something the people who are screaming about an “apology tour” simply lack the humanity to understand.

    • LadyLaz

      true this! They even do the tours in Japanese. It was a weird experience when we went. But everyone was very respectful.

      • dshwa

        I went without joining a tour group. There’s English and several other languages on the exhibits.

  • DemmeFatale

    OMG, he’s a gift!
    What a mensch.
    I’m choking back the tears just reading about this.

    • The Witch of Endor

      I cried outright. Still am sort of.

  • Chad

    Motion to make B. Barry Bamz president for life. Now and forever.

    • SDGeoff

      I would go for King Of The World.

      • kareemachan

        King of the Universe.

  • The Witch of Endor

    The bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki happened. It can NEVER happen again ANYWHERE. The only way to make sure is to never forget any aspect of WW2, and hope, in the near future, the world supports leaders who get how insane our collective war machines are. I am so proud of our President, I’ve got eye leakage that’ll probably not stop for a while.

  • Nik Davis

    He’s right, how are we supposed to start Starfleet if we don’t unite for the common good of everyone?

    • Villago Delenda Est

      I believe this is appropriate, so I’ll leave it here.

      • Nik Davis

        Damn right…

    • Blank Ron

      I feel at times like we’re actually in the timeline that leads to the Spock-with-a-beard universe.

    • Serai 1

      We have to get through the Eugenics Wars first, remember. Everything will be massively fucked up, and then we’ll rebuild.

      • Nik Davis

        Well, if Trump gets elected, we’ll be off to a good start then :-/

        • Serai 1

          Yep. I figure in our particular alt-universe, they’ll be the Water Wars or something similar. But the effect will be the same – levelling everything to start over. I wonder if the Federation will still be headquartered in San Francisco?

  • yyyaz

    I made the mistake of glancing at the comments on this story at The Guardian this morning. The grammar, spelling and punctuation — not to mention the paucity of ALL CAPS — is an order of magnitude above the usual cretin websites. Even so, the hate, lies and ignorance being sown there today should give everyone a pause to think about where we are headed as a species. Sorry to harsh a genuine high-water moment in international diplomacy, but the backlash is sickening.

    • Blank Ron

      We need to be aware of that backlash. It’s that sort of thinking that, inevitably, leads to even more war, even more, suffering. We need to know it’s there so we can shut it down. Somehow, it needs to be shut down.

    • Serai 1

      I’ve always believed our fate was written in our DNA from the start, and no matter how hard we try, nothing will save us from it. We’re simply designed to fuck up everything around us as much as possible for as long as we can.

    • Lamashtar

      I’m convinced that Guardian has become a target for a lot of trolls. That’s where I find Bernie Bros, thats where the pro Putinistas are, and a surprising number of right wingers.

  • SDGeoff

    What a fine analysis, and a wonderful read/watching experience. Thank you for a good start to my Memorial Day weekend.

  • IHaveThoughts

    I went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum when I was 16 and I’m not sure I have ever been more affected by a place. I felt the absolute pain that we caused by dropping the bomb but I also understood why we did it. If I learned anything coming out of that museum, it was that war is a destructive force and we should do what we can to remain peaceful, unless we absolutely have to go to war. I definitely felt like the museum was all about cultivating respect and an understanding for the seriousness of atomic weapons. Obama’s speech did a great job walking the line of not being apologetic but also reflecting on the repercussions of what we did.

    • dshwa

      Yeah. It’s the almost clinical way they present everything that does it I think. It doesn’t lay blame, or demonize those who dropped the bomb. It just lays out the facts and evidence in a line of little displays and let’s them speak for themselves in their silence. Forget religious pilgrimages, this place should be the place every human has to visit at least once in their lifetime.

      • IHaveThoughts

        The exhibit that got me was the watch that was stopped at the exact time of the bombing. It was such a small, human thing and yet it drove home exactly the magnitude of what happened. I remember being in tears and asking my dad why we had dropped the bomb, considering all the destruction it did. He basically said that we did what we thought had to do, based on what we knew at the time. Now we know more and I think the memorial is such an important place to remind us of why we shouldn’t do it again, and more importantly, why all countries should look critically at the things they have done.

        • dshwa

          Yeah, we can Monday morning quarterback the reasons, but they’ve become too entangled with rationalizations after the fact once the real human costs were known for an accurate accounting to given anytime soon. Preventing ourselves as a species from ever reaching that point again should be the goal.

      • Shibusa

        White Light/Black Rain is worth seeing, too.

        • Serai 1

          For the micropersonal level, Hiroshima Mon Amour is also amazing.

    • I AM R U

      I completely agree – I was moved to tears after walking through the Peace Park and the museum. I’m not usually particularly senstitive, mostly because one has to remain calm and critical while still empathetic in my line of work, but Hiroshima… There was a quiet dignity to the place that really drove home the horror inflicted by atomic weapons – the scraps of remains that were left behind, the shadows on stone that were once people, the odd contrast between the horrors explained in the museum and the beutiful garden outside… And the still ongoing issue with cancer experienced by children.

  • dshwa

    “Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”

    He’s 100% goddamn right. I’ve been to the museum I wept the whole way through it. I’m crying now just remembering my visit, and it was almost a decade ago. Never again must those things be unleashed on the world. And anyone who thinks otherwise can fuck themselves with the +2 rusty garden weasel of votes, but minus the votes.

  • Angela Ruzzo

    Very good summary. Back in September 2001, right after 9/11, there were some outrageously inaccurate editorials in the national newspapers, including one by Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald, who wrote “We don’t willfully rain carnage upon civilians.” He had apparently forgotten about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden and Wounded Knee. Ignorance is not bliss.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      The fire bombing of Tokyo racked up a higher casualty count than Hiroshima. But it was more than one bomb, admittedly.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        Very true. But I read that we considerately avoided bombing Kyoto, the ancient capital, out of consideration for it’s history and ancient buildings. But I doubt this was the reason, because Kyoto was apparently on the list of possible targets for the atomic bombs. We did not show the same consideration to Berlin, where Wikipedia says that an estimated 125,000 civilians died as a result of allied bombing. But then, the Germans didn’t show any historical consideration to London either. War is Hell.

        This debate always makes me think of the Star Trek episode “A Taste of Armageddon” where the people had made war nice and clean, and Kirk gives them back the horrors of real war, and tells them that this gives them a good reason to stop it. I was 11 years old when I watched this, and it made a big impression on me.

        • Lamashtar

          Kyoto was a religious mecca, and Secretary Stimson had honeymooned there. The military tried hard to push it as a target, but Stimson asked Truman specifically to spare it.

          • H0mer0

            Apparently the Allies tried to bomb the the crap out of the Cathedral in Koln (or Cologne) and it withstood all the abuse before they desisted and decided to use the two spires for navigation.

    • Ghenghis McCann

      It’s only when it happens to you and yours, that it matters. After the Boston bombing, there were some people in the UK who said, ‘Well there were so many in Boston who were happy to bankroll the IRA to kill British citizens. Now they’ve seen what actually happens.’

      • Angela Ruzzo

        I remember reading about Brits saying that and I had forgotten all about the IRA. How quickly we forget.

    • Serai 1

      Don’t forget Tokyo. We fire-bombed there as well, but the atomic bombs overshadowed it.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        I don’t forget Tokyo. I also don’t forget Leningrad. There was a very moving documentary about the Symphony Orchestra in Leningrad. One by one the musicians died, and the audiences became thinner and thinner. After the war, they held a kind of memorial concert, where the seats of the dead musicians were left empty, and empty seats marked the dead patrons, while the surviving orchestra members played on.

  • Shibusa

    From the NYT today: ‘The first of the attack’s survivors present, Sunao Tsuboi, gripped Mr. Obama’s hand and would not let go until he had spoken to him for some time.

    “I held his hand, and we didn’t need an interpreter,” Mr. Tsuboi, 91, said later. “I could understand what he wanted to say by his expression.”’

    Having lived in Japan, I found that so poignant. Obama makes me proud.

  • Zango LeHoonery

    Hey Dok, when I share this on faceplace, there’s Hillary’s pic instead of Bamz with the linky. As my faceplace account includes many anti-hillary types, I was wondering if you could change it so I don’t have to break out my stabbing spork at the inevitable replies.

    • doktorzoom

      I haven’t the slightest idea why that happened or whether it can be changed on our end (FB is DUMMM) The featured pic should be the screengrab from the video; if you have the option to add in a photo yourself, here’s the image:

    • laineypc

      FB liberal censorship!

  • OrdinaryJoe

    My father fought in the Pacific theater for 2 years. When the war ended, he was training in Okinawa for the invasion of Japan. He stayed in the Army for another 2 years after the war. At 23, he was a young Tech Sargent who led Army occupation troops in one of the demolition units responsible for blowing up and leveling whatever rubble was still upright in the city of Hiroshima so the debris could be cleared away. He never spoke of what he saw there, except once. He was sick, suffering from lung and heart failure, and it was clear he just wanted me to know. I will never forget sitting at his beside and listening to him, tears running down his face and mine, as he described something worse than hell on earth. As I watched this speech today, of course I thought of my father. I know he would have been proud of what the President did and said.

    • doktorzoom

      Thank you. And thanks to your dad.

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  • Bitter Scribe

    I listen to Obama, and then I listen to Trump bloviating today in California today about how great he is and how he’ll get the farmers there all the water they want and don’t worry about how, and I think, how the fuck do people not see the difference?

    And John Bolton can go fuck himself.

    Making Bolton ambassador was the worst possible insult to the UN short of Dubya pulling down his pants and taking a shit on the secretary-general’s desk.

    • Boojum

      He did that first, but they still didn’t try to kick us out, so he went with Bolton.

    • H0mer0

      isn’t it just the regular people of California having to ration water while agriculture gets as much as they want? Or are those just the large Agribusinesses?

  • UnsaltedSinner

    We’ll miss this guy.

  • AlanMacDonald

    What is generally referred to in government and military circles as
    “lessons learned” were not learned in Obama’s visit to Hiroshima — and
    as George Santayana reminds us, “If we do not learn from history we are
    doomed to repeat it”.

    Visiting the end place of the Second World
    War of Empires (which is what WWII should always be called), was a
    perfect place for Obama to deliver his most important ‘learning moment’
    that all Empires are Evil — not just the next to the last Empire,
    which Reagan deceitfully described as a uniquely “Evil Empire”.

    Obama could have achieved a truly powerful Pacific Pivot, and he could
    have pivoted off Bernie’s most famous slogan, “Political Revolution” if
    he had just completed Bernie thought as a complete sentence (with an
    ‘object’) and taught the world that all Empires are Evil, and pointed
    out that the current 21st century unique form of Empire has metastasized
    into a hidden cancer of Disguised Global Capitalist Empire which must
    be ‘exposed’ and publicly ‘called-out’ by firing a loud, clear, but
    non-violent “Shout heard round the world” to ignite a world-wide
    “Political Revolution against Empire” by all ordinary ‘citizens of the
    world’ in order to eliminate not only the nuclear weapons of war, but
    the very concept of wars which only benefit Empires and those few
    sociopaths whose minds have been poisoned by the “Empire-thinking” of

    For, as Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the
    case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a
    crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13

    Berman, Morris 2007 “Dark Ages America, The Final Phase of Empire”

    conceded that nations can originate in “internal” conquest, including
    the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples and the expropriation of
    their land, let us still observe the custom of reserving the term empire
    for a territorially extensive sive structure of rule that usually
    subordinates diverse ethnolinguistic groups or would-be nations and
    reserves preponderant power for an executive ecutive authority and the
    elites with whom this power is shared. Thus an empire is characterized
    by size, by ethnic hierarchization, and by a regime that centralizes
    power but enlists diverse social and/or ethnic elites in its

    [To which I added this note: Maier’s great insight in
    definition of this 21st century post-nation-state DGCEmpire with
    varied, but aligned global ruling-Elites of global commonality in their
    primary allegiance to the economic ideology of Capitalism, rather than
    to any ethnic, racial, national, religious or patriotic commonalities.]

    Maier, Charles 2006 “Among Empires, American Ascendancy and its Predecessors”. Harvard University Press

    U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant
    groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to
    secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.”
    imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state
    apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the
    global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism
    per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE OF
    GLOBAL CAPITAL, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in
    [Caps substituted for italics in the original]

    William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity
    (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

    • efoveks

      Somebody’s posting his manifesto here.

      • Bad Granny

        …and several other places.

        • efoveks

          Sharing! :-)

      • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

        In haiku spacing, no less. Think we could get it narrated by William Shatner?

        • efoveks

          Oh Gawd, that would be hilarious!

        • Bad Granny

          There’s something in the comments. Some… thing in the comments.

    • Boojum


    • Plushinobi

      Holy crap. I’m pretty new here, but I thought comments weren’t allowed here, let alone comments that require bibliographies.

      • wurman

        Footnotes and and index may be next.

    • Serai 1
    • your ideas are intriguing to me and i wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Lamashtar

      I’m sorry, but you would write a terrible speech.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    What a beautiful speech about a horrid subject. Our president asks us to be our best selves. Dumb Donald? Not so much.

    • Bitter Scribe

      I can only assume that a lot of voters are tired of having a president who is smarter than they are.

  • Donna Schoenkopf

    oh, dok. i love you. i write this with a full heart and eyes brimming.

    • doktorzoom

      Thanks so much, Commie Mom! That means a great deal to me!

  • masked mumbler

    I know this isn’t really Obama’s fault, but his speech fell flat for me considering he had just approved a $1T deal to replenish our nuclear arsenal.

    • Truthiness2U

      Yeah, as you say it’s not his fault, because Congress determines the budget. There are lots of things Obama would want funded, that he doesn’t get, things he doesn’t want funded that do. Even more than most, budgets are sausage.

      I think given his personal preference, he’d like less nukes. I look forward to seeing what he does as a private citizen around this issue.

  • Enfant Terrible

    War lowers our inhibitions just as surely as booze does, but unlike booze, it goads us into doing terrible things. I’ll just leave this here.

    “The feeling of nationhood, which hitherto was considered something high and beautiful, has become like a spiritual syphilis that devours the brains and grins out through the empty eye sockets in senseless hate.”
    — Danish composer Carl Nielsen

  • Shoto

    Very thoughtful piece about a very thoughtful President.

    If Wonkette allowed comments, I’d go ahead and make an observation about John Bolton, also, too. Fortunately, comments are not allowed…

  • going4baroque

    thank you, Dok
    in the spirit with which President Obama gave his speech, for which I am also thankful, I am posting a talk from 1948 on the subject of war, that is, unfortunately, still relevant today. It might be compelling for some

    J Krishnamurti, extemporaneous talk
    July 11, 1948

    War is the spectacular and bloody projection of our everyday life, is it not? War is merely an outward expression of our inward state, an enlargement of our daily action. It is more spectacular, more bloody, more destructive, but it is the collective result of our individual activities. So, you and I are responsible for war, and what can we do to stop it? Obviously, the impending war cannot be stopped by you and me, because it is already in movement; it is already taking place though still chiefly on the psychological level.

    It has already begun in the world of ideas, though it may take a little longer for our bodies to be destroyed. As it is already in movement, it cannot be stopped – the issues are too many, too great, and are already committed. But you and I, seeing that the house is on fire, can understand the causes of that fire, can go away from it and build in a new place with different materials that are not combustible, that will not produce other wars. That is all that we can do.

    You and I can see what creates wars, and if we are interested in stopping wars, then we can begin to transform ourselves, who are the causes of war. So, what causes war – religious, political or economic?

    Obviously, belief, either in nationalism, in an ideology, or in a particular dogma. If we had no belief, but goodwill, love and consideration between us, then there would be no wars. But we are fed on beliefs, ideas and dogmas, and therefore we breed discontent. Surely, the present crisis is of an exceptional nature, and we as human beings must either pursue the path of constant conflict and continuous wars which are the result of our everyday action, or else see the causes of war and turn our back upon them.

    Obviously, what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money, and also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag, and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma.

    All these are the causes of war; and if you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again, it depends upon you and not on the leaders, not on Stalin, Churchill, and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me, but we do not seem to realize that.

    If once we really felt the responsibility of our own actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this appalling misery! But you see, we are indifferent. We have three meals a day, we have our jobs, we have our bank accounts, big or little, and we say, “For God’s sake, don’t disturb us, leave us alone”. The higher up we are, the more we want security, permanency, tranquility, the more we want to be left alone, to maintain things fixed as they are; but they cannot be maintained as they are, because there is nothing to maintain. Everything is disintegrating.

    We do not want to face these things, we do not want to face the fact that you and I are responsible for wars. You and I may talk about peace, have conferences, sit around a table and discuss; but inwardly, psychologically, we want power, position, we are motivated by greed. We intrigue, we are nationalistic, we are bound by beliefs, by dogmas, for which we are willing to die and destroy each other. Do you think such men [and women], you and I, can have peace in the world? To have peace, we must be peaceful; to live peacefully means not to create antagonism.

    Peace is not an ideal. To me, an ideal is merely an escape, an avoidance of what is, a contradiction of what is. An ideal prevents direct action upon what is – which we will go into presently, in another talk. But to have peace, we will have to love, we will have to begin, not to live an ideal life, but to see things as they are and act upon them, transform them.

    As long as each one of us is seeking psychological security, the physiological security we need – food, clothing and shelter – is destroyed. We are seeking psychological security, which does not exist; and we seek it, if we can, through power, through position, through titles, names – all of which is destroying physical security. This is an obvious fact, if you look at it.

    So, to bring about peace in the world, to stop all wars, there must be a revolution in the individual, in you and me. Economic revolution without this inward revolution is meaningless, for hunger is the result of the maladjustment of economic conditions produced by our psychological states – greed, envy, ill will and possessiveness. To put an end to sorrow, to hunger, to war, there must be a psychological revolution, and few of us are willing to face that.

    We will discuss peace, plan legislation, create new leagues, the United Nations, and so on and on; but we will not win peace, because we will not give up our position, our authority, our monies, our properties, our stupid lives. To rely on others is utterly futile; others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to give us peace, no government, no army, no country.

    What will bring peace is inward transformation which will lead to outward action. Inward transformation is not isolation, is not a withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right thinking, and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace.

    To put an end to outward war, you must begin to put an end to war in yourself. Some of you will shake your heads and say, “I agree”, and go outside and do exactly the same as you have been doing for the last ten or twenty years. Your agreement is merely verbal and has no significance, for the world’s miseries and wars are not going to be stopped by your casual assent.

    They will be stopped only when you realize the danger, when you realize your responsibility, when you do not leave it to somebody else. If you realize the suffering, if you see the urgency of immediate action and do not postpone, then you will transform yourself; and peace will come only when you yourself are peaceful, when you yourself are at peace with your neighbor.

  • Ricky Gay

    Even John Bolton’s ass would reject John Bolton’s pass.

  • OldMayfly

    Thank you, Wonkette. Every time I think I could not be prouder of Prez Obama he raises the bar with something like this. My favorite Founding Father (with all his faults) is Thomas Jefferson. My favorite modern president (even after the great FDR) is Barack Obama.

  • Turkish71

    President Obama handled this situation correctly. Today, the Japanese people are our allies and our friends and our relationship with Japan is critical for both commercial and national security reasons (on both the US and Japanese sides). I have nothing but respect for our Japanese friends.


    this notion that the US has anything to apologize for based on our actions during WWII is ridiculous and bespeaks a deep misunderstanding of the situation at the time.

    American casualties during the battle of Okinawa were appalling. American casualty rates were increasing the closer we got to the Japanese home islands (Iwo Jima, etc.). The Japanese were not on the verge of surrender, regardless of what anyone says today- they had shown their willingness to fight to the bitter end, including the civilian population, on numerous occasions (see Saipan, Okinawa, et al). In addition, the Soviet Union was basically running rampant in Asia while the US and the rest of the Allies were still tied down dealing with Japan- the Soviet influence in Asia after Nazi Germany surrendered resulted in the US involvement in the Korean conflict and “modern” day North Korea…

    There was no rational option for the US other than to drop the bomb and make it absolutely clear to the Japanese that the war was over. Yes, the destruction was terrible. Yes, the casualty rate was horrific. BUT, if not for the bomb, the Allies were estimating Allied casualties of over ONE MILLION and Japanese casualties of multiples more if an actual physical invasion of the Japanese home islands was undertaken.

    If you have ever been in a real fight (not with your brother or sister, but someone who is really trying to hurt you), then you understand that you don’t apologize for kicking a guy in the nuts if he was trying to bash your head in with a rock, even if today you have the guy over for dinner a couple times a year and find him to be a an enjoyable friend. You did what you had to to do when the situation required it. Period.

    I’m so glad that President Obama expressed hurt and sadness over the pain of the war in the Pacific, but I am also glad that he did not apologize for doing what needed to be done in the situation.

    • malsperanza

      Using nuclear bombs on cities requires an apology.

      • Serai 1

        Let’s not forget the fire-bombing of Tokyo. Everyone talks about the atomic bombs, but the Tokyo carpet bombing actually killed more people and caused more damage. But plain old incendiary bombs don’t have the sexy kick of “atomic”, so nobody ever brings it up.

        • malsperanza

          I’m not going to play the numbers game. The firebombing of Tokyo, Hamburg, and Dresden were certainly war crimes, as was the London Blitz.

          But nuclear bombs are a different order of magnitude, with a different level of evil. They are capable of literally destroying the earth.

          They must not be used. No blurring of lines, please.

          • Jonny On Maui

            There was a time a pope thought the same thing about crossbows.

            Their use was a ‘sin’…

          • jqheywood

            uhm, actually, that was a proscription only of using them against fellow Christians in tournaments, not in battle. The text of Canon XXIX (issued by Pope Urban II after the Lateran Synod of 1097) bans “ballistariorum et sagittariorum”, roughly translated as “slings and bows” and says nothing about warfare. The Canon is tied to other anathemas directed at dangerous games in tournaments and wagers that the Church was very against in the 11th & 12th centuries. Sorry to go all pedant, but I’m writing an article on technology and the law of war and just got through spending far more time than is healthy reading the decrees & bulls of the Church.

          • Jonny On Maui

            Vent away! I don’t come here just for the dick jokes. Sometimes I learn things!

          • Lamashtar

            Crossbows were the original pistols.

          • Serai 1

            Um, YOU put Dresden in the same list with Hiroshima. So who’s blurring the lines now?

        • CATMAN

          The atomic bombs just upped the efficiency of mass murder–the firebomb raid on Tokyo that killed 88,000 people in one night took 435 planes–I don’t think the difference of getting burned to death by white phosphorus or an atom bomb matters a lot but what does is the immorality of massive killing of civilians which is a hallmark of WW2

          • Serai 1

            God yes, thank you. Ever since I read about Tokyo, I’ve been saddened and weirded out that you so rarely see it talked about when WW2 comes up. You hear about Dresden, but not Tokyo. The OMG SHINY aspect of the atomic bomb taking over the conversation makes me bilious.

        • doktorzoom

          It wasn’t just Tokyo that was firebombed, either. It was every population center of any significant size, with the exception of the five cities we were “saving” to use the Bomb on.

          Recommended it in my other post on Obama going to Hiroshima, but let me once more plug John Dower’s fine meditation on “learning from history,” Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq

          • Serai 1

            Thanks! I didn’t see that. More info is always a good thing.

          • malsperanza

            Possibly waiting more than 3 days between Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been wise. I mean, unless the purpose was for the War Dept. and the scientists to get more data on how well the bombs worked, so that they could use them on the Rooskies later.

          • pianoplayer1

            In addition to the astonishing destructive power of the blast, remember that those exposed to nuclear radiation can develop leukemia and other cancers a decade or more after the bombing.

        • H0mer0
    • Serai 1

      Yeah, because there was NO OTHER WAY than incinerating millions of innocent people.

      Obama might have apologized for killing, but YOU are defending THE KILLERS.

      • alnnc

        You might want to check your numbers. These two bombings did not incinerate millions. And read the comment you are responding to. I doubt dropping an atomic bomb out in the countryside of Japan would have changed their leaders minds. An invasion of the main Japanese Islands would have made the casualties inflicted by the atomic bombs seem trivial. On both sides. A million or more US soldiers, many times that of Japanese soldiers and civilians. And we could not have just called it quits and left for them to rearm, which Japan at that time would have. So our options were very limited. You got any better ideas? I’m sure the families of people killed and maimed on both sides of the Okinawa battle would like to hear them.

        • Serai 1

          Good gods. They were SOLDIERS. Not civilians. Not new mothers, babies, grandparents. SOLDIERS. Do you even understand the difference? I just can’t imagine the thinking that makes those two things the same, sorry.

          You keep defending murder, though. I’m sure it makes you sleep better at night.

          • Lamashtar

            You are defending the murder of soldiers. We are not less than you.

          • Serai 1

            It’s your JOB to face possible death. It is not the job of five-year-old children. For gods’ sakes, do not pretend there is no difference.

          • Lamashtar

            Way to dehumanize.

          • Serai 1
          • Truthiness2U

            But we had a draft army, so many had no choice, but to be soldiers. So how is it a “job” but that one we thrust upon them? We owed it to them, we owed it to their families, to treat their lives as precious too.Which is why we shouldn’t go to war, unless we have to.

            WWII was one of those times when the US going to war was preferable to the alternative.

          • Serai 1

            Christ. I cannot believe there are people here equating a grown man trained in combat carrying deadly arms with three-year-old children and 80-year-old grandmothers. I just can’t encompass the mindset being displayed here.

          • wurman

            94,000 civilians were killed on Okinawa with conventional weapons.

        • Calton

          So Serai 1 got the exact number wrong; big frigging deal. It was “only” about 500,000 to 800,000 civilians.

          What, you think those two were the only bombs dropped on Japan? I guess if you ignore the campaign of fire-bombing cities with the intent of killing civilians.

          Also if you ignore lingering deaths from radiation poisoning, the deaths by starvation, the deaths years later from leukemia, etc, why it’s hardly any people at all!

      • UpstateNYObserver

        What should we have done? Simply laid siege to Japan? Used the Navy (all of it) to block the entire nation? It was a war, it wasn’t over and the fierceness of the fighting was orders of magnitude more the closer we came to the home islands. The Japanese government even encouraged its own civilians to commit suicide on Saipan. Don’t forget that the original suicide bombers were young Japanese pilots in the Kamikaze program or the human torpedoes (Kaiten). We had already laid waste to Tokyo with the fire raids and killed more than either nuke. It was a miserable choice to make but it was necessary and whether we choose to accept it or not that decision by Truman saved lives; both American and Japanese. It was not ever the same as with Vietnam, anyone who brings up Curtis LeMay’s idiot quote doesn’t understand either LeMay or Vietnam. False equivalence doesn’t help an argument.

    • malsperanza

      No. This is the identical argument that was used during the Vietnam War for why we should nuke Hanoi. Remember “Bomb ’em back to the Stone Age”?

      The reason we have civilians run wars is precisely to avoid being driven by the mentality of those who “have been in a real fight.”

      By August 1945, the Pacific War, while still very active, was no longer an existential threat to the United States. The US was losing soldiers and materiél and wanted to be finished fast. But our back was not to the wall.

  • Lark_in_the_AM

    President Obama is a true class act – I am so proud of the way he represented us today.

    • Lamashtar

      I think this speech will be one of his longer remembered.

  • fawkedifiknow

    Here’s eight words to scare the living beJesus out of every sane human: “John Bolton, National Security Advisor to Donald Trump.”

    • Ducksworthy

      But only if Dr. Strangelove is not available.

      • Enfant Terrible

        He can WALK!

  • Ducksworthy

    Let’s face it. 22,000 Hiroshimas is not enough. If Trump is elected it will be 122,000 Hiroshimas. Maybe more. It will be huge.

    • James Christopher Owen

      Classy as well, I imagine.

      • TheBoatDude

        And luxurious…

  • malsperanza

    AAAAAAAAAAAAH I am going to miss this guy so much.

    You know who I will not miss? The arrogant bloviating intellectuals among my friends, virtuous lefties all, who have spent the last 7.5 years sniffily snottily bitching that Obama wasn’t good enough, wasn’t liberal enough, talked big but did nothing, betrayed his roots, could have done better. GOD I WILL NOT MISS THAT BUNCH.

    Of course, when Clinton moves into the White House, it will all begin again, stamped with a whiny refrain of Berrrrrrnieeeewouldhavedoneiiiiiiiitttt. But that’s ok. Because Clinton is a solid politician and does not always rise to her own best ideals. But Obama is once in fifty generations. And everyone should shut the fuck up and just listen to him for the next 7 months.

    • Serai 1

      Ummm… Obama doesn’t always rise to the to his own best ideals, either. I mean, I think he’s pretty fucking awesome too, but let’s not deify the man while we’re praising him.

      • malsperanza


      • King Beauregard

        I don’t think it’s about deification, it’s about a good man doing his best, occasionally falling short and all. Much the same could be said of Abe Lincoln, and while few of us would deify him, most of us respect him.

        Only two groups of people don’t respect Obama; the ideological Right and the ideological Left. They are getting harder and harder to tell apart.

        • malsperanza

          For the record, I don’t think Serai falls into the ideological category. But yeah: I am feeling a strong desire for everyone to STFU about their own personal measure of what constitutes their personal ideal leader.

    • Serai 1

      That said, I fucking hate those people too. Jesus Christ, the guy got a LOT done. But a purist’s a purist, and I’ve never yet met one that wasn’t an insufferable asshole all around.

    • this this this this this.

      all i could think this AM listening to coverage of his hiroshima speech was we will not see his equal in the white house for a very long time. and i am so glad i lived in this time.

  • Jonny On Maui

    There have been some that have called for the return of a certain man to repeat a certain job. Here’s some of his thoughts on the matter;

    • Serai 1

      I refer all and sundry to Mark Twain’s spectacular shot from the grave:

      The War Prayer

      Still the greatest and more searing indictment of humanity’s lust for war that I’ve ever read. Brilliant beyond my ability to praise.

      • Be Gin

        I memorized it for a student musical in college where a chorus recited as a background chant. We had songs, puppets, masks and youth!

        That was the seventies and I still remember it. Now my hair is gray and I wear trifocals but The War Prayer hasn’t aged a day.

        • Serai 1

          I used that piece at a couple of storytelling shows. I backed it with the Concierto de Aranjuez. The first two movements fit the story almost exactly, coinciding with everything up to the entrance of the Messenger, and then the second starting with his long speech. It really worked well, very dramatic.

  • Gert

    Tried to read that article in Boltonese. Gave up after 3 paragraphs. Sorry.

  • danteardenz

    I support the President on this 100 percent …funny how ” Conservatives ” are so ready to endorse the actions of past Democrat adminstrations in war ,and ” Establishment ” history of events !
    General MacArthur ,Eisenhower , and others opposed the atomic bomb drop on innocent people .
    Japan was ready to surrender ,and wanted as any nation would clarification of what ” unconditional surrender “meant .
    See ,The New Dealers War,Thomas Flemming , Rising Sun,John Toland ,Human Smoke ,Nicholson Baker .

    • alnnc

      Other sources think otherwise.

  • Serai 1

    I want to have all his babies. And I don’t even want to have babies. But I’d have all of his.

  • phoenix00

    I see lots of good healthy debate going on downstream, but I do want to mention the lump-sum scale of economic, cultural, and social growth that has happened since WW2, in Europe and Japan, with the help of the western allies, that we are all benefiting from today.

    It doesn’t excuse what took place, but the world is in a far better place now.

    • Serai 1

      Yeah, it’s a quandary. Back in the late 70’s, there was a stage play in Los Angeles, can’t remember if it came here from NY or if it originated here. But it was about a guy who goes down to the jungle in South America and finds Hitler living there. Got out of the bunker somehow. And the whole thing is these two guys and their interaction. The reporter can’t believe his good fortune and starts in on him, and Hitler doesn’t know hardly anything of what’s happened for the last decade or so. I read a review of it and it sounded intriguing, but the one quote that still sticks with me is, “The Jews would not have Israel if it wasn’t for me.” It’s a dreadfully wince-inducing thought, but technically, it’s true. Good can come out of serious awfulness, and it’s a really fucking awful wind that doesn’t get somebody blown. So to speak.

      • SteveParadis
        • Serai 1

          Um, I don’t know. That might be it. I don’t remember the title, and since the page has no info, I can’t confirm it.

      • phoenix00

        > “The Jews would not have Israel if it wasn’t for me.”
        That’s tough to say. Creation of Israel came down to the British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, which predated WW2, and then the UN Partition, which happened after. The only part that Hitler could possibly take credit for is the migration from Europe would possibly be a good bit slower if the anti-Semitism was nonexistent or not as widespread.

        • Serai 1

          Yeah, the thought kinda bent my brain. “Welllll, I guess so, if you look at it that way… ick.” As you say, it was a factor, but whether things would have turned out the same otherwise, no one can say. Certainly things wouldn’t have turned out exactly the same, but I do agree that the fucker couldn’t take the entire credit, since he did not, in fact, had over the land himself with a bow attached.

          • AlasAnAss

            Would’ve make a helluva Chanukah present.

            “Whadda we get tomorrow night, Uncle Adolf?!”

      • Tania

        I have those same feelings when I think about some of our medical advances that are based on some truly horrific events and activities. As long as people are recognising the wrong, debating and learning so as it never happens again. I realised we were in a bit of trouble when critical thinking had to be taught in school and wasn’t being developed by family and community. Yes I am old and yes this world scares me some times.

        • Serai 1

          The things that are not taught in schools that ABSOLUTELY ARE NEEDED FOR A SANE SOCIETY terrifies me no end. Things are bad enough now. I can’t imagine what this country will be like in twenty years. Luckily, I probably won’t be around then to see it and die sobbing.

  • ConnieHinesDorothyProvine

    Shouldn’t John Bolton’s level of anger and meanness cause his lower jaw to rot off?

    • Sakonyachen

      I have no reason to believe he doesn’t already have a prosthetic jaw.

      • I understand that he can unhinge it when swallowing his prey.

    • Gregory Brown

      A heart attack got constantly angry dead Breitbart dead, and John Fucking Bolton is next in line. I can’t wait.

  • Dr. Krieger IRL

    That’s actually a very lovely speech.


    Right wing fucknozzle Wayne Allen Root said on Bill Maher’s show tonight that Obama just going to Hiroshima was IN ITSELF an apology–I’m sure there are more of these fuckheads who will share the same sentiments with us in the coming days

    • i have zero idea who ‘wayne allen root’ is and i don’t give a flying fuck what he thinks about the president of the united states.

    • phoenix00

      Just like shopping at Target means you’re a transgender and a little girl-assaulting deviant?

      Sounds legit

    • Serai 1

      I can’t watch Maher’s show, at least I can’t watch the panel segments. I really only catch the New Rules. There at least he’s controlled by his writers, who are really fucking good. But Maher is not a person I can listen to when he’s just talking. Plus, panel shows just piss me off.

      • Swampgas_Man

        Watch the Brit panel shows on Youtube like Mock the Week (a favorite), or Have I Got News For You. Puts American comedians and journalistas to shame.

    • glennisw

      WTF is it with these people like Root and Sarah Palin and Trump that they are re-fighting WW2? They weren’t even ALIVE then; we won the war, and Japan is our ally. What is wrong with these idiots?

  • Marjorielsampson1

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    • chascates

      Lori is nothing but a whore and I’m starting to have doubts about you, Emily.

      • Smokahontas

        Right? $98 an hour is pretty low for “stress relief massage.”

        • Major_Major_Major

          The happy ending is an expensive add on option, or so my friend tells me.

  • shaar dula

    we have a president we don’t deserve.
    a good chunk of us wouldn’t know a good president if he/she kicked us on the butt. we are just not prepared for it. if you think about it, a lot of the opposition to Obama has been whines/fears about being moved out of comfort zones.
    sigh. so much was possible with this man. I for one am as excited about Obama now as I was when I first heard him as a senator.
    He belongs to the humanity not just the residents of these states.

    • Chalyse T

      As eloquently said as the article itself. Obama has found so many ways to reflect the good we all hope to cultivate in ourselves and our fellow life travelers. I treasure having been born in a time that made it possible for me to witnessed this embrace-ment of goodness.

  • Incoming Ham

    We have people in this country who want to make thin-skinned festering sweet potato Trump quarterback.

    I can’t see how that would turn out well.

    • JD Mulvey

      Trump will be Trump. The ones who truly deserve to be vilified are the party-first Republicans lining up behind him, even knowing what a reckless, stupid and hateful President he would be.

      • TheBoatDude

        That’s what pisses me off. Everyone that was hardline “No trump, ever” rolled right over when he became heir apparent.

      • Gregory Brown

        Roger that.

  • Smokahontas

    Obama. Making a nation comprised largely of unabashed dullards look gooder for 8 years.

  • MarkM

    “Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.”

    Nothing proclaims moral equivalency – or moral superiority – like flash frying 100,000 people, right Mr. Bolton?

    Fucking bellicose piece of shit…

  • Celtic_Gnome

    John Bolton can most definitely go fuck himself. I suggest the pine cone for that. It goes in so easy, but it comes out so hard.

    • jmk

      I was thinking along rusty chainsaw lines… but you might be right.

    • Gregory Brown

      He is one of the most loathsome turdwhistles on the planet. Even other turdwhistles are offended by being compared to him.

  • Major_Major_Major

    Next week Gowdy (R-kinbangin) will propose to replace that atheistic, abortionistic, communistic naziistic holiday labor day with a federal holiday on August 6th to be called Exceptional Amerijesus Free Market day.

    • Gregory Brown

      Faved for “Amerijesus.”

      • dbdolan

        (R-kinbangin) is gold too.

  • mary5920

    Think of Tolkien when someone with much lesser intelligence and conscience goes on the attack, trying to ruin a beautiful moment: “You speak ill of that which is fair beyond the reach of your thought–and only little wit can excuse you.”

    • Be Gin


      Thank you.

    • Gregory Brown

      Well done. Thanks.

  • komunoid

    Sooo, killing 100 000 civilians wasn’t worth apology? Or killing 100 000 japanese civillians, or iraqi civilians, or syrian civillians, because if anybody want to kill 100 000 americans he’l will be Great Great Great Satan. Please, stop sugarcoating american existentialism and start thinking for a moment. It’s not so hard.

    • We don’t sugarcoat American existentialism; we sugarcoat American exceptionalism. FIFY

    • Calton

      Were you actually addressing anyone here? Are you lost? Have you confused Wonkette with Free Republic?

    • Gregory Brown

      In case you don’t know, comments are not allowed here. So go take your blather somewhere else.

  • Jen_Baker_VA

    Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.

    Sooooo John john is against any displays of the stars and bars, right?

  • Gregory Brown

    John Bolton is proof that one can attain positions of responsibility while being an ignorant dumbass of colossal proportions. He is always wrong, like a Bill Kristol with roid rage.

  • Robin M. Blind

    Great piece! Thank you!

  • glennisw

    “Presidents should adhere to our values and the Constitution, and not treat America’s enemies as morally equivalent to us.”

    Japan is our enemy, Mr Bolton?

    • HanBarbara

      Also being American means never having to say you’re sorry

  • Alicia Pearson

    Well done, Dr. Zoom.

  • empf

    I’ve had an ongoing discussion with a relative who sent me to the Breitbart article about the terrible things Japan did. This speech wasn’t about which side was suckier. This was a rumination on our ability to destroy our species with our own science and Hiroshima proves that. Our President thinks deep thoughts and that’s the problem. Our right wing countrymen prefer slogans that fit on a bumper sticker or a ball cap.

    • Jason Freeman

      I am all done with Brietbart. Got into an argument over there over communism vs. Socialism. Might as well have been beating my head against a wall.

  • Zyxomma


  • Ryan Denniston

    OMG it’s gonna be so sad when Charlie Sheen is doing these things in place of @RealDonaldTrump. Please declare martial law and become king already!

  • kalu lohar

    Obama would be remembered around the world for his maturity and President Trump would add lustre and wistfulness for Obama’s term.

  • sqjchurch

    Whenever some ODS Righty goes off on the President, I find the simplest, yet most fun way to shut them down is to say-

    “You’ve convinced me…NO WAY that Obama is going to be re-elected now!”

    Then, of course, they desperately try to change the subject to “Hillary!!!!!”, when they realize that their Obama Derangement Syndrome makes them look foolish…and will continue to make them look foolish for not just years…but decades.

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