Kerry’s Unlearned Hiroshima Lesson
On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy went to Japan to pay homage to the victims of the August 6, 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during the final stage of World War II.
This they did by touring the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum, displaying the horrors suffered by the Japanese people who had been blitzed by the United States. It is estimated that a total of 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed in those bombings, whose justification is being debated to this day.
“Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial,” Kerry wrote in a guest book at the museum. “It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself.”
That Kerry used the death and destruction depicted in the museum to tout the nuclear deal he had just spent years begging Iran to sign is completely in character – his own and that of the Obama administration he represents. That while he was at it, he threw in a good word for pacifism is also not surprising.
The trouble is that his conclusions are always based on false premises and an obfuscation of the facts. Chief among these is his lying about the Iran deal, to the point that Congress is about to launch an investigation into whether the Obama administration purposefully hid or distorted crucial information about it. Legislators on Capitol Hill were already familiar with the overt capitulation on the part of the White House and State Department to the powers-that-be in Tehran.
In any case, what is becoming clear to all who didn’t see it before is that the one thing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action did not accomplish was preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It certainly did not contribute to eradicating war. On the contrary.
Which is why it takes true gall for Kerry of all people to hold up the history of Japan as a cautionary tale.
Apparently he forgot that it was the Japanese who viciously attacked the United States on December 7, 1941, bombarding Pearl Harbor and killing 2,000 American servicemen and wounding another 1,000. The aggression was so enormous that it dragged President Franklin Roosevelt into the war, more than two years after it had begun.
Nor, it seems, did Kerry recall that when Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, he warned Japan to surrender, or “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” When Tokyo did not comply, he bombed Nagasaki three days later. And that was that. On August 15, 1945, Japan announced its surrender, effectively ending the war.
For the next seven years, America led the Allies – not “from behind,” but right upfront — in the occupation and rehabilitation of Japan. The occupying forces, headed by General Douglas MacArthur, took over the country for the purpose of enacting military, political, economic and social reforms. It was like a genius carrot-and-stick endeavor, with America dictating the terms, both strict and humane. These included prosecuting war criminals; preventing members of the defeated military from taking part in the new government; imposing a constitution that wrested power from the emperor and provided more human rights to the people; and introducing free-market capitalism to the economy. When it deemed its work done, America set about formalizing a full-fledged peace treaty with its former enemy and ceased the occupation. Iran should be so lucky.
Indeed, it is this message that Kerry should have conveyed to Tehran and signed in the guest book at the museum in Hiroshima.
Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner.