Since his inauguration, President Barack Obama has received plenty of criticism for purportedly apologizing to the world for the United States’ past actions. In conservative circles, this perceived collection of “I’m sorries” was dubbed the “Apology Tour.”
Now, new Obama apology drama may be on the horizon. The story today is that back in 2009, at least one Japanese officials allegedly assumed the president might express regret for America’s World War II-era atomic attack on the Asian nation, and an attempt was made to stop such a proclamation.
A recently leaked cable (via Wikileaks, of course) seems to highlight the Japanese government’s supposed efforts to dissuade the president from expressing remorse for U.S. action in the region. The secret document was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos prior to the president’s 2009 visit to the country. The Japan Times Online has more:
The cable indicates the Japanese government was then effectively discouraging Obama from visiting Hiroshima despite growing expectations over it following his call for a world free from nuclear weapons in a speech in Prague in April 2009.
The cable, dated Sept. 3, 2009, and sent to U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, reported Japan’s then Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka telling Ambassador John Roos on Aug. 28 that antinuclear groups would speculate over whether the president would visit Hiroshima in light of his Prague speech on nuclear nonproliferation.
According to the Times, Yabunaka told Roos that it would have been “premature” for Obama to visit Hiroshima during his trip. “He underscored, however, that both governments must temper the public’s expectations on such issues, as the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a ‘non-starter’,” the cable read.
Yabunaka is also quoted as saying: “While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such program in the November visit.” Yabunaka, who now serves as adviser to the Foreign Ministry, has said that he will not confirm or deny the document’s authenticity.
Offering up one theory regarding why Japan rejected Obama’s alleged apology plans, HotAir’s Ed Morrissey writes:
The last thing they need is an American President using Hiroshima as a platform for unilateral disarmament while China bristles with nukes and the DPRK keeps testing more of its home-grown nuclear devices…
It’s important to note that this story is not confirmed. At this point there isn’t direct evidence to suggest that the Obama administration definitively planned to offer public remorse for the U.S.’s decades-old actions. But the cable does, at the least, seem to indicate that at least one Japanese authority assumed the president was attempting to issue an “I’m sorry.”
This story comes at the same time that the State Department is catching heat for apparently calling and offering condolences to the family of Samir Khan, the American al-Qaeda propagandist (he was the mind behind the group’s flashy “Inspire” magazine) who perished in a U.S. drone attack last week in Yemen.
According to Jibril Hough, a spokesperson for the family, “They were very apologetic (for not calling the family sooner) and offered condolences.” The Charlotte Observer has more:
The phone call came a day after the family released a statement through Hough that condemned the “assassination” of their 25-year-old son – a U.S. citizen – and said they were “appalled” that they had not heard from the U.S. government to discuss their son’s remains or answer questions about why Khan was not afforded due process.
A State Department spokesperson has confirmed that the call took place, but due to privacy concerns, he did not confirm the details of the call. While some may view this as yet another example of the administration apologizing to America’s enemies, others would likely defend the conversation, especially considering that the family’s son was a U.S. citizen.