So you remember that big apology tour President Obama never made outside of the imaginations of his Republican enemies? Syndicated columnist and Fox News panelist Charles Krauthammer says that during Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, the president “Closed the circle of that apology tour” – right – that apology tour he never made.
In fact, if you go to USA Today you find the headline: “Sympathy for victims but no apology as Obama makes historic Hiroshima visit.” That’s right, because Obama also drew criticism for not apologizing.
The following exchange took place Friday on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
BRET BAIER (HOST): Charles, you wrote a column about this, and how President Obama is a foreign policy idealist. Explain that.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, we saw it today. I mean, here’s a guy who went around the world when he’s inaugurated — I don’t know if you want to use the word apologize, but confessing to a long history of Americans sins. From the maltreatment of the Indians, to the coup in Iran in ’53, the coup in Guatemala, how we’re arrogant towards Europe, the list is very long. And it’s sort of — he closed the circle of that apology tour today in Hiroshima, and to say it wasn’t a formal apology, of course he wasn’t going use the word and yes, he did speak of war in the abstract. But he did it in Hiroshima.
If you want to do a speech about war in the abstract, you do it in Prague, which is what he did in 2009. When you do it in Hiroshima, of course you’re talking about World War II, of course you’re talking about American dropping the war [sic], and of course the implication is that we have a sense of guilt about it, if not an overt apology. Look, this is a visit he should have made next year as a private citizen, in which case he can speak like a naive private citizen about escaping the logic of fear. What other way is there of dealing with nuclear weapons other than the logic of fear, i.e. deterrence? Eliminating them is never going to happen, it would weaken us.
Do we want to be without nuclear weapons when there’s a nut case, Pyongyang who’s [sic] acquiring them, apocalyptic, genocidal mullahs in Iran who are acquiring them? Of course not, and the president speaking as president was representing the United States, I thought it was embarrassing, his utopianism and the implicit apology dishonored our nation. Not something he should have done.
Because Krauthammer prefers his dystopianism instead, with lemonade made from our tears.
Of course, if you listened to or have read Obama’s speech, you notice first thing that the word “apology” never appears in it. Just like it never appeared during that earlier tour. President Obama did not apologize to Japan. USA Today’s article explained (unfortunately not to the fact-challenged Krauthammer) that,
“Friday’s visit was the first by a sitting U.S. head of state and appeared carefully crafted to focus on reconciliation, rather than troubling questions of wartime blame or responsibility.”
In fact, Uri Friedman at The Atlantic advised Thursday that President Obama would “will neither question the decision to drop bombs on two Japanese cities, nor dwell on its results.” How did Friedman and others know this? Because Obama himself said he would not apologize, and explained,
“It’s important to recognize that in the midst of war, leaders make all kinds of decisions, it’s a job of historians to ask questions and examine them.”
What President Obama said isn’t really very complicated, Mr. Krauthammer, though why he said it may be above your intellectual paygrade. There is actual news here; you don’t have invent something more congenial to your preconceptions in order to report a few simple facts and make an cogent argument against it.
An obvious problem for Krauthammer is that the world is not the black and white place he makes it, and he has no real argument because you can force black & white thinking on a world that is anything but.
Sadly, though Fox News is not our only new sources, it is the news source of choice to millions of Americans who will not look beyond it’s false offerings to find a shred of our shared reality at some other mainstream media outlet, let alone alternative outlets as can be found everywhere these days.
So when Krauthammer talks about President Obama finishing his “apology tour” in Hiroshima, that was was an apology simply because it was said in Hiroshima, that if it hadn’t been intended as an apology, it would have been said in Prague, the Republican rank and file will take up the cry and the lie. Let’s face it folks: when Krauthammer criticizes Sarah Palin, it is the pot calling the kettle black. The only difference is that he’s a little easier to understand.
So apparently all this makes sense in Krauthammer’s Palinesque mind. But it flies in the face of every fact to say that because Obama opposes nuclear weapons that he apologized for dropping two of them on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. We all know if Obama had said it in Prague, Krauthammer would still be babbling incoherently about apology tours.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.