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Moreover, Japanese military capability had not been fatally degraded in July 1945. The Emperor still had about 6,150 combat-ready planes, 8,000 pilots with enough training to fly as kamikazes, and an army of 2,350,000 regular troops, with perhaps as many as 30 million citizens able to fight as a militia. As Hanson summarizes, “Literally millions of Japanese civilians and soldiers were willing to die to defend their mainland from an American invasion, both as conventional and suicide attackers.” As for waiting a few weeks for the Japanese high command to come to its senses and realize the war was over, as liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith argued, the killing was continuing in Asia, which means ending the war with atomic bombs also saved Chinese, Russian, and Japanese lives. In just one week of fighting in August, the Soviets killed 80,000 Japanese, losing 8,000 of their own. And even after Nagasaki, Allied soldiers were killed and prisoners beheaded.
Dropping the atomic bombs clearly saved lives and shortened a brutal war. What, then, accounts for Obama’s eagerness to apologize? As Obama has openly said, he does not believe in American exceptionalism or its goodness. Like the professoriate, most of the media, and the purveyors of popular culture, he believes that America is always guilty, her motives always suspect, and her enemies always the victims of her aggression. He has been convinced that America has committed racist, colonialist, imperialistic crimes against the world, and continues to be driven by greed and the lust to dominate others. For anyone believing this fanciful melodrama, why should he give his love and loyalty to such a global villain? Shouldn’t he rather apologize for those past sins, and appease those whose violence against us is justified payback for our own aggression?
In this, too, America resembles the England of the Thirties. In 1933, Winston Churchill said, “Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias?” Sound like anyone we know?
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