A-bombs need no apologies

Sensitive hearts might be bruised and some Japanese leaders might be insulted, but Bush is right not to offer apologies for the atomic bombings of Japan.

Bush’s stance is a response to calls by some Japanese leaders that the upcoming observance of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack should be coupled with an apology for the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What might be seen as a sort of arrogance on Bush’s part is really the only appropriate response he could make. The atomic bombings were the culmination of an all-out war. Is there any doubt that the Japanese would have used the bomb had they possessed it?

The bombs actually spared lives—even Japanese ones—by making an invasion of Japan, which some war experts speculate might have cost millions of lives, unnecessarily.

An apology also is not merited for the severity of the carnage. Allied bombings of Dresden, Berlin and even Tokyo took more lives.

Nor were they an example of savage overkill inflicted on a prostrate foe. The Japanese had the resources to keep the war going for at least another year.

War is horrible precisely because naked aggression becomes the normal relation of states. The bombings were the terrible but necessary outcome of this condition.

The United States didn’t start the war and Bush shouldn’t have to apologize because we finished it.