President Obama will visit Hiroshima following the conclusion of the G-7 summit later this month, the White House announced Tuesday morning.
From a blog post by White House foreign policy guru Ben Rhodes:
So, on May 27, the President will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a site at the center of the city dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing, where he will share his reflections on the significance of the site and the events that occurred there. He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.
The President’s time in Hiroshima also will reaffirm America’s longstanding commitment — and the President’s personal commitment — to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
This is ironic from a president who has done more than any other to abet the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He has permitted Iran to obtain them, a decision which will also spark a nuclear weapons arms race in the Middle East among Iran’s enemies. And his failure to give our allies confidence in the American commitment to their defense has sparked South Korea and Japan, probably among other nations, to move closer toward developing their own weapons.
Whatever the president says at Hiroshima, his stop there, in the context of his frequent past apologies for U.S. foreign policy in places like Cuba and the Middle East, will be interpreted as an expression of regret. The bomb saved at least half a million U.S. lives that would have been lost during an invasion of Japan, not to mention the countless Japanese civilians and soldiers who would also have been killed.
There is no reason for Obama to visit Hiroshima other than that it fits with his personal narrative as the great redeemer of past U.S. sins, necessary and otherwise.