About two years ago, not long after his infamous bow to Emperor Akihito, a Japanese reporter asked President Obama if the U.S. was right for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
That's an interesting (read: loaded) question. Let’s review.
In an attack that was intended to intimidate the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire was planning against Europe, and ultimately the United States, Japanese aircraft carriers launched over 350 fighters, bombers and torpedo planes on the morning of December 7, 1941 in an assault on the Hawaiian island of Oahu that was nothing short of devastating.
In all, the Japanese smashed, wrecked and demolished three cruisers, three destroyers and 188 aircraft. All eight battleships docked at Pearl Harbor were also damaged, half of which were sunk. Six of the eight, however, were raised (when necessary), repaired and returned to service during the War. Yet the greatest cost was paid in blood, as 1,282 Americans were wounded and 2,402 of our finest were killed.
Instead of ducking the aggressor, we knuckled up. FDR informed the Allied powers that America was officially all-in. The Stars and Stripes jumped into the fire, kicked more than our share of Axis ass (at no small cost by any measure) and led the drive to bring this worldwide struggle to an end nearly four brutal years later, sending Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan to the guillotine.
I don’t exactly recall how Obama responded to the reporter. I’m sure our President – who’s developed a reputation for apologizing on behalf of the nation he represents – offered an answer that was both nice and diplomatic. But for those who feel such questions and apologies have become redundant, it seems the American response to the events that occurred 70 years ago today require no justification at all.
Picture credit: The battleship U.S.S. West Virginia is engulfed in flames after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today; c/o The National Archives via AFP/Getty Images and USA Today