Pundits and media talking heads will doubtless debate at great length about whether or not what Barack Obama said Friday in Hiroshima was an apology. And that’s too bad, because it will distract from the utter vacuity of his total remarks. It was his usual glib performance, full of grand but gauzy abstractions, foolish wishes, and empty gestures.
Politicians looking for the cheap applause can call for “a world without nuclear weapons” if they wish to. But it’s pointless. Nuclear weapons exist. Lots of nations — good ones and evil — have them. They’re not going to give them up. This is one genie that is not going back into the bottle. Mankind will have to live with the specter of nuclear conflagration, no matter how many politicians say they wish we didn’t have to.
As silly as Obama’s wish for a nuke-free world is, my nomination for his most incoherent utterance Friday goes to the following: “The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well. That is why we come to this place.”
Don’t worry. It’s not you. These soothing sentences have no meaning whatsoever. Though they seem to suggest, back to the apology question, that if only Harry Truman had been a bit more morally evolved… If this isn’t an apology, it certainly gives apology a glancing blow.
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