Especially in the eyes of the young, and of future generations, who don’t have their own memories to go on. It’s much harder to convince a WWII vet that Hiroshima was an unnecessary war crime than it is to convince a young person of same; the former not only has the context, he has own personal memories of the context. But propagandists are not just interested in changing opinions in the present, they’re interested in history and the future.
And here is the Obama response:
The attendance of a U.S. ambassador at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on Friday was met with frustration from some survivors but caused little stir with U.S. veterans.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos was the first U.S. representative to attend the annual memorial.
For the U.S., the attendance was intended as a show of respect for World War II victims and an occasion to support its nuclear nonproliferation goals.
“For the sake of future generations, we must continue to work together to realize a world without nuclear weapons,” Mr. Roos said in a statement.
Survivors said they would have preferred a U.S. apology for the atomic-bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A U.S. apology would be highly unlikely.
Lastly, Jonathan Tobin on why it was wrong to send the US Ambassador:
In theory, there ought to be nothing wrong with an American representative appearing in Hiroshima. Mourning the loss of so many lives in the bombing is both understandable and appropriate. But the problem lies in the way Japan remembers World War II. One of the reasons why it would have been appropriate for the United States to avoid its official presence at this ceremony is that the Japanese have never taken full responsibility for their own conduct during the war that the Hiroshima bombing helped end. Indeed, to listen to the Japanese, their involvement in the war sounds limited to the incineration of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the fire bombings of many other urban centers in the country, followed by a humiliating American occupation. The horror of the two nuclear bombs didn’t just wipe out two cities and force Japan’s government to finally bow to the inevitable and surrender. For 65 years it has served as a magic event that has erased from the collective memory of the Japanese people the vicious aggression and countless war crimes committed against not only the Allied powers but also the peoples of Asia who fell under their cruel rule in the 1930s and 1940s. The bombing of Hiroshima was horrible, but it ought not, as it has for all these years, to serve as an excuse for the Japanese people to forget the crimes their government and armed forces committed throughout their empire during the years that preceded the dropping of the first nuclear bomb.
While the tone of the Hiroshima ceremony has always been one that stressed the need to end all wars and to ensure that no more nuclear bombs should fall, it has always lacked any context for the events of August 6, 1945. The responsibility for the suffering of the Japanese people in 1945 (after spending more than a decade inflicting suffering on others with impunity and without a drop of remorse) is not an American legacy but a Japanese one. The Japanese may have suffered as their empire collapsed in defeat in 1945, but, like their Nazi allies, they have no right to collectively think of themselves as victims of that war.