President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima should not be seen as an affront to the civilians and troops — in that order — who fought the Second World War, according to White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications & Speechwriting Ben Rhodes.
Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima later this month, a gesture other presidents have avoided because doing so might suggest an apology for the nuclear bombs that ended the war. Former president Jimmy Carter visited after he was no longer in office. Obama is not expected to offer a formal apology, but the visit will certainly be seen as such.
In an essay posted on Medium on Tuesday morning, Rhodes seeks to explain Obama’s goals in visiting Hiroshima, which include “reaffirm[ing] America’s longstanding commitment — and the President’s personal commitment — to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Lest the president’s visit cause offense to the Americans who fought and died in the war, Rhodes adds:
To be sure, the United States will be eternally proud of our civilian leaders and the men and women of our armed forces who served in World War II for their sacrifice at a time of maximum peril to our country and our world. Their cause was just, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, which the President will again commemorate shortly after the visit on Memorial Day. This visit will offer an opportunity to honor the memory of all innocents who were lost during the war.
Over the weekend, Rhodes boasted to the New York Times about having spun misleading stories about the negotiations over the Iran nuclear program. Critics say that the resulting deal will eventually allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Rhodes was also involved in the development of misleading talking points about the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed.
Rhodes has no prior foreign policy or national security credentials, other than helping to compile the report of the Iraq Study Group. He has a degree in creating writing and his brother heads CBS News.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.