President Barack Obama delivered a pious anti-war address in Hiroshima highlighting “humanity’s core contradiction” of war, lamenting that humanity tried to justify war because of religion.
“How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause,” he said. “Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers that have claimed their faith has a license to kill.”
Obama blamed “religious zeal” or “nationalist fervor” for inspiring humankind to war throughout history, but urged the world to seek a future filled with peace.
The president did not explicitly apologize for America using the nuclear bomb to end World War II but rhetorically painted a vivid scene of the bomb that wasted the entire city.
“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” he said, pointing to the “wall of fire” that ended the lives of thousands of people.
“Their souls speak to us, they ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become,” he said.
The president delivered his speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima after he laid a wreath of memorial at the and met with survivors of the nuclear attack.
Obama wrestled with mankind history of using science and technological innovation to destroy each other, asserted that the nuclear bombs that ended World War II proved the horror that “mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.”
“Yet, in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction,” he said.
He argued that it was time for the United States and other countries with nuclear weapons to disarm their stockpiles.
“We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them,” he said.
Obama called not only for a future without nuclear weapons, but without war.
“We must change our mindset about war itself, to prevent conflict with diplomacy,” he said.
He urged the world to rediscover their common humanity and extend peace to the entire world.
“That is a future we can choose,” he said, “A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare, but the start of our own moral awakening.”