Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks, which killed more than 2,000 Americans and led to our entrance into the Second World War.
Both the president and president-elect have issued statements on the anniversery. The president said he and the first lady are “remembering those who gave their lives” on Dec. 7, 1941, and that “we can never repay the profound debt of gratitude we owe to those who served on our behalf.”
The Donald stated regarding those who lost their lives that, “Their shared sacrifice reminds us of the great costs paid by those who came before us to secure the liberties we enjoy, and inspires us to rise to meet the new challenges that stand before us today. Today we are the bearers of the torch of freedom these brave Americans passed on to us. In honor of their faithfulness, and for the sake of generations to come, we will never allow that flame to be extinguished.”
But would you believe someone actually managed to spark controversy when remembering Pearl Harbor? For that, we turn to Obama’s press secretary, Josh Not-So Earnest.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that it’s natural for World War II veterans to feel “personally embittered” by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s impending visit to Pearl Harbor, but they should get over it. Abe announced Monday that he would become the first Japanese leader to visit the Hawaiian naval station since it was bombed by Imperial Japan on Dec. 7, 1941, leading to the deaths of more than 2,400 Americans.
The visit is in response to President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, Japan, earlier this year, which was the site of the first atomic bomb drop. The bomb killed 70,000-80,000 people and injured another 70,000.
But during the daily White House press briefing Monday, Earnest was asked about Abe’s decision to visit Pearl Harbor — which will come shortly after the 75th anniversary of the attack — and how veterans should feel about it, namely because Japan has refused to apologize for the attack.
“If I were a World War II veteran who was drafted by the United States military to go and fight for our country overseas in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, I might feel quite embittered,” Earnest said. “And I think it would be a perfectly natural and understandable human reaction to not be particularly satisfied with the words of the Japanese Prime Minister.”
But, Earnest said those people who feel “personal bitterness” should set aside their feelings for the greater good of the U.S. “And so, yes, there may be some who feel personally embittered,” he added. “But I’m confident that many will set aside their own personal bitterness, not because they’re personally satisfied by the words of the Prime Minister, but because they recognize how important this moment is for the United States.”
For what it’s worth, Abe said that he would “mourn the souls of the victims” of Japan’s surprise attack with Obama during his visit later this month.
It seems like all veterans want is an apology, and while Japan hasn’t formally apologized for the attacks, perhaps one could be coming soon. On the 70th anniversery of Japan’s defeat in WWII, Abe’s cabinet made a statement on Japan’s wartime past, including statements of apology and remorseful regret to the suffering of those affected from the war.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]