But the Wikileaks cable cited by Limbaugh and IBD shows nothing of the sort. The cable, if authentic, describes a 2009 meeting between U.S. ambassador to Japan John V. Roos and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka to discuss Obama’s then-upcoming visit to Japan. The cable describes the idea of “Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II” as a “non-starter.”
Almost since President Obama took office, the right-wing media have made the ridiculous claim that Obama goes around the world apologizing for America. And now they are at it again. On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh claimed that when he visited Japan in 2009, Obama “wanted … to apologize for dropping the bomb on Niros — Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
Limbaugh based his comments on an Investor’s Business Daily editorial claiming that a cable released by Wikileaks revealed that Obama had “plans to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima to apologize for winning the war with the atom bombs.”
But as ABC News’ Jake Tapper has noted: “The cable does not state that the idea was from the U.S. Rather, Roos writes that Yabunaka thought that following President Obama’s call earlier that year for a world free of nuclear weapons, anti-nuclear groups would speculate as to whether he would visit Hiroshima.”
Tapper also reported that a “senior White House official asserts to ABC News that there was never any plan for the president to apologize for Hiroshima.”
Here’s the relevant text of the Wikileaks cable:
On the President’s upcoming visit to Japan in November, he recommended keeping the program relatively simple and centered around the Tokyo metropolitan area, adding that it would be premature to include a visit to Hiroshima.
POTUS VISIT TO JAPAN: TOO EARLY FOR HIROSHIMA VISIT
¶5. (C) VFM Yabunaka pointed out that the Japanese public will have high expectations toward President Obama’s visit to Japan in November, as the President enjoys an historic level of popularity among the Japanese people. Anti-nuclear groups, in particular, will speculate whether the President would visit Hiroshima in light of his April 5 Prague speech on non-proliferation. He underscored, however, that both governments must temper the public’s expectations on such issues, as the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a “non-starter.” While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such program in the November visit. Yabunaka recommended that the visit in November center mostly in Tokyo, with calls on the Emperor and Prime Minister, as well as some form of public program, such as speeches, an engagement at a university, or a town hall-like meeting with local residents. Highlighting the busy political calendar in the coming weeks, including the election of the new Prime Minister, launching of the new Cabinet, and the Prime Minister’s participation in the UN General Assembly and the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit, Yabunaka noted that both sides should begin working quickly on the President’s November visit. The Ambassador conveyed an
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informal invitation for the new Prime Minister to attend the Pittsburgh Summit, adding that an official invitation will follow once the Prime Minister is elected.
To sum up, Obama has been in office more than two years and eight months. It’s an article of faith for the right-wing media that Obama traverses the globe apologizing for America. But they have yet to come up with a single example of such an apology that stands up to scrutiny.