Who’s Sorry Now?
Some years ago, while I worked for the Australian government in the field of Aboriginal affairs, one of the leading lights in Aboriginal political circles indicated to me that I and my present generations of Anglo-Saxon Australians should apologize for the manner he alleged that the Aboriginal population of Australia had been treated by earlier generations of my fellow countrymen.
I refused to do so, based on the grounds that I am solely accountable for my own sins, not the sins of others.
I did not ask my questioner if he thought that he should apologize for the actions of many of his forebears against my forefathers, the early British settlers of the Australian continent. However, on reflection, that may have been a question worthy of asking. There’s a vast different between the motives of men intent on spearing and clubbing human beings to death, raping women and thieving livestock, and those intent on rescuing children from deprivation, neglect and disease to grant them opportunities for health, welfare, housing, education and an opportunity to progress in society. My questioner came from a generation that had benefited from the latter to the extent that he now moved in the upper echelons of Australian society while some of his relatives still chose to live in the squalor of alcohol-soaked bush camps.
Where is the logic in any present generation issuing an apology for the alleged misdeeds of past generations? For that matter, how far back in history do these apologists want us to go? Should we really be apologizing today for the mistakes, miscalculations, misdeeds and falsehoods of past generations? Is it our obligation to apologize for what is termed “original sin”? Where does it all stop?
There is a significant movement among revisionist historians to pressure the present generation of Anglo-Saxon nations into apologizing to the present generation of their former enemies for their actions in defense of their peoples (let alone the rest of the free world) in wars of the past—wars perpetrated by those very same enemies.
Two cases come to mind, Dresden and Hiroshima, both synonymous with actions initiated by the Western powers in an endeavor to put a stop to the mindless devastation brought on the world by a crazed Nazi dictator and an imperialist Japan during World War ii.
In respect of Dresden, our columnist Robert Morley wrote June 9,
[T]he highest office-holder in the U.S. visited Dresden, Germany, on June 5. By visiting the city of Dresden immediately after making a pilgrimage to the Buchenwald concentration camp, President Obama essentially apologized to Germany for America’s supposed sins during the war.
Dresden was the German manufacturing center that Allied bombers leveled during World War ii. Today the bombing is a rallying point for neo-Nazis and revisionist historians who claim that that the U.S. and Britain should be prosecuted for war crimes for unnecessary deaths that occurred there. By choosing to visit Dresden—of all German cities—on the same day as visiting the starvation stockades where tens of thousands of people were systematically exterminated, Mr. Obama specifically equated two entirely disparate events as if they were somehow on the same level. The Wall Street Journal called the visit “an unfortunate gesture” that suggested a “sort of moral equivalence between industrialized genocide and the bombings of German cities—bombings, remember, that were designed to bring an end to the genocidal regime” [emphasis Morley’s]. In truth, America and Britain bombing an industrial center in time of war and Germany ethnically “cleansing” a defenseless population have nothing in common.
In reference to the present wave of appeasing apologists kowtowing to Anglo-Americans’ former enemies, Robert Morley observed of the very act that brought World War ii to an end, “On April 5, President Barack Obama essentially apologized to Japan for using atomic bombs. The Wall Street Journal said that Obama’s Prague speech came ‘close to a mea culpa for America’s use of atomic bombs against Japan’” (ibid.).
When the commander in chief of the most powerful nation on Earth exhibits such radically apologist behavior toward those who sought to once enslave the world, one has to question the grasp on reality possessed of America’s current administration.
Contrast this with the firm hold on reality of one from a generation made of much sterner stuff.
Morris Jeppson, 87, is one of two surviving members of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. During a recent interview, Jeppson was asked the question, “In 30 or 40 years, when those who experienced World War ii have passed away, if the American president or many ordinary Americans decide the U.S. should apologize for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how would you feel about that?”
Morris Jeppson replied with a realist’s response to that question:
I think that one’s easy to answer. If it’s done once for an apology for something like that, think of all of the other things over history that should be apologized for, applying the same rule. It’s just not necessary. War is war. There was a good reason for it, put it into history books or whatever. But nobody down the road has any right to apologize for something that happened in the past.
This question comes up in the U.S. all the time. … (Like slavery,) it’s history. It’s all laid out. Why should anybody today apologize for anything that happened 150 years ago? It isn’t necessary. It’s giving somebody 150 years later a right to make this apology. No, they don’t have a right to make an apology.
That is a beautifully politically incorrect answer to the question. In fact, true to his warrior-for-peace generation, Jeppson responded even stronger when goaded by his inquisitor with the follow-up question, “So you think that even in the future, American presidents should not apologize.”
Jeppson was unequivocal, responding tersely, “No. Never!”
Pursuing the matter further, Jeppson’s questioner asked, “But if any American president apologized in the future, you would not like it?”
This brought the very direct response from Jepson, “I would be indignant. It’s a matter of what right does he have to (apologize) for something that all these people fought for and died for on both sides. The Japanese thought (the war) was the right thing and doing good for them. It wasn’t the right thing for anybody. But it happened, and you don’t apologize for history.”
It was such a down-to-earth, common-sense mindset that largely pervaded the Anglo-Saxon forces that wrested the peace from the warmongers who sought to gain control of the world 70 years ago. It was a mindset still largely embedded in the absolutes of right and wrong.
But that was yesterday.
Now confusion reigns, with the vanquished being turned into the victim, and the victor mutated into the image of an imperialist tyrant. Surely there has never been such a warping of the reality of history in the entirety of the saga of humankind as we see being foisted off onto a gullible public by these appeasing apologists of today!
The ultimate reality that is missed by almost all commentators is that though we are inherently responsible for our own sins, it is the result of those sins that is inherited by our offspring, even to a third and fourth generation, not the obligation to apologize for the sins of our forefathers, be they real or alleged (Exodus 20:5).
In all of this, we owe but one great apology to but one living being—our very Maker—the one who, alone, is ultimately offended by our rebellion against His perfect law (1 John 3:4). That apology is expressed in the act of true repentance from sin (Mark 1:15), the very act of repentance being a gift from Almighty God Himself to those who are ready to apologize for such rebellion (Romans 2:4).
It is the mark of the true Christian that they do not cause offense (Matthew 18:6), neither are they, themselves, ever truly offended by the acts of another, for, as the psalmist says, “Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them”! (Psalm 119:165).