Germans are in the process of redefining themselves as “victims of war.” Claiming that all war is always horrible for everyone involved, they remove all questions of who and why. Pacifist Germans have conveniently drawn the wrong conclusion from WW2 – that freedom and democracy must not be defended militarily.
You hear this all the time in Germany: that Germans know the price of war and have learned their lesson – unlike those naive, stupid Americans. In this self-serving myth, having started a war that killed 50 million ended up cleansing and purifying them, enabling them to reach a higher moral plane. Thus the perpetrators gain the moral high ground over the victors. Or so they think. (The irony is that most Germans have no memory of any war, while millions of Americans were affected by the effort to win the cold war and subsequent conflicts)
Dresden is of course a big part of that argument.
Making apologies for Dresden is inappropriate for several reasons. It is an insult to those who fought the war and had to make tough decisions. This was a war for the very survival of civilization. Contrary to the German view, the war wasn´t over when Dresden was bombed. Americans had suffered great casualties in the battle of the bulge just a few weeks earlier. Allied soldiers were dying in large numbers every day all over the world. Democratic leaders had a duty to win the war as soon as possible and not to sacrifice their own men by being concerned about the enemy. Only the leaders of Germany, Japan and Soviet Union could afford to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of their own, which they did to buy a little more time for themselves.
It´s cheap for a politician to make apologies for things earlier generations did. It´s cheap for an ignorant liberal dunderhead to call their effort terrorism. It is also meaningless. So far Obama never let slip a chance to aggrandize himself at America´s expense. We will see.