It took more than a year, but in the end common sense and fear of Congress prevailed: the Smithsonian Institution canceled the exhibit it had planned at Washington's National Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. The exhibit, whose theme was American vengefulness and Japanese suffering in World War II, had led outraged veterans' groups to engage in endless negotiations with the curators to produce a script of at least minimal dignity and respect for history.

My reading of the exhibit script last August led me to a different conclusion. I figured that with...

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