Mr. Obama’s visit to Dresden is an unfortunate gesture. Even if the president were not to make an outright apology for the allied bombings, he could hardly not mention them in this city so preoccupied with its wartime history. And even if he were not to give any speech at all and just toured the city, he’d inevitably be led to the many landmarks that were once reduced to rubble.
His mere presence in Dresden — on the heels of a visit to Buchenwald and just before attending the Normandy commemorations — would boost the revisionist cause. It would suggest 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.