LETTER: Allies committed war crimes, too

From Mr Andy Clarkson

Sir: Why do the American and British governments still refuse to apologise even to the ordinary people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for engulfing their cities in the holocaust of atomic warfare?

After all, before the war both governments went on record to describe the German bombing of civilians in Guernica during the Spanish civil war as morally repugnant. By the end of the war, they must have changed their minds. Fifty years on, can we conclude from their continuing refusal to apologise for Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the aerial bombardment of civilians is now excluded from the category of "war crimes" (principally because it is the archetypal Western act of war); and they have every intention of dropping the bombs again should it prove necessary? In other words, who decides what is a war crime which should at least be apologised for and what is not?

Yours faithfully,

Andy Clarkson

London, E8

14 August