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"Enola Gay' exhibit still criticized

A revised script for a controversial exhibit on the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan failed Thursday to silence critics of earlier drafts.

Text and pictures to accompany the planned exhibition of the Enola Gay, the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, were released Wednesday by the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

The text and pictures had been revised several times since the original version was assailed as revisionist and unbalanced for failing to give sufficient emphasis to the suffering caused by Japanese aggression in Asia and characterizing the Japanese as innocent victims.

A spokesman for the American Legion, which had pressed for the revisions, said that the new text was being studied but that concerns remained about the "visceral" effects of the exhibition and its focus on Hiroshima apart from the larger context of World War II.

But a peace activist accused the Smithsonian of caving in to the Legion and said peace groups were planning a counterexhibition when the Enola Gay goes on display next year, the 50th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The latest script devotes considerable space to Japanese atrocities during its conquests in China and the Pacific, while also providing a detailed description of the effects of the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, and then of Nagasaki three days later.

Since the first text was drafted in January, it has undergone four major revisions, following attacks from service groups, members of Congress and the press.

The new text followed lengthy meetings between officials and the American Legion. "Not all our concerns have been eased," Legion spokesman Phil Budahn said.