THE GENERATION of Americans taking charge, the generation of President Clinton and other leaders in government, business, media and academe, has become so shamed by revisionist myths of World War II that it backs away from true facts. And its members shame their own fathers.

Not so long from now, perhaps as soon as next year's 50-year observances of the ending of the war, the generation of baby boomers and its spawn might feel called on to submit apologies for what revisionists see as the harm Americans inflicted in winning the war and the peace that followed.A perfect sign of the times was the recent decision by the Clinton White House to kill printing of a commemorative stamp portraying the familiar ominous cloud and the legend: "Atomic bombs hasten war's end, August 1945."

All true. Frayed by revisionist myths and ongoing phony disclosures by "scholars," some of them probably born to soldiers who survived the war on account of the bombs. But still true.

The Japanese, of course, took offense and U.S. trade relations with Japan were said to be in jeopardy because of the unfeeling American insult conveyed by the stamp, the picture and the true statement.

So the chief of the U.S. Postal Service was required to say that issuance of the commemorative stamp had been canceled "because President Clinton conveyed his views that it would be appropriate for us to do so."

And that time nearly 50 years ago, a moment of enormous pride and relief and celebration, is transformed by the generation now in charge into a period in which apologies must be made for elders who were there and lived through it but obviously didn't then and still don't understand the shame of it.

A Japanese official said his people were "grateful" for the Clinton administration's decision to give "real consideration to the feelings of the people of Japan."

Many - perhaps most - of those people of such tender feelings still resist public acknowledgment of the 14-year Japanese war which began in 1931 and raped, tortured and murdered tens of millions of victims in a savage onslaught ended by the dropping of the atomic bombs in 1945.

But now the generation of Americans in charge and shamed by revisionist myths decides that America must appear apologetic for the way the savagery was finished, a finish that spared hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives, Japanese as well as American.

Another World War II revisionist myth has been served up for years as a separate shameful stain: that American air power was deliberately withheld when it was known that bombing Nazi concentration camps would have saved Jewish lives.

The slander was written into a speech President Clinton read April 22, 1993, at the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. It's part of a museum display and it's repeated in the museum's fund-raising appeals to the "conscience" of Americans.

Saddling undeserved shame on Americans is apparently helpful in raising funds for the Holocaust museum, and any distortion, any myth suitable for putting Americans in a mood to apologize and give money is apparently justified.

And never mind that the revisionist distortions of the unbombed death camps and the atomic bombs dropped on Japan are becoming permanent, unanswered now and in the future by a generation of uninformed, myth-ridden and self-shamed Americans.