Skip to comments.Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters
Posted on 12/28/2004 7:55:25 AM PST by forty_years
For years, it has been my position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims. If searching for rapists, one looks only at the male population. Similarly, if searching for Islamists (adherents of radical Islam), one looks at the Muslim population.
And so, I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S. population agreeing with this proposition. Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in America, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations.
Also encouraging, the survey finds the more people follow TV news, the more likely they are to support these common-sense steps. Those who are best informed about current issues, in other words, are also the most sensible about adopting self-evident defensive measures.
That's the good news; the bad news is the near-universal disapproval of this realism. Leftist and Islamist organizations have so successfully intimidated public opinion that polite society shies away from endorsing a focus on Muslims.
In America, this intimidation results in large part from a revisionist interpretation of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of ethnic Japanese during World War II. Although more than 60 years past, these events matter yet deeply today, permitting the victimization lobby, in compensation for the supposed horrors of internment, to condemn in advance any use of ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion in formulating domestic security policy.
Denying that the treatment of ethnic Japanese resulted from legitimate national security concerns, this lobby has established that it resulted solely from a combination of "wartime hysteria" and "racial prejudice." As radical groups like the American Civil Liberties Union wield this interpretation, in the words of Michelle Malkin, "like a bludgeon over the War on Terror debate," they pre-empt efforts to build an effective defense against today's Islamist enemy.
Fortunately, the intrepid Ms. Malkin, a columnist and specialist on immigration issues, has re-opened the internment file. Her recently published book, bearing the provocative title In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery), starts with the unarguable premise that in time of war, "the survival of the nation comes first." From there, she draws the corollary that "Civil liberties are not sacrosanct."
She then reviews the historical record of the early 1940s and finds that:
Within hours of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, two American citizens of Japanese ancestry, with no prior history of anti-Americanism, shockingly collaborated with a Japanese soldier against their fellow Hawaiians.
The Japanese government established "an extensive espionage network within the United States" believed to include hundreds of agents.
In contrast to loose talk about "American concentration camps," the relocation camps for Japanese were "spartan facilities that were for the most part administered humanely." As proof, she notes that over 200 individuals voluntarily chose to move into the camps.
The relocation process itself won praise from Carey McWilliams, a contemporary leftist critic (and future editor of the Nation), for taking place "without a hitch."
A federal panel that reviewed these issues in 1981-83, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, was, Ms. Malkin explains, "Stacked with left-leaning lawyers, politicians, and civil rights activists but not a single military officer or intelligence expert."
The apology for internment by Ronald Reagan in 1988, in addition to the nearly $1.65 billion in reparations paid to former internees was premised on faulty scholarship. In particular, it largely ignored the top-secret decoding of Japanese diplomatic traffic, codenamed the MAGIC messages, which revealed Tokyo's plans to exploit Japanese-Americans.
Ms. Malkin has done the singular service of breaking the academic single-note scholarship on a critical subject, cutting through a shabby, stultifying consensus to reveal how, "given what was known and not known at the time," President Roosevelt and his staff did the right thing.
She correctly concludes that, especially in time of war, governments should take into account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in their homeland security policies and engage in what she calls "threat profiling." These steps may entail bothersome or offensive measures but, she argues, they are preferable to "being incinerated at your office desk by a flaming hijacked plane."
Besides the PC issues, we have another problem with the muslims, specifically the Arabs, that we didn't have with the Japanese.
Just 44%? Wait till terrorists start car boming malls,or maybe releasing anthrax,botulism, etc.. . What will the pc crowd say then? How about a small nuclear devise detonated in NYC, maybe in Times Square?
Its pretty stupid not to be watching muslims. I know I am leery of any middles easterner.
Yeah, and roughly 50% of Americans support a woman's right to kill her unborn child. That doesn't make it right.
I guess the phrase "Give me liberty, or give me death" no longer holds any meaning for mainstream "conservatives." WorldNetDaily columnist Vox Day did a credible job of debunking Malkin's ridiculous anti-freedom, anti-American arguments.
Typical neocon BS. In time of war, governments should take into account the right of citizens to protect themselves. Federal gun control laws were largely responsible for the tragic extent of the damage on 9/11. One or two armed passengers could have saved 3,000 lives. Why anyone would even consider trusting a government that has been systematically disarming the public is beyond my comprehension.
I will ask again: If "the survival of the nation comes first," then why don't so-called "conservatives" call for the internment of all Muslims? If doing so could save millions of American lives, isn't it worth it?
Unless, of course, the proposed threat has been somewhat exaggerated.....
"The only way to change a NY liberal's mind is to kill them."
And it would seem the Arabs are hard at work doing just that. Maybe we decent and normal Americans should just sit back and let the liberals give the Muslims a great big hug.
And then get a nice big guffaw as they try to pull that scimitar out of their back. Hey, killing liberals and Jews is a Muslim cultural thing and I suppose we should respect their cultural values. With social relativism who's to say it isn't wrong to kill liberals and Jews, right? I mean, really, is our culture really so much better than Islam that we should stand in the way of faithful Muslims killing liberals and Jews if that's what they truly believe they are called to do? (sarcasm)
Actually the Japanese attacked us because of their dependence on our oil.
True, but we weren't dependent on them for anything, and thus, had no impediment to interning them. Besides, we were at war with them and saner minds prevailed in those days.
I believe internment is a political albatross. I think the Admin wants us to believe that, while we are not 100% safe, all of the measures taken since 911 are having the intended effect of making us "safer". Let's keep business as usual, so we can continue to keep civilian production on track.
Internment would demonstrate that we are not "safer", that more extraordinary measures are necessary, which would have tremendous negative repercussions on the economy, if only on consumer confidence.
As to your point that one or 2 guns on planes could have saved 3000 lives, I have to point out that the hijackers would also have been armed, so very likely the situation would have remained the same. Just a thought. I'm OK with arming pilots, but I can't get behind allowing passengers to carry on board.
Isn't it amazing that libs can completely ignore what is going on around them? Are they so egotistical/irrational that they believe they would be spared by Islamofacists because they support their right to do whatever they want?
(Of course they will only support them until they become a MAJORITY!)
How many Freepers think that if a few dozen out of the millions of American citizens who belong to a church commit crimes against the government then all it's members' weapons should be confiscated?
One was administered by our great-uncle. His wife is still alive and gets angry at any suggestion that the internees (at least the ones at that camp) were treated badly.
It was still wrong to intern American citizens of Japanese descent without any evidence of wrongdoing.
Congressman Billybob also wrote a book on it. I think his comments on this are well worth consideration.
Michelle Malkin and Daniel Pipes are defending the indefensible in this case. There is simply no other phrase that can accurately describe it. Antonin Scalia properly placed the Korematsu ruling approving the internment next to Dred Scott in terms of bad calls.
"Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in America, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations."
Aside from Muslims themselves, the remaining 56% of Americans are either braindead or totally unfamiliar with Islam and its tenets, practises and culture.
Daniel Pipes may be a pretty smart guy, but bloopers like this can convince people he's an idiot...
What you read and what really went on are two very different things.
Agreed. Folks like Pipes and Michelle Malkin do the conservative movement no favors when they defend the indefensible.
I used to be a member of the Birch Society, and they harped on the Japanese internment the same way the liberals do.
Women rapists are a minority, but they do exist.
Sure--as long as being "treated badly" excludes forced internment. Aside from that, I hear they were treated like royalty.
The big problem with japanese internment was that the italians and germans were not interned. At the time of the internment, the was a lot of dicrimination against japanese americans. Also, at the time of internment, immigrants of all nations were welcomed except for asiatics (japan and china in particulat). Also, there was no compensation offered to long time japanese citizens who lost most all of their possessions including land bought by whites at bargain prices then, that is worth billions now.
Finally, the number a japanese spies was not any greater than the population at large as post WWII investigations later found out.
* Most were openly and rabidly Anti-American
* Over 80% of those interned held dual citizenship.
* Most of these, at the opening of hostilities, applied for visas to return to Japan
* As this was an entirely new phenomenon, Congress had to enact regulations regarding issuance of visas during wartime.
On any reasonable understanding, none of these are true.
1. Certainly a few were "anti-American" (and a few were repatriated to Japan). All contemporary accounts , however, describe intense patriotism -- tens of thousands volunteered for service from the camps. And remember, 100,000 or more exactly comparable persons of japanese ancestry lived unmolested on Hawaii all during the war, without any visible, let alone "open and rabid" anti-americanism.
2. Way over 20% were native-born american citizens. If Japan called them "dual citizens" (and I don't know of the evidence for this -- you may be right) that's not their fault. Any American citizen has to renounce allegiance to any other country -- what the other country does is not under their control.
3. No evidence at all that "most" of "80%" of all internees applied to return to Japan. My guess is that you are misreporting, at best, "most" of some very small subset of Japanese citizens in the US.
4. Regulation of visas in wartime is certainly not a new phenomenon. See WW I.
Not everything in Malkin's book is Loony, but the 4 points you have picked out here are.
Most people don't, unless it is they who are interned. It's a lot like false arrest and jail. People are all for excusing police excesses, as long as they are not the victims of the excess.
It's also worth noting that any kind of measure aimed at dealing with potential threats from Middle Easterners would overlook people like Johnny bin Walker, that Adam Something-or-Other moron from California who is now an al-Qaeda operative, the D.C. snipers, etc.
Liberals are mentally ill. It's a fact.
Here's my proof:
Suicidal tendencies are a mental aberration.
Liberals support immigration and cultural policies that are effectively suicidal as they admit into this land people whose fondest desire is to wash their hands in the blood of infidels who are epitomized by liberals.
Liberalism is therefore a mental aberration.
PS, your sarcasm tag wasn't needed. (:
Very true. I've always found it interesting that that dependence existed because their ambition was to impose a regional hegemony. Yet it was that very ambition which caused Roosevelt to cut off fuel and scrap metal shipments.
Which sets up the pseudo-paradox: they could have had all the oil and metal they wanted so long as they weren't expansionists, but they only wanted the oil and metal in the first place because they were expansionists...
Organized crime was once a big problem and mostly Sicilians. Why the hell did we not intern the Sicilians.
You know something? If I were interned in a s**thole for three years, and had my property legally looted from me, followed by a "OK, you're free to go, and we're not compensating you for your losses," I'd probably move to Ireland and say to hell with my US citizenship.
2) Over 25% of the JA's refused to sign a loyalty oath pledging unqualified allegiance.
I learned in the Marine Corps that loyalty is a two-way street. If I'd been detained for no just cause, and the government that detained me then demanded that I sign a loyalty oath, I'd tell the bureaucrat to take his oath and use it as a suppository.
3) Many JA's were dual citizens. Further most JA's were under the age of 16 and were only Americans by virtue of being born in this country. Most of the JA's over 25 were in fact Japanese resident aliens - not American citizens.
You've just contradicted yourself.
Taking that position, would you have willingly given up those American lives to not be a "racist"? How many American lives would you be willing to give up before you could think about internment?
Uncomfortable questions, don't you think?
Interesting. Hawaii wasn't even a state at the time, so I'd be curious if any action on the part of the U.S. government could have been opposed on Constitutional grounds anyway.
Can you blame them?
I would hope that any freedom-loving American would also refuse to sign such an oath.
Citizens or not, everyone here is entitled to basic human rights. Due process is not exclusive to American citizens. Forced internment of anyone who hasn't committed a crime has no place in a nation built in the name of liberty.
Where the hell do you get that ? There are plenty of racists in all camps, conservative and liberal. I think there are actually more in the liberal camp and to specifically single out paleos because a few of their members might be neo nazis is not right.
In fact, it is as bad as interning all japs just because 1 or 2 might be spies.
A great many--far more than the actual number of Japanese-Americans . There were a few internments for good and reasonable cause. In these cases, the government presented evidence before a judge, and the accused was allowed to question that evidence. (Due process, whaddafugginconcept...)
Taking that position, would you have willingly given up those American lives to not be a "racist"?
How much freedom are you personally willing to forfeit in return for a government promise of security? That which they claim the government claims it can do to American citizens of Japanese descent today, can be done to "right-wing extremists" tomorrow.
How many American lives would you be willing to give up before you could think about internment?
Hey, let's get this back to Pipes' idiotic argument: the vast majority of rapists are men. One man can commit many rapes, and many of those rapes can include murder. How many rapes (and concomitant murders) are you willing to accept before you could think about
imprisoning interning all men in concentration detention camps?
I think everyone is missing an important point.
NO ONE wants to intern the muslims, only look at them more closely than someone else and I think that is justified.
Being jailed is not the same as being profiled for investigation.
You know, the Jews were a large security risk to Hitler's germany. I suppose you support their internment too. I'm not saying you support their execution, but for a lot of them it was simply internment of a possibly traitorous group.
Fine, but why would anyone use a book entitled In Defense of Internment to reinforce that point? Malkin's book has been praised heavily by many so-called "conservatives," but the title itself implies that internment is nothing but a form of profiling.