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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Friday, September 03, 2004


Malkin And Internment

Next up on my reading list is Michelle Malkin's In Defense of Internment. Not surprisingly, this book has generated a good deal of controversy. I have come to generally trust Michelle and I really enjoy her columns.

However, I have also come to trust The Volokh Conspiracy, and so I was quite interested by this post. The argument advanced in the post takes for granted the underlying assumption that Michelle's book is poorly researched and offensive. Eric Muller (the author of the post) questions why it is that Michelle is getting copious "uncritical" media attention while an author of (in his opinion) similarly shoddy work on the Holocaust goes unnoticed by the Media. Here a the reasons he advances as possibilities:

A couple of possible answers suggest themselves to me, and neither is very attractive.

One is that it's easier for us to recognize malevolence in others' ancestors (the Nazis) than in our own. Thus, what seems incontestably unjustifiable in the history of others remains debatable in our own.

The other is that Holocaust survivors and their children and grandchildren (full disclosure: I am one), and the Jewish community more generally, would not countenance an unrebutted presentation of such a work in the major media, whereas the Japanese American community is to some extent still (as it was 60 years ago) a safe target for such an assault.
While these are certainly among the possible answers, they are definitely not an exhaustive list. I would include the following:

The internment of people in the United States during WWII was no where near as wrong as the massive slaughter of Jews (and other disfavored groups, I might add) by the Nazis.

Is that the case? I didn't really know, so I made use of Google and came up with an article entitled Japanese American Internment - Removal of Japanese and Japanese Americans During WWII. Here are a few choice excerpts:

Critics of the exclusion often claim that there was no military justification for it as there are no cases of military espionage was ever that has was ever attributable to Japanese-Americans. David Lowman has, however, asserted the decryption of the MAGIC codes suggested to the military and political leaders at the time that there was a vast spy network of Japanese-Americans feeding information to Japan's war machine. His claims have been controversial with others pointing out that much of the information that the Japanese obtained may have come from public sources such as newspapers, and that communications by Japanese consular officials stating an attempt to recruit Japanese-Americans did not necessarily mean that those attempts were successful.


In January 25, 1942 the Secretary of War reported that "on the Pacific coast not a single ship had sailed from our Pacific ports without being subsequently attacked". Due to this espionage was suspected.


Administration and military leaders doubted the loyalty of ethnic Japanese. Many, including some born in America, had been educated in Japan, where school curricula emphasized reverence for the Emperor. Several pro-Japan groups, such as the [[Black Dragon Society]], functioned both inside and outside the camps, and pro-Japan riots occurred in many camps, which required moving some residents to Tule Lake (see below). 19,000 Japanese applied to be returned to Japan during the war. 94% of military-aged men said they would not serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some, however, did serve, in the famed 442nd regiment which operated in Europe (not Japan, as some believe). Many of the American residents refused to take a loyalty oath to America (or a promise to abide by American laws), which with the exception of a reference to the Japanese Emperor, was the same as required by draftees and war industry workers. There was no comparable refusal by Germans, Italians or other Europeans living in America.


Only 6,056 of the 16,811 foreigners arrested in security measures by the FBI between December 7, 1941 and June 30, 1945 were of non-European descent.


Almost 120,000 Japanese Americans and resident Japanese aliens would eventually be removed from their homes in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona as part of the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history. Only those of Japanese ancestry were offered berths in the relocation centers, whereas the bulk of the population of enemy ancestry effected by exclusion orders faced immediate and mandatory resettlement with minimal assistance.


National Student Council Relocation Program, which only gave benefits to Japanese relocatees, placed 4,300 individual scholarships to more than 500 colleges and universities located outside of the exclusionary zone.


In early 1944, the government began clearing individuals to return to the West Coast. And on January 2, 1945, the exclusion order was rescinded entirely, although the relocation camps remained open for residents who weren't ready to make the move back. The fact that this occurred long before the Japanese surrender (see V-J day), while the war was arguably at its most vicious, weighs heavily against the charge that the relocation was simply because of "racism".


Only those of Japanese descent have been offered recompensation for internment and relocation...This settled the matter—for some time. However, a movement beginning around the 1960s, largely focused on condemning America as a racist society, pushed to reopen the issue and gain government apologies and further reparations.


In 1980, under Jimmy Carter, a commission was established by Congress to study their matter. The ideological biases of this commission has been questioned by some, with 40% of the commission staff being of Japanese descent, some with vested financial interests. The commission's refusal to address non-Japanese interment/relocation also weighed on their impartiality. On February 24, 1983, they issued a report entitled Personal Justice Denied condeming the internment.
These conclusions largely having become accepted, President [[Ronald Reagan]] signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which provided redress of $20,000 for each surviving detainee, totalling $1.2 billion dollars. Despite congressional cries to individually determine worth, this was a straight dole, and included about 3,500 Japanese who had renounced their citizenship during the war and asked to be returned to Japan, and hundreds who live in Japan today and have virtually no connection to the United States. (emphasis added)
Judge the severity for yourself. But this final line should draw a very clear line between the Nazi's Death Camps and the US's Relocation Camps:

The relocation camps also had the highest live-birth rate and the lowest death rate in the US during the wartime period.
You be the judge. I plan to give Michelle's book a fair read and then see what I think.


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