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Justin M. Stoddard

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Intern This!
August 5, 2004 — 7:00 pm

Michelle Malkin, darling columnist of the American Right (read Neocon), cheerleader of the Patriot act, and overall Republican apologist has written another book. After her mildly successful book entitled “Invasion, How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores, Michelle Malkin follows up with this beauty, “In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror

I originally caught wind of this from the Libertarian Jackass. He follows up on that post here.

Since then, several other bloggers have picked up on the subject.

Eric Muller, author of Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II and a Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper entitled Inference or Impact? Racial Profiling and the Internment’s True Legacy has posted several rebuttals to Mrs. Malkin’s arguments.

IN DEFENSE OF INTERNMENT, Part 4 (The Robinson Rebuttal)

Orcinus puts his two cents in here and here.

Ok, so here’s my point of view, take it or leave it. I have not read the book. I have no intention of doing so. That being said, you can judge for yourself if my opinion is valid. However, I have read the publisher’s statement about the book and will comment on it below. As always, you are free to judge for yourself if my criticisms are valid

Publisher’s statement in gray, mine follow:

Everything you’ve been taught about the World War II “internment camps” in America is wrong: – They were not created primarily because of racism or wartime hysteria.

Well, that’s a bit presumptuous don’t you think? Everything I’ve been taught about the World War II (notice the quotation marks) “internment camps” is wrong? Is it not true that tens of thousands of Japanese as well as American citizens of Japanese decent were evicted (not evacuated as Michelle Malkin asserts as the word evacuate insinuates the action was done for the safety of those leaving the area) from the West coast only to be relocated to various concentration camps (President Roosevelt himself called them concentration camps. If that phrase is good enough for him, it should be good enough for Malkin as well) scattered around the interior of the United States?

I could go on and on and I could probably give you a 98% guarantee that everything I learned about the World War II “internment camps” is indeed NOT wrong.

As for the thesis of the action not being predicated upon racism or wartime hysteria…well, Eric Muller and Orcinus pretty much destroy that argument (see above links).

– They did not target only those of Japanese descent

This is indeed true. However, it is misleading as well. The vast majority of those “interned” were of Japanese decent. Regardless, there was no other forced migration of an individual nationality to the camps compared to that of actions taken on the West Coast.

– They were not Nazi-style death camps

No one that has ever been taken seriously has suggested they were. This is a neat little trick however. First, it employs the “we are not as bad as them” line of argument. Honest people have seen this card played numerous times the past several years. Remember Abu ghraib?

Secondly, it constructs a revisionist history point of view. People of Japanese decent were not evicted from the west coast, they were “evacuated” or “relocated”. After giving up nearly all their worldly possessions and forced (at the point of a gun) to several camps in the middle of America, they were placed in “internment camps” where their all their wants and needs were cared for. Seriously, sugar coating history to conform to your point of view is just as bad as putting the worst possible spin on it.

In her latest investigative tour-de-force, New York Times best-selling author Michelle Malkin sets the historical record straight-and debunks radical ethnic alarmists who distort history to undermine common-sense, national security profiling. The need for this myth-shattering book is vital. President Bush’s opponents have attacked every homeland defense policy as tantamount to the “racist” and “unjustified” World War II internment. Bush’s own transportation secretary, Norm Mineta, continues to milk his childhood experience at a relocation camp as an excuse to ban profiling at airports.

Michelle Malkin sets the historical record straight? Please. Delusions of grandeur anyone? Historians have been working on this question since 1942 and there is still plenty of room for debate. Michelle Malkin spent approximately 16 months working on this book. I’m not against anyone putting their opinion out there but, when people with an obvious political bias, an advocate of torture, the Patriot Act’s biggest cheerleader and all around Neoimp apologist claims to be setting the record straight…well, forgive me if I check to see if my wallet is still right were I left it.

Misguided guilt about the past continues to hamper our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks. In Defense of Internment shows that the detention of enemy aliens, and the mass evacuation and relocation of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast were not the result of irrational hatred or conspiratorial bigotry. This document-packed book highlights the vast amount of intelligence, including top-secret “MAGIC” messages, which revealed the Japanese espionage threat on the West Coast.

Tim Virkkala once said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me evoking his name) of History;

That which those who forget
Are condemned to repeat,
And which those who remember
Repeat ad nauseam.

This is an excellent point. Those who care about history and unfortunately, those who misunderstand it are often citing numerous events as a warning, example, lesson, ad nauseam…

I personally think this is a pretty harmless, if not sometimes irritating phenomenon. If nothing else, it sends people to the Internet, Library, Bookstore to gather more facts.

With that in mind, it is not misguided guilt about the past (I hold no guilt about the past as I obviously had nothing to do with it) that hampers our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks. In reality, it is our obvious bout of collective amnesia about anything historical that leads us from one blunder to the next. But Alas! We are but human.

Malkin also tells the truth about:
– who resided in enemy alien internment camps (nearly half were of European ancestry

See above links from Eric Muller and Orcinus for a rebuttal of this statement

– what the West Coast relocation centers were really like (tens of thousands of ethnic Japanese were allowed to leave; hundreds voluntarily chose to move in)

Just because they were EVENTUALLY allowed to leave, doesn’t mean they actually DID leave. I’d be curious to know just where Mrs. Malkin thinks these tens of thousands of ethnic Japanese went. For more on this point, see Part 7 from Eric Muller’s posts.

– why the $1.65 billion federal reparations law for Japanese internees and evacuees
was a bipartisan disaster

Mrs. Malkin is actually onto something here. I am no fan of reparations. I had nothing to do with the actions of the Government of the United States in 1942. Hell, I wasn’t even alive. It’s only too bad Roosevelt couldn’t be dug up, reanimated and put on trail.

With trademark fearlessness, Malkin adds desperately needed perspective to the ongoing debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security. In Defense of Internment will outrage, enlighten, and radically change the way you view the past-and the present.

Not likely.

I’m just going to end this entry with some unrelated quotes from Michelle Malkin. Cheap shot? Maybe. Judge for yourself.

On reason number two why we should fear the Democrats:

The American Civil Liberties Union. The organization maintains dangerously absolutist positions against the use of torture to gather intelligence from al Qaeda terrorists, against the designation of enemy combatants apprehended on either foreign or American soil, and against common-sense profiling in wartime.

Italics mine. How many Al Qaeda terrorists do we have in our prisons? Don’t they have the bad taste of blowing themselves up when they strike?

Number 19 of her Media Diversity Test (a list of 20 items that, if followed, make an upstanding, patriotic American):

19. I cry when I hear “Proud To Be an American” by Lee Greenwood.

I think the appropriate response would be laughter. As in, I laugh my ass off when I hear “Proud to Be and American” and then promptly change the channel.


— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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