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In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror Hardcover – July 1, 2004
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From the Publisher
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
- They did not target only those of Japanese descent
- They were not Nazi-style death camps 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. 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. Malkin also tells the truth about:
- who resided in enemy alien internment camps (nearly half were of European ancestry)
- 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)
- why the $1.65 billion federal reparations law for Japanese internees and evacuees
was a bipartisan disaster
- and how both Japanese American and Arab/Muslim American leaders have united
to undermine America's safety. 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.
About the Author
Michelle Malkin is author of the New York Times best-seller, Invasion, which ignited debate on immigration and national security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Her nationally syndicated newspaper column, celebrating its fifth year with Creators Syndicate, is published in nearly 200 newspapers across the country. Malkin is a FOX News Channel contributor and former editorial writer and columnist for the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. Malkin lives with her husband and children in Maryland.
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1942, I was arrested and convicted for being a Japanese American trying to live here in the Bay Area. The day after my arrest a newspaper headline declared, "Jap Spy Arrested in San Leandro."
Of course, I was no spy. The government never charged me with being a spy. I was a U.S. citizen born and raised in Oakland. I even tried to enlist in the Coast Guard (they didn't take me because of my race). But my citizenship and my loyalty did not matter to the federal government. On Feb. 19, 1942, anyone of Japanese heritage was ordered excluded from the West Coast. I was charged and convicted of being a Japanese American living in an area in which all people of my ancestry had been ordered to be interned.
I fought my conviction at that time. My case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in 1944 my efforts to seek protection under the Constitution were rejected.
After I was released in 1945, my criminal record continued to affect my life. It was hard to find work. I was considered to be a criminal. It took almost 40 years and the efforts of many people to reopen my case. In 1983, a federal court judge found that the government had hidden evidence and lied to the Supreme Court during my appeal. The judge found that Japanese Americans were not the threat that the government publicly claimed. My criminal record was removed.
As my case was being reconsidered by the courts, again as a result of the efforts of many people across the country, Congress created a commission to study the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans. The commission found that no Japanese American had been involved in espionage or sabotage and that no military necessity existed to imprison us. Based on the commission's findings and of military historians who reconsidered the original records from the war, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, declaring that the internment of Japanese Americans was unjustified. Finally, it seemed that the burden of being accused of being an "enemy race" had been lifted from our shoulders.
But now the old accusations are back. Fox News media personality Michelle Malkin claims that some Japanese Americans were spies during World War II. Based upon her suspicions, Malkin claims the internment of all Japanese Americans was not such a bad idea after all. She goes on to claim that racial profiling of Arab Americans today is justified by the need to fight terrorism. According to Malkin, it is OK to take away an entire ethnic group's civil rights because some individuals are suspect. Malkin argues for reviving the old notion of guilt by association.
It is painful to see reopened for serious debate the question of whether the government was justified in imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II. It was my hope that my case and the cases of other Japanese American internees would be remembered for the dangers of racial and ethnic scapegoating.
Fears and prejudices directed against minority communities are too easy to evoke and exaggerate, often to serve the political agendas of those who promote those fears. I know what it is like to be at the other end of such scapegoating and how difficult it is to clear one's name after unjustified suspicions are endorsed as fact by the government. If someone is a spy or terrorist they should be prosecuted for their actions. But no one should ever be locked away simply because they share the same race, ethnicity, or religion as a spy or terrorist. If that principle was not learned from the internment of Japanese Americans, then these are very dangerous times for our democracy.
Fred Korematsu was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medial of Freedom, in 1998. He and his wife, Kathryn, continue to live in their longtime hometown of San Leandro.
Malkin begins her anecdotal journey by telling the reader of her distaste for the broad-brush strokes when she claims that alarmists make "no distinction" between foreign visitors, suspected terrorist and U.S. citizens; or when no distinction is made between an `interment camp' and a `concentration camp'. Malkin presents the reader with the little known story of Niihau Island. "In case of emergency, the Japanese planned to use the island as a submarine pickup point for stranded pilots", and this is exactly what was Nishikaichi, a downed Japanese pilot hoped for when he crashed landed on Niihau.
The anecdotes continue for 12 chapters and 164 pages. Supported mostly by secondary sources Malkin's book raises some interesting, and provocative points about the defense, security, and the right of any country to endure through a national crisis.
Malkin's book provides a wealth of information that can be used, analyzed and rebutted. She makes her distaste clear for the absolutists who have, "distorted history" and "obscured valuable lessons" from the past. It is unfortunate however that Malkin does not heed her own rhetoric when she brings her book to a close.
In her conclusion Malkin creates straw men, false dilemmas, and rings in the same absolutism (this time from the `right') that she claims to disdain. In conclusion Malkin seem to be more perturbed by people's opinions rather than public policy. Malkin, states that people wish to, "[...] prosecuting suspected terrorist the way we would prosecute burglars or drug dealers". Malkin states that, "If the court strikes down the policy [presidential authority to designate anyone an enemy combatant" then "Padilla and other suspected al Qaida agents are likely to go free". Malkin mentions that Thomas Kean wanted ALL intelligence relating to September 11th, "Anything that has to do with 9/11, we have to see it--anything"
We of course know that The Sept 11th commission was not privy to `everything' despite Mr. Kean's demands--and, the courts have made it clear that there are more choices available between holding a citizen indefinitely and without representation, and setting them `free'--and, we are not treating terrorists like common burglars and drug dealers.
Regarding WWII internment camps Malkin presents the valuable nuances of history, and many little known and unreported facts. However, she dismisses the nuances, details, and facts in order to present a sensational conclusion worthy of cable news networks.
Malkin's, "Defense of Internment" presents a valid rebuttal to our historical footnotes regarding WWI. But, arguments `for' internment during WWII provide little support for the public policy of today. Yet, just like her liberal targets, Malkin does not hesitate to leap this large chasm albeit from the reverse direction, and "warps the yardstick" once again.