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In War, Hard Facts Must Trump Ignorant Sloganeering

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by Patrick L. Moore (United States), Dec 28, 2004 at 19:59

Daniel - Congratulations on a truly courageous and timely article!

The indignant critics of what you wrote obviously have neither read Malkin's book nor studied the history of the United States in WW II. When the country's survival is at stake, necessary defensive action must be taken decisively. Malkin sets out in detail and with unassailable documentation, that our fathers in WW II who made the internment decision were manifestly NOT racially motivated nor panicked fools. Internment was a last resort and done as regrettably essential to national security. As one officer (surveying the tenor of affairs in the Hawaiian Islands) whom she quotes put it, even estimating 99% of the Japanese population of the islands being staunchly loyal Americans, that still left 2,000 - 3,000 very likely candidates for espionage and sabotage at large, a situation no country could tolerate in time of war.

It is not only morally pretentious but actually inhumane to insist that the US must impose its full panoply of sacred and civil rights on the national defense to the point of threatening the very survival of the republic which safeguards those rights and the lives of potentially millions of its citizens (in the event of a terrorist attack with WMDs). As well, critics of your article ignore that many more Caucasian and African-American citizens than resident and citizen Japanese almost immediately lost their "freedom" at the advent of the war when the draft laws were promulgated. The basic premise for the draft (and the same for internment) was that the defense of our country, our right to exist, must be defended first and foremost or all the others rights are mere slogans.

As has been said before, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." If one truly cherishes American rights and liberty he must be willing to make such necessary, real-world distinctions and have the courage to implement them. Mouthing platitudes as one's neighbors and fellow citizens are vaporized (as in the 9/11 attack) or subjected to deadly and painful diseases (in the case of biological attack) is claimed by critics of the internment as a moral highroad when in fact it is a cowardly descent into a "slough of despond" and a fast track to defeat.

Thanks again for raising a politically incorrect but critical issue!

Patrick L. Moore
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