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If this is a war then target the soldiers

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by Bradley Wentworth (Canada), Jan 9, 2005 at 12:19

Without even bickering over the definition of war, and the very word "war" itself may be being misused, I would like to question the logic of Malkin and others.

Firstly, in a war the threat is nearly always the military of the enemy. In the war on terror, that includes people with access to weapons, bombs, etc. Time and again have countries tried to win wars by going after the enemies' civilian populations; what usually happens is that said civilians become aggravated and more motivated to prosecute the war to its bitter end. Internment will most certainly fan the flames, and it is anyone's guess as to whether the benefits outweigh this and other problems.

Next, the most dangerous terrorists are by definition the hardest to find, and many of those probably do not even live within the United States. Even if there is an extreme Muslim horn-blower at the local mosque, loudly denouncing Western ideals and encouraging intfada, is there a high chance he or she is anything but a soap-box agitator? To cite an example in Britain: in a few year's time all Britons are supposed to have registered with a large national database, designed to coordinate efforts against thieves, law-breakers, etc. But the target group that this program is aimed at is the most likely group that will try and evade such a system!

Put more simply, if you were a terrorist living in America right now, would you publicly assert that you were a Muslim, or would you assume a false identity, and integrate yourself seamlessly into American society?

Precision and attention to confirmed intelligence reports would, I think, be a much better use of resources.
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