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How new is this idea ?

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by John J. Donne (United States), Feb 8, 2005 at 06:32

How novel an idea is it to "detain", "round-up", and "incarcerate" before establishing guilt ?

I wonder if the mass deportation of Jews to Babylon involved any soul-searching whether any individual Jew be innocent of rebellious behavior?
Obviously not, for the definens of guilt was the fact that an individual was a member of a certain rebellious nation.

This bears a great resemblance to Claude Rains in "Casablanca" telling his officers to round up the usual suspects. Obviously, a pre-defined ( profiled ) class of "suspects" is ready to be rounded up and to make it clear the authorities are deeply into the affair.

Or is it more redolent of "Minority Report" wherein the minority report witnesses innocence of the crime. But here there are only majority reports of guilt. Any minority report of innocence will not be seen until - we are assured (?) - some indeterminate time in the future. And it will be rendered by jurists of the utmost probity and impartiality, no doubt.

I particularly enjoy the description from Ms. Malkin's book describing interment camps as,

"..."spartan facilities that were for the most part administered humanely."

It is so cheery. It seems to remind me of other institutions of restraint. Have I not heard various prisons recently so described ? And for those instances where they were - lamentably - not administered humanely, we may no doubt write this down to the historical verity that there are always a few bad apples who spoil it ( the fun, one assumes) for the rest of us.
Submitting....

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