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An Ignominious Anniversary

It is perhaps fitting that an ignominious anniversary occurs today, Sunday being a fitting time for quiet reflection.  On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the interment of Japanese-American citizens.  And his party has been busy dividing Americans by race and class ever since.  

With an executive order, the rights of tens of thousands of Americans were eviscerated.  And with the current President’s executive orders and administrative directives, Americans again see their rights to property, speech, religious practice, indeed their individual sovereignty, swallowed whole by the insatiable appetite of ever expanding government with the tacit approval and complicity of fellow travelers in the press and the terminally timid among us. 

As one of the comments on Ricochet said recently, the ice berg is approaching.  Time is running short.  The unthinkable happened before, and it can happen again.  The friends of freedom need to find their voice soon, for as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”   

Oh yes, one more thing.  The legislation officially apologizing for the Japanese internment?  That was signed by President Reagan too.  

  1. tabula rasa
      The friends of freedom need to find their voice soon, for as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”   

    Oh yes, one more thing.  The legislation officially apologizing for the Japanese internment?  That was signed by President Reagan too.   · · 1 minute ago

    Let’s see. Reagan apologizes to people who deserve one.  Obama apologizes to everyone else.  Have I got that right?

  2. Dave Carter
    C
    tabula rasa

      The friends of freedom need to find their voice soon, for as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”   

    Oh yes, one more thing.  The legislation officially apologizing for the Japanese internment?  That was signed by President Reagan too.   · · 1 minute ago

    Let’s see. Reagan apologizes to people who deserve one.  Obama apologizes to everyone else.  Have I got that right? · 5 minutes ago

    Flawless.  

  3. Noesis Noeseos

    I think that ordinary citizens began to feel bad about the internment soon after the end of WWII.  I was in grammar school in the early and mid 1950s in a suburb of Los Angeles called Gardena, which then still had many small farms and dairies, although the tract houses were rapidly spreading.  Two of my best friends were Japanese.  The parents of one owned a nursery about three blocks from my house, so at least their property had been restored.  The Japanese children showed up smiling in the class pictures, and I don’t remember any incidence of anyone giving them a hard time.

    It was a case in which the citizenry had awakened to its misdeeds before the government acknowledged its own.

  4. Give Me Liberty

    Thanks Dave for reminding us of this shameful anniversary.  Americans need to understand the autocratic propensity of the left, and history is, as always, a useful guide. 

  5. Give Me Liberty
    Noesis Noeseos: I think that ordinary citizens began to feel bad about the internment soon after the end of WWII.  I was in grammar school in the early and mid 1950s in a suburb of Los Angeles called Gardena, which then still had many small farms and dairies, although the tract houses were rapidly spreading.  Two of my best friends were Japanese.  The parents of one owned a nursery about three blocks from my house, so at least their property had been restored.  The Japanese children showed up smiling in the class pictures, and I don’t remember any incidence of anyone giving them a hard time.

    It was a case in which the citizenry had awakened to its misdeeds before the government acknowledged its own. · 7 minutes ago

    Most people in California who lived among Americans of Japanese decent didn’t suspect or mistrust their neighbors.  It was only after fascistic propaganda against them in Roosevelt friendly papers  did their attitudes change.

  6. DocJay

    Outside of the massive injustice of internment, it is important to note the mortality rate was the same as our general population. Contrast this with US prisoners of the Japanese who had a 27% mortality rate and universally suffered horrific medical disorders from beatings and malnutrition. Our country turned their backs on these returning soldiers and their special needs. Many former POWs were outraged when interned Japanese received 20,000 dollars and a monument when he and his friends suffered PTSD and physical wounds the likes of which almost no one could imagine and yet they received almost no financial and zero emotional support.

  7. Noesis Noeseos
    Give Me Liberty

    Most people in California who lived among Americans of Japanese decent didn’t suspect or mistrust their neighbors.  It was only after fascistic propaganda against them in Roosevelt friendly papers  did their attitudes change. · 3 minutes ago

    Well, Go For Broke came out in 1951, so I guess sometimes mass media can have a salutary effect.  Still, it’s scary how susceptible people are to movies and newspapers.

  8. outstripp

    Speaking as someone married to a Japanese and having lived in Japan for 25 years, I don’t think the internment was unreasonable, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Of course, many years later, it looks unnecessary, but remember, brazil and canada did more or less the same thing. Also hundreds of Japanese who chose to return Japan were thrown in camps that were no picnic compared to the US camps, which featured baseball diamonds and beauty parlors. The Japanese gov hasn’t apologized for that.

  9. Dave Carter
    C
    DocJay: Outside of the massive injustice of internment, it is important to note the mortality rate was the same as our general population. Contrast this with US prisoners of the Japanese who had a 27% mortality rate and universally suffered horrific medical disorders from beatings and malnutrition. Our country turned their backs on these returning soldiers and their special needs. Many former POWs were outraged when interned Japanese received 20,000 dollars and a monument when he and his friends suffered PTSD and physical wounds the likes of which almost no one could imagine and yet they received almost no financial and zero emotional support. · 30 minutes ago

    Imminently fair point, I think.  My paternal grandfather served in the Pacific theatre.  He didn’t talk about it much, but when he did open up the stories were incredible.  

  10. Basil Fawlty

    Those interested in a contrarian view on this subject may wish to track down a copy of Michelle Malkin’s  In Defense of Internment.  Any book that generated the outrage this one did is probably worth a look.

  11. Stuart Creque

    The Italian-American community, especially on the West Coast, also suffered under restrictions and in some cases internments and confiscation of property.

    The Nisei Brigades in WWII were the most highly decorated units and suffered astounding casualty rates.  As Sen. Inouye tells it, when he came back to Honolulu after losing an arm in combat in Italy, he had a hard time from a barber who refused to cut the hair of a “Jap.”  Heck, my mother’s childhood pet, a German Shepherd, was drafted into service in the Pacific — and after the war, the Army told her it wouldn’t be safe to give her dog back because he’d been trained to attack Asians on sight.

    I compare and contrast the eagerness of Japanese-Americans and Italian-Americans to volunteer for service in WWII to prove their love of a country that wasn’t showing their family and friends much love to the apparent absence of any rush to form Muslim-American brigades in the wake of 9/11.

  12. DocJay

    I knew a Japanese man who served with Sen Inouye who absolutely despised him and challenged the official narrative about his time in combat. That’s a piece of info that will be utterly lost to history.

  13. Basil Fawlty
    Noesis Noeseos: @Basil:  No, I haven’t read her book.  Perhaps in the interests of expediency, you would be willing to outline her arguments. 

    On the other hand, I am able to think of possibledefenses, but none that can pass Constitutional muster. · 2 minutes ago

    Edited 1 minute ago

    I haven’t read the book in more than seven years and am reluctant to summarize from memory (or in 200 words).  But as I recall, among many other things, she pointed out that nations often do and must act differently in wartime than in peacetime and that the situation on the West Coast was viewed as much more parlous at the time than it is in today’s hindsight.  She also indicated, I believe, that the Supreme Court decisions upholding the constitutionality of the relocations have never been overturned.  I think the genesis of the book was in reaction to the perceived post-9/11 distortion of the WWII relocation program by CAIR and others who argued that “racial profiling” is always and everywhere wrong.  But again, I can only suggest that those with an interest in the period might wish to seek out her book.

  14. Benbern Anke

    Small correction (improvement?):

    FDR’s order called for “internment”, not “interment” of Japanese-American citizens……..”interment” is what we did to each other on the islands of the Pacific from 1945-1945

    :-)

  15. Noesis Noeseos
    Basil Fawlty

     as I recall, among many other things, she pointed out that nations often do and must act differently in wartime than in peacetime and that the situation on the West Coast was viewed as much more parlous at the time than it is in today’s hindsight.  She also indicated, I believe, that the Supreme Court decisions upholding the constitutionality of the relocations have never been overturned…. · 1 hour ago

    Thank you for replying.  I don’t want to seem petty, especially since I haven’t read Malkin’s book.  I’ll only say that there are a number of the Court’s decisions from FDR’s time that ought to be overturned but haven’t.  Wickard v. Filburn is a favorite target of our friends Epstein and Yoo.  Granted, there are different issues in Korematsu, but Justice Robert’s and Justice Jackson’s dissents are more in keeping with the Constitution as understood by most of us at Ricochet.

  16. Dave Carter
    C
    Benbern Anke: Small correction (improvement?):

    FDR’s order called for “internment”, not “interment” of Japanese-American citizens……..”interment” is what we did to each other on the islands of the Pacific from 1945-1945

    :-) · 2 hours ago

    Good catch.  Thank you!  

  17. Basil Fawlty
    Noesis Noeseos

    . · 1 hour ago

    Thank you for replying.  I don’t want to seem petty, especially since I haven’t read Malkin’s book.  I’ll only say that there are a number of the Court’s decisions from FDR’s time that ought to be overturned but haven’t.  Wickard v. Filburnis a favorite target of our friends Epstein and Yoo.  Granted, there are different issues in Korematsu, but Justice Robert’s and Justice Jackson’s dissents are more in keeping with the Constitution as understood by most of us at Ricochet. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 1 hour ago

    I’d agree.  But until we have five Ricochet votes on the SCOTUS to tell us what’s constitutional, I suspect Korematsu isn’t the first decision we would like to see overturned.

  18. Noesis Noeseos
    Basil Fawlty

    Noesis Noeseos

    . · 1 hour ago

      … Justice Robert’s and Justice Jackson’s dissents are more in keeping with the Constitution as understood by most of us at Ricochet. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 1 hour ago

    I’d agree.  But until we have five Ricochet votes on the SCOTUS to tell us what’s constitutional,… · 48 minutes ago

    May the good Lord hasten the day!

  19. Noesis Noeseos
    Basil Fawlty: Those interested in a contrarian view on this subject may wish to track down a copy of Michelle Malkin’s  In Defense of Internment.  Any book that generated the outrage this one did is probably worth a look. · 47 minutes ago

    The only possible defense I can think of for the internment would be that it was necessary to protect the Japanese-Americans from the savagery of their neighbors, which if Give Me Liberty is right, wouldn’t have occurred if it hadn’t been whipped up.  Even then, it took some fancy footwork to square it with the Constitution; but, of course, the Court under Roosevelt had already got plenty of training in acrobatics, hadn’t it?

    It’s also worth remembering that Japanese in Hawaii weren’t interred en masse, even though they would have been in a position to do more damage as spies, had they so chosen.  That Japanese who repatriated might have been treated worse is of no moment.  What is wrong is wrong, even if softened with baseball diamonds.

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