Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fine example of pro-reperations brainwashing

Take a read at how one young person celebrated Pearl Harbor Day. Who do you think is putting such ideas in the minds of our young people. Your taxpayer dollars being spent by the Japanese American Reperations Movement.

December 7, 2007
Sorry, FDR, But December 7th Probably Lives in Less Infamy Than Your Internment Order

The most unfortunate victims of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor--which happened 66 years ago today--were surely the 2,333 military personnel who lost their lives.

FDR called it, "a date which will live in infamy." Perhaps in 1941, a surprise attack on another country's military was infamous. But considering that in 1986 the U.S. launched a surprise attack on another country's civilians, 12/7 looks a lot less infamous than the direct domestic aftermath, felt especially keenly here in the Northwest.

The 2nd-most unfortunate victims of Pearl Harbor were thousands of Americans of Japanese descent who, in response to the attack, were unlawfully forced into internment camps. (The 3rd-most unfortunate victims were the 26 people who saw the Michael Bay film.)

Though President Reagan eventually signed legislation apologizing for internment and providing restitution to surviving victims, internment remains a controversial issue.

Case in point #1: When we were at NYU, a history professor lecturing on WWII called "ridiculous" the assertion that the U.S. only dropped the bomb on Japan because the Japanese are Asian, that we wouldn't have used the bomb on Germany because Germans are white.

"Well," someone piped up, "but we interned people of Japanese descent during the war, and not those of German descent."

"Yes, but Japanese-Americans weren't as integrated into society as German-Americans," he said.

We knew that was wrong.

"No, that's not true," we said. "I'm from Seattle, and there Japanese-Americans attended integrated schools, played baseball, spoke only English--they were no less American than anyone else, and yet they were interned, too."

"Were you there?" he said, coldly. We responded in the negative. "Well then you really don't know what happened, do you?"

Case in point #2: A 2004 Cornell poll found that 44% of Americans favor curtailing the civil rights of Muslim-Americans. The current administration hasn't gone anywhere near that far (instead choosing to curtail everyone's civil rights), but another Pearl Harbor/9-11 like attack could spur a law & order administration (We're looking at you, Giuliani), to consider internment again. Surely public opinion would be behind them.

FDR's decision to intern Japanese-Americans has been justified by some who say that Japanese-Americans may have been safer in the camps. To wit, this 12/8/1941 statement by then-Seattle-mayor Earl Millikin (courtesy NW Historylink): "Seattle must have tolerance toward American-born Japanese, most of whom are loyal. But I also want to warn the Japanese that they must not congregate or make any utterance that could be used as grounds for reprisals."

That same day, adds HistoryLink essayist Greg Lange, "Seattle Police Chief Herbert Kimsey announced that patrols would be placed around the 'Japanese quarter' and stated that anti-Japanese riots would be 'crushed with force.'

Instead of condemning this local racism gone amok, FDR justified it. Let's hope a future president doesn't repeat his infamous mistake.

For more, check out this essay on Bainbridge Island's Japanese American internment by Seattle Prep student Jack Hanley. Hanley won first place in a HistoryLink essay competition for the piece. Hanley's also one of the top returning players on the Prep basketball team. Word!