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Executive order 9066 …


Water color by Henry Fukuhara, an internee at Manzanar, who died this month at 96. Read about his remarkable life in the above references

February is one of those months with a number of remembrance days far in excess of its’ own scant days. Groundhogs, Valentines, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s birthday, Mardi Gras. Ash Wednesday, Purim.

I had a note from a student’s mother today reminding me that February 19th is the day in 1942 on which Executive Order 9066 was signed. This is a day remembered in the Japanese-American community for the disruption of lives up and down the west coast, the settlement of thousands into internment camps, and the diaspora that followed.

It is worth remembering here.


It is also remembered in Daily Messages on the Williams Website:

Executive Order 9066
On this day in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Exec. Order 9066, authorizing “removal of resident enemy aliens”, to what were described as “military areas”. U.S. citizens or not, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned in these camps, ruining lives and livelihoods in the process. MORE: http://www.williams.edu/messages/show.php?id=12644 from Rebecca Ohm, Williams College Libraries

An informed reader adds this:

There was a national effort started in 1942 to get Japanese-American students from the internment camps to colleges that would accept them in the midwest and east. It was initially organized with the help of the Friends Service Committee and John Nason (then President of Swarthmore and later President of Carleton College in the 1960s) was tapped to head the operation from 1942 to 1945.

(Nason’s LA Times obituary with considerable detail on his relocation efforts.
“Nason was chairman of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, formed in early 1942, a few months after America entered the war.
It was started by the heads of several West Coast colleges who were distressed that the military roundup of people of Japanese descent was disrupting the higher education of thousands of students.
Resisting widespread prejudice, Nason helped convince colleges and universities in the East and Midwest to accept the Japanese American students.
Under his guidance, the council painstakingly matched students and campuses, advised them on majors, arranged transportation and provided chaperons to shepherd them to their new schools, which often were in small towns with few, if any, Japanese faces.”

Anyone with stories or additional facts, please add to this post!

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#1 Comment By Dick Swart On February 20, 2010 @ 9:25 am

I notice that my post on Exec Order 9066 has been id’d in a category. This is as it should be and I rarely do it.

However, I would not have put it under ‘Politics’, particularly with the implications and trivializing associations of the word as used today.

Considering the apology given by the President of the United States and the reparations paid to Japanese-Americans, I would have tried for a category name like ‘Humanity’.


#2 Comment By PTC On February 20, 2010 @ 9:45 am

Dick- Good catch.

I know one thing for sure, I lost a lot of good relatives in WW2… I do not agree with what was done to Japanese Americans, but I don’t view it as completely evil either. None of us have visibility on the information the gov had to make this decision… A lot of Japanese Americans served on our side in the war, so it is not as if we were 100% distrustful of people because of racial profiling.

To my knowledge, all my relatives faught against the Germans. One Grandfather during WW1 who was sunk on the USS Lincoln, one great uncle who was killed/shot down over the channel, my other Grandfather was on the Roosevelt during WW2, and another great uncle who was shot down in Eastern Europe and spent months humping around the Serbian mountains with partisans who braught him to safety.

The World was at war. War is an ugly buisiness. These events were wrong… but not evil.

Not sure if we had a similar program in place for German Americans, but it would surprise me if we did not profile German Americans in some way during WW2. No doubt, people were targeted for connections they had to nations that we were involved in a brutal struggle against.

#3 Comment By PTC On February 20, 2010 @ 10:01 am

I also think it is important to remember that Over 60 million people were killed in WW2. Americans are often hard on ourselves for wrongdoing… and that is important, part of what makes us “good”, in fact- but we should keep these events in perspective.

We were the good, that helped defeat evil.

#4 Comment By rory On February 20, 2010 @ 11:13 am

@PTC: We were the good, yet could do evil in pursuit of the good. An interesting aspect of many conflicts is that good/bad is rarely as easy to demarcate as it was in WWII, yet still the good side could make mistakes.

#5 Comment By Dick Swart On February 20, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

As much as the deconstruction of DK’s reference book is appreciated, I guess because I live in Hood River, Oregon, I am more aware of the individual effects on people than other old geijins. And I am hoping the effects of 9066 will be understood at this personal level of a group of American citizens loss’ of sense of worth and value and the struggle to reclaim their lives and property.

Jim Azumano ’69,when he was our County executive and I went down to the American Legion for the opening of the Japanese-American Society exhibit on the internment and later treatment and handling of returning civilians and servicemen of the most-decorated Army unit in WWII, the all-volunteer 442nd Infantry battalion. Given the history and actions, this was a deliberate and fitting venue.


It was a very satisfying moment for Jim.

Individual family stories, particularly the Yasui family of Hood River, tell the story through the particulars rather than the aerial view of historians.


And following up on the educational opportunities for the young men and women, American citizens, cited by an informed reader in the post above, this story on late graduations:


As I mentioned above, my purpose in this post is to share this human experience.


#6 Comment By David On February 20, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

I have moved the Malkin-related comments to a new thread. Those interested should comment there.

#7 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On February 20, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

Yes– let’s try to move side discussions like this to separate threads. (We’ll have a better way to do this, in the future).

#8 Comment By Dick Swart On February 20, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

Prof Sam Crane, in the post ‘Ruining Lives and Livelihoods’ (above) has cited President Ronald Reagan’s remarks on signing the Bill Providing Restitution for the Wartime Internment of Japanese-American Civilians on August 10, 1988.

It is a fitting inclusion on this post dedicated to recognizing the consequences of the internment, rather than debating the question of a decision made on the information available in the day.


“The Members of Congress and distinguished guests, my fellow Americans, we gather here today to right a grave wrong. More than 40 years ago, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in makeshift internment camps. This action was taken without trial, without jury. It was based solely on race, for these 120,000 were Americans of Japanese descent.

“Yes, the Nation was then at war, struggling for its survival and it’s not for us today to pass judgment upon those who may have made mistakes while engaged in that great struggle.

Yet we must recognize that the internment of Japanese-Americans was just that: a mistake. For throughout the war, Japanese-Americans in the tens of thousands remained utterly loyal to the United States. Indeed, scores of Japanese-Americans volunteered for our Armed Forces, many stepping forward in the internment camps themselves. The 442d Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese-Americans, served with immense distinction to defend this nation, their nation. Yet back at home, the soldier’s families were being denied the very freedom for which so many of the soldiers themselves were laying down their lives.”

#9 Comment By kthomas On February 20, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

So– does the plaque at Manzanar, still read, that the internees came “volunatarily?”

#10 Comment By Parent ’12 On February 20, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

@Dick Swart:

This is quite a post. It’s striking how through the lens of memory we can try to better our lives and those of others. In reading the obituaries, I was struck by how the artist had not only transcended the personal, internment at Manzanar, but also made a very tangible connection with his watercolors to others, who in turn had their lives enriched through art.

I want to add to the links provided by your “informed reader” about honorary degrees. As a graduate of the University of California, I receive email notices similar to the updates provided to Williams alumni, which is how I got the following information.

The UC campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Davis have given honorary degrees at recent commencement ceremonies to Japanese-Americans who had to stop their education and leave their homes for the internment camps. UCLA will be honoring their alumni this spring. If anyone knows of someone who was a student at UCLA in 1942 and had to withdraw because of Exec Order 9066, please have them or their family contact UCLA.




#11 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 20, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

Lovely post. Thanks Dick (and a special thanks to “informed reader”).

Here is a short piece on the Manzanar plaque controversy. At the bottom is a bit about Ansel Adam’s views on the internment:

Ansel Adams’ words of wisdom Origami
Ansel Adams suffered greatly during World War II from his views that the Manzanar Concentration Camp was wrong. History has ultimately championed his viewpoint, and the words from his 1944 book “Born Free and Equal” to raise awareness of the relocation camps are worth remembering. “We must be certain that, as the rights of the individual are the most sacred elements of our society, we will not allow passion, vengeance, hatred, and racial antagonism to cloud the principles of universal justice and mercy”.

#12 Comment By Derek On February 20, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

Some historical perspective:

On the issue of Japanese Americans fighting for the US in WWII: They were only allowed to do so after internment, and service was an alternative to internment. They were not allowed to fight against Japan. They served in a segregated unit that by some measures was the most decorated in WWII. Oh: And more Japanese Americans renounced their citizenship than served in WWII.

As for whether German- (or Italian-) Americans were interned: No. But about 5000 NATIONALS were, and of course that is what makes Japanese-American (“Nisei”) internment so awful — these were US citizens.

Whether it was “evil” or not matters less than understanding that it was wrong.


#13 Comment By Dick Swart On February 20, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

Thank you, Parent ’12 for the research and report on the catching up and closure taking place on California campuses!

Thanks, Jr. Mom, for your follow-up on the plaque and the Ansel Adams book

Here is a very interesting piece on Manzanar, the Owens Valley, Ansel Adams viewed pro and con, the plaque, and the racism that was and still is..


and Ansel Adams book ‘Born Free and Equal’

#14 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 20, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

Here’s an Owen’s Valley site worth exploring. A commenter talks about Fukuhara.


#15 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 20, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

Whether it was “evil” or not matters less than understanding that it was wrong.

Well said, Derek.

#16 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 1:52 am

Derek/ Rory- Well, it is important to put it into perspective. We owe an apology… ok. But should’nt we think past self guilt in these instances. Reparations? Ok… how much then? How much money do we give to those who we put in tents during a conflict that killed over 60 million people, and destroyed entire nations?

Modern example- most of us here agree that rendition and treatement that violates suspected foreign terrorists basic human rights is wrong- but should we in turn give them the full rights of citizenship with a trial by jury?

We need to guard against being reactionary instances when what we have done violates our ethic- use reason to come up with solutions to problems within the boundaries of our basic principles, or else we end up with rules that do not make sense, and hurt the national interest.

An American trial for a suspected foreign terrorist, being a modern example of that.

#17 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 2:48 am

Reparations already happened for Japanese-American internment. Two decades ago. This is part of the historical record. The fact that 60 million people perished in WWII is pretty much irrelevant to the issue of what we did to American citizens who had committed no crime.

Anyone arrested on charges of a crime on American soil is granted Constitutional rights. This has always been the case. And it should be. We can have the terrorism is or is not a crime debate, but if they are arrested on American soil, they have Constitutional rights. For example, what happened with those accused of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings? Richard Reid? People who clearly want to grind an ax but who don’t know the facts keep insisting that the idea of trying terrorists in criminal court represents some sort of radical departure. It does not.


#18 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 3:04 am

dcat- Those cases were before 9/11. I think that changed the battlefield somewhat…

Also, what about in a case where the individual is not an American? For example, should a terrorist from Yemen caught here with a car bomb be subject to arrest and standard criminal prosecution? I do not think it is a clear case of axe grinding, although for sure, propaganda, anger and politics weigh in heavily, which can muddy the waters in the creation of the right balance. That is why we need to be careful in how reactionary we our to our own wrongdoing. Use reason to solve these issues… while affording suspects basic human rights.

So, we close Gitomo… what then? Put these foreign combatants in an American prison? What rights should they be afforded?

People that we have captured and will capture in the future who we want to keep under our jurisditcion… what do we do with them? Bring them from Pakistan (or wherever) to the USA for a trial and prison?

Not at all easy questions…

#19 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 3:14 am

Richard Reid: Both not American and convicted of events after 9/11.

I agree — these are not easy issues. But the response to Obama’s so far careful decision-making process has been not criticism and debate but outrage. The outrage, and thus the presupposition that these answers are easy and obvious, have been coming from Obama’s critics, not his supporters.

I am teaching my Global Terrorism class this semester and if there is one takeaway lesson I try to get across is that very few of these issues involve easy answers. I would be happy for effective military tribunals to be the final location for these trials. But the problem is the whole fruit of the poisoned tree — the Bush administration’s torture and other policies made getting any conviction more difficult, perhaps impossible.

Complexity is good. The world is a complex place. If we all recognized that it would make a whole lot of these debates go down a little easier.


#20 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 3:18 am

… i am aware that the shoe bomb was after 9/11…and that the Japanese Americans were indeed paid…

I am making points about the larger policy considerations… and how we should react to such cases- “when we have done something wrong.”

Just because we made some mistakes in our initial treatment of enemy combatants after 9/11 does not mean that we should drastically change policy to afford everyone “Bill of Rights” types of protections… or American criminal system procedings…

This is a war, and we are talking about the enemy. That should not be lost in all this… same as losing are values and letting this in turn allow the government to abuse power would be wrong.

#21 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 3:22 am

But that’s the point — we would NOT be changing policy. The policy in American history has always been to provide Bill of Rights Protections and criminal system proceedings for those accused of terrorism and other crimes. The change would be NOT to do so. The Reagan Administration’s policy was to treat terrorists as criminals. Ditto the first Bush administration, the Clinton administration, and in practice if not rhetoric, that was the approach for most of the Bush administration.


#22 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 3:23 am

corss posted… thanks for the response..

#23 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 3:28 am

dcat- exactly… what should we do? In the case of the Japanese internment… we changed policy to address a threat, or a perceived threat. In that case, it was wrong. But is it always wrong… and to what degree?

Should afghanistan right now be more of a police action… with civilian type rules- or more of a military action? When do you transition from military operations to peacekeeping- and what cicumstance allowes people fighting to revert back to warfare? Who has the authority to make that call? The man on the ground- or does it need to come from someone else who is not there, perhaps even a civil authority?

Not at all easy questions to answer.

#24 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 3:28 am

Sure. Must sleep. Cannot read any more undergrad papers. Eyes and brain hurting.


#25 Comment By JeffZ On February 21, 2010 @ 7:23 am

PTC, there is a great article in this week’s New Yorker regarding precisely these issues (what do do with terrorists caught here, etc.). I definitely suggest you and anyone else interested read it. I have a post coming on Monday in which I link to it, because it quotes an Eph.

And yes, just because someone is not an American citizen does not mean they don’t possess constitutional rights related to criminal acts committed on US soil. If, for example, a recent illegal immigrant shoots someone, we can’t just say, oh, they’re not a citizen, let’s just dispense with that whole pesky jury trial thing and just lock them away without indictment, trial, jury by peers, and procedural rights (not for the underlying criminal offense, certainly, I’m not talking about ICE proceedings here, that is totally different). The fact is, it is well-established that, as a general rule, criminal procedural rights apply to citizens and non-citizens alike.

In any event, some point, if you start saying, we are going to NOT afford rights to certain types of people based on conduct in the United States, where do you draw the line? It is a far more powerful statement to the world to say, guess what, we have the greatest system of justice in the history of mankind, and we don’t need to ignore or circumvent that system of justice just because someone is EXTRA bad. The system works. It is exceedingly rare for someone to escape justice on a technicality in circumstances in which there is overwhelming evidence of guilt, and it has become rarer still in light of recent SC precedent undermining the exclusionary rule (which, most people don’t realize, is actually a balancing test and does not automatically apply). We instead will remain true to our core values and STILL convict these evil-doers, still lock them away for ever, or worse. There is no evidence that dispensing with rights has ever (a) harmed conviction rates for terrorists or (b) led to achieving better intelligence prior to conviction. On the contrary, the evidence suggest the opposite. So why needlessly compromise our values when it isn’t even leading to proven better results? It’s not even a case of the means justifying the ends, as is often implied.

(Again, I encourage you to read the Holder New Yorker article for his perspective on these issues, which is far more articulate than my own).

#26 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 7:43 am


But this is a war… and they are the enemy. Should those rights apply? I know the devil is in the details- how does one define the enemy etc, etc- but in a case where the person is clearly a radical extremist attempting to conduct a terorist act, or caught after conducting a terrorist act- and not from here- should they be afforded the protection of our justice system? I do not beleive they should. Not because they are extra bad- but because they are the enemy.

For example, if a Japanese pilot had been shot down over pearl harbor, should they be treated like a criminal? I do not think they should. Suppose a soldier approaches the wreckage of the aircraft, or a police officer, should he be forced as a matter of law to afford the enemy pilot of the plane the rules under our constitution, or can he indeed kill that person legally under circumstances where he normally could not? For example, what if he does not have time to asses hostile intent… because he is getting bombed or straffed while trying to approach the aircraft?

Would it be wrong for a sailor to shoot an enemy aircraft downed in the ocean… in an attempt to kill the pilot and sink the plane… even if the hostile ability of that aviator has been removed? Should there be an investigation if he does?

I do not think this enemy deserves any consideration other than basic human rights once captured. We disagree. Giving the enemy a platform for follow on attacts and propaganda is a bad idea. Also, you failed to give an opinion about warfare overseas, and when, more importantly who, should make the decision on when and how to use peace time or combat rules.

I notice, that New York city is no longer excited about having the trial there.

#27 Comment By JeffZ On February 21, 2010 @ 7:59 am

My favorite part of the article is when Holder (I believe) takes down Guiliani, when he (I’m sure correctly) points out that were Giuliani still USA for NYC, he would be insulted by a suggestion that his office couldn’t handle this trial. Our system of justice works, for terrorists and non-terrorists alike. We only provide a propaganda platform when we lock people up without rights, torture them, deny them access to basic due process. Really, which do you think is better propaganda platform — crazy rantings during a jury trial in which we show the world that, unlike most Middle Eastern countries, we give people a right to defend themselves, then showing just how specious those defenses were, and just how horrible their motivations and actions are? Or, a chance for these people to by martyred at the hands of the evil behemoth who isn’t even confident event in its evidence to let it come out in the public? It is a much better pitch for a terrorist seeking sympathy / converts to show photos of Abu Ghraib, or dead Muslim children, or share stories of innocent taxi drivers locked up for years and years without any charges or rights, than it is to show photos of the US Constitution or a criminal jury trial open to the public. We should be proud of who we are as a country, now apologize for or cower from it.

By the way, I am talking about crimes being committed on American soil, not soldiers captured in Afghanistan. That is an easy distinction to make. When we are in an perpetual and never ending war on an emotion, the war on terror, we simply can’t distinguish between who is and is not an enemy combatant in many cases. Is Timothy McVeigh? the Fort Hood shooter? What if the Alabama professor had yelled out “allah akbar” before she gunned down her colleagues? Would that make her a terrorist? Do you have to be brown? Muslim? It is just hard to make a constitutional distinction in these cases. This isn’t WWII where we were at war with a country. We are at war with a global network of people from different background, countries, with different motivations, and as the Fort Hood case demonstrates, we can’t even agree when someone is or is not a terrorist. So why not err on the side of caution and give all domestic criminals rights, especially when those rights (a) don’t harm conviction rights (b) help America’s global image and (c) actually lead to BETTER actionable intelligence (catch more flies with honey than vinegar, after all) according to everything I’ve read and heard. I see a HUGE downside to denial of rights, but no real upside.

#28 Comment By JeffZ On February 21, 2010 @ 8:11 am

One more clarification. I think we can label the conflict in Afghanistan as a “war” and act accordingly, for example, but shooting down and/or capturing enemy soldiers. But unfortunately, the possibility of individual terrorists, or small groups of terrorists, targeting Americans (or more broadly, mentally imbalanced or just plain evil people who employ terrorist rhetoric and/or techniques) will always exist, and we can’t perpetually act as if any crime committed by a certain class of people, or in certain manner, is an act of war. I mean, how about the guy who flew his plane into the IRS? Had he survived, would you advocate sending him to Guantanamo instead of trying him in criminal courts? He is a terrorist, even if not Muslim. This is a “war” that will never end, it is not a case of a short-term cessation of some “normal” rights targeting a narrow foreign entity for a fixed duration. It’s just not even remotely comparable.

#29 Comment By JeffZ On February 21, 2010 @ 8:11 am

“by” shooting down, woops

#30 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 8:36 am

I think you can, in most cases, without a doubt, draw a distinct line of difference between random acts comitted by American Radicals/ other groups and the mentally ill, and acts comited by members of Al Q. In those cases, I do not believe the person should be afforded American style jurisprudence.

I do not think the lines are as fuzzy as you make out Jeffz- the danger is that we allow it to be made that way and give the gov too much power over civil liberties- but the reality is that it is fairly easy to draw the distinction between criminals and member of Al Qeada. I don’t think members of Al Qaeda should be afforded our civil liberties. We disagree.

#31 Comment By jeffz On February 21, 2010 @ 9:26 am

We do. I still don’t understand why we need to, what goals you hope to accomplish via denial of rights … I really don’t see much, if any, upside, when we are able to convict these people anyway, and we seem to gather as good, or better, intelligence even when we do afford them rights. It’s not as if proven terrorists are going free because they’ve been prosecuted in civilian courts — never, to my knowledge, has that happened. Nor do I see a principled way to make a distinction (again, what is someone hates America but isn’t formally affiliated with Al Qaeda? If truly is a slippery slope, as demonstrated by the debate over the Ft. Hood case). Again, I definitely recommend reading the New Yorker article.

#32 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 9:57 am

I’ll read the article..

Did I nmiss the link?

#33 Comment By Dick Swart On February 21, 2010 @ 10:18 am

@dcatsam: @jeffz: @PTC:

You guys have started a great discussion that is a natural off-shoot of the post topic.

When a separate post is established for this topic, I hope you will be able to include the materials that you have entered under ‘comments’ to this post.

Looking forward to more of this discussion!


#34 Comment By jeffz On February 21, 2010 @ 10:22 am

No, it will be posted on Monday a.m., but here is the link in advance:


These issues are, of course, incredibly difficult ones. To me, the hardest issue of all is what to do with people we have captured have expressed a desire to kill or harm Americans and/or who are judged to be, indeed, particularly dangerous / represent an imminent threat, but have as of yet committed to crime? Do we just detain them indefinitely? Or is there something else we can so while still protecting country? In that case, there is no good answer …

#35 Comment By jeffz On February 21, 2010 @ 10:25 am

Good point Dick, I think that makes sense to do. Despite my strong advocacy for one POV on this, if someone could prove to me that we have a serious risk of losing civilian trials of obvious terrorists due to tainted evidence from a prior regime, I can certainly understand the other side on this. At the same time, I think these guys WANT to be martyrs, and I don’t really foresee much difficulty in convicting them in civilian courts, especially with the best agents and prosecutors (I know the rep of the EDVA guys assigned to the case, and it is impeccable, these guys do NOT lose) in the country are working the cases.

#36 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 11:15 am

Re: My comment 12: I made one mistake that I want to address. More Japanese Americans did not renounce their citizenship than joined the service. About 6,000 did renounce their citizenship but there were 18,000 or so who joined the elite 442nd combat team. My mistake. I should have confirmed rather than trusted my memory. Although the fact that so many did join the service seems to do even more to give the lie to the necessity or justifications for internment.

But still, my mistake.


#37 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 11:18 am

All of the verbiage in the world will not change the one basic fact that you keep eliding: That we have always treated such terrorists as criminals, even by and large during the Bush years. There is legitimacy to much of what you say, but could you please stop implying that the Obama administration has somehow changed the rules of the game?


#38 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 11:22 am

9/11 changed the rules of the game. Even for the Obama administration.

#39 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 11:24 am

Jeffz- Sorry, off topic. Did you read the article I posted on Haiti in speak up? Worth a read.


Sorry for being off topic in advance, dick.

#40 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 11:40 am

That is not to say that the Obama Administration handles or should handle such matters the same way that the Bush Administration did… but it does handle things differently than prior to 9/11, no doubt about that. The law has changed significantly (Patriot act), as well as our posture in terms of law enforcement and aggressive pursuit of terrorists at home and abroad.

Do you agree Jeff?

#41 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 11:48 am

Yeah, yeah, yeah — 9/11 changed the rules of the game. But Obama inherited a post 9/11 and post-Bush landscape. I have no idea what “even for the Obama administration” means. That’s bombast, not argument. And one of the things that I teach is that we should not think of it as 9/11 changing things, but rather 9/11 revealing how much the world had changed without us being prepared to deal with it. And that’s a non-partisan argument. The problem with so many criticisms of the Obama administration is that they are drawn from political hackery and a deep reservoir of hypocrisy.


#42 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

Believe it or not… I was not being critical of the Obama administration… more of the train of thought that denies the reality of the war we are in. Obama now understands the war, because he sees it. Before he became President, most of it was hidden from him, so he ran on solid principles and ideals… which is fine… but he has indeed, re tooled since he became aware.

9/11 was a wake up call. I agree. It changed the way we view the world… it changed reailty for us.. It did indeed, change things. I don’t think my argument is poor at all… I think your argument, is based on semantics.

#43 Comment By Parent ’12 On February 21, 2010 @ 12:28 pm


In your earlier comment (#12) you wrote in reference to military service: “They were only allowed to do so after internment, and service was an alternative to internment.”

Only Japanese-Americans who were living on the West Coast were interned. I assume those who were living in Hawaii, the East Coast, etc. were able to volunteer and serve in the military. But, I don’t know. Would you be able to verify one way or the other?

#44 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

Parent ’12 —
Good questions, and I am not 100% certain of the answer, so I don’t want to make another factual error. Hawaii was not yet a state, so I am not certain what bearing that had, but of course there was some minor internment there and the general treatment of that population was not especially good. I think you are right about the East Coast, and I’m sure that is where I got my idea that more internees renounced citizenship than served — more internees than Japanese Americans from the camps, perhaps.

Best —

#45 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

No, my argument is based on the historical realities. 9/11 did not create anything. It made us aware of what had been created. This is not a semantic argument. It is an argument about chronology and the development of Jihadist terrorism — it also points to our lack of preparedness, a legacy of Republican and democratic Presidents and Congresses. But more to the point: None of us need the lecture on the importance of 9/11.

And again, who is denying “the reality” of the war we are in. What is “The reality”? Is it one reality? One real truth? Which war? When did Congress declare this war? Who is it against? Is everyone who commits any sort of terrorist attack subject to it? And again: Why do you keep putting forward that somehow the fulcrum is Obama? For the love of God, PTC, as I keep saying, this is how Obama’s predecessors, including Bush the younger, dealt with the vast majority of terrorism cases.

Many of the ways that Obama “retooled” was not a function of what he did not understand against dealing with terrorism, but rather was the result of not realizing how much his predecessor had fucked it up.


#46 Comment By Parent ’12 On February 21, 2010 @ 1:07 pm


I found a website founded by Japanese-American WWII veterans that could probably answer the questions.

With the completion of the Go For Broke Monument, the organization transitioned its focus on education, establishing itself with a new vision and mission as the Go For Broke National Education Center. Go For Broke today focuses on providing a place and means by which all people can share their stories and recognize how the legacy of their lives contributes to the great American ideals of freedom and equal opportunity for all.

To meet this vision, Go For Broke offers programs to educate students and teachers of the history of Japanese American soldiers of World War II, the Japanese American incarceration, and the civil liberties issues raised by these events.


Rather than find answers to the questions, I got distracted by the fact that Japanese-Americans were in the Military Intelligence Service.

#47 Comment By dcatsam On February 21, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

Parent ’12 —
Thanks for that. Of course the problem is not the ability to find what answers exist — there is a rich scholarship on this issue (which is why thinking Malkin’s book is at all legitimate is especially vexing) — but rather the time I had to go track it all down!

I think we agree on more than we disagree. Let’s not turn this into another needless disagreement.


#48 Comment By PTC On February 21, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

Derek- Definately. My point was, that this war is largely faught covertly, and that the general public, including myself, yourself, others… do not have all the information needed to really understand some of these policies or the general strategies of the current war.

#49 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 21, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

Here is some background regarding Hawaii.

On internment:

In Hawai’i, martial law, complete with curfews and blackouts, was imposed. A large portion of the population was of Japanese descent (150,000 out of 400,000 people in 1937) and internment was deemed not practicable, mostly for economic reasons.

And on army volunteers:

An overwhelming 10,000 men from Hawai’i came forth. However the announcement was met with less enthusiasm on the mainland, where the vast majority of draft age men of Japanese ancestry and their families were held in internment camps. The Army revised the quota, calling for 2,900 men from Hawai’i, and 1,500 from the mainland. Only 1,256 volunteered from the mainland. In the end, around 3,000 men from Hawaii and 800 men from the mainland were inducted.

#50 Comment By Medic5392 On February 21, 2010 @ 9:41 pm


Who said no mistakes were made? I think sometimes people get in the habit of only looking to “deconstruct” or point out the negative aspects of US History. I am not sure why people continue to do that, even when we make mistakes we always have an element at the time and later on that tries to learn from those mistakes and ensure they do not happen again. The demarcation lines are usually very visible, it is moral relativism that has made them difficult to see for some people.

#51 Comment By PTC On February 22, 2010 @ 3:25 am

Medic- Part of my point exactly. Well said by the way.

We beat ourselves up pretty well.. which is a good thing- but we also need to keep perspective on such matters, and avoid reactionary policies that would in turn push us too far to the other end of the spectrum- like giving a foreign terrorist American jurisprudence during a war, or applying American law enforcement standards on the battlefield during war – for example.

Our war time policies when dealing with foreign fighters should be a reflection well thought out rules that apply general international human rights as the standard, not an attempt or close attempt to adhere to the American Bill of Rights.

#52 Comment By rory On February 22, 2010 @ 8:39 am

@Medic5392: where did i accuse someone of not recognizing the mistakes made? (other than malkin).

The desire to be defensive and see my statement as accusatory or moral relativism is bizarre to me. I expressed no position on anything other than that it is interesting that good goals does not mean we use good practices, and good practices does not mean we have good goals.