My vacation starts in less then two weeks, so it’s time to think about what to read. At the top of my list is Hugh Hewitt’s If It’s Not Close They Can’t Cheat. And I was delighted to see it on display at the Borders in the heart of Washington, D.C. That store’s standard for displaying liberal books is pretty low (presumably reflecting the standards of D.C.’s white collar readers) — the book only needs to be written by a known Bush-hater or have words like Bush, liar, hubris and losing in the title. The standard for conservative titles is much higher, but Hugh’s book easily met it and thus appeared alongside Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies, Garrison Keillor’s Homegrown Democrat, Robert Byrd’s Losing America, Maureen Dowd’s Bushworld, House of Bush, House of Saud, Imperial Hubris, and the like.
Also on display, though, was Michelle Malkin’s In Defense of Internment, which has just been released. I believe that this is, in part, a tribute to the respect Michelle has earned here through her columns in the Washington Times. Hers is another book I intend to read. I have long thought that there is another side to the issue of the World War II internments, but this suspicion was based, essentially, on iconoclastic thinking provoked by the fact that, in my daughters’ early public school education, the internment of Japanese-Americans was the single most emphasized event in American history. I’m looking forward to seeing whether, or to what extent, the World War II internments can be defended.
UPDATE: Reader Gary Giumarra has this to say about the World War II internments:
“It amazes me that self-professed conservatives still insist on carrying water for the greatest American icon of the left, FDR, on the issue of WWII internments. The internments were morally wrong, practically unnecessary, and unconstitutional. As far as its unconstitutionality, I know that Justice Scalia ranks the Kurumatsu (sp?) decision as one of the worst in American jurisprudence (I take Scalia over Malkin). As for its necessity, J. Edgar Hoover reported to FDR that the FBI had found no evidence for even a single act of espionage or sabotage amongst Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals. It was immoral because it deprived tens of thousands of people (including tens of thousands of American citizens) of their unalienable right to liberty (as well as effectively depriving them of most of their property) without anything close to due process. FDR’s attorney general was against it, as was the rest o f his cabinet (the closest one of them came to concurring was Sec. Of War Stimson who believed that Japanese nationals, but not American citizens, should be interned).
“Nor is there a direct correlation between mass internments and the use of profiling in law enforcement/homeland security. The one deals only with a temporary administrative inconvenience versus the violation of fundamental rights. I’m for the use of profiling, but I don’t see how Malkin’s quixotic effort to justify the historical side issue of WWII internments will do much if anything to further that cause.
“If you want to read a truly thoughtful account of this event try By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans by Greg Robinson. This book is not without flaws. In it Robinson struggles to reconcile the consensus view of the great humanitarianism of FDR with his cold, calculating, almost reptilian decision to send tens of thousands (including tens of thousands of American citizens) to concentration camps. For conservative there should be no problem here. Far from offering apologia for black mark in American history, we should be citing this as an example par excellence of how far the left will go to achieve their political ends.”
The point Mr. Giumarra makes in the first two sentences of his second paragraph is clearly valid. As to whether there’s a case to be made for the World War II internments, I think the best course for me is to read Malkin’s book and, to the extent it seems persuasive, then read Robinson’s and perhaps Chief Justice Rehnquist’s treatment of the subject in All The Laws But One (hat tip to Joshua Sharf for that source).
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