Franklin Roosevelt and Earl Warren have always gotten a bad rap from history over the Japanese internment program. They assembled and implemented this plan immediately in the days after the attack on Pearl Harbor beginning in December of 1941.
The big problem has always been presentism, which is the erroneous belief of portraying, elucidating or inferring the past from the perspective of current-day knowledge and understandings. This is the mistake too many of the politically correct classes make about
American history, in an effort to tear down or remake.
But Pearl Harbor was 75 years ago, we were a different country and Americans were downright scared, with widespread rumors of more aerial bombings of more cities, sabotage and targeting of civilians.
At the time of the attack, there were hundreds of thousands of Japanese in America and the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor did little to engender sympathy for them, especially after it was later discovered that they’d been using their embassy and legations to spy on America, particularly in Honolulu. There was simply no way of knowing who could be a Japanese terrorist and who was not.
It would have been worse, however, had it not been for Francis Biddle, FDR’s attorney general. Both J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and the Department of the Army wanted to round
up and detain every Japanese citizen in America, regardless of their status. But Biddle persuaded FDR that the government needed to only detain those they thought a possible threat.
Thousands were later rounded up and send to internment camps, many in the desert southwest but not all. They were also in Montana, and in a little town named Lordsburg in New Mexico. Lordsburg was at the confluence of history as it was the furthest eastern internment camp and the farthest western German POW camp.
Japanese Americans weren’t the only ones whose civil rights were violated. Anglo Americans were also subjected to government imposed regulations involving free speech, assembly, movement, and the economy. Stop and searches were routine. The First Amendment was essentially cast aside. “Loose Lips.”
True, native born Americans were not forced into camps and had many of their personal possessions taken away, but all Americans were subjected to one form of government coercion or another in the name of successfully conducting warfare against the Empire of Japan and later Nazi Germany and constitutional rights often took a backseat to security in fighting World War II. And German Americans were also interred (in lesser numbers) though this has never received the coverage which Japanese interment has received.
The problem frankly was the hundreds of thousands of undocumented alien Japanese in the Hawaiian territories and on the West Coast, especially in California. the problem had been an often balky and frankly inefficient immigration service. As an example, Mexican workers crossed the border, sometimes daily, to work and look for work, with no one to stop them.
Today, we have a similar problem involving millions of illegal aliens, not just from south of the border but increasingly from the Middle East, re-settlers thanks to the policies begun by George W. Bush and continuing with Barack Obama.
Exacerbating things, since the mid 1960s, we have a immigration policy that has favored immigrants from Africa, South America and other Third World countries, over those from Northern Europe. Our Judeo Christian heritage has been badly diluted, especially since the Obama government told the US Catholic Bishops to favor more Rohingya Muslims from Burma.
Now, according to the plans of the Obama administration, tens of thousands of Syrians will be resettled in America, without proper background checks. In this age of terror, wouldn’t it be prudent to halt this? Yet Obama has said he wants to “increase and accelerate” the number of Syrian refugees coming into America, leaping over those who have waited for years for legal status.
Adding to suspicions is the widespread corruption of the US government, with billions disappearing down the rat hole of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
In fact, a slow motion invasion has been taking place for years in Europe, with refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, the forces of political correctness propelling them forward.
Some years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen, then chief of naval operations, made the comparison between Sept. 11 and Dec. 7, 1941. “There were clearly two competing visions of the world: one of freedom, the other of tyranny.” Reportedly, Osama bin Laden was obsessed with Pearl Harbor, just as Tojo was consumed with hatred for America.
Paris may have just been a dress rehearsal for something larger and even more devastating. A larger attack is something that keeps intelligence officials awake at night.
While the Japanese used their military to conduct warfare, ISIL does not abide by anything resembling the Geneva Conventions. Will the European powers and the powers that be in the United States have the strength and integrity to round up and isolate suspected terrorists from the Middle East, should a massive new attack come? Or better yet, before the attack comes?
During the Vietnamese boat lift, liberal Sen. George McGovern sniffed that “Asians people should stay in Asia.” The boat people were an embarrassment to America’s avant garde liberals, as Vietnam and Cambodia were not the workers’ paradise promised by Jane Fonda and others, but instead, “killing fields” created by murderous communist thugs, who’d enjoyed the support, of Fonda and others.
Syrians and Jordanians are already here, but it would be a mistake to assume all have nothing but good intentions for the rest of us.
Craig Shirley is the author of "Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America," "Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All," "December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World" and “Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, and has been named the first Reagan scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater. He appears regularly on Newsmax TV, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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