N.C. Congressman OK with the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII
February 6, 2003 9:58 PM   Subscribe

N.C. Congressman OK with the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII What is even scarier is this man is the head of a Homeland Security subcommittee. This is without question as repelling, hurtful and unfit to come out of US leader as Trent Lott's comments but somehow I do not believe this will get as much press nor condemnation. It is really chilling to wonder how many others on the committees and the Bush administration hold this or similar attitudes. It makes you wonder how far would they go in the name of Homeland Security if they thought they could get away with it.
posted by GreenDragon (28 comments total)
Not technically a double post, but mediareport beat you to it with a post on the same topic about eight hours ago.
posted by ttrendel at 10:02 PM on February 6, 2003

hahaha... these dont last long.

John Ashcroft .. is trying make sure lots of other people dont last long with the administrations new pro-death stance.
posted by specialk420 at 10:07 PM on February 6, 2003

GreenDragon - I'd say about this far
posted by troutfishing at 10:09 PM on February 6, 2003

This isn't that surprising. It's a lot more acceptable to be racist and offensive towards asian americans in public discourse than it is to be racist and offensive towards african americans. Probably just a reflection of the relative political strength of the two groups.
posted by anildash at 10:42 PM on February 6, 2003

Also take a look at previous comments by William Rehnquist and another North Carolina native, Jesse Helms.
posted by neurodoc at 10:47 PM on February 6, 2003

It's a lot more acceptable to be racist and offensive towards asian americans in public discourse than it is to be racist and offensive towards african americans.

Give it a few days, remember the Lott thing didn't take off until a few days after it got onto all those weblogs.
posted by bobo123 at 10:48 PM on February 6, 2003

Josh Marshall keeps score.
posted by pitchblende at 11:29 PM on February 6, 2003

Looks like both Coble and Rep. Sue Myrick of Charlotte - who warned a Heritage Foundation audience last week to beware of all those swarthy convenience store clerks - are in trouble for saying moronic things about race. I'm sure there are centrist Republican strategists who are *screaming* at Karl Rove right now to stop fucking around and tell these idiots once and for all to shut the fuck up about "these Arab-Americans" who run "all the convenience stores across the country." The thought is delicious.

Anil, I understand your point, but from here it looks like this kind of obviously bigoted crap isn't flying anymore for *any* racial group. I'm trying to avoid being pollyannish, but it seems to me this issue is one where the people are *way* ahead of the politicians.
posted by mediareport at 11:38 PM on February 6, 2003

and to complete the NC Congresspeople trifecta, let me present Rep. Cass Ballenger and his lawn jockey.
posted by Vidiot at 11:52 PM on February 6, 2003

Hey, it's one thing to scrutinize people who are on expired visas and such but its a whole nother damn thing to freaking round up multigenerational red white and blue American Citizens including whole families and kids and put them in concentration camps because of their race for crying out loud.

People who dont think it was racial can explain to me why American Citizens of German and Italian descent were not taken by force to concentration camps please. sorry probably preaching to the choir.
posted by mikojava at 12:41 AM on February 7, 2003

mkojava: actually I'm taking an Asian American studies class and we had to come up with reasons that the interment was 'justified'

Anyway, one good argument is that the Japanese would be loyal to their emperor, in an almost religious way. An emperor who had ruled for centuries (IIRC)

On the other hand, there would be no reason to think a German-american would be loyal to hitler, who probably came to power after their family left. It's the same with Italy and musilini.

We did some pretty bad things to germans in WWI, actualy.
posted by delmoi at 1:07 AM on February 7, 2003

Well you must have had to think long and hard to justify an action that the United States has disavowed and paid reparations for. The specious argument that these Americans were loyal to the emperor makes about as much sense as fear that the first Catholic president (JFK) was going to be loyal to the Pope and hand the United States over to the vatican.

You miss the point in explaining what we did bad to "the Germans". The people put in concentration camps were not "the Japanese" they were Americans.
posted by mikojava at 1:49 AM on February 7, 2003

mikojava, I think delmoi meant 'German-Americans'. There's lots of information on the bad treatment of German-Americans during WWI.

BTW, hyphenated-Americans have not always been innocent. I am German-American myself, and grew up in SE Pennsylvania, which has a large German-American population. In the 1930's, the Nazis supported the German-American Bund, which was in essence a Nazi front organization. In my area, the Bund used to meet at local German restaurants and sing Nazi songs. (No, I wasn't alive then, but my parents, who were both German-Americans and New Deal liberals, were very much aware of this, and horrified by it.)

And yes, German-Americans, too, were put in internment camps. Also Italian-Americans, though both in smaller numbers than the Japanese.

When Country A is at war with Country B, anyone with a connection with Country B who is living in Country A is going to be looked upon suspiciously by the A-ians. I'm not justifying the internment of hyphenated-Americans, I'm just sayin'.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:25 AM on February 7, 2003

Yet another racial terrorist from the South working under the banner of the stars and bars.

Somebody sing Dixie, heah?
posted by nofundy at 4:36 AM on February 7, 2003

I'm from the South (Houston, if that even counts anymore) and I'm sick and damn tired of the asshole politicians from other southern states making the rest of the people who hail from same look like racist, idiot buffoons.

This person, Lott and the other rejects in Washington who feel somehow free to spout these comments need to be gone. Out of office, on their ass. Immediately.

Problem is that the people don't really give a rats ass. That would mean that they would have to get off of their couch, quit watching Joe Millionaire or whatever other silly, vapid reality show that's the hit of the moment and concentrate on doing something.

It's a goddamn shame and it's not surprising that we are in the situation we are in with our leaders.

Fuck it, I'm digging a whole in the ground and hiding out for about 87 years.
posted by damnitkage at 7:03 AM on February 7, 2003

I'm from the South as well (Georgia), but I still think the problem with southern politicians like Trent Lott is that southern politics has allowed them to get away with playing this game of denying racism publicly on the one hand and courting racist groups on the other. When the South stops tolerating it and stops voting for these guys (and, indeed, in the South, like everywhere else, only the winner gets into office), maybe things will start looking up.
posted by troybob at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2003

What pisses me and a lot of other people off about Coble's comments is not just that he says it was OK, but he's completely disingenuous about the rationale. Japanese Americans had to be locked up for their own safety, he says. (As we should therefore do with anyone who wears a turban.) It's the mixture of this outward condescension with the behind-the-curtain winking-and-nudging that troybob mentioned that makes this so repugnant.
posted by soyjoy at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2003

If you ever get a chance, I strongly advise that you visit the Japanese American Memorial for Patriotism, located at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue, New Jersey Avenue, and D Street, just a couple of blocks from Union Station in Washington DC. Even in the dead of January (when I was there) it is a lovely, contemplative space that I'm sure tens of thousands of people in DC travel past every day without giving it a second glance. Here is the text of the inscriptions on the monument and here is a better photograph (bear in mind that the curved wall you see in the background is about 6 feet high.

(Interestingly, I can't even seem to find any kind of "official government" website about it. The site that I think used to be the official site - www.njamf.org - has been taken over by some kind of porn web-cam. There have been a couple of nice sites put up by elementary school students, however.
posted by anastasiav at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2003

GreenDragon - to answer your original question, "...It makes you wonder how far would they go in the name of Homeland Security if they thought they could get away with it." -

"Here are just a few Executive Orders associated with FEMA that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen..."

I'm still trying to verify this notorious quote: ' Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-TX, clarified the existence of these civilian detention camps - "the truth is yes -- you do have these standby provisions, and the plans are here ... whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism ... evoke the military and arrest Americans and put them in detention camps." Heck, we did it before (to Americans of Japanese descent), we could do it again....This is not anything new.'

But the FEMA plans are widely recognized: "DRAFT LEGISLATION WOULD SUSPEND CONSTITUTION IN AN EMERGENCY" (Jack Anderson, UPI, 1984) "

Many US conservatives are deeply concerned ("Things are so bad that outgoing house majority leader Dick Armey said that under Bush the federal government is "out of control.") - from 'Covenant News'

For an extremely detailed, source-cited academic discussion of the history of US gov. emergency War Powers

Meanwhile,(Wayne Madsen, writing for CounterPunch)

"An invasion of Iraq or any of the "Axis of Evil" or "Beyond Axis of Evil" nations is likely to result in a response that means American citizens will die here in the U.S. [my note: This is the assesment of the US CIA]. One incident, one aircraft hijacked, a "dirty nuke" set off in a small town, may well prompt the Bush regime, let's say during the election campaign of 2003-2004, to suspend national elections for a year while his government ensures stability.....Many closed-door meetings have been held on these subjects and the notices for these meetings have been closely monitored by the definitive www.cryptome.org. In the event of martial law, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which has already been largely gutted by the USA Patriot Act and other Bush II actions, would cease to exist. Posse Comitatus has, for over 100 years, served as an important criminal law safeguard proscribing the use of the Army (later, the Air Force and Navy) to "execute the laws," except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or by Congress. With the abrogation of Posse Comitatus and the imposition of martial law, the military would, as it did during post-Civil War Reconstruction in the South, be able to arrest and detain civilians for any flimsy reason. Civilian detainees consigned to federal prisons would be under the control of the Bureau of Prisons while those detained by the military would be subject to the regulations imposed by military commanders. The writ of habeas corpus would be suspended and the family members and legal representatives for detainees would not have a right to see them. This situation has already occurred with those detained in the wake of September 11 without a formal imposition of martial law.

Military tribunals could, as they did in Hawaii during the war, try and convict U.S. civilians. If prisons could not hold all the detainees, the government already has plans to create or reactivate large prison camps in the South and West. Some of these were already used to detain Cuban, Vietnamese, and Haitian "boat people."

In the event of martial law, Draconian censorship laws would be implemented. Even now, the Patriot Act grants authority to obtain an order from the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court requiring any person or business to produce any books, records, documents, or items." That law would undoubtedly be extended to encompass the Internet as well. It should be of little wonder why the Pentagon has brought Iran-contra felon Admiral John Poindexter back from retirement to head the Office of Information Awareness. Coupled with the Office of Information Exploitation, Poindexter's office is seeking ways to identify, block, and determine the sources of seditious material posted on the Internet. Blocked web sites, confiscated computers and servers, and the arrest of non-conforming web site managers would become the rule of the day."

'But Then It Was Too Late..."What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after1933, between the government and the people....What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.  And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it." '

Meanwhile, "On Sunday, November 10th [2002], the New York Times announced that 200,000 to 250,000 troops would be used to attack Iraq, while 265,000 National Guard and Reserve personnal would be called to active duty--most of which will be deployed in the United States."
posted by troutfishing at 8:58 AM on February 7, 2003

In remarks about domestic security threats, Rep. Sue Myrick of Charlotte said, "Look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country."

Uh oh, you mean there is a pattern of immigrants working hard in thankless jobs across the nation? Maybe we better go from orange to red.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:51 AM on February 7, 2003

Here's a a bit of a different take on the Japanese in the U.S. during WW2; imperial subjects, and 60% enemy nationals. Unspun, if you will.
posted by hama7 at 3:23 PM on February 9, 2003

That's the biggest load of revisionist history bullshit i've ever seen. You can also find another bit of a different take that suggests that the holocaust never happened.
posted by mikojava at 9:31 PM on February 9, 2003

I'm not sure that it's "revisionist", as much as it is realistic, and has dill pickles to do with anything like the holocaust. In fact, to even mention the gassing and mass murder of Jews in Germany and the Japanese relocation is unthinkably specious.

Did you read the articles? Nobody is suggesting that what happened was nice, and many loyal American citizens suffered loss of property, dignity and business as a result, but it makes one wonder who is doing the revising, doesn't it?

Here's a passage:

"The people who were interned were considered threats to national security, subject to judicial review, and were allowed to have their families accompany them on a voluntary basis. Only some 11,229 Japanese (plus 5,620 Nisei who renounced their U.S. citizenship) were interned, along with 14,426 Germans, Italians, and other enemy aliens. "

Interesting figures. Here's another:

"Today, merely pointing out the historical fact that the government of Japan successfully recruited among the Japanese community and expected that their loyalty would be de facto Japanese is enough to be labeled racist. The doctrine that it is OK to expose the errors of one community, but not the errors of another, is the very essence and basis of racism. Transparency, not politically correct obfuscation, is truly healing and binding.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear here, it was the policy of Imperial Japan to weaponize expatriate Japanese against their host countries (that Magic documents) which eventually lead to the evacuation order. Remember that telling statistic I gave earlier, that 5,620 Nisei had renounced their U.S. citizenship? That there is ample evidence of this Japanese policy. The fault for the evacuations lies not with any racism (as Robinson shrills) from the people of the United States but with the harsh, brutal, Militaristic government of Imperial Japan whose policies created much (not unmerited) suspicion. "

How is that revisionist?
posted by hama7 at 1:57 AM on February 10, 2003

In fact, to even mention the gassing and mass murder of Jews in Germany and the Japanese relocation is unthinkably specious.

Sorry, that should read "relocation in the same sentence is...".
posted by hama7 at 2:05 AM on February 10, 2003

The comparison of the holocaust serves two functions--It documents a time when a government turns on its own people to put them in concentration camps--this is the first level of analogy.

The second level of analogy is that there are people whose political beliefs lead them to deny that the holocaust happened or to minimize the effects of the holocaust. This is an analogy to people like you who want to minimize the harm done by such policies.

"Only some 11,229 Japanese (plus 5,620 Nisei who renounced their U.S. citizenship) were interned" this fits the definition of specious much better than making an analogy. You're either failing to recognize or using sophistry to try to erase the fact that the camps contained over 100,000 people.

What happened was well documented. The account you provide is poorly documented and provides very little corroborating source material although it certainly makes every attempt to sound authoritative in tone. your source has not been peer reviewed, read some books on the subject you'll get a better picture
posted by mikojava at 5:32 PM on February 10, 2003

"Only some 11,229 Japanese (plus 5,620 Nisei who renounced their U.S. citizenship) were interned"

That's right, because only 11,229 plus 5,620 were considered "enemy aliens", "placed in Department of Justice camps under Army control". No American citizen can be "interned". The rest were relocated.

I can't cut and paste the entirety of information provided in the link, but if you'd like to discuss it, could you please take a few moments to read it? Here is Executive Order 9066.

I really wish you wouldn't use phrases like "to people like you". I don't want to minimize anything, I am interested in the truth, aren't you?

Looking forward to more comments.
posted by hama7 at 1:27 AM on February 11, 2003

Yes, the executive order reads very cleanly and is very sanitary and nice. It is an abdication of responsibility to the military to implement policy. It is the implementation which will be problematic.

It's very easy to pick information out of history that supports one point of view. It's disingenuous to label under the search for truth the selective attendance to a small set of facts that serve a political agenda.

General John DeWitt, the commander of the Western Defense Command, sent this memorandum to Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War, on February 13, 1942. It is the most concise extant summary of the reasoning behind the military's request for presidential authority. FDR signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.

The Japanese race is an enemy race... It's in the memo
posted by mikojava at 11:03 AM on February 11, 2003

It's disingenuous to label under the search for truth the selective attendance to a small set of facts that serve a political agenda.

I'd like to think that respect for Americans is not a political agenda.

The fact that 5,620 Americans renounced their citizenship, and 11,229 were active enemies against the U.S. does a great deal to prove the accuracy of the memo, plus the fact that the Japanese government had sent spies and anti-American agents in advance of declaring war upon the United States. That's what Germany and Italy did too.

But your statement that "the Japanese race is the enemy race" is a generalization rather flimsily based the document above, but with little relation to it, and what's more: it's not true, because:

Luckily, proud Americans of Japanese ancestry volunteered for, and formed "the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team proved with their blood that Japanese Americans were loyal Americans, and this famous combat team has long been recognized as the most decorated unit of its size in all U.S. military history". The bravery of these and countless other American soldiers and civilians is widespread knowledge.

Here's some information on the book from the first link:

"A year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a select group of cryptanalysts working in the Army's Signal Intelligence Service broke Japan's highest-level diplomatic code. The messages they recovered from this effort, cover-named MAGIC, revealed the existence of widespread Japanese espionage networks along the West Coast of the United States."

"Forty years after the fact a group of Japanese-Americans, in an effort to obtain punitive damages from the U.S. government, convinced Congress and the American public that the evacuation was not the result of military necessity but that it was the result of "racism, war hysteria and a lack of political will." More than 82,000 former evacuees were paid $20,000 in addition to compensation previously received."

"Former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa, a Japanese-American, felt that this "wolf-pack of dissident young Japanese-Americans" was making an unconscionable raid upon the U.S. Treasury."

Thanks for your comments, look forward to more.
posted by hama7 at 4:00 PM on February 11, 2003

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