Thursday, August 05, 2004

More On Malkin's Pseudo-History Part III

Okay, so maybe Wonkette, Neiwert, Robinson, and lots of other smart people (including me, but not, apparently, Glenn Reynolds) shouldn't be so hard on Malkin without reading her defense of internment. Well, Eric Muller has, and he scorches the earth around this weed of a book here and here. Mun-mun graphs:
So Japanese Americans ended up going into guarded camps (call them what you will) because Mountain State governors demanded it. Do you think that the governor of Idaho had access to the MAGIC decrypts, and that he formulated his demand for "concentration camps" on the basis of an evidence-based belief of military necessity? Or do you think maybe something else explained it? (Before you answer, consider also that Governor Clark liked to compare people of Japanese ancestry to "rats," proposed that all American Japanese be sent "back" to Japan (where most of them had never been) and that the Japanese islands then be "sunk," and admitted publicly that his views on the subject were "prejudiced" because he didn't know "which Japs he could trust" and therefore "didn't trust any of them." Or consider that the Governor of Wyoming announced that if the federal government went ahead with its CCC Corps Camp plan, there would be "Japs hanging from every pine tree.") Personally, I don't see how the MAGIC decrypts could have had anything to do with the decision to confine Japanese Americans under military guard in camps, which is probably the central feature of what we call the Japanese American internment.
Michelle is undoubtedly aware that the two most prominently voiced criticisms of the government's program are these:

1. The government evicted all American citizens of Japanese ancestry from their West Coast homes and placed them into camps, but took no action affecting American citizens of German or Italian ancestry. (In other words, if your name was, say Joe Kaminaka or Lou Matsumoto, you were evicted and confined; if your name was, say, Joe DiMaggio or Lou Gehrig, well, uh, you know.)

2. The actions taken against Japanese Americans were absurdly disproportionate to the scope of any security risks of which the government was even arguably aware.

If you're going to defend the program, this is what you've really got to defend, because this is what scholars most commonly and cogently criticize.

How does Michelle's book handle these two tasks?

The quick answer (a longer answer follows): As to (1), the 165-page text includes a single paragraph (on page 64). As to (2), the book says nothing at all.

Read the posts for the longer answer.


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