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IN DEFENSE OF INTERNMENT

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 3, 2004 06:44 AM

The word is out about my new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for “Racial Profiling” in World War II and the War on Terror. I’ve been keeping it under wraps over the past year as I quietly toiled away in the wee hours of the morning, but since Instapundit kindly mentioned receiving the book yesterday, I am delighted now to share a few more details with you.

The official launch is Monday, August 9. Please check my books page for more info (including documents, bibliography, resources, errata, etc.) and notices of upcoming appearances, speeches, and book signings. For those of you in the Seattle area, I shall return to the Pacific Northwest this Friday, Aug. 6, for a speech sponsored by my friends at KVI-AM. It’s at 7 pm at Cedar Park Church in Bothell. More info is here. Hope you can make it.

My aim is to kick off a vigorous national debate on what has been one of the most undebatable subjects in Amerian history and law: President Franklin Roosevelt’s homeland security policies that led to the evacuation and relocation of 112,000 ethnic Japanese on the West Coast, as well as the internment of tens of thousands of enemy aliens from Japan, Germany, Italy, and other Axis nations. I think it’s vitally important to get the history right because the WWII experience is often invoked by opponents of common-sense national security profiling and other necessary homeland security measures today.

A few things compelled me to write the book. Ever since I questioned President Clinton’s decision to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Japanese-American soldiers based primarly on claims of racial discrimination in 2000, several readers have urged me to research the topic of the “Japanese-American internment.” World War II veterans wrote to say they agreed with my assessment of Clinton’s naked politicization of the medals, but disagreed with my unequivocal statement that the internment of ethnic Japanese was “was abhorrent and wrong.” They urged me to delve into the history and the intelligence leading to the decision before making up my mind.

I was further inspired by some intriguing blog debates last year between Sparkey at Sgt. Stryker and Is That Legal?. After reading a book by former National Security Agency official David Lowman called MAGIC: The untold story of U.S. Intelligence and the evacuation of Japanese residents from the West Coast during WWII, published posthumously by Athena Press Inc., I contacted publisher Lee Allen, who generously agreed to share many new sources and resources as I sought the truth.

The constant alarmism from Bush-bashers who argue that every counter-terror measure in America is tantamount to the internment was the final straw. The result is a book that I hope changes the way readers view both America’s past and its present.

If you are a history buff, you will undoubtedly enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. There are some incredible stories of untold courage and patriotism, as well as espionage and disloyalty, that have been buried in the mainstream WWII literature. If you are a parent with kids in high school, college, or law school, I hope you buy the book for your students or their teachers. And if you are simply an informed citizen, seeking answers about why we have failed to do what’s necessary to combat our enemies on American soil (e.g., airport profiling, immigration enforcement, heightened scrutiny of Muslim chaplains and soldiers, etc.), I hope you buy the book to help gain intellectual ammunition and insights on our politically correct paralysis.

Liberal critics always ask if I’ve ever changed my mind about anything. Yes, I take back what I wrote in 2000; I have radically changed my mind about FDR’s actions to protect the homeland. And I hope to persuade you all to do the same.

It’s a daunting task, I know. This issue is fraught with emotion. Already, the first two reviews at Amazon.com have been posted–one on either side of the debate
by individuals who have obviously not read a single page of the book. Another individual, who also admits she hasn’t read the book, e-mailed the following to me today with the subject headline, “Shame on you:”

I have been a fan of yours since spotting you a while ago on FOX news…and I often agree with your views. I’m therefore appalled to read on Instapundit that you have published a book which endorses the internment of Americans of Japanese descent during WWII…I’m shocked that you would use Michael Moore-ish “truth-telling” to make the case for the internment camps. My parents’ families were interned in the middle of the desert in Arizona, and it was far from the summer-camp-like experience your publisher describes on Amazon.com. You apparently note the many “amenities” in the camps—sounds almost like Moore’s depiction of pre-OIF days in Iraq.

Geez, Louise. She compares me to Michael Moore without having read a single sentence of the actual book.

Neither has Eric Muller, who runs the blog Is That Legal? that I mentioned earlier. (He is also mentioned in my book on p. 352.) Yet, based on the book cover and publisher’s description alone, he comments that they do “not inspire confidence that Ms. Malkin is going to be giving us history that is Fair and Balanced.” He complains that the cover unfairly likened “a Japanese-American man to Mohammed Atta”–but he does so without bothering to find out who the man on the cover is. He is Richard Kotoshirodo, a Japanese-American man who by his own admission assisted the Honolulu-based spy ring that fed intelligence to Tokyo that was key to the design of the Pearl Harbor attack. Every scholar and student who writes about Roosevelt’s decision to evacuate the West Coast should know his name and story.

I expect much more emotion-driven criticism like this in days and weeks to come. And I look forward to whatever substantive debate the other side can muster up.

All that said, the fact that the book is being published at all is what made all the hard work of the past year–and the harsh ad hominem attacks sure to come–worth it. Most publishers wouldn’t touch this with a 100-foot pole, and I am grateful to Regnery Publishing for fully embracing my idea. Everything else is icing on the cake (though it would be nice to outsell fluffball Maureen Dowd).

So, stay tuned. I think we are in for a wild but very necessary and educational ride.

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