A lot of buzz about the book this week.
Tom Ikeda and Scott Oki attack it in a Seattle P-I op-ed. Like Greg Robinson, they say none of the information in my book is new, which is untrue. They cite the conclusions of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians without addressing any of the points I raised in my critique of the Commission’s work (see Chapter 10 of my book). They come out against racial profiling on the curious grounds that focusing on a “Syrian shopkeeper” could cause us to “overlook the deadly terrorist who happens to be Caucasian.”
Several letters to the editor that appeared in the P-I earlier this week took issue with the positions I laid out in my Bothell, Wash., speech. Here is an excerpt from one of those letters:
“The fact that Malkin believes she is ‘debunking the “myth” about internment’ (her words) clearly puts her into league with those revisionists who deny the Holocaust,” writes Fritz Stout of Cheney, Wash.
Mr. Stout from Cheney isn’t the only one taking cheap shots at me. Last week, at the UNITY conference in Washington DC, CBS News Anchor Julie Chen mentioned my book in a question to President Bush. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:
Q …Good morning, Mr. President. I’m Julie Chen, with CBS News, and the Asian American Journalist Association.(Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: You’ve got quite a following out there.
Q It is, after all, the season, isn’t it? (Laughter.)
I wanted to ask you about protecting all Americans, as well. There are many Arab Americans and Muslims in this country who find themselves unfairly scrutinized by law enforcement and by society at large. Just yesterday we had arrests in Albany, New York. Immediately afterwards, some neighbors in the community said they feared that the law would come for them unfairly next. We have a new book out today that suggests perhaps we should reconsider internment camps. How do we balance the need to pursue and detain some individuals from not well-known communities, while at the same time keeping innocent people from being painted by the broad brush of suspicion?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I appreciate that. First, we don’t need intern camps. I mean, forget it. (Applause.)
In response, I sent the following letter to Ms. Chen:
It is obvious from your ignorant question to President Bush at UNITY that you did not bother to read my book. In fact, you didn’t even bother to read the back cover of my book, which says, “Make no mistake: I am not advocating rounding up all Arabs or Muslims and tossing them into camps. But when we are under attack, racial profiling’or more precisely, threat profilingis wholly justified.”
If you are interested in practicing responsible journalism, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my book with you in person or on your influential show.
No response as yet. Does this mean I won’t be invited to her wedding?
Elsewhere, in this news article, the Honolulu Advertiser reports that Dale Minami, a prominent Japanese-American actvist, attacked me at the Japanese American Citizens League conference in Honolulu:
Minami cited the league’s famous but “temporary victory” of securing reparations for Japanese internees. Then he struck out at author Michelle Malkin, whose book “In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror” was released Monday.
“The publication of the book proves that no victory is permanent,” Minami said. “This is why we must continue to speak out, why we must continue to teach.”
Minami praised the league’s decision to extend its reach by speaking out against racial profiling of Muslims and Arab-Americans after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said the search for new causes must be the goal of the younger members to keep the organization relevant.
The other major Honolulu paper, the Star-Bulletin, ran an op-ed piece by me earlier this week. To view it, click here then click on “Right From the Start” on the left sidebar. They also ran a column by David Forman, who opposes my position. A note from the editor explains that “we asked David Forman, a member of the Hawaii JACL chapter, to read Malkin’s column before publication and write a response, which is printed below. This is a departure from normal Star-Bulletin practice, but necessary, we felt, given the imminent [Japanese American Citizens League] convention.”
Meanwhile, Eric Muller and Greg Robinson are still hammering away. I hope to have time to respond to them next week.
Correction: A couple of readers have e-mailed that it was Joie Chen, not Julie Chen, as the official White House transcript indicated, who questioned President Bush about the book. I stand corrected and have notified the White House press secretary about the transcript error.blog comments powered by Disqus
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