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THE END OF A REASONED DEBATE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 8, 2004 06:25 AM

Law professor Eric Muller’s critiques of my book, which began reasonably enough in early August, have degenerated into irrationality.

Muller’s descent began shortly after I pointed out copious factual errors and mischaracterizations in his posts–errors that remain uncorrected and unacknowledged to this day.

A few days later, Muller signed the hysterical letter by the newly-formed “Historians’ Committee for Fairness.” Although Muller himself is not a credentialed historian, the letter attacked me because (among other things) “Malkin is not a historian.” The letter was roundly criticized in the blogosphere.

Evidence of Muller’s unravelling continued when he posted this entry drawing a scurrilous parallel between my argument and that of Holocaust deniers (a predictable tactic I mentioned on p. xviii of my book).

Muller, clearly losing all sense of academic propriety, has now taken to associating himself with the uninformed and bitter mutterings of Vox Day.

Finally, Muller has grandly declared victory (“It’s Over”) because I “conceded” that the Roosevelt Administration was primarily concerned about hit-and-run raids on the West Coast rather than a massive amphibious invasion. Sorry to pop your bubble of self-delusion, professor, but this was no concession. It’s the exact same argument I made in my book. I wrote on page 12: “While a full-scale Japanese invasion of the U.S. mainland was considered unlikely, hit-and-run raids were, in the view of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, “not only possible, but probable in the first months of the war, and it was quite impossible to be sure that the raiders would not receive important help from individuals of Japanese origin.”

I expect these kind of distortions from second-tier critics, but I had hoped for a higher level of debate from a professor of law at a prestigious university.

Fortunately, I am not the only one disappointed in the quality of Muller’s argumentation. Earlier this week, after a web site called the History News Network excerpted Muller and Greg Robinson’s critiques of my book, the following message from historian Ronald Radosh was forwarded to me:

Yesterday, I sent my list [Greg Robinson and Eric Muller’s] critiques of Michelle Malkin’s work, which I found convincing. I owe the list an apology; Malkin has in fact responded strongly to her critics, and answered the charges meticulously. I think it should be mandatory for History News Network to post her response, having given three spaces to historians who have challenged her arguments. She has responded cogently and persuasively to many of the charges made against her in the two articles I passed on, and has proved that she has, contrary to their assertions, done a lot of primary research. It is also clear that her critics have savagely distorted her arguments. Those interested should read her book, the arguments of her critics, and decide for themselves. Ron Radosh

Thank you, Mr. Radosh, for demonstrating what academic fair-mindedness is really all about.

Update (9/13): Muller continues his attacks today, this time getting a link from Instapundit. Now Muller is kicking up a big fuss because he says he found documents which show that the prosecution’s case against Richard Kotoshirido (the Japanese-American man featured on the cover of my book) was weak. Muller apparently considers this a blockbuster revelation. However, it is exactly the same point I made in my book on page 78, where I wrote, “many of those suspected of serving Japan had not committed any crime (remember that the gathering and transmission of intelligence information from open sources before the declaration of war, such as that performed by Richard Kotoshirodo, probably was not criminal).” I made the same point on page 140, where I wrote: “Some individuals working on behalf of Japan, it should be noted, provided Japan with information that was sensitive but unclassified. Though some advocated prosecution of Hawaiian Nisei Richard Kotoshirodo, for example, it was not clear that he violated any law.” As I noted in my book, this is an argument for internment, not against it, since relying on criminal prosecutions in civilian courts would have left Kotoshirodo and other Japanese agents untouchable.

I guess it is asking too much to expect my detractors to actually read my book before launching into their critiques.

Still no word from Muller or his co-critic Greg Robinson about the numerous factual errors described in this post.

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