blogenlust
8.09.2004

In Defense of Internment Camps


Michelle Malkin, a convervative journalist, has written a book advocating racial profiling and internment, titled In Defense of Internment. Here is a short write-up about her book from her website:
In Defense of Internment provides a radical departure from the predominant literature of civil liberties absolutism. It offers a defense of the most reviled wartime policies in American history: the evacuation, relocation, and internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II (three separate actions which are commonly lumped under the umbrella term “internment”). My book is also a defense of racial, ethnic, religious, and nationality profiling (widely differing measures that are commonly lumped under the umbrella term “racial profiling”) now being taken or contemplated during today’s War on Terror. I was compelled to write this book after watching ethnic activists, historians, and politicians repeatedly play the World War II internment card after the September 11 attacks. The Bush Administration’s critics have equated every reasonable measure to interrogate, track, detain, and deport potential terrorists with the “racist” and “unjustified” World War II internment policies of President Roosevelt. To make amends for this “shameful blot” on our history, both Japanese-American and Arab/Muslim-American activists argue against any and all uses of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in shaping current homeland security policies. Misguided guilt about the past continues to hamper our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks.
I am sure Malkin is aware that she fits into the racial profiling and internment criteria she advocates for. I'm not sure if this makes her masochistic, noble, or stupid, but I think it is fair to say that her argument is disgusting. Isn't it easy to imagine a book like this being written in 1930s Germany about the "Jewish Problem?" After 9/11, I remember thinking about a movie with Bruce Willis (forgot the name) in which the US was plagued by a series of suicide bombers of Arab descent. To combat these attacks, the US government created an internment camp for Arab-American's in NYC. I remember thinking at the time of the movie and after 9/11, "Shit, that could never happen here, no matter how bad things got." The fact that Malkin wrote this book gives me pause and forces me to reconsider my earlier conclusion about this possibility. Don't worry, though, the premise is so out there and un-American that it will never get any coverage in the mainstream media. Or not. You can read more of Malkin's antics at Is that Legal? update: I should probably mention that I haven't read the book, and am not sure that I will. I don't think that prevents me from commenting on the idea of internment camps for Arab-Americans or others deemed to look like potential terrorists. I do not believe that it is a viable response to terrorism and I certainly do not believe that it upholds the American values, which we would claim to defend by such an action. I'd probably leave the country if this ever happened.