In Defense of Internment
|Subject||Racial profiling in law enforcement--United States--Case studies.
Law enforcement--United States--Case studies.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
War on Terrorism, 2001-
|LC Class||HV8141 .M245 2004|
In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror (ISBN 0-89526-051-4) is a 2004 book written by conservative American political commentator Michelle Malkin. Malkin defends the United States government's internment of Japanese Americans in relocation camps during World War II and racial profiling of Arabs during the post-2001 War on Terror. The book's message has been condemned by Japanese American groups and civil rights advocates. Its scholarship has been criticized by academics.
Writing of the book
On her website, Malkin wrote:
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.
Response to In Defense of Internment
There was considerable media interest in the book especially on the West Coast of the U.S. and Hawaii, where the impact of internment in World War II was greatest. It made the New York Times Best Seller list in September 2004. The book proved to be highly controversial, with civil liberties and Asian-American groups in particular being harshly critical of the book's conclusions. John Tateishi, the Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League issued a media release on August 24, 2004 calling the book "a desperate attempt to impugn the loyalty of Japanese Americans during World War II to justify harsher governmental policies today in the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans." Fred Korematsu, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States which upheld the constitutionality of internment, wrote:
"[a]ccording to Malkin, it is OK to take away an entire ethnic group's civil rights because some individuals are suspect. [...] It is painful to see reopened for serious debate the question of whether the government was justified in imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II. It was my hope that my case and the cases of other Japanese American internees would be remembered for the dangers of racial and ethnic scapegoating."
"the evidence Malkin deploys [...] is—at best—mere speculation. This speculation might be worth a moment's reflection if Malkin also addressed the voluminous historical research that has shown the impact of racism, nativism, political pressure, economic jealousies, and war panic on the government's policies toward Japanese Americans. [...] But Malkin does not so much as mention any of that evidence, except to say that a reader can find it elsewhere in 'pedantic tomes' and 'educational propaganda.' She dismisses what she cannot rebut."
Thirty-nine scholars and professional researchers signed a letter condemning Malkin's book for "blatant violation of professional standards of objectivity and fairness".
- Forman, David (2004), "Another View of Internment", Honolulu Star-Bulletin
- Ibish, Hussein (2004), "Michelle Malkin's book seems to urge discrimination in US against Arabs, Muslims", Daily Star
- Robinson, Greg (2004), A Critique of Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment, archived from the original on September 19, 2008
- Muller, Eric (2004), Muller and Robinson on Malkin
- michellemalkin.com, page date 6 Feb 2006, retrieved from archive.org's Wayback Machine
- Korematsu, Fred (2004-09-16). Do we really need to relearn the lessons of Japanese American internment?. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- Muller, Eric. (2004-12-01). Indefensible Internment. Reason. Retrieved 2001-03-08.
- Historians' Committee for Fairness (2004-08-31). Press release. History News Network. Retrieved 2001-03-08.