pageok
pageok
pageok
Previewing American Inquisition:

Eric Muller previews his forthcoming book, American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II on Is That Legal? here and here.

Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
You know, I'm generally more or less on the side of the Nihonjin on this one; in fact, I attend a Buddhist church with a number of the remaining survivors, and walk by a monument to Governor Carr for his resistance to the internment.

That all said, Eric's arguments in the past on this, and on issues related via the War on Terror etc, have been so over the top that I wonder how much new and useful is likely to be in the book. Certainly the excerpt reads more like polemic than political history.
9.11.2007 1:14pm
mobathome:
Charlie: You mention Governor Carr as having resisted the internment. Could you exand on that, please? Wikipedia only describes him as urging Coloradoans to welcome the interned Japanese.
9.11.2007 2:27pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Eric Muller writes

The loyalty questionnaire was a twenty-eight-question form that the government forced all Japanese American internees to fill out while behind barbed wire in spring of 1943. It tried to probe each internee's work and education background, reading habits, and familiarity with Japanese and American cultural, religious, political, and linguistic traditions. It also asked each internee whether he was willing to serve in the U.S. military and to forswear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. These forms became a centerpiece of the government's administrative efforts to adjudicate the loyalty or disloyalty of American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

For the internees, the loyalty questionnaires provoked intense anxiety and controversy. Already a year into captivity, many internees saw the questions as a series of vague traps that could only force them deeper into incarceration. Especially provocative was the question asking them to renounce loyalty to the Emperor—a loyalty that none of the American citizens in the camps had ever sworn or announced in the first place. The questionnaires were greeted with wariness, confusion, and even open hostility and resistance in the camps.


I can understand a problem with questions that could be used to unfairly impugn an individual's allegiance. But what is so particurly wrong with the bolded part? I would very much want to know if any Germans-Americans would forswear allegiance to Hilter during WW2. And I say this as a German-American.
9.11.2007 2:31pm
Smokey:
Congressman Norman Mineta pushed for twenty years to get $$$$$ for Japanese - and only Japanese - internees. He finally succeeded, and he was the first in line to get his $20,000 check - even though he was a 10-year old boy at the time, and spent only a few months in camp.

Mineta, who as a Congressman representing all races, strongly resisted providing any funds to Germans or any other interned races, who never received a dime. Only the Japanese race got the bucks.

So, was Mineta a racist, or what?
9.11.2007 2:38pm
Kate S (mail):
You know those people who are rational in almost every aspect of their life but are totally flipped out on one particular issue(The 911 truthers come to mind, as well as a high school English teacher I had who was totally wedded to the idea that aliens from outer space were living among us)? Eric Muller is like that on the subject of Japanese Internment. Believe me I know, he was my con law professor in the 90's. Somehow Eric has it in his mind that the Japanese Interment was equivalent in some ways to the Nazi death camps, and established for equally racist reasons. I have been told by people who can read Japanese that if you read the newspapers published by the Internees (at Heart Mountain for example) you will know darn well why most of them were interned. They were Japanese nationals who had never applied for citizenship or permanent residence and made no secret of who they supported in the war. The evidence is there, in print, but like many things that don't exactly support the pc agenda, these papers have been pretty much buried by contemporary journalists and historians, and yes children and family members who were citizens often accompanied them voluntarily for the most part into internment. Can we even count the number of citizens of allied nations who were interned by the Japanese in Japan, Indonesia and China during World War II and could we get a fair comparison of the death rate between those populations and the Japanese in Heart Mountain? Isabel
9.11.2007 3:10pm
Nobody Important:
Professor Muller has made a career out of regarding certain groups with an intense suspicion that they want to harm us. At the same time, he writes books about the evils of regarding certain groups with an intense suspicion that they want to harm us. His perpetual outrage detracts from what would be otherwise interesting historical research.
9.11.2007 3:14pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I have been told by people who can read Japanese that if you read the newspapers published by the Internees (at Heart Mountain for example) you will know darn well why most of them were interned. They were Japanese nationals who had never applied for citizenship or permanent residence and made no secret of who they supported in the war.
While I don't think much of Muller's claims, and in particular, his enthusiasm for government censorship of books he doesn't like, Japanese immigrants did not have the option of applying for citizenship here. Starting with the 1795 Naturalization Act, only whites could apply to become citizens. This was aimed at incoming Africans, not Asians, but it wasn't until 1952 that immigration law allowed Asians to apply for citizenship. (Their American-born children, of course, were citizens by birth.)
9.11.2007 3:55pm
amper:
Oh dear, I can here Michelle's yowling all the way over here...
9.11.2007 4:07pm
amper:
Oh dear, I can hear Michelle's yowling all the way over here...
9.11.2007 4:07pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
mobathome, here are a couple of quotes from Carr's official biography:

The strengths of the Carr Collection include documents pertaining to World War II and the treatment of Japanese-Americans. Carr spoke out in defense of the civil rights of Japanese-American citizens, arguing that it was inhumane and unconstitutional to place them in internment camps. One such camp, Amache, was located near Granada, Colorado. Besides the larger "Council of Defense" collection, Carr kept another separate group of records entitled "Council of Defense 1941-1943." Included in this material is Carr's correspondence with camp inmates, their family members, and a concerned citizenry. This correspondence sub-series is labelled "Def-Aliens."

One of the few voices of reason during wartime was Governor Carr, who continued to treat the Japanese-Americans with respect and sought to help them keep their American citizenship. He sacrificed his political career to bravely confront the often dark side of human nature. "If you harm them, you must harm me. I was brought up in a small town where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened the happiness of you and you and you." Carr's selfless devotion to all Americans, while destroying his hopes for a senate seat, did in the end become extolled as, "a small voice but a strong voice."

I'm not an expert on Governor Carr, but I can tell you he's honored with the same size of statue at our Buddhist Temple as Reverend Tamai, who was the priest for about 50 years and was sometimes called a "living Buddha" by the membership.
9.11.2007 4:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

One of the few voices of reason during wartime was Governor Carr, who continued to treat the Japanese-Americans with respect and sought to help them keep their American citizenship.
This confuses me. I can't recall ever reading any proposal to strip Japanese-Americans of their citizenship. Japanese immigrants didn't have the option of becoming citizens; people born in America were U.S. citizens by birth. I'm not aware of any provision for stripping someone who is a citizen by birth of that; only naturalized citizens, to my knowledge, can have their citizenship taken away for falsification of their application.
9.11.2007 5:01pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
So while millions of people all over the world were forced to fight and die in World War II, Eric Muller whines that some Japanese-Americans had to answer an embarrassing questionnaire about their disloyalty. His complaints are trivial.
9.11.2007 5:11pm
Eric Muller (www):
I am accustomed to folks condemning books that they've not yet read. I'm not accustomed to folks condemning books that have not yet been published.
9.11.2007 5:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I am accustomed to folks condemning books that they've not yet read. I'm not accustomed to folks condemning books that have not yet been published.
Think of it as an expression of the high regard in which your intellect and honesty are held.
9.11.2007 5:24pm
Eric Muller (www):
Incidentally, the "buried" internment camp newspapers, including their Japanese-language sections, are available here.
9.11.2007 5:27pm
M. Gross (mail):
I am accustomed to folks condemning books that they've not yet read. I'm not accustomed to folks condemning books that have not yet been published.

Future advances in internet punditry will soon allow us to condemn books you have yet to conceptualize.
9.11.2007 5:27pm
Kate S (mail):
Starting with the 1795 Naturalization Act, only whites could apply to become citizens. This was aimed at incoming Africans, not Asians, but it wasn't until 1952 that immigration law allowed Asians to apply for citizenship. (Their American-born children, of course, were citizens by birth.)

I find it highly ironic that probably the most historically racist country on earth, (Japan) with some of the most restrictive citizenship policies on the planet, even today, could still pose as the victim(s) when discussing US immigration policies that are over 60 years gone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_issues_in_Japan
9.11.2007 5:33pm
Kate S (mail):
Incidentally, the "buried" internment camp newspapers, including their Japanese-language sections, are available here.

On microfiche probably in a basement, in a library of a minor university in California. Yep, I would define that as buried. :-) Isabel
9.11.2007 6:20pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I find it highly ironic that probably the most historically racist country on earth, (Japan) with some of the most restrictive citizenship policies on the planet, even today, could still pose as the victim(s) when discussing US immigration policies that are over 60 years gone.
Apparently, like Earl Warren and a few others in WW2, you have trouble telling the difficulty between Japan and Japanese Americans. I assure you that the latter are not "the most historically racist country on earth," particularly since they're not a country at all. I assure you that no "country" is "posing as the victim" here.
9.11.2007 6:34pm
Eric Muller (www):
Isabel, I have photocopies of much of the Heart Mountain Sentinel in my own records. If there's an issue you'd like to see, drop me a line.

We also have the microfilm of all internment camp newspapers here at UNC's Davis Library, on the second floor, where the rest of the microfilm collection is kept.

And a quick search on worldcat brought up these ten locations:

1 Japanese camp newspapers
Publication: Washington : Library of Congress, 1977
Document: English : Book : Microform Libraries Worldwide: 10
2 Japanese relocation camp and assembly center newspapers
Publication: [Wilmington, Del. : Distributed by Scholarly
Resources Inc., 1900-1994? Document: English : Book : Microform
Libraries Worldwide: 4
3 Japanese relocation camp and assembly center newspapers
Publication: Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress
Photoduplication Service; [Wilmington, Del. : dist. by Scholarly
Resources, Inc.], 1970-1979? Document: English : Book : Microform
Libraries Worldwide: 4
4 Japanese relocation camp and assembly center newspapers :
[index].
Document: English : Book Libraries Worldwide: 1
5 [Japanese camp newspapers :
index].
Publication: 1976 Document: English : Book Libraries
Worldwide: 1
6 Japanese relocation camp and assembly center newspapers.
Publication: Washington : Library of Congress
Photoduplication Service, 1970-1979? Document: English : Book
Libraries Worldwide: 1
7 Japanese camp papers
Publication: [Wilmington, DE] : Scholarly Resources, 1994
Document: English : Book : Microform Libraries Worldwide: 1
8 The Minidoka irrigator
Publication: [Rupert, Idaho.] 1942-1945 In:
Japanese relocation camp and assembly center newspapers Document:
English : Serial Publication : Newspaper : Weekly : Microform
Libraries Worldwide: 2
9 Bulletin.
Publication: Granada, Colo. : [Granada Relocation
Center], 1942 In: Japanese relocation camp and assembly center
newspapers Document: English : Serial Publication : Newspaper :
Semiweekly (twice a week) : Microform Libraries Worldwide: 1
10 Japanese camp newspapers.
Publication: Washington : Library of Congress
Photoduplication Service, 1977 Document: English : Book Libraries
Worldwide: 1
9.11.2007 6:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Kate S writes:

On microfiche probably in a basement, in a library of a minor university in California. Yep, I would define that as buried. :-) Isabel
I hope that this isn't a surprise, but that's true for all sorts of historical documents. It is positively bizarre that I have to travel to the East Coast or to UC Berkeley to visit libraries to read a lot of the documents related to the Colonial period. The presence of such materials in the places you propose is no more buried than other historical documents.
9.12.2007 12:01am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Kate S writes:

I find it highly ironic that probably the most historically racist country on earth, (Japan) with some of the most restrictive citizenship policies on the planet, even today, could still pose as the victim(s) when discussing US immigration policies that are over 60 years gone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_issues_in_Japan
It isn't Japan that is posing as the victim on this. It is American citizens of Japanese ancestry, and Japanese immigrants who were not given the option of citizenship.

From all that I have read, I think Michelle Malkin's claims about at least some of the motivations for the internment are valid. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't a great injustice done for a mixture of good and bad reasons.
9.12.2007 12:03am
Eric Muller (www):
I post another excerpt from the publisher's Q-and-A here.

I look forward to commentary here about the inherent national-security dangers of Buddhism and judo.
9.12.2007 10:13am