Friday, April 4, 2008

The Same Game, Different Players

Muslim-American women playing basketball in the U. S. 2008

Japanese-American women playing basketball at Manzanar. 1942

A note from Radarsite:
In the preceding article "Playing the Muslim Game" Planck's Constant laid out an original and cogent argument for confronting the Muslim immigrant situation in America. This present article is an attempt to further this important conversation

On December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor without warning, killing approximately three thousand people, and thus Japan declared war on America. Confronted with the existence of a large Japanese population on American soil, of demonstrably dubious loyalty, our government decided to take action. Thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans were uprooted and removed from American society, and the still highly-controversial program of Relocation and Internment was initiated.

On September 11, 2001, Muslim terrorists drove hijacked American airliners into highly-populated buildings in New York City and Washington DC. without warning, killing approximately three thousand people, and thus Islam declared war on America. Confronted with the existence of a large Muslim population on American soil, of demonstrably dubious loyalties, we decided to provide them with more foot baths at our universities and our airports.

Do those bold preemptive -- but still-contentious actions in 1942 provide us with an instructional precedent for our current immigrant problems? Or are they to be viewed, as many still proclaim, as merely an eradicable moral stain on our national character? Let's take a closer look at some of the similarities and some of the differences.

In 1942, some 112,000 Japanese were living on the Pacific Coast. About 40 percent were resident aliens and the remainder, by virtue of U.S. birth, were American citizens. The citizens, however, were mostly children, and when the U.S. declared war on Japan, their parents became enemy aliens. Moreover the Japanese emperor claimed all Japanese, wherever born, as subjects. They were referred to as doho, meaning countrymen. Japanese residents in the U.S. sent their children to “Japanese school” on Saturdays. A teacher in one of the schools told his American-born students, “You must remember that only a trick of fate has brought you so far from your homeland, but there must be no question of your loyalty. When Japan calls, you must know that it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins.”

Resident Japanese also sent their children to Japan for schooling. By 1940, more than 20,000 American-born Japanese had been educated in Japan. Known as kibei, they were fluent in Japanese, steeped in Japanese history and culture, and supporters of Japanese expansion in the Far East. They could hardly be distinguished from young militarists in Japan. Lt. Cmdr. K.D. Ringle of the Office of Naval Intelligence had been investigating the kibei for several months when the Japanese perpetrated their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. In January 1942, he submitted a report saying:

[T]he most potentially dangerous element of all are those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who have spent the formative years of their lives, from 10 to 20, in Japan and have returned to the United States to claim their legal American citizenship within the last few years. Those people are essentially and inherently Japanese and may have been deliberately sent back to the United States by the Japanese government to act as agents.

The notorious Kokuryukai (Black Dragon) Japanese espionage network had been operating since at least the early thirties throughout North America. They had successfully penetrated the Boeing Plant and stolen the blueprints for a new American bomber. Their extremely effective espionage operations in Hawaii had assured the success of the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Question: Given this known threat, how was our government expected to deal with the Japanese population on the West Coast? What possible tests could they have improvised to determine with any degree of certainty whether a Japanese-American's loyalties lay with the US or with their original homeland? According to the best statistics found on this subject, approximately 80-85% of the interned Japanese were actually loyal American citizens. But this still would have left us with the threat of 15-20% (or approximately 15-20,000) of those Japanese of questionable loyalty -- not to mention the unknowable threat from the Kokuryukai network. Faced with an extremely difficult situation, with major moral ramifications, our American government, rather than overreacting, did the best job it could do under the circumstances to protect Americans. We have been morally chastised by the universal Pacifist Left relentlessly for a half century for having had the courage to make these difficult wartime decisions.

In 2003, Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.), introduced House Resolution 56, which would make February 19 a National Day of Remembrance for those Japanese who were “interned” during World War II. It was on February 19, 1942, that President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, requiring the evacuation of Japanese aliens and American-born Japanese along with German and Italian aliens from the Pacific Coast. After a year in the House Committee on the Judiciary, the resolution was then placed on the House calendar.

Honda’s resolution contains a series of misrepresentations that have passed for fact for so many years that they are now generally accepted without question. Moreover, the resolution posits (surprise, surprise) President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment and its report, “Personal Justice Denied,” as the final authority on the subject. After “20 days of hearings” and “over 750 witnesses,” the commission concluded that the Relocation and Internment was not justified by military necessity but was the result of “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

That conclusion, however, is contrary to the facts as revealed by MAGIC, the decryptions of coded Japanese transmissions. The commission ignored MAGIC entirely in its original report, as it did witnesses who were available to proffer information supporting Roosevelt’s order. The few witnesses who attempted to testify in support of E.O. 9066 were drowned out by an unruly mob of spectators.

Throughout 1941, the U.S. frequently intercepted reports of resident aliens and Japanese Americans providing information to Japanese agents. In a decrypted message on May 9, for example, a Japanese agent in Los Angeles reports, “We have already established contact with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials .... We shall maintain connection with our second generations who are at present in the [U.S.] Army, to keep us informed of various developments in the Army. We also have connections with our second generations working in airplane plants for intelligence purposes.”

After Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, thousands of Japanese Americans ended up being interned in camps for the duration of World War II. Despite the abridgement of their constitutional rights, the vast majority of Japanese Americans remained strongly loyal to the United States. As one wartime Japanese American said, “Yes, the United States did make a mistake [about the internment] but we felt it was our country–right and wrong.”

Such pro-U.S. sentiment among Japanese Americans was due, in large part, to the strong assimilation process that existed before the war. Rather than today’s multiculturalism, which believes that all cultures are equally good and which Balkanizes immigrants and separates them from historic American culture, immigrant Japanese and their children were expected to become mainstream Americans. Japanese-American community leaders and organizations emphasized this goal.

A 1942 Japanese-American creed stated: “I believe in [America’s] institutions, ideals and traditions; I glory in her heritage; I boast of her history; I trust in her future. Because I believe in America, and I trust she believes in me, and because I have received innumerable benefits from her, I pledge myself to do honor to her at all times and in all places.” The result of this assimilation process was a sincere and deep patriotism on the part of most Japanese Americans.

Perhaps the most visible sign of this patriotism was the willingness of legions of young Japanese-American men to join specially formed combat units of the U.S. Army. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of Japanese Americans, became the most highly decorated unit of the war for its bravery in the European theater. It’s worth noting that many Japanese Americans had wanted to fight against Japan. One Japanese-American recruit said, “I was excited and felt we were going to the Pacific Theater at that time. I talked to a number of officers and enlisted men of Japanese American ancestry about the possibility of going to the Far East. No one had any objections. We were ready to go.”

Contrast those sentiments with the pronouncements and actions of Muslim American spokesmen and groups in the wake of the September 11th attack by Muslim terrorists, many of whom had illegally immigrated to the U.S.. There have been no stirring pleas for young Muslim Americans to enlist in the American military or organizing of patriotic rallies in Muslim communities. Indeed, on a recent segment of 60 Minutes, a supposedly moderate Muslim American cleric, citing U.S. foreign policies, accused the U.S. of being an “accessory” to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Although condemning terrorism in general, officials for key Muslim American groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations CAIR)have been hesitant to condemn Osama bin Laden, the all but certain mastermind behind the September 11 terror attacks. This is unsurprising given that CAIR and other Muslim groups such as the American Muslim Council (AMC) have in the past refused to condemn known Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and have criticized the conviction of the Islamic extremists who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. Adopting the strategy of other ethnic-based groups, CAIR and AMC prefer to fight perceived biases against Muslims in American society rather than making immigrant Muslims better Americans.

In a survey of Muslims in Los Angeles County, Kambiz Ghanea Basiri, a fellow of Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions, found that “a significant number of Muslims, particularly immigrant Muslims, do not have close ties or loyalty to the United States.” Indeed, he found that 12 out of 15 immigrants feel more allegiance to a foreign country than to the United States.

One can only wonder how that patriotic 1942 Japanese American creed would be received in the Muslim American community of today.

The same game, different players? You decide.

Radarsite gratefully acknowledges its debt to the two following articles:
Internment Scandal Roger D. McGrath

December 7th, September 11th and Immigrant Assimilation Lance T. Izumi


  1. The trouble is that there is not one nation that we are fighting against. We are fighting against an idea, a religion. Are all Muslims to be suspect? What about those who are more secular, even those who have left the Muslim faith? A rounding up of Muslims smacks of an evil to me, like the Nazis rounding up Jews. It scares me. Because if they can do it to the Muslims, then they can do it to anyone they don't like.

    But I smile with joy at the mention of the 442. Those men were the best the US Army had, and suffered the casualties to prove it.

    If only American Muslims would show as much patriotism....except my Pakistani neighbors who's oldest boy has joined the US Marines. Semper Fi!

  2. Thank you Findalis for your comments.
    However, nowhere in that article did I advocate "rounding up Muslims". I did attempt to throw some much needed light on an old and gravely misunderstood controversy and show at least some of the rationale behind it -- which is being purposely ignored in order to throw more mud at the image of the United States.

    I have left it to others to judge the degree to which those issues we faced in 1942 resemble the issues we face today.

    I would not be too worried about our government acting out against our Muslim population -- or, indeed, even attempting to classify them in any way as to their loyalty. Muslim Americans are too deeply imbedded in our own government and in the halls of power to allow such a thing to happen.

    Furthermore, our present -- and seemingly our future -- government has not even found the will to identify and deal with the purported twelve million illegal aliens who are in this country right now.

    My question would be this: Right now there seems to be nothing at all that we can do about the problem of unassimilated (or falsely-assimilated) Muslims, with possibly divided allegiance, in our midst-- which is nonetheless absolutely real and growing. We have yet to find anything between these two extremes of the Internment Camps of 1942 and the provisions for more foot baths in 2008. There is, in my view, something terribly wrong with this picture.

    Realistically speaking, there is so much that we CAN do right now to protect ourselves from this growing internal menace. We have legal remedies that are currently "on the books" which could greatly enhance our security -- IF WE JUST HAD THE WILL TO IMPLEMENT THEM.

    So far our only answer has been to appease and compromise as the threat continues to increase.

    This is the reality we live in. And this is what "scares me".

  3. I agree that Muslims have to assimilate into US Society. They don't have to give up their customs, many groups have joined into US society and have not given up their customs or religion.

    And I wish that those Muslims in our nation who are moderates like my neighbors would speak out against the radicals. But as they told me, if they did the radical elements of their faith would kill them. It is silence by coercion, and the bullies are winning!

  4. Good points, as usual Findalis.
    I would only add this. Given the choice between underreacting (our present stance) and running the very real risk of being overwhelmed by an alien culture; or overreacting and facing the possibility of more liberal criticism, I will happily opt for the latter.

  5. Ineffably outstanding, Roger. Superlatives ain't available to praise this post.

    To findalis:
    Our enemy is the "Nation of Islam", aka Ummah al-Islamiyya.

    It ain't a religion, it is an institution with religious properties, which motivate Muslims to attack and camouflage Islam so that its victims do not perceive it as an aggressive predator.

    Indeed, all Muslims are potential terrorists. There is no way of knowing which Muslims will act, or when.

    There is a risk that genuine apostates might revert, but I consider it to be small. The greater risk is that of so called secular Muslims turning to zealotry.

    Hitler's pogrom was evil, founded on political & economic motivations and rationalized with false accusations.

    Rounding up & deporting Muslims ain't a function of dislike, its a function of real, proximate and perpetual physical and demographic threat.

    Muslims are commanded by the Qur'an to obey Allah and his messenger. What did Allah command them to do? What did Moe do that they should emulate? If you would read Surahs Al-Anfal, Al-Taubah & Al-Ahzab and Al-Fath along with Sahih Bukhari Books 52, 53 & 59, you would understand what Allah commanded and Moe exemplified.

    You need to understand what Islam is, an institution founded by Moe for the purpose of warmongering for his own personal empowerment and emolument.

    Moe declared war on the whole human race, commanding an open ended, outcome based aggression without geographical limits. Its open season on us and every Muslim has a license to kill.

  6. Thank you Ben. Your passion and your insight are always welcome here.

  7. I don't think anyone is proposing to round up all Muslims and gas them which incidentally is what the Nazis did and which incidentally is not the same as rounding them up and deporting them. Being executed and being relocated is very different.

    The way i see it, the mistake the west makes and continues to make is not making Muslims lives difficult because of the violent and intolerant amongst them. When you treat all as innocent until they blow something and someone up, then there is no incentive for the moderates to stand up and rat out the scumbags.

    In fact the incentive is for them to then just keep quiet and not attract much attention, hoping the bad guys will just go away, encouraging a "not my problem" mentality. The very least we should have done is to stop immigration of Muslims to western countries, that way back home they'll be telling the jihadists that it's because of you bastards that we can't have a better life.

  8. Great points MK. You're exactly right. This fits in with what Francis P. proposes. We faced similar challenges with the Italian American population and its acceptance of the Mafia and that whole "keeping quiet" mentality. In that case the answer was RICO. RICO destroyed the image of invulnerability of the Mafia.
    Why, I wonder, can't we use the RICO statutes for suspected terrorists and/or their sympathizers?
    Once again, it always comes back to the same thing -- lack of will.

  9. I'm less concerned about the comparison of which of two enemies are discriminated against.
    In posing the question, "The same game, different players?", I would ask that we not fail to include the principal team, The United States.
    What many of us fail to accept is the fact that in a hostile situation, there is a duty to provide security to, not only its citizens, but those within its borders (the latter, which might be internship, might appear onerous, but it reduces the distraction of civil strife within our borders from the front lines).
    The duty of a country at war, declared or not, is to win; that means to defeat an enemy to the ultimate degree. Oddly enough, it is more humane to do it thoroughly and quickly.
    Imposing the counter-intelligence state upon a country is a serious matter. There are sacrifices. It may seem harsh, but the seaman manning a turret on the Arizona witnessed the harshness of war.
    'Americana' has been bleaching its colors in guilt for so long that it has failed to recognize the fact that it is the United States collectively that they represent. The more we declare ourselves one country, there seems to be a scurry to find and grant exceptions to unique elements.
    Today, the work of LtCmdr. Ringle would cost him what it has recently cost Major Stephen Coughlin, USAR, (Pentagon attorney expert on Islamic Affairs); his job.
    Going back to the counter-intelligence state; exceptions cannot be indulged. Conflict is difficult enough without being interferred with by citizens who claim conscience while tightrope-walking on shredded ethics and morals; where complacency is more a practice than a mood and the line of least resistance is drawn in the ink of denial.
    As I have cited on my site, I happen to be a 'gay' male, (nothing dramatic, a mere reality) but above all my identities is that of being an American. I mention that only to manifest that differences of a person do not exempt me from the duty to my country; I will accept with you, what sacrifices we must make. And I will share with you what efforts we must make. I will alert you to the condition of my health, as it could affect yours, It is my duty.
    Today, the bravest Americans will be heard and seen among those who will not fear being cited as not-politically correct, who will face up to errors of 'lemmingism', and stop selling guilt like snake oil.
    Let's face it, with the exception of Native Americans (think Ira Hayes) we've done quite well by those who have come here from foreign shores. But they came to join us, not subvert us, not to dwell separately apart from us, not to emasculate us and certainly not to defeat us. They certainly didn't come here towatch us defeat ourselves.
    Again, I'll address your query. One of the same, and the principal player is the United States.

  10. What Shawmut said. A damn fine comment.

  11. Here, here!! I wholeheartedly agree KG. A damn fine comment Shawmut. Worth saving for future reference.