February 16, 2017
NOT AS RACIST AS FDR ISN'T ACTUALLY AN ARGUMENT:
Executive Orders, Nativism, and National Security (Joseph Loconte, Feb. 15th, 2017, Providence)
As Thomas Fleming notes in The New Dealers' War, the president sought even more aggressive action than his cabinet. After issuing the order, he told Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox that he wanted Hawaii's 140,000 Japanese evacuated as well, and was not worried about "the constitutional question." (Military leaders objected--they needed the skilled labor of the Japanese in Hawaii for the war effort--and prevailed over the White House.) [...]FDR's order gave the military broad authority to remove "any and all persons" from a 50- to 60-mile-wide coastal area stretching from Washington state to California, and to forcibly transport them to internment camps in the interior of the country. At least 120,000 Japanese-Americans living in the region were swept up in the net. The order was also applied to U.S. citizens of German and Italian descent: about 11,000 German-American residents were arrested and more than 5,000 interned, while roughly 3,200 Italian-Americans were arrested, about 300 interned. [...]A 1980 congressional commission report found that FDR's internment policy, stoked by racism and war hysteria, represented "a failure of political leadership." We are still learning about the human costs of that failure. In the fog of war, Roosevelt's executive order turned thousands of patriotic, law-abiding citizens into suspected saboteurs. It left them, in the words of the executive order, "subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion." Thousands of families were separated, traumatized, and persecuted. Livelihoods were ruined. Entire communities were uprooted. "Most of them, citizens and aliens alike, were fiercely patriotic," writes Richard Reeves in Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II. "Guarded by soldiers in machine-gun towers, none of them were charged with any crime against the United States."
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2017 4:43 AM