Blogs > HNN > More on MIchelle Malkin and Japanese Internees

Jan 6, 2005 12:05 am

More on MIchelle Malkin and Japanese Internees

Thanks to Jonathan Dresner for his detailed blog comments on my last posting that would seem to have put the lie to Michelle Malkin's support for the WWII internment of Japanese residents and citizens in the US. I have also emailed a colleague who's one of the foremost historians of Japan in the US, and her response was:

"That's perfectly appalling. I have not heard of the book, but then I've been out of touch. What myths does it debunk? That a 3 month old girl was taken from an orphanage to be put in a camp? that American citizens from southern california lost property, businesses, livelihood? That young Americans were forced to join the military while their parents remained interred? Granted, relatively few people died, if you compare the camps to the German concentration camps or Japanese POW camps. But 2 wrongs don't make a right. if the camps weren't so bad and internment were justified, why did the Japanese Americans seek and receive redress after the war?
Sounds to me like another version of the holocaust denial story--same tune, different verse."

In the meantime, each new days brings more revalations about the extent of abuse of prisoners by US personnel around the world. And the majority of Americans seem, sadly, not to care enough to even consider the impact of making one of the primary architects of this policy the Attorney General of the United States, and perhaps soon a Supreme Court Justice.

Meanwhile, at my university, Viet Dinh, a main author of the Patriot Act, and John Yoo, a main author of the torture memo, are coming in the next few weeks to speak as "Chancellor's Distinguished Fellows" and it's hard to get anyone interested in even organizing a teach-in or demonstration. Actually, some professors are interested, but few if any students.

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More Comments:

Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

If LeVine is going to be this lazy, it means he's losing interest in the blog. That was quick. I imagine his wife, students, and all the other people who have to listen to him will pressure him to preserve this outlet.

Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

I like that one of the "foremost" historians of Japan in the US has never heard of Malkin's book. "Out of touch," much like unconscious.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/8/2005

Well, Malkin's work is about US history, not Japanese history, and the vast majority of historians of Japan have very little interest, professionally speaking, in Japanese American history as a topic.

If you don't watch Fox News, read TownHall or history/politics blogs on a regular basis, it would be entirely possible to miss Malkin's "success."

Don Willis - 1/6/2005

Posting judgment on a book by someone who not only hasn't read it, but hasn't heard of it!!

As to the lecture series, why not just attend the lecture and challenge the speaker? I realize your colleague Prof. Wiener found this approach lacking with respect to Michael Bellisles appearance on campus, according to his Nation column of Oct. 2002. Maybe your colleagues who share your concerns could attend the lecture together. As professors, you might even get a chance to meet the speakers personally if you made an inquiry, and engage the speaker across the dinner table.

As for the teach ins and demonstrations, if you have the courage of your convictions, don't let the absence of student interest dissuade you. Go for it!