So Let Me Get This Straight: Michelle Malkin Claims to Have Rewritten the History of Japanese Internment in Just 16 Months?

Fact & Fiction

Mr. Muller is Ward Professor, University of North Carolina School of Law. He is a member of the Historians' Committee for Fairness, an organization of scholars and professional researchers, which charges that Michelle Malkin's book represents "a blatant violation of professional standards of objectivity and fairness."

In her prefatory note to readers of her new book In Defense of Internment, Michelle Malkin says the following about the book's goal:

This book defends both the evacuation and relocation of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast (the so-called "Japanese American internment"), as well as the internment of enemy aliens, Japanese and non-Japanese alike, during World War II. My work is by no means all-encompassing; my aim is to provoke a debate on a sacrosanct subject that has remained undebatable for far too long.

Read just a bit further, though, and you'll see that the book is not just about "provoking debate." It's about "correcting the record" (page xv). By the time she finishes her retelling of the story of how the U.S. government decided to force 112,000 Japanese aliens and U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry from their homes and into camps in the interior, she maintains that "it should be obvious to any fair-minded person that the decisions made were not based primarily on racism and wartime hysteria" (page 80), but were based instead on information in top-secret decrypted cables from Japan to its embassies around the world (the so-called "MAGIC" decrypts) suggesting that certain people in the Americas (both ethnically Japanese people, including primarily Japanese aliens but also a handful of American citizens of Japanese ancestry, as well as people of other races and ethnicities) were secretly working as spies for the Japanese government.

I'll have more to say about her substantive claims about MAGIC and racism and hysteria in a moment. First, though, people ought to ask Malkin some very serious questions about the book's goal and the research methods that support it. In In Defense of Internment, Malkin "corrects the record" by telling a much broader story about a whole long set of government policies and decisions. She cites original documents from a staggering number of agencies and offices within agencies--the FBI, the Justice Department, the Office of Naval Intelligence, various branches of the War Department (including G1, G2, and the Provost Marshall General's Office), the State Department, the Military Intelligence Division, FDR's communications, and, of course, the voluminous MAGIC cables.

Malkin claims to have been inspired to start research on this topic after seeing a blog debate I conducted on the subject sixteen months ago. I can't imagine how she--or, indeed, anyone--could have done the primary research necessary to understand the record, let alone "correct" it in an informed way, as the book claims to do, in five or six years, let alone in one. Especially while doing anything at all in addition to researching the book (such as writing a nationally syndicated newspaper column and having a child, as Malkin says she did). To tell the story correctly and impartially, a person would need to sift through thousands and thousands of pages of archival material from all over the country and then piece bits together into a coherent story.

I have a hard time believing that Malkin did anything of the sort. I suspect that she derived much of the information that supports her account from secondary sources, and relies primarily on primary research done (or perhaps not done) by others. (I do not doubt, by the way, that the documents to which Malkin cites actually exist; I'm not suggesting she's making them up. What I suspect--indeed, what I know from my own experience--is that there must be thousands of additional documents in the archives that are relevant to a full understanding of the government's wartime decisions, and that massively complicate the simple story she narrates). A person certainly can "provoke debate" (uninformed debate, at least) by going about things in this way. But a person can't "correct the record" in this way, or report history in a way that anyone ought to believe. It's just not possible, and it's not credible.

Now, turning to Malkin’s substantive claims, if you were of a mind to unsettle the settled understanding of what led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans between 1942 and 1945, and restore some credibility to the now-discredited claim of military necessity, you'd need to do two things.

First, you'd need to make at least a prima facie case of causation--that is, you'd need to persuade people that the various government actors whose actions produced the decision had well-grounded suspicions of subversion by American citizens of Japanese ancestry, and that those well-grounded suspicions of subversion were what led them to take the actions they took.

Second, you'd have to undermine the settled understanding, supported by several decades of comprehensive research by numerous scholars, that racism, economic jealousy, and war hysteria led these actors to take the actions they took.

As for the first, as Greg Robinson shows, there is no evidence that those who made the decisions were influenced by the MAGIC decrypts. The record tells us nothing about who actually reviewed which of the intercepts, or when, or what any reader understood them to mean. The record is just silent on these issues--reflecting, in a way, the silence of the actors themselves on MAGIC at the time. One might well say (and Malkin does), "but they couldn't talk or write about the MAGIC decrypts; they were ultra-secret and everybody was keen to keep them that way." That may well be so. But that doesn't mean we can fill in the silence in the record with our own suppositions about what they must have read and what they must have thought about what they read. In short, Malkin's book presents no evidence--because, apparently, there is none--to show that MAGIC actually led anybody to think or do anything.

Then there's the much larger problem: the program we know as the Japanese American internment was not a single decision but rather a long series of decisions taken over a period of months (or, if you count some of the pre-war preparation for action against the ethnically Japanese in the USA, a period of years). And we know--for certain--that many of those decisions could not conceivably have been influenced by concerns for military necessity supported by MAGIC. To take just one example, the government’s decision in April 1942 to institute indefinite incarceration (rather than relocation and settlement outside the West Coast, as originally planned) was prompted by the refusal of Western state governors to allow settlement by Japanese Americans (whom Idaho Governor Clark called “rats”) in their states. These governors were not privy to information from the MAGIC cables.

As for the second, the influence of racism and hysteria, Malkin presents nothing. Not a thing.

Malkin's purpose in writing the book, you'll recall, was to "offer a defen[se] of the most reviled wartime policies in American history: the evacuation, relocation, and internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II." (p. xiii) "Even with the benefit of hindsight," she argues on page 80, "it is not at all clear that mass evacuation [of all people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S. citizens] was unwarranted." Why? Because information (especially from the MAGIC decrypts) about subversive activities by Japanese Americans (which, she notes, happen to be just like the sorts of subversive activities that Arabs and Muslims are engaging in) provided a "solid rationale for evacuation." (p. 141.)

So here's what I don't get.

On page xxx of the book's Introduction ("A Time To Discriminate"), Malkin tells us to "[m]ake no mistake": she is "not advocating rounding up all Arabs or Muslims and tossing them into camps."

She's not?

Related Links

  • Greg Robinson: Why the Media Should Stop Paying Attention to the New Book that Defends Japanese Internment

  • Michelle Malkin: Response to Her Critics

  • Jonathan Dresner: Why Did the U.S. Intern the Japanese During WW II?

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    More Comments:

    JD , asdf - 8/28/2008

    She stated in the book that she wants to put "anyone who disagrees with the government" in camps. American or not.

    She was confronted about this issue at the DNC by conservative reporter Alex Jones. Now the F100 media is lying about the incident, as they always do.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You basically took the words from my mouth, Jonathan.

    However, if one rejects a bogus argument in spite of an interesting and plausible factual premise underlying it, does it not also follow that plausible and factual premises can be entertained in spite of their being used as a basis for shoddy arguments ?

    I'm not a specialist in this area, but it seems to me that this general discussion is anyway somewhat beside the point. What seems most important in explaining the internment is not that underlying racism was suddenly much stronger than, for instance it was against the Chinese, or that it was whipped up by war hysteria to a much greater extent than, say, the comparable push given to anti-German sentiments in World War I, but that prejudice, envy, scapegoating, etc. were combined, in this particular case, with a sudden blinding fear born of the shock from, and outrage at the underhandedness of, Pearl Harbor. Parallels to Palmer, McCarthy and Guantanamo come to mind, the main difference being there was a real full-fledged, all-out world war raging in 1941, not just a bunch of bogus wolf-crying. As long as I am drawing parallels, in unrestrained HNN-fashion anyway, however, I may as well add that I wonder about the quality of the “intelligence” coming from intercepted Japanese communications.

    Richard Rongstad - 4/4/2005

    Joe Tomei wrote "Ironically, excerpts from the Ringle report, shorn of context appear in internment denial works, such as this site by Viking Phoenix

    Joe, that's a page, not a site. I doubt that anything about VikingPhoenix.com amounts to anything like an "internment denial works", whatever that is.

    Denying the fact that there was an internment of enemy aliens would be like denying the fact Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

    Richard Rongstad - 4/4/2005

    Joe Tomei wrote "Ironically, excerpts from the Ringle report, shorn of context appear in internment denial works, such as this site by Viking Phoenix

    Joe, that's a page, not a site. I doubt that anything about VikingPhoenix.com amounts to anything like an "internment denial works", whatever that is.

    Denying the fact that there was an internment of enemy aliens would be like denying the fact Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

    John T Rasel - 10/4/2004

    Joe, I recently read your comment stating that most of those against the internment were missionaries, pastors, or personal acquaintances of the Japanese Americans.

    I have actually done a bit of research regarding public reaction to the internment via print media. It may interest you to know that there were several publications in the US (Harpers, The New Republic, The Christian Century, and The Nation to name a few) that spoke out against the evacuation and incarceration of the Nisei and Issei. I am in no way disputing your claim, mind you. However, I thought you might appreciate the fact that there were also many academics and journalists, even in the 1940s, who spoke out against such an obvious blunder.

    Lisa Kazmier - 9/10/2004

    Whatever. Obviously, you have never studied something intensely for a long period of time and your responses show it, since you cannot appreciate what critics are saying.

    I have a journalism degree, so I have some idea of what that writer thinks she's doing. And I've seen journalists fail to appreciate the details of what is involved in historical research. You do also.

    Stephen Davis - 9/9/2004

    I don't disagree with Todd's main points, but as Jew from a NYPD family, I felt I had to point out a few things. The NY Jewish working class remains fairly large, despite all the obvious successes of the Jewish community, but mostly invisible. Dennis Smith's book may be more indicative of the peculiar social pathology of the FDNY, which was a lily-white organization until forceably integrated. By the time of Engine Company 82 it was also well on the way to being dominated by suburbanites--Smith himself left the city forty years ago.

    Joe Tomei - 9/9/2004

    Very interesting. My take on jpnese immigration hasn't really included that aspect, though you are right that the government did pick and choose. Did this aspect have anything to do with the far harsher treatment by Canada of its Japanese immigrants?

    The racist rhetoric of the Western governors was pretty appalling, so it is important to note the example of Ralph Carr, gov of Colorado, who strongly opposed the internment. It is also important to note that the governors and local government officials were often not truely representative of local opinion From http://chem.nwc.cc.wy.us/HMDP/history.htm
    concerning Heart Mountain
    "The city councils of Powell and Cody wanted to stop issuing visitor passes for internees to those communities. During December 1942, Guy Robertson replaced C. E. Rachford as director at Heart Mountain, and in the summer of 1943 he announced that he would not be responsible for upsetting the residents of Powell and Cody. However, when harvest time arrived and Robertson refused to let laborers leave the camp, Ora Bever, the mayor of Powell who had been behind the exclusion efforts of both communities, changed his mind. Bever informed Guy Robertson that he only meant that the internees could not come to town. He felt that it was all right for them to leave camp and work in the fields. Robertson informed Bever that leaving the camp was leaving the camp. Bever and the Powell council modified their exclusion order while Cody dropped the issue altogether.

    Once the crops were in and the area farmers placated, Bever once again moved to exclude the internees from town. He wrote to Governor Lester Hunt stating that the people of Powell were unanimously opposed to the Japanese coming to town. A flood of letters from Powell merchants led Hunt to believe otherwise. A subsequent investigation carried out by the governor's office found that ninety percent of Powell's merchants and more than two-thirds of that community's citizens were not opposed to the issuing of visitor passes to Heart Mountain internees. One Powell resident told an investigator, "I don't like the Japanese, but they are American citizens and should be allowed to go wherever they want""

    I also wonder about about the research looking at the internment as a porkbarrel opportunity. The Arkansas sites were chosen, it is suggested at this site
    at the behest of Arkansas senators. Because JACL volunteers went out early to help build the camps, the reduction in labor costs could have been substantial for many of the camps. Also, the materials supplied were often substandard and the internees often ordered tools and supplies to repair the facilities.

    Eric Leigh Muller - 9/9/2004

    ... of weeks' worth of criticism of Michelle Malkin's book "In Defense of Internment" that was culled from my blog, http://www.isthatlegal.org.
    A more (although not entirely) complete version of my criticisms (along with Greg Robinson's) is at http://www.isthatlegal.org/Muller_and_Robinson_on_Malkin.html

    Jonathan Dresner - 9/9/2004

    Wow. Thanks! The conversation has actually turned in a direction where I can say:

    My research on Japanese migration actually sheds some light on this. The Japanese government, which didn't think to highly of the work ethic of their own people, went to great lengths to try to pick emigrants who would succeed and reflect well on emerging-nation Japan, focusing their attention on (politically connected, in some cases) rural areas with a weak tradition of protests and uprisings, and carefully limiting recruitment both in the initial government-managed period (1985-1894) and in the corporate-managed migration (up to 1900, for Hawai'i) to people who would work hard, and, preferably, return to Japan. They only got about a 50% return rate, but the work ethic of their emigrants, overall, was quite highly regarded.

    The free migration was less controlled, and that's how a lot of the early west coast immigrants came, and that's why the Japanese consulates put so much effort into building community organizations that might restrain the drinking, gambling, prostitution..... But outside of the cities, and the railroad workers, was a strong strain of highly productive farmers, often transmigrants from Hawai'i.

    In addition to the competitive aspect of the west coast racist rhetoric is the environment that it created: when governors refused federal requests to settle displaced Japanese in their states, it was because they were responding to (or rather, were part of) this hostile environment, hightened by the tensions of the war. Two of the camps were as far east as Arkansas, because of the difficulty of finding suitable sites in states which would accept responsibility.

    Joe Tomei - 9/8/2004

    This is an interesting point, but I have to think that those beneficiaries had little contact with Japanese-Americans except as rivals, and argued that Japanese traits somehow prevented fair competition. I am certain that you could have presented reams of evidence and it would not have convinced them.

    The jealousy on the part of white farmers competing with JAs is quite amazing, because they attributed their improved yields to fanatical work ethic and a willingness to use their children to help them. However, at the turn of the century, the common refrain among Americans who visited Japan was that they were lazy with no work ethic to speak of (this is from memory, but I believe Wiley's _Yankees in the Land of the Gods: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan_ discusses this)

    In fact, I am trying to think of a case where racist rhetoric, where it deals with the other as a competitor, is not self-interested.

    Jonathan Dresner - 9/8/2004

    "I am sure that the people pushing for the internment weren't being malicious. I am sure that they believed with all their hearts that Japanese blood was a determinative factor."

    Actually, there was a long history in California of highly self-interested racist rhetoric, particularly on the part of white unions and farmers, which contributed to the 1924 Asian Exclusion act and which still continued into the 1940s. Some of the chief beneficiaries of 9066 were white farmers and shopkeepers, whose representatives were among the most vocal proponents of racial cohesion theories.

    Michael E Chester - 9/8/2004

    "it does not logically follow that internment was an appropriate response to that information"

    Absolutely - in fact, in my second response, I hope I clearly indicated just that by stating the evidence Malkin presents is important and relevant "even if not enough for any of us to justify internment". Something need not be outright evil to simply be bad policy.

    As to Ms. Kazmier's remark, "just not getting it" is a hackneyed non-response. Spending a year in an archive does not offer any counterpoint nor credential - just as spending a year wandering a labyrinth would not make one more competent than one who found sunlight in mere days.

    Thanks for the lively discussion, my respect to all involved for your thoughts. I don't want to consume all the oxygen in the room, so perhaps emailing me for follow ups moving forward would be more appropriate - michael@chesterfamily.net

    Joe Tomei - 9/8/2004

    It is difficult not to adduce racism when one realizes that orphans were taken from orphanages because they had as little as 1/8th Japanese ancestry

    I am sure that the people pushing for the internment weren't being malicious. I am sure that they believed with all their hearts that Japanese blood was a determinative factor. They were able to reason themselves out of it in terms of Italian and German blood (but not ethnicity as a number of Italian and German aliens were interned on the basis of very little evidence) The assumption that historians who have compiled a formidable body of evidence as to the root causes of the internment are out to prove "malice" suggests an inability of people to think ill of their ancestors. Malkin and Regnery have used this altogether natural and understandable inability to convince people that there was actually something there.

    We can take solace in the fact that there were many who argued against the internment. However, many of them were missionaries to Japan, or pastors who ministered to Japanese-Americans, or people who knew Japanese-Americans first hand (such as Cmdr Ringle, author of the Ringle report, which was supressed from the Supreme Court decisions of Hirabayashi and Korematsu IIRC)

    Their first hand experience was adjudged as reason to disqualify their evidence. Malkin uses the same tactic to cast doubt on the case of her critics. She says "Unlike many others who have published on this subject, I have no vested interests: I am not an evacuee, internee, or family member thereof. I am not an attorney who has represented evacuees or internees demanding redress for their long-held grievances. I am not a professor whose tenure relies on regurgitating academic orthodoxy about this episode in American history."

    Ironically, excerpts from the Ringle report, shorn of context appear in internment denial works, such as this site by Viking Phoenix

    A substantive response to Malkin's arguments would require an incredibly long work that would highlight not only out of context historical materials, but also juxtapositions of unrelated facts, turns of phrases that seek to deny various aspects of the internment experience (for example, Malkin consistently uses the phrase 'ethnic Japanese'. Yet most of these Japanese had very poor Japanese skills and very little Japanese acculturation. As another example, Malkin conflates the idea of enemy aliens for Italian, German and Japanese, de-emphasizing the fact that Japanese Issei were prohibited by law from becoming citizens in 1924, and the handful who had obtained it had it stripped) Robinson and Muller have patiently tried to deal with the main assumptions of Malkin and pointed out the problematic nature of them. But to ask them to write the definitive history of the internment as it relates to proving that Malkin's points are wrong is a task that would take not months, but years...

    Andrew D. Todd - 9/8/2004

    It has long been recognized that there are recognizable ethnic patterns of employment. See, for example, Virginia Yans McLaughlin.

    I grant that "start out" is an oversimplification, but there is a certain broader truth. I should have referred to the generation of establishment. Very few Jews made their way to rural Minnesota in search of a good lake where Yiddish was spoken (to parody Garrison Keilor) and eventually set up as the kind of farmer who would have been accounted a mechanized Junker in the old country. Nor were there very many Jews among the elite blue collar workers, so-called "royal blues." Similarly, if you read Dennis Smith, the ethnicities around a New York City firehouse in the 1970's shaded off from Irish and Italian to Black and Puerto Rican. Far from being invisible, the Jewish shopkeeper was common enough to be a standby figure of Jewish humorists from Harry Golden to Woody Allen.

    My own Jewish great-grandfathers were a tailor and a baker, but my grandfather had a shop selling butcher paper, and my mother's generation moved into the professions and the corporate bureaucracy.

    Under modern immigration conditions, the ladder of succession is truncated. This applies most forcefully for Asian-Americans. A journey which requires a ship or airplane is easier for the INS to interdict than a land journey. The passport-and-visa-carrying immigration process tends to favor people who are reasonably competent at paperwork. Hence Asian-American immigrants are likely to start out at the shopkeeper level.

    Of course this is a matter of probabilities rather than absolutes, but electoral politics runs on probabilities- it is inherent in the way votes are counted. There is such a thing as a Jewish vote, an Irish vote, etc. One can say with a fair confidence that a given politician is pursuing a given ethnic vote, or writing it off.

    Jonathan Dresner - 9/8/2004

    Actually, Jews didn't "start out" as shopkeepers, either; the majority of immigrants in the great wave of late-19c/early-20c Jewish immigration were laborers and farmers by trade. There was a strong artisanal and, for the more educated, professional tradition, but the "Jewish shopkeeper" was only a part of a much more economically and socially diverse population which included significant numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers. High levels of Jewish literacy did help the population advance faster, perhaps, in the pre-universal literacy days of the early 20th century.

    Shawn McHale - 9/8/2004

    Spare me the analogy. It is useless. The idea that Lao, Hmong, fifth generation Japanese Americans, Filipinos, Chinese, and others are the same, and like Jews, is, ah, uninformed.

    As for whether Asian Americans started as shopkeepers-- reading Sucheng Chan on the first Chinese Americans in California will disabuse you of that notion.

    Jonathan Dresner - 9/8/2004

    Mr. Chester,

    There's a logical disconnect that Malkin and you ignore: even if MAGIC said what Malkin says it said (and it doesn't) and even if MAGIC was a factor in the internment decision (and it wasn't), it does not logically follow that internment was an appropriate response to that information. In fact, given the much more selective treatment of Italian and German Americans, not to mention Japanese/Japanese-Americans in Hawai'i, the decision to pursue internment (a costly and disruptive policy, to say the least) instead of selective arrests or monitoring was clearly informed by non-strategic thinking.

    In fact, Malkin's argument does not have enough 'evidentiary weight' to justify reexamination of the issues, and her argument is both logically and ethically unsound.

    Lisa Kazmier - 9/8/2004

    Mr. Chester, you just don't get it. I spent a year in one much smaller archive and still did not read everything. And this about a different topic that should have been more manageable. Read Mr. Knuuti again. He is very careful -- as any historian should be. He is also very plain in the leaps of logic you are willing to make but few historians would.

    Michael E Chester - 9/8/2004

    A response -

    Aghast, open-mouthed amazement at the speed of her research does not constitute a substantive response to Malkin's arguments, but the reviewer gives it three paragraphs as though it does. The argument that not only I, but also Malkin the author, must not have ever done adequate research to "correct the work of scholars", smacks of cliquish credentialism, and is baiting, red herring language that seeks to do with reputation that which it cannot do with evidence. At least this is partially recognized as "this doesn't mean that Malkin is necessarily wrong".

    Second, the argument that no action can be shown being taken as a result of MAGIC can not logically equate to assuming that no action was taken as a result of MAGIC. It would seem you could argue for either MAGIC and other evidence Malkin produces as a part of many factors influencing the policy, or MAGIC as an unused and unknown source that unwittingly provides cover for a racist, nationalist policy. Either way, the evidentiary weight of Malkin's work is not in proving ipso facto that internment was justified or caused by MAGIC, but rather that past dismissal of internment claims of national security and espionage concerns as unsupportable are specious, and that these claims are indeed borne out by evidence, even if not enough for any of us to justify internment. Using internment as an epithet should be inadequate in present-day policy discussion.

    As to telephone handset sanitizers, no, it is not in theory possible, but if you have any evidence that support the theory, please produce it - but only after the appropriate scholarly delay of at least 16 months.

    Keith P Knuuti - 9/8/2004

    One wonders whether Michael Chester actually read the review carefully before writing his criticism.

    To address the first point, Muller isn't proposing that we doubt Malin's research because the topic is deep, but because the records are voluminous. Perhaps Michael Chester hasn't done any archival research, but he need only ask any historian at his local college or university how difficult and time-consuming it would be to pursue research in dozens or archives, covering thousands of pages of unfamiliar documents, in order to see that Muller's point is valid.

    To put it another way, you should almost *always* be suspicious when an interested amateur with little expertise proclaims that he or she can with confidence "correct" the work of scholars who have taken years or decades to master a body of knowledge. This doesn't mean that Malkin is necessarily wrong, but Muller's criticism is both valid and common-sensical.

    Chester's second point again shows his unwillingness to deal with Muller's actual criticisms. Muller does not say that MAGIC decrypts led decision makers to do nothing, nor does he say that MAGIC did not lead them to do something. He simply says that no one can prove that any action was taken as a result of MAGIC (a point Malkin concedes, if Chester does not), and that asserting that MAGIC caused certain actions requires a leap of faith.

    Muller also makes the obvious point that some actions can be shown to have had no connection at all to the MAGIC decrypts. So if we can't prove that there are any actions MAGIC led to, and we can demonstrate that there are actions it did not lead to, then Malkin's claim is seriously jeapordized. The bizarre notion that "MAGIC led them to think or do nothing" seems to exist only in Chester's imagination.

    The fact is, Malkin has not presented any significant new information, and if Chester had done much reading on this subject, he would know this. The crux of Malkin's argument is of the form "if we knew A, we might think B." Sadly, we don't know who "knew A" and there is no evidence -- none -- that anyone "thought B" as a result of A.

    So the argument is theoretically possible, as is the Douglas Adams notion that humans are descended from telephone handset sanitizers, but it is both unlikely and utterly unprovable. Other than that, it's a wonderful and convincing case for those who have already made up their minds. I suspect that Michael Chester would feel quite at home in that group.

    Michael E Chester - 9/8/2004

    This mini-polemic consists of:

    1) Doubting the depth of Malkin's research for three paragraphs; because, well, the topic is just so deep, how could she possibly be wife, mother, and extremist author all at the same time?

    2) The supposition that since there is no direct chain proving that MAGIC "actually led anybody to think or do anything", we should surmise that - what, MAGIC led them to think or do nothing?

    Malkin has presented information indicating that internment wasn't merely a groundless effort in racial herding; rather, information was available at various levels from a trusted and known source that certainly would inform thinking on the topic above mere red-necked bigotry.

    Internment born of racial ignorance? Surely a part, but racial ignorance need not be utter racist malice. The internment of the Japanese has been used as an argumentative trump that presumes a meritless act with rash racism at it's genesis, and at minimum, Malkin's book should force any argument where that card is played to be argued and won on firmer grounds.

    Andrew D. Todd - 9/6/2004

    There are a number of states where the percentage of Asian-Americans is less than the spread between the two parties. When you break the polls down by electoral college representation, Kerry seems to be winning. Asian-Americans are natural Republicans. They're like Jews, they start as shopkeepers, and then work up into the professions, and that includes Arab-Americans. The Republican party has already managed to kiss off the Arab-Americans, so now they're starting in on the Japanese-Americans? And then, maybe they'll do something to alarm and terrify the Chinese-Americans? "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."


    Jonathan Dresner - 9/6/2004

    This isn't intended as a full-bore review. It is an examination of Malkin's methods and self-aggrandizing rhetoric.

    There's almost nothing about Malkin's book that stands up to close scrutiny from people who know almost anything about the subject.

    david horowitz - 9/6/2004

    This is not a review -- it doesn't deal in anyway with Malkin's argument and the evidence she presents. It is an ideologically motivated smear calling into question exactly what the historian's fairness committee is really about.