Sunday, February 19, 2017

It's not a Japanese internment order

Screen shot from Evan Salcido/YouTube.
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt 75 years ago today, is often thought of as an order to put ethnic-Japanese residents of the United States, including US citizens, in detention camps, treating them all as enemies of the state, just because that's what actually happened.

But by Trumpian logic that's totally unfair. It didn't apply to all Japanese, just "any or all" of those in "military areas". Not including Hawaii, for instance, where 40% of the population was of Japanese origin, and where the real-life Japanese attack on the United States had occurred (from Japan, not from anybody living in the territory), but only a few thousand were interned, and not including anybody east of the Mississippi except some Italians and Germans (including German Jewish refugees, because it was thought they might be German agents abusing Americans' natural sympathy for refugees, does that sound familiar at all?).

In fact it really didn't apply to Japanese at all; the word "Japanese" isn't used anywhere in the order. Just "persons", at the discretion of the designated commander:
I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order.
So how can you possibly call it a Muslim ban Japanese internment order? It was just Keeping America Safe. </sarcasm> Or an invitation to racial discrimination and arbitrary tyranny, depending on how you look at it, you know, but I have an idea which, based on the way it turned out.

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