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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

George S. Schuyler: Conservative Critic of the Japanese Internment

In recent years, it is has become fashionable among some conservatives to defend FDR's internment of the Japanese-Americans. Michelle Malkin and Daniel Pipes spring to mind as examples.

For this reason, it should be mentioned that one of the few consistent voices against this policy was George S. Schuyler, an important figure in the rise of the modern conservative movement. Schuyler later wrote
Black and Conservative and contributed to such journals as The Freeman and National Review.

Until his death in 1977, Schuyler never flagged in his oppostion to Japanese internment. While he had not yet made the full transition to conservativism during World War II, he already hated FDR's New Deal and "Globalony" with a passion.

On May 29, 1943, he wrote the following in his column for The Pittsburgh Courier, one of the two leading black newspapers at the time:

"Some colored folks have said we should remain indifferent because the Japanese-Americans have never championed our cause and sought to avoid us at all times. While this is not entirely true, it would make difference if it were true....These Japanese-American citizens are NOT in concentration because of the commission of any crime against the state. The contention that 70,000 citizens among the millions of whites on the Pacific coast constituted a danger is a fantastic falsehood. These people are the most industrious, thrifty, and best behaved citizens in this country. Thousands of them are the offspring of American-born Japanese-Americans. Other thousands are the offspring of mixed Americans, many having blonde hair and blue eyes, and look no more Japanese than I do. They had farms, businesses, and service jobs and professions. They sent their children to school and college and did all possible to measure up to American standards. They were put in concentration camps SOLELY because of "race," and the principle behind their jailing is exactly the same as that behind the jailing, torture and murder of the Jews under Hitler's jurisdiction.

Their fight is our fight....and the sooner we realize it the better."

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

FDR: Another President Who Lied Us Into War

Long before Bush used deception to get us into the Iraq War, economic historian Robert Higgs describes how FDR did much the same thing in the period before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor:

A short comment is no place to settle the controversies that have raged ever since the attack about what Roosevelt and his chief subordinates knew in advance, but one thing has been known for a long time: however “dastardly” the attack might have been, it was anything but “unprovoked.” Indeed, even admirers and defenders of Roosevelt, such as Robert B. Stinnett and George Victor, have documented provocations aplenty. (See the former’s Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor and the latter’s The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable.) On December 8, the same day that Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, former president Herbert Hoover wrote a private letter in which he remarked, “You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bitten.”

On the basis of facts accumulated over the past seven decades and available to anyone who cares to examine them, we are justified in saying that Hoover’s characterization of the war’s provocation was entirely accurate - both with regard to the Japanese imperial government as “rattlesnakes” and with regard to the U.S. government’s “putting pins in.” Indeed, we now have a much firmer basis for that characterization than Hoover could have had on December 8, 1941. Countless lies have been told, massive cover-ups have been staged, propaganda has flowed like a river, yet in this one regard, at least, the truth has undeniably been brought out.

Most American historians, of course, no longer bother to deny this truth. They simply take it in stride, presuming that the Japanese attack, by giving Roosevelt the public support he needed to bring the United States into the war against Germany through the “back door,” was a good thing for this country and for the world at large. Indeed, some actually shower the president with approbation for his mendacious maneuvering to wrench the American people away from their unsophisticated devotion to “isolationism.” In no small part, Roosevelt’s unrelenting dishonesty with the American people (Stanford University historian David M. Kennedy tactfully refers to the president’s “frequently cagey misrepresentations”) in 1940 and 1941 - plain enough if one reads nothing more than his pre-Pearl Harbor correspondence with Winston Churchill - is counted among his principal qualifications for “greatness” and for his (to my mind, incomprehensible) status as an American demigod.

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