Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1942 = 2003

In 1942, on February 19th, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which declared that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. Over 110,000 Japanese immigrants and their US Citizen children were put in housing facilities called "War Relocation Camps" in response to Japan attacking the US at Pearl Harbor. 62% were American Citizens.

Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527 were issued designating Japanese, German and Italian nationals as enemy aliens.

In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion orders.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover opposed the internment of Japanese Americans. Refuting General DeWitt's reports of disloyalty on the part of Japanese Americans, Hoover sent a memo to Attorney General Francis Biddle in which he wrote about Japanese American disloyalty, "Every complaint in this regard has been investigated, but in no case has any information been obtained which would substantiate the allegation."

Ignoring this, Roosevelt used "military necessity" as justification, because of the threat that Japanese spies could be present and no one would know because they could blend in with those of Japanese descent.

Those in support of this policy argued that nothing like Pearl Harbor happened again. The Japanese were not able to attack any US targets afterwards, and thus these policies "kept America safe" from the Japanese threat.

Years later, in 1988, Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation stated that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

In 2003, President George W. Bush, with the help of legal memorandum drafted by John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, assistant attorney general and legal counsel to George W. Bush, authorized the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspects and "enemy combatants." Other memos authorized the President to disregard much of the US Constitution and its amendments in his "war on terror" after terrorists attacked New York City and blew up the World Trade Center. These memos even authorized the suspension of civil liberties, including warrants, search and seizure, wiretaps, free speech, habeas corpus, the right to a trial, cruel and unusual punishment, and others, for US Citizens if suspected of terrorism.

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Presidential Military Order: "Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism."

In 2006, Congress upheld that the President could deny habeas corpus to those held as suspects of terrorism, under the Military Commissions Act.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush, that the Military Commissions Act could not remove the right for Guantanamo captives to access the US Federal Court system.

Supporters of Bush, the John Yoo/Bybee memos, and the policy of waterboarding, argue that military necessity is justification enough to violate the human rights of prisoners accused or suspected of terrorism. They argue that nothing like 9/11 has happened since, and that these policies "kept America safe" from the terrorist threat.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order shutting down Guantanamo Bay and granting detainees access to the Justice system. Among other words, this was lauded as progress to reverse government policies based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."


TRUTH 101 said...

That's fascinating James. I never would have thought J.Edgar Hoover would have been against interrment of Japanese Americans.

All I can do about the rest is just shake my head.

James Wolfer said...

Its another parallel that I forgot to enter: today's FBI said that torturing the suspects wouldn't work. The CIA didn't listen.

Dave Miller said...

Nice post James. Maybe you can have a career in history... or law.

James' Muse said...

Eh, too much work and too little payoff. History: I'd have to be a professor. Don't have the patience. Law: Don't have the patience.

I guess it all comes down to that I'd rather do something that matters (much like what you do) in the light of eternity. All this other stuff is temporary.

Time said...

Practicing citizenship; making sure that our courts and elected officials stay true to our Constitution and laws, is not a temporary job and is just as useful to our society than anything else you could choose to do.

James' Muse said...

I think I'd become too bitter becoming a lawyer.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Ironic that Roosevelt, a Democrat, and Bush, a Republican, did almost the same exact thing during a time when they felt America was threatened. Then you have Reagan, a Republican, apologizing for Roosevelt. I wonder if Reagan would apologize for Bush?

You do a lot of work on these subjects, James. I can tell you are passionate about our constitution.

James' Muse said...

Well thanks, Pamela. I'm passionate about our country. And yes, I do believe Reagan would apologize for Bush.

Its nice to be complimented for this. So many other bloggers accuse me of being unpatriotic and being uneducated or being a hippie or blah blah blah. Its nice for someone from the right to actually admit that I have a point instead of doing ad hominem attacks.