Friday, July 21, 2006

In Praise of Detention Camps

The first waves of western "evacuees" from Lebanon have begun arriving in the United States and Europe, raising serious--and legitimate--questions about how many Hizballah operatives might be in their midst.

As Diana West and Debbie Schlussel have noted, while the returnees carry U.S. or European passports, many have lived in Lebanon or the Middle East for much of their lives. And, their allegiances are clearly with Hizballah. As Ms. West observed in today's Washington Times, the large Shia community in the Dearborn, Michigan area celebrates Israel's 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon as a "liberation day," and support for the terrorist organization runs deep. Never mind the fact that Hizballah was responsible for murdering more Americans than any other terrorist group before 9-11. And never mind (as the Counterterrorism blog reminds us) that Hizballah has long history of illict activities in this country, designed to facilitate their murderous goals.

Against this backdrop, thousands of American expats are returning to this country, yet no one has publicly asked the most essential question: what--if anything--is being done to identify potential terrorist operatives and facilitators that may be among them. The MSM carefully focuses its coverage on evacuees that were apparently trapped by sudden events--such as the young mother who went to Lebanon to adopt a son, only to find herself in the middle of a war zone. We hear nothing about Americans who have elected to live in Hizballah enclaves, may have "joined the cause," and are willing to further the jihad upon reaching their homeland. Thanks to Ms. West, we know that the British Home Office is screening evacuees en route to the U.K., but (to my knowledge) the Bush Administration hasn't said a word about our own security precautions. In a post-9-11 world, we have the right to know what being done (or, perhaps what isn't being done) to protect our safety.

Most of us are familiar with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but few have heard that thousands of German-Americans and Italian-Americans suffered a similar fate, highlighting the fact that the program was much more extensive, and not restricted to a single ethnic group. Of course, the internment is now viewed as a dark chapter in U.S. history; American citizens, being denied basic rights because of their ancestry. But while many--particulary Japanese-Americans--were treated unfairly, the passage of time (and revisionist history) ignores the valid security concerns which provided the foundation for the policy.

At this point, I'm not proposing the prolonged internment of American evacuees returning from Lebanon. But profiling techniques should be used on the returnees, to help identify those which might pose the greatest risk. And, those evacuees should be placed in some sort of detention facility until they can be fully screened and carefully vetted. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration shows no sign (at least publicly) of taking such an aggressive stand. While profiling works, political correctness has made it a dirty word. And the ACLU would file suit at the mere suggestion that high-risk returnees might be detained.

The administration's timidity in such matters was on display earlier this week. When the evacuation from Lebanon began, the State Department suggested that returnees pay the equivalent of an airline ticket from Beirut to Cyprus (roughly $150), to help offset the massive costs of the air and sealift operations. When the evacuees and civil liberties groups objected, the administration quickly backed down. If the White House and Foggy Bottom are willing to retreat on such a trivial matter as the "return fee," how can we expect them to make the really hard choices in screening--and if necessary, detaining--evacuees who may pose a genuine security threat.

1 comment:

peanutlover said...

Any profiling should include inquiring into the evacuee's belief in jihad and imposing sharia in the U.S. thru violent or even peaceful means.

Unfortunately, these are mainstream muslim beliefs. The vast majority of muslims overseas (and probably here in the U.S.) support Hizballah's jihad against Israel. This would lead any reasonable person (non-muslim) to conclude that muslim evacuees should not be allowed into the U.S. Too bad this will include many American 'citizens' and therefore will not be politically plausible.

Regarding the evacuation and subsequent internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans; these folks were given the chance to evacuate to areas outside the exclusionary zones (primarily along the West Coast.)

The U.S. government set up programs to assist said in relocating and set a timetable for all Issei (Japanese) and Nissei (American citizens) to leave the exclusion zones.

Most did not relocate and the government moved them to temporary centers (which were later used by U.S. troops) and then to longer-term camps.

Many internees left these camps for jobs in other parts of the country outside the exclusion zones. Internees could also leave the camps to attend college in parts of the country outside the exclusion zones.

The U.S. had been intercepting the Japanese codes for sometime and knew Japan had a vast and sophisticated network of spies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Japs focused their intelligence gathering on U.S. warfighting capabilities and shipping near West Coast ports and other industrial areas.

There was a legitimate fear that citizens and noncitizens of Japanese ancestry would assist the enemy in any Japanese incursion or invasion of the West Coast. This was proven-out by the turncoats of Nihau island on the date of 12/7/41 when otherwise loyal Japanese turned against others on their Hawaiian island in order to assist a downed Japanese pilot.

The Japanese were shelling periodically along the west coast and lead military and civilian officials to believe they might initiate some sort of landing. The Japanese had a navy in the Pacific, remember. The Germans were not judged able to mount a similar engagement along our eastern seaboard. Nevertheless, there were tens of thousands of Germans interned as well as Japanese.

Also remember; the decision was made to evacuate the exclusion zones while Pearl Harbor was still fresh in the country's mind. Roosevelt and his top advisors were the only ones cleared for the secret code intercepts, named Magic. These Magic intercepts revealed that Japan's spy network was actively providing Japan with vital information.

Read Michell Malkin's book, In Defense of Internment. She provides terrific history and a stark relevance to today's war against the muslim jihad.