Page 16 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • August 26, 2009 whom he characterized as above average in education and below average in income; and ultra-nationalists, foreignborn, ignorant of English and of American culture and members of groups like the kokuryukai, the Black Dragon Society. (The Black Dragon Society had an office in Los Angeles in those days.) Most Japanese were strongly anticommunist and the Japanese-Americans resented being ordered around by ultra-nationalists. Both groups were denounced routinely to the Office of Naval Intelligence and the FBI by loyal Japanese-Americans and by Koreans who hated Japanese militarism and resented recruiting efforts. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the ONI and the FBI swooped. In a few days, 2,192 Japanese had been arrested in the United States and another 879 in Hawaii. As far as Hoover and the Navy were concerned, the problem was taken care of. The real Japanese militants were all behind barbed wire and the vast majority of Japanese-Americans, especially those who were born here, posed no threat to anybody and could be left alone. This was not to be. California politicians, one of whom was Earl Warren, urged the entire Japanese-American population of the West Coast be rounded up and “evacuated.” Good old Doctor Seuss, Theodore Geissel, a stooge for the ultra-liberal Ralph Ingersoll, drew cartoons of JapaneseAmericans receiving explosives for sabotage, which never happened. On Feb. 18, 1942, weeks after Hoover and the ONI had all the dangerous Japanese behind barbed wire, Franklin Delano Roosevelt established military zones with martial law on the West Coast. On March 18, 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9102, establishing the War Relocation Authority. By June 7, most of the remaining 112,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast – people whose loyalty had already been vouchsafed by the ONI and the FBI – had joined the 3,000 commies and the ultra-nationalists behind barbed wire because of their race. The author who says this was not such a bad thing needs to look at the bigger picture. The government arrested Fritz Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund, and a handful of Nazi and Italian Fascist wannabes; they didn’t arrest the entire populations. If the government had deported all members of these other two Axis-matrix groups, it would have crippled the war effort. There were more GermanAmericans than any other kind of Americans, and the Italians contributed a large number of soldiers and war workers. The government understood this, because in Hawaii, where the Japanese made up a majority of the labor force and professional support groups, there was no relocation. Hawaii was so menaced by a Japanese invasion before the Battle of Midway that the government stamped all the money there “Hawaii” so the Japanese could not re-use it if they ever got to California. Yet there was no relocation in Hawaii, where an invasion was plausible, while there was a comprehensive relocation in California, where an invasion was preposterous by June 7. The Japanese fleet had already been defeated at the Coral Sea and Midway and American war production was booming. Relocation, supposedly a defense measure, was, plain and simple, a rip-off. White Americans who had always resented Japanese and other Asian labor competition threw the Japanese-Americans out of their farms, shops, restaurants, and service stations, and many people made no bones about not wanting them back once the war was over. Many a contemporary Nazi stepped into a bureaucratic or professional job when his Jewish predecessor was told to take $200 and leave the country. The operating principle, minus the mass murders, is about the same: Throw out people who are “different” than you are, and possibly also smarter or more diligent than you are, and capitalize on their prior success. The 10 relocation centers were not “death camps” – they were concentration camps, where the handful of deaths (minus a few willful shootings) were incidental. Seven people died of heat prostration in one day at Poston, Arizona, and the survivors thought it was deliberate. American relocation did not turn into Nazi-style genocide for two reasons: Most Americans were still tangentially Christians in the 1940s rather than avidly Darwinian or neopagan and would have objected to killing large numbers of women and children, just as Easterners had objected to the proposed extermination of the American Indians a half-century before; and America’s food supply was never threatened as Germany’s was. Many thousands of World War I German civilians starved to death and millions of World War II civilians suffered malnutrition while Nazi bigwigs got fat and stole art treasures. We didn’t spare these people because of the Constitution – FDR forgot there was a Constitution. What he may not have forgotten was that a couple of his brain transplants in the Treasury Department helped goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor while he was either asleep at the switch or frothing for another war with Germany that the American public didn’t want. The Japanese-Americans were convenient scapegoats for the catastrophes of Pearl Harbor and the loss of the Philippines, where a lot of the people we tried to protect took the day off and went home. They left American boys holding the bag. That seems to happen to us a lot when we stray out of our own hemisphere and listen to people who flatter us and take our money. Go figure. I recently encountered news about a book that says Japanese-American relocation during World War II was no big deal and we should not feel sorry it happened. That is certainly going to be news in the JapaneseAmerican community, and it might come as a surprise to the United States government, which finally admitted it had done the wrong thing and paid the surviving claimants $20,000 each. Depending on the value of property they had to sell in a hurry, this probably represents about 10 cents on the dollar for what they lost in 1942. This would have been news to Senator Robert Taft and J. Edgar Hoover, who opposed relocation from its inception. (Taft called it the sloppiest criminal law he had ever heard of.) This also would have been news to Attorney General Nicholas Biddle and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who tried to liberalize release policies to allow people of undoubted loyalty to return home. Most of all, it would be news to the 33,000 Japanese-Americans who fought for the United States against Nazi Germany in Italy and Southern France or who served as combat interpreters against Japan in the Pacific. The Japanese-Americans were the most decorated of any ethnic group in the United States Army. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team had about 3,000 men. Just a few years ago, the United States reviewed citations for members of ethnic groups who had been passed over for the Congressional Medal of Honor due to racism among officers. Jewish and Mexican GIs received six or seven medals per group based on an objective analysis. The JapaneseAmericans, fewer in number than either of the other two groups, received 17 Congressional Medals of Honor. What happened? During the 20th century, the United States was under pressure from West Coast labor unions, and attempted to restrict the immigration of Japanese to the United States, first with the Gentleman’s Agreement, which meant Japan would discourage emigration, but the United States would not ban immigration, later with the Immigration Act of 1924, which established a quota of 100 immigrants from China – wise guys used to say of an unlucky attempt at something, “He hasn’t got a Chinaman’s chance” – and another 100 from the Japanese Empire, which also included the Koreans and the Chinese of Taiwan. Japanese continued to enter the United States, not always legally, and by 1941, there were 117,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast, while the Japanese were the single largest ethnic group in Hawaii, and still are. Despite some verbal jousting with the Chinese and the Koreans, the Japanese-American population was largely distinguished for hard work, law-abiding behavior, and successful adaptation to the United States. Many Japanese-Americans became Christians and almost all of them seemed to cherish education and enjoy baseball and judo. Exceptions existed. Togo Tanaka, a Japanese-American journalist of the 1940s whom I interviewed for a book now in the works, said that 95 percent of the Japanese-American community was loyal to the United States. The remaining five percent, Tanaka said, was bifurcated into aka, Reds, Reconsidering relocation: Who needs the Constitution? Letters to the Editor Dear Editor: In your paper dated Aug. 5, 2009, you ran two articles referencing David Bolger, and his plight with bloggers. Oddly missing is reference to the name and location of the site where the blogging occurred. I thought newspapers were supposed to be fair and impartial. What happened to reporting both sides of the story? Allow me to shed some light on the other side. Several weeks ago, members of our community started a Facebook page called “Save Graydon.” The page quickly jumped to its current membership of 832 people. A staggeringly large number of people, given the short time it has been up and running. Eight hundred thirty-two people are speaking out against the proposed RPP plans! I find it troubling that the affairs of one man are reported, over that of 832 people, not once, but twice. In the second column, “Outlaw Journalist,” the limelight is once again thrust onto Mr. Bolger’s plight, diminishing the entire mission of the many community members interested in preserving Graydon Pool. The author, John Koster, claiming he takes no sides, launches into a historical war diatribe, which eventually leads, once again, to the support of Mr. Bolger. This is an outrage! First Mr. Bolger threatens legal actions against our freedom of speech, and then the newspapers cover only his side. Both sides should be outraged by these actions. This is America! People are entitled to their opinion, and should demand accurate and fair reporting by our press. Maureen Munroe Ridgewood Dear Editor: I was appalled when I read in your Aug. 19 edition of Seeking balance the Ridgewood Council’s vote to reject an ordinance that would have allowed a 10 resident group home for patients with Asperger’s Syndrome on South Broad Street under pressure from local residents. “Our community is over saturated with people with disabilities.” “You’re bringing one disabled group after another.” “You’re changing the character of our neighborhood” There is one word for sentiments like these: bigotry. Discrimination is no less despicable and cowardly when practiced against persons with disabilities than it is against persons of color or any other group. What a shame it is that our council chose to bow to the irrational prejudices of an uninformed crowd rather than take a principled stand on the values of justice and equality that make us a nation of laws rather than a lynch mob. More disappointing than the council’s decision was the voice of a pastor to a faith community within that unholy chorus of objectors. I would have thought that a man whose life is dedicated to following one who made a regular practice of welcoming people nobody else wanted, would be the first to speak up for these people the good citizens of Ridgewood seem bent on keeping out. I profoundly hope that Mayor Pfund’s premonitions are correct and that COAH takes prompt legal action in this matter. Ridgewood needs to learn that the days of Jim Crow are over. Peter A. Olsen Ridgewood Dear Editor: A $10 million bond to float Graydon Pool? For those of you who still have on rose colored glasses, take a trip to Xanadu in the Meadowlands. See all the parked cars. See (continued on page 17) Village of Xanadu? Finds group home vote discriminatory