Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Michelle Malkin on internment camps and the positive side of racial profiling

You won't find Michelle Malkin, the conservative commentator who now calls Colorado home and was just named one of the right's top 25 journalists, out at the Denver Federal Center today.

That's because the National Park Service will be holding a meeting at 10 a.m. on $3 million in grants available for the Japanese American Confinement Site program -- and Malkin already served up her take on the camps in her book In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror.

As Malkin wrote on her blog in August 2004:

My aim is to kick off a vigorous national debate on what has been one of the most undebatable subjects in American history and law: President Franklin Roosevelt's homeland security policies that led to the evacuation and relocation of 112,000 ethnic Japanese on the West Coast, as well as the internment of tens of thousands of enemy aliens from Japan, Germany, Italy, and other Axis nations. I think it's vitally important to get the history right because the WWII experience is often invoked by opponents of common-sense national security profiling and other necessary homeland security measures today....

If you are a history buff, you will undoubtedly enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. There are some incredible stories of untold courage and patriotism, as well as espionage and disloyalty, that have been buried in the mainstream WWII literature. If you are a parent with kids in high school, college, or law school, I hope you buy the book for your students or their teachers. And if you are simply an informed citizen, seeking answers about why we have failed to do what's necessary to combat our enemies on American soil (e.g., airport profiling, immigration enforcement, heightened scrutiny of Muslim chaplains and soldiers, etc.), I hope you buy the book to help gain intellectual ammunition and insights on our politically correct paralysis.

Liberal critics always ask if I've ever changed my mind about anything. Yes, I take back what I wrote in 2000; I have radically changed my mind about FDR's actions to protect the homeland. And I hope to persuade you all to do the same.

Here's another potential mind-changer: Jonathan Shikes's "Forward Into the Past," his 2001 story on a high-school project to save the history of Camp Amache, the Japanese internment camp in southeastern Colorado where "sagebrush, yucca and weeds reclaimed the sandhill, growing up and around the cement foundations, and sand swept over the remains of gardens and footpaths, forgotten children's toys and broken silverware, bitter memories and heartbreak."

The story was published a few days after 9/11, when many Americans were looking suspiciously at neighbors whose origins were in the Middle East -- or just looked like it. Read it here.

Find more information on the National Park Service program on the NPS website.