I usually enjoy reading Bob Thomas. I don't always agree with him, but he usually has something useful to say. Today, however, when I read his column about the Japanese internment camps, I was shocked and saddened by his attitude.
I was doubly sad that your editorial staff would think it was OK to publish a column full of such racist and untrue statements.
Between 1942 and 1946 some 77,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry (not illegal immigrants as Thomas suggested) and 43,000 Japanese nationals, most of whom were permanent U.S. residents, were deprived of liberty and property without criminal charges, without trial, and with very little notice.
Most of these citizens had been born and raised in the U.S., some were third- and fourth-generation Americans. They were given three weeks to liquidate all their assets, leave their homes, and report to a detention facility. At those facilities, located in distant areas from their homes, elderly couples, small children, young mothers, and the sick and disabled were kept prisoners behind barbed wire, guarded round the clock by soldiers with automatic weapons while the young Japanese men served their country as soldiers.
These were law abiding citizens - small business owners, ranchers, farmers, and laborers. Important and respected citizens of the United states.
Although Bob Thomas asserts that the attack on Pearl Harber was a justification for the mass incaceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, his assumptioin is contradicted by the fact that the Japanese American citizens of Hawaii were not sent to detention facilities.
Another assertion that Thomas makes, that the Japanese Americans were not loyal citizens, and that the U.S. had no time to certify that they were loyal is clearly contradicted in a November 1941 confidential report by special investigator, Curtis B. Muunson, who was dispatched to check on the disposition of the Japanese American communities on the West coast and Hawaii.
In his report to the president, Muson certified that Japanese Americans possessed an extraordinary degree of loyalty to the United States, and immigrant Japanese were of no danger. Munsons' findings were corroborated by years of secret surveilance conducted by the FBI and Navy Intelligence. There were a few potential extremists, as there is with any large population, but almost 100 percent of the Japanese American population was absolutely trustworthy.
Thomas says that he thinks the U.S. should do the same thing they did in 1942 if the same situation existed today. I think this is an intolerable stance for a man who has always said he stood for American values and rights.
When any American is denied their rights, deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law, all Americans must live in fear. What happened to the Japanese Americans during World War II was a travesty. It is a shameful and sad moment of our history, and I would never want to repeat such an immoral and terrible act.
Bob Thomas, please read up on the facts. You should be ashamed of yourself for spouting such racist and anti-American ideas.