Monday, February 17, 2003

Still falsifying history

Speaking of Sgt. Stryker, I’ve been forced to conclude that its author, CPO Sparkey, is either compulsively dishonest or someone who purposively limits his samples of history to those that reinforce his worldview. His recent distortions of history are really starting to pile up:

-- He reiterates the argument, frequently proffered by conservatives, that “Hitler was a Socialist.” Of course, that notion is not merely ahistorical, it is a form of Newspeak, as I’ve explained previously.

-- He defends his limited posts from the “Magic” cables with a long, convoluted and ultimately quite unconvincing rationalization. All the while, of course, his argument elides the point made here previously: That in fact the “Magic” cables not only discussed using Japanese-Americans as agents, but many more of them placed a high priority on the use of Caucasians primarily for this work -- a fact that, by the logic employed by Sparkey and other defenders of the internment, would have militated for rounding up all white people along the Pacific Coast. Why doesn’t Sparkey show us those cables?

-- Moreover, he also continues to ignore another pertinent fact regarding the Magic cables, also pointed out here previously: The FBI had in fact used the intelligence gathered from the cables to arrest about 1,500 Issei within the first few days after Pearl Harbor; FBI director J. Edgar Hoover opposed the internment because he believed any threat indicated by these cables had already been effectively dealt with.

-- He refuses to present even a scintilla of evidence that the cables had anything to do with FDR’s decision. He quotes at length the later testimony by internment architect John McCloy defending the decision. But McCloy’s own testimony indicates he was unaware of the “Magic” cables; and it is likewise clear that FDR signed off on the internment not by his own initiative but by that of McCloy and his cohorts. Though FDR was aware of the Magic cables, there is nothing in any of the documents regarding his discussions with others within the chain of command that they influenced his thinking at all. Instead, it’s clear the primary rationalization for the internment came from Lt. Gen. John DeWitt’s finding of “military necessity” -- which of course was built upon an amazing paucity of evidence and a large mountain of racist stereotypes.

-- He continues to deny that racism played a major role in the decision to intern Japanese-Americans, and even makes this suggestion:
Race as an issue was, at best, a local phenomenon, but not one the Nation's leadership was concerned about.

Even before Sparkey posted this rather laughable notion, of course, it was not only thoroughly debunked here, it’s also been effectively refuted at Eric Muller’s blog, Is That Legal? as well as at Monkey Media Report. It is abundantly clear that the racist stereotypes to which not only FDR but most of the rest of the nation subscribed were in fact prerequisites for the internment. Americans believed that Japanese-Americans would betray them because racist propaganda had been assuring them of this for the preceding half-century.

-- Finally, even if everything Sparkey said were accurate (and obviously it isn’t), then why has he been unable to answer the most basic question of all: Does wartime justify the suspension of the basic American right to a presumption of innocence?

Because even if the “Magic” cables were the primary source of the motivation to intern the Nikkei, they at best showed that only a tiny portion of that community were a sabotage/espionage risk. That would mean the United States incarcerated 70,000 citizens based on the presumption that a few of them were guilty of spying.

This isn’t, as Sparkey likes to flatter himself, a “New Historical” approach. It’s simply flat-out historical revisionism -- the same kind, frankly, practiced by the Holocaust-deniers at the Institute for Historical Review.

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