In Defense of Internment

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In Defense of Internment
Book cover
AuthorMichelle Malkin
CountryUnited States
SubjectRacial profiling in law enforcement--United States--Case studies.
Law enforcement--United States--Case studies.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
War on Terrorism, 2001-
PublisherRegnery Publishing
Publication date
940.53/1773 22
LC ClassHV8141 .M245 2004

In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror (ISBN 0-89526-051-4) is a 2004 investigative book written by conservative American political commentator Michelle Malkin. Malkin defends the United States government's internment of Japanese Americans in relocation camps during World War II and racial profiling of Arabs during the post-2001 War on Terror. The book is based on an unusually large set of primary source citations; almost half of the book is copies of original documents and Magic (cryptography) cables. The book's message has been condemned by Japanese American groups and civil rights advocates.[1][2] Its point of view has been criticized by some academics.[3][4]

Facts revealed[edit]

Among facts cited by Malkin:

  • With respect to the 1984 commission decision reviewing Executive Order 9066, Malkin notes that the commission did not review the Magic (cryptography) cables, an omission decried at the time by the Under-secretary who was involved in the decision making process.[5]

Writing of the book[edit]

On her website, Malkin wrote:[6]

I was compelled to write this book after watching ethnic activists, historians, and politicians repeatedly play the World War II internment card after the September 11 attacks. The Bush Administration's critics have equated every reasonable measure to interrogate, track, detain, and deport potential terrorists with the "racist" and "unjustified" World War II internment policies of President Roosevelt. To make amends for this "shameful blot" on our history, both Japanese-American and Arab/Muslim-American activists argue against any and all uses of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in shaping current homeland security policies. Misguided guilt about the past continues to hamper our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks.

Response to In Defense of Internment[edit]

There was considerable media interest in the book especially on the West Coast of the U.S. and Hawaii, where the impact of relocation and internment in World War II was greatest. It made the New York Times Best Seller list in September 2004. As anticipated by Malkin,[7] the book proved to be highly controversial, with civil liberties and Asian-American groups in particular being harshly critical of the book's conclusions, while others were supportive.

Not many provided positive or even neutral reviews. The Conservative Book Club said Malkin provided "a largely fair assessment".[8] John Tateishi, the Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League issued a media release on August 24, 2004, calling the book "a desperate attempt to impugn the loyalty of Japanese Americans during World War II to justify harsher governmental policies today in the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans." Fred Korematsu, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States which upheld the constitutionality of internment, wrote:

[a]ccording to Malkin, it is OK to take away an entire ethnic group's civil rights because some individuals are suspect. [...] It is painful to see reopened for serious debate the question of whether the government was justified in imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II. It was my hope that my case and the cases of other Japanese American internees would be remembered for the dangers of racial and ethnic scapegoating.[9]

Reviewing the book for Reason, Eric L. Muller of the University of North Carolina Law School wrote:

the evidence Malkin deploys [...] is—at best—mere speculation. This speculation might be worth a moment's reflection if Malkin also addressed the voluminous historical research that has shown the impact of racism, nativism, political pressure, economic jealousies, and war panic on the government's policies toward Japanese Americans. [...] But Malkin does not so much as mention any of that evidence, except to say that a reader can find it elsewhere in 'pedantic tomes' and 'educational propaganda.' She dismisses what she cannot rebut.[10]

Thirty-nine scholars and professional researchers signed a letter condemning Malkin's book for "blatant violation of professional standards of objectivity and fairness".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forman, David (2004), "Another View of Internment", Honolulu Star-Bulletin
  2. ^ Ibish, Hussein (2004), "Michelle Malkin's book seems to urge discrimination in US against Arabs, Muslims", Daily Star
  3. ^ Robinson, Greg (2004), A Critique of Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment, archived from the original on September 19, 2008
  4. ^ Muller, Eric (2004), Muller and Robinson on Malkin
  5. ^ JAAWR Hearings (1984),[1]. Magic "was a very important factor" in their considerations.
  6. ^, page date 6 Feb 2006, retrieved from's Wayback Machine
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ In Defense of Internemt
  9. ^ Korematsu, Fred (2004-09-16). Do we really need to relearn the lessons of Japanese American internment?. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-03-08.
  10. ^ Muller, Eric. (2004-12-01). Indefensible Internment. Reason. Retrieved 2001-03-08.
  11. ^ Historians' Committee for Fairness (2004-08-31). Press release Archived 2007-08-05 at the Wayback Machine. History News Network. Retrieved 2001-03-08.

External links[edit]