Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Chris Hibbert (
Date: Fri Dec 21 2001 - 15:52:07 MST

Mike Lorrey wrote:
> What bugs me is that those who harp on things like our detention of the
> Japanese have absolutely nothing to [s]ay about how the Japanese treated
> OUR citizens (and those of Britain, Australia, etc) who were
> non-combatants within Japanese control.

You misunderstand the nature of the distinction. (Notice that I didn't
have to call you a fool or label your politics in order to frame the
disagreement? Try that sometime.) The US government claims to act on
behalf of citizens. Any legitimacy it has comes from the consent of the
governed. The Japanese government doesn't care what I think (except
when they act in a way that gives us cause to go to war with them.) I
want our government (little as I want a government) to act in ways that
are allowed by the laws, and consistently with freedom. They didn't,
and if we don't protest, they'll feel like they can get away with it

They came for the Japanese and noone complained. We learned. When they
came for the Arabs, there was a big uproar. Not that they couldn't
detain them, but they had to be careful. There are a lot of people who
think they aren't being careful enough. Not many would argue that the
police investigation and the questioning shouldn't be done, but they
want our government to learn from past bad examples and respect people's
rights. We don't know which of them are innocent, so we should be real
careful to treat them all as if they probably are until there's good
evidence otherwise.

For the actual terrorists who were on airplanes, it didn't take the
investigators long to come up with reasonable evidence that they were
connected to Al Quaeda. Anyone that they couldn't come up with similar
evidence on in a similar period, they should be treating with kid
gloves, and that doesn't seem to be happening.

> [...] The Japanase government has never apologized
> for this treatment, generally denies that it took place in their history
> books, and has never paid a dime to the survivors or their families,

That's a different problem from the actions of our government in
depriving citizens of their rights, and I have no problem with those who
focus on it.

> and our government prevents our citizens from suing the Japanese over

I agree that this is wrong. I shouldn't have to complain about either
of these wrongs in order to complain when our government throws citizens
(or others who should be presumed innocent, my my reasoning) in
detention camps, and confiscates their belongings.

The fact that the Japanese (were/may have been) worse isn't a defense of
the US government's actions.


It is easy to turn an aquarium into fish soup, but not so easy to turn
fish soup back into an aquarium.
-- Lech Walesa on reverting to a market economy.

Chris Hibbert

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