…Those who dismiss FEMA camps as paranoid ravings of tinfoil hat conspiracists would rather not dwell on the internment of 80,000 Japanese Americans and 30,000 Japanese non-citizens during the war years of the 1940s. Even the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover argued against mass imprisonment without due process, and dragged his feet in implementing it, but President Roosevelt thought it a splendid idea. FDR’s intimates confided he took pleasure in the difficulties and subservience of common people. This order added pointless persecution to his guilty gratifications.
If we use occupied Europe as the measure, the internment itself was small scale and more disruptive than tragic—the Nazis could, and did, murder a larger number of inmates in one day . Japanese citizens could voluntarily move inland rather than be forcibly relocated, but it wasn’t an attractive alternative in 1942 America. Nor was evasion of either…
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