As in wartime, the recent September 11th attacks have caused many Americans to wonder about the personal sacrifices to be made in order to keep the nation “safe and free.
“With mixed results, it has become a common practice throughout history to restrict personal freedoms in the name of national security.Many questions arise from this process: Where is the line drawn?If liberties are restricted do they ever truly return?If it is true that we are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, an examination into the circumstances of the Japanese American internment in 1942 may inform the ways to most effectively deal with the security concerns faced by Americans today. There is a paradox in American theories of democracy and freedom.As the United States has fought abroad in the name of freedom, we have simultaneously restricted the personal freedoms of persons on domestic soil.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt engaged in battle in World War II, it was not only to retaliate against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor but to bring down the Nazi regime that was systematically murdering people in Europe.At the same time, Roosevelt had nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, the majority of whom were American citizens or legal permanent residents, rounded up into internment camps, violating their civil rights to be treated with fairness and equality, without discrimination and the Fifth Amendment liberty of due process. In a speech one week after the Pearl Harbor attack, Roosevelt promised to preserve constitutional freedoms: "We will not, under any threat, or in the face of any danger, surrender the guarantees of liberty our forefathers framed for us in our Bill of Rights." Within four months, West Coast residents were being evacuated.
“He observed that there probably would be some repercussions to such action, but said that what was to be done had to be dictated by the military necessity of the situa…