I will say no more than this

Next week’s column isn’t on internment; I already turned it in. But I just got off the phone with an extraordinarily grand high poohbah who knows more about military necessity and national security in the fingernail of his pinkie than you, me, Michelle Malkin and all the milbloggers combined. No guessing, please, I’m not name-dropping here.

Let’s just say aliens living on Pluto are going to be picking up tiny little shards of Ms Malkin’s case and wondering what they are.

Off-base on Chechnya

At least I was with regards to this latest tragedy. From Debka:

Twenty hostage-takers killed, 10 of them Arabs – al Qaeda terrorists, some Saudis. About 13 escaped. At least one group attacked by soldiers in town.

I am still of the opinion that the Chechen people, like every other people, deserve to be free, and that more than 150 years of Russian/Soviet/Russian imperialism played a major role in allowing radical Islamic terrorists to establish a stronghold there. But the Debka report tends to suggest that what had once been primarily an irredentist movement has been hijacked by the global jihad.

So, I have to conclude that Bill was right on this one.

Democrats all but conceding

If Frank Rich says it’s a dogfight, it’s over:

As we leave the scripted conventions behind us, that is the uber-scenario that has locked into place, brilliantly engineered by the president of the United States, with more than a little unwitting assistance from his opponent.

I am a little confused, though. How does a drooling dummy brilliantly engineer anything?

Glue and dog food

Greg Robinson kicks the dead horse in the head:

It’s from June 25, 1942, and reflects a conversation that King had with Roosevelt in Washington during a meeting of the Pacific War Council…. According to King, Roosevelt “said he thought the Japanese were foolish in thinking we would be much affected by these attacks they were making on the Pacific Coast. That it was not likely to alarm the people unduly but rather to strengthen their feeling of resistance. It was clear that he, himself, did not contemplate much in the way of an attack on our Pacific Coast but felt that the possession of the bases at Kiska [in the Aleutian chain] and elsewhere were to help to meet the situation that might develop between Japan and Russia.”

Some of you seem to wonder why I’m so bloody-minded about the internment case. First, it’s related to an area of childhood interest, so I knew that the notion was off-base from the start. Also, I despise the advocacy of big government, like PJ O’Rourke I see it as treason to the human race. But to see this sort of evil governance celebrated and justified by one who is supposed to be a leading new conservative voice is particularly disgusting.

There’s also the sheer disbelief that anyone could take this nonsense seriously for more than five seconds. I don’t begrudge anyone a successful book, as I know how difficult the process is, but this sort of thing is worse than the Lizard Queen’s fiction. When I first heard about the Malkin book on Powerline, I had to read the post twice before I actually registered what position she was taking. It’s almost as ridiculous as Eric Alterman’s thesis that the media is right-wing because it is corporate-owned. The two of them are the bookend charlatans of the next-generation commentariat.

A theological question

Is it considered less than perfectly kind to harbor maleficient wishes towards an individual one has never met and does not know? It’s not that I want anything bad to happen to Marshall Faulk – even though he missed half the season for me last year, the wretch – but I wouldn’t mind seeing him pull his Ricky Williams and go on tour with Lenny Kravitz or something.

That would complete a very nice backfield of Ahman Green, Duce Staley, TJ Duckett and, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Stephen Jackson.

The funniest thing is how Chokechain, last year’s unexpected champ, now features an All-Fragile starting backfield of Faulk and Fred Taylor. They should be good for what, six games between them? His entire bench is now made up of running backs. Good times… oh, yeah, it’s coming!


Eric Muller guest-blogs at the Volokh Conspiracy:


According to Vox Day, any military historian worth his or her salt could tell you that the top military brass back in early 1942 knew that a full-blown Japanese assault on the U.S. mainland was inconceivable–and that their reliance on that rationale for evicting Japanese Americans from the West Coast was therefore bogus.

I’m no military historian, so I can’t really venture an opinion on whether or not Day is right about the forces and logistics that would have been necessary for a mainland assault. Perhaps others more expert than I might wish to respond.

I await with interest any arguments for the practicality of a credible large-scale amphibious invasion requiring a traverse of 5,500 miles. Please spell out the requisite logistics as well as the number of troops needed to put the continued survival of the United States at stake, and how many ships would be required to transport and supply them.

UPDATE: I should add that as Admiral Yamamoto utilized almost the entire IJN in the failed attempt on Midway, we can determine with reasonable precision how many Japanese troops could have invaded the West Coast. I draw your attention to the transports, 3 of which landed troops on the Aleutian Islands, the other 12 being reserved for Midway.

Vice-Admiral Hosogawa’s Northern Area invasion fleet landed about 3,000 troops on Attu and 5,183 on Kiska. As Admiral Yamamoto had four times the transports in the main fleet, the maximum number of troops that could possibly have landed on the US West Coast – and remember, the pro-internment case relies heavily on the fact that Midway took place AFTER the internments had begun – was 41,000. That might sound like a lot, until one notes that the Allies landed over 100,000 troops in the failed Anzio invasion, (which does not include 14,000 troops that were brought in as reinforcements). Those 114,000 troops, despite continuous supplies brought in daily, supplies that a hypothetical Japanese invasion one-third the size would not have had, never managed to break out of the small beachhead in which they were trapped for four months.

And Anzio is miniscule compared to Overlord, which landed 156,000 troops on the first day alone plus another 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies in the next three weeks.

The survival of the United States was never at stake. Malkin has no case whatsoever. If she has any intellectual honesty, she will admit that she was mistaken and disavow her despicable conclusion that the internments were justified on the basis of national security.

Halfheartedly defending the defenseless

Clayton Cramer, one of the gentlemen who did excellent work uncovering the Michael Bellesiles fraud – well done, Mr. Cramer, I did not know that – reluctantly offers a meager defense for Me So Michelle:

Over at Vox Popoli, there is a strong argument that there was no reason for the U.S. to be afraid of a Japanese invasion, hence no need to worry about Japanese-Americans.

All very good in hindsight. After a number of years of assuming that the Japanese were too nearsighted to fly airplanes, and holding their military in considerable contempt, the United States was scared witless by the success of Japanese operations against the British and the Dutch. The success of Japanese troops bicycling in from the north to take “impregnable” Singapore, for example, was a real shocker. From “how can they fight white people” to “They are rolling all over Asia” may have caused an overreaction.

I have never said that there weren’t real, if misguided, fears on the part of the populace or on the part of ignorant bureaucrats more concerned with looking as if they were doing something to calm those fears than they were with strategic realities. But perception is not reality, and this only demonstrates how important it is to prevent the people or the government from using fear as a basis for trading freedom for “security”. Not all unlikely events are created equal. Circling around Singapore and hitting it from the north is hardly the equivalent of figuring out how to resupply your beachhead when your entire navy has to travel 11,000 miles round-trip. Again, this is not hindsight, this is pointing out the facts known at the time. And in any event, Malkin is still insisting that the danger was real, not that those fears were misguided.

The U.S. built air bases on the east side of the Sierras to fight off Japanese forces. If this was strictly a matter of naval battles, why build them hundreds of miles from the coast? It would take more than an hour for fighter planes to get out over the water. It seems pretty clear to me that our government, perhaps overcautiously, believed that it was going to be fighting Japanese troops on the ground in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Why build them there? I imagine that Congressmen hoping for massive Federal expenditures in their district during difficult economic times might have had something to do with that. More to the point, where were the coastal defenses, the cleared beaches, the machine gun emplacements, our own Pacific Wall? As I have repeatedly stated, it’s NOT a question of naval battles. Even if the landings had been permitted to go relatively unscathed, as at Anzio, any Japanese landing force was absolutely doomed. Again, the six-nation Anzio landings were almost twice the size that the IJN could have mustered using every ship at its disposal, the Allies were able to keep 3,920 tons supplies flowing directly to the front lines from Napoli on a daily basis,the British Eighth Army and the other half of the US Fifth Army were only fifty miles away on the other side of the Gustav Line, they were fighting in what was essentially neutral ground, and it was all they could do to keep from being wiped out. As it turned out, all the 6th Corps were able to do was hold their little beachhead until the Gustav line fell and the German Fourtheenth Army was forced to retreat.

I don’t really buy Malkin’s argument completely, and I don’t agree that the circumstances justified this mass arrest. I do think it is important to recognize the fear that Americans were operating under at the time. The fifth column actions of Japanese residents in China were probably known to the American government. It is possible that these similar actions by Japanese residents in the Philipines at the start of the war were known to our government as well. Perhaps a bit more willingness to acknowledge these issues–instead of portraying the internment in simplistic, moralistic terms, as many people have done over the years, myself included–might have prevented Malkin’s book.

To me, this half-hearted attempt at a defense – which really strikes me more as Mr. Cramer attempting to be fair than anything else – seems to indicate that Mr. Cramer doesn’t buy Malkin’s argument at all. Nor should he. It’s a long, long way to go from saying that the Japanese just maybe, perhaps, could have come up with a way to pull off the impossible, to stating authoritatively that invasion was imminent, the survival of the nation was seriously at risk and the anti-constitutional internments were therefore justified.

I repeat: Malkin’s hypothesis is both absurd and ignorant. I’ve yet to hear a defense of it on military grounds that holds any water whatsoever. The fact that people with no serious interest in history should know nothing and think less about military logistics is not surprising, but a willingness to ignore such issues once they’ve been raised would be downright contemptible. Logistics may not be the most exciting aspect of military history, but they definitely are not post-WWII hindsight as they have been the primary factor considered by professional military strategists since Hannibal was fighting Rome.