NOTE: December 18, 1944, the Supreme Court ruled that Japanese concentration camps were “constitutional” in the Korematsu case.
Americans often downplay dangerous expansions of federal power, arguing that we should have faith our government officials to exercise that power in the best interest of the people.
In other words, they trust their “leaders” and those appointed to positions of authority.
I’ve heard this argument used to refute those warning about the dangers of detention provisions without due process written into the NDAA and targeted drone kill lists.
“These powers are meant to protect us from terrorists. We can trust the president and our military leaders to exercise their authority. We have nothing to worry about.”
Never mind the fact that this particular president won’t hold office forever; history teaches that we simply cannot trust those who hold power.
None of them.
The experience of some 120,000 Japanese-American locked up in camps behind barbed wire illustrates what can happen when you combine acts granting sweeping powers with people in authority lacking moral fiber.
Executive order 9066 authorized the Secretary of War and the U.S. Army to create military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The order left who might be excluded to the military’s discretion. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt inked his name to EO9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, it opened the door for the roundup of some 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese citizens living along the west coast of the U.S. and their imprisonment in concentration camps.Details