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News Link • Executive Power

The Badlands of Executive Order 9066

• by Matthew Harwood

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II by Jan Jarboe Russell (Scribner, 2015); 2015; 417 pages.

One of the great scandals of American history is that when loyalty to the Bill of Rights is needed most, obedience to the state prevails. This recurring theme has been with Americans since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 up until our present crisis after 9/11. Often these failures to live up to constitutional ideals and obligations come at times where fear gets the better of people and the spectre of national insecurity can be summoned to sanctify and absolve great crimes.

The second great war was one of those times when the Constitution went on holiday for an extended period of time. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The next day, Congress declared war on Japan. Three days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Within a week, the American empire was fighting three imperial militaries on the march across Eurasia — the Axis powers.

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