Letter writer's 'facts' about WWII were twisted generalizations | Letters | April 16
April 19, 2010 · Updated 9:43 AM
To read the most unfortunate letter from James Olsen regarding the Japanese American Memorial, one might think he actually did recite “facts” since he preceded many comments with that term. Among other things, it was not a fact that 15 million U.S. farm boys, laborers and woodsmen were drafted into service or volunteered.
Those who served were from all professions; they were college students and from all other walks of life. Whether there were “15 million” or not remains another point of debate.
More to the unfortunate point, Mr. Olsen’s sense of history is much flawed. Not only did our government put American-born citizens into these camps in the most humiliating fashion, we, along with about 19 other countries, also turned away the SS St. Louis with its cargo of Jewish escapees from Hitler’s Europe who were ultimately returned to their own tragedies.
That some Japanese or other ancestries may have been doing some bad things hardly supports the generalization Mr. Olsen suggests. There is real documentation of American industrial interference with the war effort, principally from the oil, steel and finance fields. Would Mr. Olsen suggest we should have shipped them to the concentration camps as well?
Whatever the fear or other bases for rounding up citizens born right here in America because of their ancestry, that fact remains a blot that has been and should be dealt with truthfully and not with some reconstruction of history.
Should our enemies arise from other national backgrounds, one wonders if Mr. Olsen would likewise support rounding up those of any particular ancestry... especially since just about all out ancestors, except Native Americans, came here from somewhere else that could make us vulnerable under the Olsen approach?
Joseph J. Honick