Thursday, June 23, 2005

Justice Frank Murphy: Traitor!

Conservatives seem to have now declared that any criticism of U.S. handling of enemy detainees, especially if it makes comparisons to the totalitarian regimes, aids and abets our enemies and, as such, is unpatriotic, disloyal, and perhaps event treasonous.

What then do they make of this statement by Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy in his dissent in Korematsu v. U.S, dealing with the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II.

"Moreover, this inference, which is at the very heart of the evacuation orders, has been used in support of the abhorrent and despicable treatment of minority groups by the dictatorial tyrannies which this nation is now pledged to destroy. To give constitutional sanction to that inference in this case, however well-intentioned may have been the military command on the Pacific Coast, is to adopt one of the cruelest of the rationales used by our enemies to destroy the dignity of the individual and to encourage and open the door to discriminatory actions against other minority groups in the passions of tomorrow."

Murphy (joined by Justices Owen Roberts and Robert Jackson) clearly criticizes U.S. policies in time of war and even goes so far as to compares U.S. actions to "dictatorial tyrannies." Moreover, his words were issued on December 18, 1944, the very height of the war. In fact, only two days before, the Germans launched their Ardennes Offensive. As it would soon be called, the Battle of the Bulge was the largest and costliest battle of the war.

So is the standard such that we should now consider Justices Murphy, Roberts, and Jackson traitors, or perhaps just unpatriotic and disloyal?

4 comments:

djb said...

Philip, I think you are doing an apples and oranges comparison when you associate the detention of known terrorist most who are not American citizens and the internment of Japanese-American citizens which in hindsite is questionable. However, there was 5th column activities mostly sabotage directed against this country during WWII and as usual for that type of activity it is difficult to determine the perpetrators although the principle suspects were German or Japanese.

Considering the vehement and massive anti-war anti-Bush anti-American activities by a large number of congressmen, academics, media, etc with their obvious attempts to weaken the war effort, there has yet been, to my chagrin, any arrests much less convictions for treason. So just what is your point?

Rothko said...

"Considering the vehement and massive anti-war anti-Bush anti-American activities by a large number of congressmen, academics, media, etc with their obvious attempts to weaken the war effort, there has yet been, to my chagrin, any arrests much less convictions for treason."

I think that is his point. Under your definition of treason, anyone who disagrees with the methods by which the Bush administration executes the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism is a traitor. I'm not sure how a democracy survives under such circumstances.

In the America I live in it's fair to debate the way wars are fought, it's fair to debate whether a war should be fought, it's fair to debate the standards of conduct our soldiers follow when they fight under our flag (their service reflects our nations values...so it's fair to ask that they present America at it's best...and 99.999% of them certainly do that).

In fact it's not only fair, it's our right. I'm sorry if a little things like freedom of speech gets in the way of your ability to create a nation of sycophants and Fox News junkies...but that's the hard part about democracy...you have to tolerate people with different world views. I'm sure Thomas Jefferson would have liked to have thrown Alexander Hamilton in a cold dark place...and vice versa but lucky for us that wasn't the kind of nation they built.

ric ottaiano said...

other than being detained against their will, what do American citizens who have committed no crime nor any acts of aggression against our country and were incarcerated solely because of their ancestry have in common with non U.S. citizens who were captured during combat operations while involved in efforts to kill American military personnel?

also, no one disputes the RIGHT to say what you will, just the lack of good sense in saying it at a given point in time...by the way, how do you feel about all the speech codes that can be found on most university campuses these days? any problem with those? have you ever denounced them publicly or are they a horse of a different color to you?

it is truly sad to think that you actually have (or had) the responsibility to shape young minds if you are unable to fathom the factual and moral distinctions between those two secenarios...

Kender said...

I would say they sound much as today's whiny liberals sound.....they were men ahead of their time eh?