LA Times Op-ed Muses Darkly about Mass Muslim Internment

As this op-ed column from today's Los Angeles Times illustrates, the MSM and the left-dominated American academy continue to side, in the name of 'human rights', against measures designed to protect us from another 9/11 and with those who might potentially do us harm.

Author David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University and volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, was co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Turkmen vs. Ashcroft. He condemns the district court ruling in that case, which, as described in this article from Jurist, held:

"The US government can detain non-citizens indefinitely on the basis of religion, race or national origin, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that 'the executive is free to single out 'nationals of a particular country' and focus enforcement efforts on them.'"

Back to the Cole op-ed - the good professor darkly warns that the court ruling could lead to mass Muslim internment, in the same way Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII. He writes:

"What will they do to us if there is another attack? Will they intern us like they interned the Japanese?"

"That is the single most common question I get when speaking about counter-terrorism policies and civil liberties to Arab and Muslim audiences. Until Wednesday, I assured them that such a response was unthinkable. The Japanese internment during World War II is now so widely recognized as morally, legally and ethically wrong, I told them, that it could not possibly be repeated.

But there is one major difference that Cole chooses to overlook. In WWII, the US interned US citizens. They were Japanese-Americans.

Here, the judge authorizes the focus of enforcement activity on people who not only are foreign citizens, but ones that are very likely here illegally.

Cole conveniently fails to mention that the judged ruled that the enforcement focus can occur "only if [the aliens'] deportation is 'highly foreseeable.'" Moreover, the judge permitted to go forward those parts of the lawsuit alleging abuse while in detention.

The contrast with the WWII bogeyman Cole invokes could not be more clear. There, American citizens suspected of nothing other than being of Japanese descent were interned. Here, foreign citizens strongly suspected of being here illegally are subject to detention. And what's more, even in such circumstances, the right of such putatively illegal aliens to sue for improper detention conditions is respected.

But trust the left to side against strong security measures every time. And if the good professor had prevailed in his suit, and some day one of his clients committed a terrorist act against the US, you could count on the same left to be first in line to condemn the government - a la the Jersey Girls - for its failure to prevent the attack.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.