By David D. Lowman
Seldom” writes David D. Lowman, “has any major event in U.S. history been as misrepresented as has US intelligence about the evacuation” of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
On the evidence of hard-documentation produced in this book, Lowman proves his assertion. Reproducing a massive amount of evidence available to government authorities both in World War II and currently (wiretaps, pages of decoded messages, translated reports in the 1940s about the American fleet from Hawaii and Manila to Tokyo), the author of this powerful book declares that the evacuation “has been twisted, distorted, misquoted, misunderstood, ignored, and deliberately falsified by otherwise honorable people.”
Those bombshell terms occur in the Introduction to his self-published book that was released—and almost universally ignored — last year by reviewers for both the major and other media. Doesn’t this determined self-blinding by itself offer added credence for author Lowman’s evidence?
But the author doesn’t — and doesn’t need to — make racist, unsupported, speculations and charges. On nearly every page, he starkly and unambiguously documents his case. Not only does he prove that some of the interned Nisei sympathized with Japan and spied on their adopted country, he reproduces, on many pages, the hard, deciphered evidence.
Lowman, now-deceased special assistant to the director of the National Security Agency, establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was sustained, incontrovertible evidence of active and ongoing Japanese-American as well as Japanese spying in America both before and after Pearl Harbor.
For documentation, over 100 Japanese government espionage messages to United States supporters are reproduced in this book. All were intercepted and decoded just before President Roosevelt issued his executive order. Nearly every one represents incontrovertible evidence.
The book achieves another major correction of history. President Roosevelt, although receiving high notices from the historians for his wartime leadership, has been widely faulted and accused for issuing the executive order in 1942 that interned the Japanese Americans. This book establishes beyond anyone’s cavil that he did the right thing — the only thing a President could do — in that turbulent environment.
Even those who weren’t alive remember President Roosevelt’s dramatic opening, “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy…” What Americans may not remember is that he added just as dramatically: “Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaysia. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.” And while all this was happening, this book documents, the Japanese high command was sending coded messages to supporters in the United States and South America seeking to coordinate their espionage against their adopted country.
After reading this book, I don’t see how any fair-minded American can doubt that President Roosevelt made the proper decision in interning the Nisei in World War II and how any other President could have made a different decision.
Is it racism to tell the truth?
It occurred to me that in the wake of the horrific Sept. 11 attacks, there is a double resonance in this book. Richard Reed and John Walker Lind come to mind because they are Americans linked to Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization. These men are being prosecuted for a form of treason, while other Americans are being hunted for supporting Al Qaeda.
The Japanese-American operations may have been less overtly murderous, but, on the evidence of this book, they abetted the killing of Americans in many parts of the world.
Where, the reader must ask, are the principled scholars and journalists who will report the truth about the activities of American Nisei who spied on America — or tried to spy? Even if one assumes, reasonably, that nearly all Nisei were patriotic, why the huge coverup and persistent feelings of guilt and penitence (to say nothing about monetary compensation) over those who were treacherous?
The answer is that, deplorably, not a single active or retired government figure has ever courted unpopularity by standing up and speaking the truth. Then the inescapable question emerges: Why didn’t they? It’s hard to say definitively, but a feeling of racist guilt most likely factored into it. Being swept up in a massive, long-term lie from which there appears no escape is another factor.
All Americans who care about historical truth and justice — as well as present truth and justice — owe it to themselves to read this massively-documented self-published book and judge for themselves: Did President Roosevelt, given intercepted reports of widespread domestic spying, do the wise and responsible thing toward the Nisei in World War II?
On the evidence of this book, I think, absolutely, he did.