Reflecting on a Real Leader, FDR

by Bill

Years ago my father told me a story that I have never forgotten –

He was 22 years old at the time and still living at home on a small ranch in Eastern New Mexico with his parents and several brothers. It was still during the Depression. All the young men in the family were hunters, owned rifles and were crack shots. It was a few days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Following the attack, rumors were rampant that there was an imminent attack planned by the Japanese on the West Coast, probably in the San Francisco area. My Dad and his brothers had gathered their weapons and ammunition and were trying to find a way to get to the West Coast to fight against the anticipated Japanese invaders.

Automobiles and paved highways were not nearly so available as they are today and the US government was commandeering the rail system. In the meantime my dad and his brothers were astonished to hear news reports that there was an effort by some San Franciscans including Women’s groups to meet the invaders on the beaches and docks with bouquets of flowers, in the hopes that would give a favorable impression and induce the Japanese to treat them kindly. WHAT? And, this was after 10 years of the Japanese military committing atrocities including mass murders, live burials of people, and rape all over the Far East countries they had conquered.

Ever wonder why the Chinese, Koreans and others in the East still hate Japanese? The Japanese military at the time makes the ISIS terrorists of today look like a bunch choir boys. AS it turns out, the Japanese did not have the means to launch an attack on the West Coast. If they had, do you think those flowers would have done a hell of a lot of good?

I have often wondered why Franklin Roosevelt, the father of the modern Democrat party scooped up all the Japanese on the West Coast and put them in the internment camps, and refused to integrate “Negros” into the armed forces as Eleanor wanted him to do. It all became clear to me the other day. Roosevelt understood the nature of the threat to the world posed by the Nazis and the Japanese Empire. He had to turn the depression economy on a dime, make it into a military equipment production machine, and get an outdated and small military converted into a massive fighting machine, and in a damned big hurry. He even reversed some of his own economic policies that had been holding back economic growth. The Japanese Americans would have been a distraction. Although most of them were loyal Americans, maybe with a few spies mixed in, trying to vet them would have been a huge distraction. It probably saved some of their lives by getting them out of the general population. Trying to force integration in the military made up of a lot of racists would have caused huge disruption.

In short, Roosevelt “cleared the decks” and focused on the number one priority of trying to save the civilized world. No matter what his faults, he was a leader, and he made some tough decisions as leaders often have to do. By contrast, today we have President Barak Obama. He spends his time deciding who gets to use what restrooms in this country. We are leaderless in this time of international peril.

It appears to me that today’s Democrat Party has completely turned into what those San Franciscans were then, including our illustrious President and the ones in Congress.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Reflecting on a Real Leader, FDR

  1. Chris says:

    Disgusting. Japanese internment was a stain on FDR’s legacy. No one of character who has studied this atrocity argues that it was justified. And now you are using this to justify…what? Are you suggesting we should intern Muslims next?

    I feel like throwing up. I feel like crying. I have never seen so many of my fellow citizens so willing to compromise basic American values of tolerance and equality out of fear and hatred. I have never seen bigotry so openly and proudly displayed, and all due to the manipulations of a “strongman” populist leader who exploits your fears and turns them into rage. And you can’t even see that this has happened before.

    I used to think this blog was full of people who shared the same basic American values despite our often heated disagreements. I used to have some respect for you guys. That’s gone now. You do not respect America and you do not understand what makes this country great. You are scared, small people whose principles go out the window the moment you feel threatened. You are far more of a threat to my nation and my freedom than my Muslim friends who would never even think of hurting you.

  2. Pie Guevara says:

    Chris vomits his tripe in this blog all the time. This is nothing new.

    • Chris says:

      Pie, do you agree with this article that Japanese internment was justified, and that similar actions should be taken today?

      • Pie Guevara says:

        First of all, you ****-for-brains jackass, the author is not saying, suggesting, or implying that Japanese internment was justified, or that segregation in the armed forces was too. You infer that. He is giving his opinion about what motivated FDR and what may have been his thinking process to do what he did. So no, I do not agree with your asinine statement, “Pie, do you agree with this article that Japanese internment was justified, and that similar actions should be taken today?” The author said nothing of the kind. You invented that in your weird and twisted progressive fantasy world.

        FDR did what he had to do. No, I do not agree with what he did, but I will also not play armchair quarterback and condemn FDR for his actions like some pompous, pissant, brain-dead progressive ***holes I know.

        Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.

        • Chris says:

          Pie, this is absolutely a justification of Japanese internment and a call for our leaders to take similarly extreme action today. If you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to see it.

  3. Tina says:

    Chris one again you illustrate that you think like a child, even worse, an indoctrinated closed-minded child whose view of history is narrowed down to a single category, racism.

    Bill’s piece is about leadership and the difficult decisions that sometimes confront leaders, especially in times of war. The internment of the Japanese was just such a decision and rightly or wrongly had to be made. It is wrong to judge that decision without viewing it within the context of a brutal enemy that was perceived to be a real and present danger on the west coast. WE HAD NO NAVY, the Japanese destroyed it at Pearl Harbor. We had only a skeleton military and not nearly enough officers to act in leadership positions for the millions that would volunteer to serve a nation in need. We were still suffering a depression. America was vulnerable and people were angry about the Japanese attack and suspicious about the loyalties of the Japanese people who lived mostly on the West Coast. As with all situations individual greed and hostilities and bigotry were present. The preservation and safety of the nation was job one…that unknown quantity (Japanese American loyalty) and the safety of the Japanese Americans had to concern the President. Difficult decisions had to be made during very grave dangerous times, a heavy burden to bear…but a necessary burden well met by FDR overall.

    Anyone can look back in history with a smug sense about right and wrong. It takes a little more curiosity and courage than Chris displays to put yourself in FDR’s shoes.

    Documents of historical interest posted online by the FDR Library are a window into the times. points to context and realities of the times that may have influenced FDR’s decision:

    Official relations between the governments of Japan and the United States had soured in the 1930s when Japan began its military conquest of Chinese territory. China, weakened by a civil war between nationalists and communists, represented an important strategic relationship for both the U.S. and Japan. Japan desperately needed China’s raw materials in order to continue its program of modernization. The U.S. needed a democratic Chinese government to counter both Japanese military expansion in the Pacific and the spread of communism in Asia.

    Brainyquote offers a couple of quotes of interest:

    Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the internment, and I like who I am. – Ruth Asawa
    I look at my grandparents and what they dealt with in the Japanese internment in Arizona. That sense of perseverance, of making the best out of an incredibly bad situation, has always been something I drew inspiration from. I always ask myself, ‘What in the world do I have to complain about?’- Scott Fujita

    Thanks Bill, I enjoyed your personal story and appreciate your point of view.

    • Chris says:

      Tina, I am not judging FDR or any historical figure for making a difficult decision. I am judging people who are alive today, who should know better, who are using this history to justify similar bigoted actions against the Muslim community. We have the benefit of hindsight and we know this decision was wrong and unnecessary, even if FDR and others at the time couldn’t have. It was an overreaction and it didn’t accomplish anything. In this article Bill doesn’t just argue that FDR’s decision was understandable, he argues that our current president should make similar decisions today. He doesn’t go as far as directly calling for Muslim internment, but the implication is clear: He wants us to once again give in to fear and bigotry and panic, and to once again use the government to target a group to make the rest of us feel safer. This is no better than McCarthyism–something that has also been unfortunately defended and historically revised on this blog.

      I am very disturbed that you would support such historical revisionism and that you would suggest we once again use the government to discriminate against a group to make yourself feel safer.

      One last thought: a government that can intern Japanese or Muslims is a government that can intern gun owners.

    • Libby says:

      Actually, Bill is rationalizing bigoted savagery, and you are being your usual paranoid fabulist self. On just one point, the destruction of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, Wiki tells us:

      “News of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor shocked Americans, ended the prewar isolationist‐interventionist debate, and unified the country. Yamamoto had misjudged the effect on a previously divided public. His attack, which was an extraordinary tactical success, failed in its larger military goal of destroying the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. Although the battleships were damaged, Nagumo’s failure to destroy the repair yards enabled the Americans eventually to return six of the eight battleships and all but one of the other vessels to active duty (the wreckage of the Arizona remains there today as a monument). The fuel reserves enabled the remainder of the fleet to continue to operate, and failure to destroy the submarine base allowed submarines to play a major role in the Pacific War.”

      “Equally important, the two aircraft carriers normally based at Pearl Harbor—the Lexington and the Enterprise—were undamaged. Escorted by heavy cruisers and destroyers, they were out delivering planes to Midway and Wake Islands.”

      And, of course, none of this bears any relation to our current difficulty … except … as it demonstrates the undiminished inclination in the human toward bigoted savagery.

  4. Libby says:

    It’s been a festering sore, a crusted abscess on the body politic, and The ELE has ripped the bandage off.


    I myself have relatives who think “Hitler wasn’t wrong about everything.” I’m sure they’re Trumpsters.

    I expect the only thing to do is give the suppurating mess an airing, and hope it heals cleaner next time.

  5. Chris says:

    Donald Trump lied about the Muslim community again, falsely claiming that American Muslims don’t assimilate.

    If we ever do see anything like Japanese internment in this country again, it will be because of bigoted lies like this one. And it will be because of those who did not stand up to those lies.

    “First they came…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.