As the debate regarding the desirability of locking up those dangerous Japs who also happened to be Americans during WWII continues, I sent the following email to Deacon of Powerline, Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy, Clayton Cramer and Eric Muller:
I have followed the debate between Ms Malkin and her various critics with some interest. However, it amazes me that the entire debate, bogged down in disputed minutae as it is, still manages to miss the only point that truly matters. Any reasonable perusal of the historical facts will allow even a casual observer to ascertain that there was never any danger of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast, and to see that this had to have been readily known to American military strategists at the time.
Ms Malkin is not a historian. She has, however, a perfect right to make an ass of herself by expressing whatever revisionist view of history that pleases her. But it seems that none of those criticizing her are military historians, because her case is absurd from the start.
In Ms Malkin’s mind, the fact that some military bureaucrats and many ignorant civilians were afraid of “an imminent invasion” justifies the abrogation of the Constitution by President Roosevelt’s executive order. Therefore, let’s examine the facts, as they were known to the strategists of the day:
1. The Japanese Navy consisted of 176 ships.
2. The distance from Japan to the US West Coast is approximately 5,500 miles.
3. The length of the American coastline is 1,359 miles.
Does anyone dispute any of this? Very well. Some more facts.
1. The Overlord invasion required 4,600 ships and air supremacy
2. The distance from England to Normandy is approximately 22 miles.
3. The length of France’s Atlantic Coastline is 1,875 miles.
4. Immediate access to the French ports of Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg for reinforcement and resupply was the critical factor in deciding where the Normandy landings took place. Why? Because without reinforcement and resupply, even a very large landing force was doomed.
1. The Kriegsmarine was slightly smaller than the Imperial Japanese Navy, but its 1,170 U-boats could have carried more troops than Japan’s entire fleet, and more secretly.
2. The distance from the occupied French Coast to the American East Coast is only about 3,500 miles.
3. The Germans were significantly more active off the East Coast – sinking 14.7 times more merchant ships than the 27 sunk off the West Coast.
If one considers this easily researched data, one can only conclude that Ms Malkin is an utter ignoramus when it comes to matters military. Basic logic demonstrates that [the] likelihood and danger of a German invasion – however implausible – was far, far greater than a Japanese one. As the failure of the Anzio landing proves – an invasion that utilized almost twice the force that Japan had at its disposal even prior to Midway – it is not realistic to hypothesize that there was ever any credible danger of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast even if one is willing to fantasize that an island nation totally dependent upon seaborne imports for its raw materials would gamble its entire fleet on what would have amounted to a one-time suicide attack.
It is said that the amateur focuses on troops and generals, while the professional analyzes supply lines. Ms Malkin, it seems, does neither.
Furthermore, the fact that some military bureaucrats may have had genuine fears of a Japanese invasion demonstrates nothing but their incompetence and why the Constitutional limitations on government should never be lifted on the basis of hypothetical concerns perpetrated by government officials. This isn’t hindsight, this is simply pointing out what was obvious even then.
As for fears of sabotage, the fact is that American industrial capacity so overwhelmed that of the enemy that Japanese saboteurs could have wiped out half the shipyards in California without it seriously affecting the course of the war. The fact that the USA managed to produce 150 carriers during the war, most of which were not needed and never saw action, to Japan’s 15, tends to support this.
With best regards,
Universal Press Syndicate