December 10, 2005

Another Case Of Government Internment Camps

Even when the government tries to be benevolent things can go wrong.

"The federal government was in the process of forcing 881 Aleuts to move from their homes on the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea to dank wartime internment camps in the rain forest of Southeast Alaska 1,500 miles away."

Our government relocated 881 people. Now granted a war was on & that area had been invaded by the Japanese, but they forcibly took folks from there homes - for their own protection.

"Aleuts were not suspected of spying or sabotage, as were tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans interned after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
However, they were not allowed to leave the camps unless they were drafted into the military or coerced into working the Pribilof fur seal hunt, which brought millions of dollars to the U.S. government."

Some rescue huh? It gets worse.

"Many Aleuts were thankful to be ferried out of the war zone — until they arrived at five overcrowded, disease-ridden sites scattered throughout damp spruce rain forests.
Sanitation and pipe systems were never installed. Residents drank water tainted with sewage and — at one camp — runoff from the expanding cemetery. One in 10 people died in the camps from 1942 to 1945, according to federal estimates cited in the film."

& what do you think happened when they were finally released a few years later?

"Families returned to the Aleutians and Pribilofs in 1944 and 1945 to find their homes and Russian Orthodox churches looted by U.S. soldiers and rotting from years of neglect in the wind, rain and salt air."

"We're from the government & we're here to help you". If you ever hear those words I hope you've already started your draw.

Now even I'll admit that government is capable of doing some things that are beneficial & every now & then they manage to not screw it up, but on the whole less government is better.

The Aleuts were part of the lawsuits against the u.S. government launched by the Americans of Japanese desent who were forcibly held against their will during Worl War 2. They were succesful in the courts, but court awards can never make everything all better once something like this has happened.

Posted by Publicola at December 10, 2005 12:26 AM | TrackBack