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Saturday, November 9, 2002



[ OUR OPINION ]

Decision to disarm is
easy choice for Iraq


THE ISSUE

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution ordering Iraq to disarm.


THE United Nations Security Council's approval of a resolution ordering Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction or face "serious consequences" was a major victory for the Bush administration. While the U.S.-drafted resolution's approval may be regarded widely as a step toward a U.S. military attack against Iraq, it could instead lead to a capitulation by Saddam Hussein before a shot is fired.

The terms of the resolution are clear and devoid of negotiation. If Hussein fails to meet any condition by the deadlines set forth, the Security Council will reassemble and military action will become imminent. The first deadline -- for Iraq to accept or reject those terms -- is only six days away. Hussein has no choice but to indicate acceptance of the terms, but the real test will be in the months ahead, after inspectors enter Iraq and begin their work.

"Iraq must now, without delay or negotiations, fully disarm, welcome full inspections and fundamentally change the approach it has taken for more than a decade," President Bush said after the Security Council action.

Bush should not be surprised to see Hussein comply with all those demands. The Iraqi dictator had been hoping for a Security Council veto of the resolution, and its approval could force him to abide by its terms or face a war he knows he cannot win. He also knows he cannot count on sympathy from Iraq's neighbors, one of which, Syria, was among the Security Council members voting for the resolution.

In recent weeks, Hussein has made conciliatory gestures designed to show he isn't entrenched in his ways. Last month, trying to demonstrate tolerance and forgiveness, he ordered 20,000 political prisoners and common criminals to be set loose. A few days later, he canceled the fee of $200 -- 50 times the average monthly income -- charged to all Iraqis wishing to travel abroad. Hussein could allow weapons inspectors unfettered access and portray his compliance as another act of magnanimity.

Such compliance is possible only as long as British and American military forces are poised to invade Iraq and other allies appear ready to support the attack. Hussein should know from the Security Council's unanimity that he no longer can hope for the U.S. and British failure to build such a coalition. He may be a despot, but he is not a fool.


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Treatment of wartime
internees needs study


THE ISSUE

World War II internees accused of being "enemy aliens" are reuniting in Texas.


CONGRESS atoned 14 years ago for the U.S. government's internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Omitted from the apology and reparations for that shameful action were thousands of ethnic Europeans from the United States and Latin America and European refugees who suffered injustices during the same period. Americans need to acknowledge and understand what the government did to assure it will never happen again.

The Star-Bulletin's Craig Gima recently visited Crystal City, Texas, where his grandfather's family was locked up alongside ethnic Europeans behind barbed wire during the war. Unlike the Japanese Americans who were forced from their homes and placed in internment camps under the authority of an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, they were arrested by the FBI and imprisoned under the Alien Enemy Act of 1798, a law that remains on the books today.

They were arrested on the basis of highly questionable evidence for being "enemy aliens" and held without trial, hundreds of them for as long as three years after the war ended. As Gima reported yesterday, his family believes his grandfather was arrested in 1942 because he was a community leader in Honolulu and had taken trips back to his native Okinawa before the war.

Crystal City, which housed 3,325 internees at the close of the war, was among 50 such camps, which, ironically, also included Ellis Island, the historic welcoming place for immigrants. About 150 of the internees gathering in a reunion were to march in the Texas town's annual parade today.

Those arrested in the United States as "enemy aliens" included 15,000 ethnic Japanese, 11,000 ethnic Germans, 3,200 ethnic Italians and numerous ethnic Bulgarians, Hungarians, Rumanians or other European Americans from the United States, Latin America and the then-territory of Hawaii.

Two years ago, President Clinton signed into law an authorization for the Justice Department to detail injustices suffered by Italian Americans during World War II. A more extensive review is needed.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., has introduced a bill that would establish a commission to chronicle the facts and circumstances of ethnic Europeans held as "enemy aliens" and the injustices suffered by European refugees who sought but were refused asylum in the United States during the war. A review of those injustices based on ethnicity would serve as a worthwhile reminder during the current war against terrorism.



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Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791; fbridgewater@starbulletin.com
Michael Rovner, Assistant Editor 529-4768; mrovner@starbulletin.com
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762; lyoungoda@starbulletin.com

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790; mpoole@starbulletin.com
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533; jflanagan@starbulletin.com

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