Readers React: A letter in the L.A. Times defending FDR on Japanese internment? Disgraceful

A reconstructed guard tower looms over the site of the former Manzanar War Relocation Center near the Owens Valley town of Independence, Calif.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I write because of a highly objectionable letter published Nov. 29 in the Los Angeles Times. It was penned by William David Stone, who basically defended President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s actions that led to the tragic and unlawful forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the United States during World War II.

This is territory that the Japanese American National Museum has already covered with the Los Angeles Times, and it is disheartening, to say the least, that we are revisiting an issue that we thought was clearly resolved just two years ago.

In that instance, The Times ran two letters related to the incarceration of Japanese Americans that it later admitted did not meet its standards for “civil, fact-based discourse.” Stone’s letter should have fallen into the same category.

The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the broad historical causes for the policy of exclusion, removal and detention were “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” Those findings ultimately contributed to the U.S. government issuing a formal apology and paying reparations to surviving Japanese Americans through the bipartisan passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.


President Roosevelt’s actions were wrong. It’s as simple as that.

Ann Burroughs, Los Angeles

The writer is president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook