Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”
He called for a revival of internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”
There’s a sad strain of senior officers that forget that the constraints on liberty imposed by the military life do not, and should not, translate into civil society. GEN Clark has never seemed to grasp that. His call for camps for the radicalized flies in the face of the principles of the Republic. Of course, it also complies nicely with the totalitarian strain of the Democratic party, such as the draconian restrictions imposed on freedoms by Wilson during World War I and the Roosevelt internment camps of World War II. *
Do we have a problem with radicalized Muslims in America? Yes, yes we do. But as awful as the recent slaughter in Chattanooga was, and the related attacks and attempts in the years since 9/11 have been, we must also recognize that it is in fact, a fairly small problem.
That is not to say that we must ignore the threat of these Sudden Jihad Syndrome attacks. But dealing with the issue doesn’t call for the round up large swaths of the Muslim population, either. Indeed, it would seem to us that such an attempt would likely serve as a catalyst to actually radicalize any number of young Muslim men.
The very best thing Clark could do to salvage his reputation is to fade into obscurity. And maybe read the Constitution for once.
*Granted, the GOP wasn’t without sin in those cases, but nor did they lead the charge.