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Internments Differ, but Beware of Abuses

November 19, 2003

I've just read Jonathan Turley's Nov. 17 commentary, "60 Years On, Again Battling an Abomination of Power," about Fred Korematsu filing a brief at the Supreme Court on behalf of the people held at Guantanamo Bay. Korematsu forgets one big difference between his situation as a detainee during World War II and the people at Guantanamo. Though it can be held that it was a horrible crime that Korematsu was imprisoned during WWII even though he committed no crime against the United States, the people at Guantanamo were captured while actually fighting against the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan.

The people held at Guantanamo Bay are where they deserve to be.

James W. Williams

Carrollton, Texas

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Turley leaves out one essential little bit about Korematsu vs. the United States (1944): It was overturned in 1984. It turns out that the government hid, altered and destroyed evidence, lied and otherwise behaved shamefully in that case. Let us make sure that this kind of abomination can never happen again.

Paul D. Motzenbecker Jr.

University Park, Md.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 25, 2003 Home Edition California Part B Page 14 Editorial Pages Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
Internment case -- A Nov. 19 letter said that Korematsu vs. the United States was overturned. Fred Korematsu's conviction for fighting internment during World War II was overturned in U.S. District Court in 1984, but the precedent allowing the government to intern citizens in wartime was not overturned by the Supreme Court.

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