Wesley Clark, the retired NATO commander who calls Little Rock home, has made headlines today with his comment Friday about “lone wolf” terrorists.
In an appearance on MSNBC to discuss the shootings at Chattanooga military sites, the retired general and former Democratic candidate for president said we should be dealing with “disloyal” American citizens who’ve been “radicalized” the same way the U.S. did during World War II – and called on allies to do the same.
“In 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 them in a camp, they were prisoners of war,” Clark said.
He also said: “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.”
Wesley Clark is a smart man. I presume he knows we interned many people we feared during World War II who were loyal American citizens. The trick, as ever, is in deciding who’s been radicalized. It is possible to oppose decisions of the president and/or Congress without qualifying for segregation in an internment camp. Isn’t it?
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo, from which I drew the item, characterized Clark’s remarks as calling for internment of radicalized Muslims. I think it’s a fair characterization from the quoted remarks. The camps during World War II primarily interned Japanese-Americans, though a few German-Americans were detained after individual reviews.
But a spokesman for Clark objects. He provided a further response Monday to TPM:
In a response provided through a spokesman Monday afternoon, Clark said: “Whoa, aim before you shoot, friends. It’s a sad choice, but if people choose ISIS, they should be treated as spies or enemy combatants – or both. I’m frustrated with the argument that sedition is free speech because there is a role for government to step in to prevent a dissenter from becoming an active shooter, or worse.
“Any implication that I support racial profiling or interning people based on their ethnicity or heritage is dead wrong. I’m for separating people who have made dangerous decisions from the rest of society.
“The US has the obligation to protect our own population from terrorists. And if the domestic terrorist threat grows due to ISIS, we must act responsibly and promptly.”