Author sees need for profiling

The use of profiling — based on race, ethnicity, nationality or religion — is necessary in a time of war, even in such an extreme case as the internment of thousands of Japanese on the West Coast during World War II, author Michelle Malkin told a Bothell crowd last night.

Her controversial views, detailed in her book "In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror," drew some 200 people to Cedar Park Church, many of them supporters.

When naysayers challenged her thinking, many in the crowd applauded to cut them off, or repeatedly shouted "Ask the question!" when critics tried to offer a counterpoint.

Malkin, 33, a former editorial writer for The Seattle Times who now lives near Washington, D.C., said the Japanese internment has been used to block what she describes as the Bush administration's attempts to target terrorists through racial profiling, such as detaining and questioning Muslims.

"I am not advocating that we round up all Arabs and Muslims and throw them into camps," the nationally syndicated columnist said. "What I am saying is you cannot ban the use of profiling in pursuing homeland security and expect to win the war."

Before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Malkin said she was a Libertarian and firmly believed the Japanese internment was wrong. After the attacks, she said, she kept noticing civil libertarians "invoking the internment card" in response to security measures. She did some research and uncovered what she says is the truth about that period.

Malkin argues President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to put 120,000 Japanese in camps wasn't "merely about bigotry; it wasn't about panic." A good portion of her book contains government documents that she says show the decision was based on legitimate security issues. Among the documents are some showing there were Japanese spies on the West Coast, she said.

Her supporters say the book has opened their eyes. "I'm happy Michelle Malkin is finally revealing the true history of the United States," said John Hopper of Redmond, a public-school teacher for 30 years.

But Frank Kitamoto, president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community who was in an internment camp at age 2½ , said Malkin's assertions can never excuse the internment.

"Even if it was true, even if there were 100 [spies], there was, by the Bill of Rights, no reason to lock up a hundred thousand people," he said. "When Oklahoma City happened, they should have arrested all Caucasian males by that logic."

Dominic Fleming, an ex-military Ranger from Kenmore, also was outraged by Malkin's claims and her overwhelming support from the crowd. "I think I sacrificed a lot for this country, and it really disturbs me when I see people expounding the idea of concentration camps all over again," he said. "It's a bit ironic that they're preaching for racial profiling and concentration camps in a house of God in the land of the free."

Malkin said in an earlier interview she wanted to come to Seattle because of the area's large Japanese population. "This topic is very relevant to the area — historically significant ... ." This was Malkin's first event related to the book. She didn't visit Seattle when her first book, "Invasion: How America Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores," came out in 2002 because no one would sponsor her, she said. This time, she found a sponsor in AM radio station KVI 570. Malkin worked for The Seattle Times in the mid-'90s and currently writes a column syndicated in nearly 200 newspapers. Joanna Horowitz: 206-464-3312 or