Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Muslims Allowed

I really hope this statement will be held against Romney all campaign season long, but I kind of doubt it. There are just too many conservatives that are quietly (or not so quietly) nodding their heads along with the idea that we should categorically refuse to appoint Muslims to high level positions. Remember what Glenn Beck said about Keith Ellison?

But seriously. Between the implicit sanction of quotas, and the denial that there is such thing as a qualified Muslim (even if we restrict it to conservatives -- Zalmay Khalilzad, anyone?), this is just absurd. If Israel can have a Muslim cabinet minister, I think we can manage to pull it off too.


Mark said...

While I'm not disagreeing in principle, I wonder how far you'd take your outrage. Would you have wished to disqualify an American Nazi from Roosevelt's cabinet based on his ideology?

Do you disavow Roosevelt's choices of cabinet because he never appointed a Japanese-American to the cabinet during the War?

David Schraub said...

I think Nazis can be excluded on solid ideological grounds. As for Japanese-Americans, FDR's treatment of them as less than full citizens was disgraceful, and if there was a qualified Japanese-American in the government who would have made for a good cabinet secretary, and Roosevelt didn't appoint him due to his ethnicity, yeah, that would have been wrong.

I'm curious if FDR's cabinet had any members of German ancestry.

PG said...


I didn't realize we're at war with Islam. We were at war with Japan and Nazi Germany. Because of the old Japanese policy of blood citizenship (such that the U.S.-born children of Japanese citizens also were deemed Japanese citizens), the government of Japan believed that not only America's naturalized but also its birth Japanese-Americans would return to Japan to fight for the homeland. Of course, they were mostly disappointed about this, because they overestimated the force that ethnic identity would have over one's country of choice (the only Japanese-Americans who did anything to help Japan were kibei, who grew up in Japan).

Nonetheless, to the extent the U.S. government was aware that this was the Japanese government's thinking, it wasn't completely insane for them to be anxious about the Japanese-American population. Certainly Earl Warren et al overreacted to their anxiety in the heinous treatment of Japanese Americans.

Any Nazi, Fascist or Japanese militarist would be properly excluded from FDR's cabinet, not only during war but at any time. Any Muslim who thinks terrorism is acceptable or even excusable doesn't belong in Bush's cabinet. It isn't one's ethnicity or religion that matters, but one's political beliefs.

David, I don't think there were any German- or Italian-Americans in FDR's cabinet except for Henry Morgenthau Jr. (who was Jewish). The U.S. commanders of the Pacific and European theaters were both of German ancestry, Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.