Shortly after the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States government hastily built two camps in the rocky desolation for western Arizona. They had much in common: rows of barracks, barbed wire, armed guards, watchtowers, and thousands of American citizens whose freedom had been traded by them or taken from them in the name of national security.
Although these camps have been closed for more than 50 years, they are still significant, not for their similarities but for their striking differences. One camp represented the best and the other represented the worst in abridging freedom for security. At the first camp, Americans were confined by choice or by constitutional compulsion; their confinement served a national security necessity; and their loss of freedom was lawful. At the second camp, Americans were confined against their will; their confinement served no national security purpose; and their loss of freedom was utterly unlawful.
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