Removal of Rep. Howard Coble

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We, the undersigned, condemn remarks made by Rep. Howard Coble during a call-in program on WKZL-FM on February 4, 2003, where he explicitly supported President Roosevelt's decision to incarcerate the Japanese American community during World War II. Rep. Coble's claims that the action was for the internees' own protection and that some of the internees were intent on doing harm to the nation not only contradict each other, but have both been contradicted by historical experience and the Civil Liberties Act that was passed by Congress in 1988.

Rep. Coble's views regarding the Japanese American internment, which he has repeatedly defended in the days following his statement, demonstrate that his understanding of fundamental American values, basic civil liberties and constitutional rights is far out of step with the U.S. Congress and the American people. He is unfit to serve as the chairman of a Congressional subcommittee that is charged with weighing the most consequential civil liberties issues of our time.

We view Rep. Coble's statement that "I apologize if I offended anybody. I certainly did not intend to offend anybody" as a non-apology, and his continuing efforts to justify the Japanese American internment as an affront to all freedom-loving Americans. We call for his immediate removal from the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

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