Michelle Malkin

The following is an exclusive excerpt from Michelle Malkin?s new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for ?Racial Profiling? in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery).

The Turncoats on Niihau Island

?Are you a Japanese??

Those were the first English words spoken by downed Japanese fighter pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi on tiny Niihau Island, located about one hundred miles northwest of Honolulu. It was December 7, 1941. Nishikaichi had had a busy, bloody morning at Pearl Harbor. Now, with the aid and comfort of a Japanese-American couple, Nishikaichi was about to make the lives of the Niihau residents a living hell.

Around 7:00 a.m., Nishikaichi boarded his Zero single-seat fighter plane and took off from the carrier Hiryu in the Pacific. An hour and a half later, the young Japanese pilot strafed planes, trucks, and personnel on Oahu. Headed back to his carrier, Nishikaichi and some fellow pilots encountered a group of American P36 fighter planes.  During the air battle, Nishikaichi?s plane took several hits. One punctured the Zero?s gas tank. Nishikaichi steered the crippled plane toward the westernmost Hawaiian island: Niihau. Fewer than 200 Hawaiians plus three laborers of Japanese descent called Niihau home. Japan planned to use the island as a submarine pickup point for stranded pilots.

Nishikaichi crash-landed the plane in a field near one of the ranch homes. The first to reach him was Hawila ?Howard? Kaleohano, a burly Hawaiian. The island had no telephones. On that tranquil, late Sunday morning, none of the inhabitants was yet aware of the death and destruction that had just rained down on Pearl Harbor.

Nonetheless, Kaleohano wisely confiscated the dazed Nishikaichi?s gun and papers. Kaleohano, perhaps the most educated Hawaiian on Niihau, had been keeping tabs on world affairs through newspapers supplied by ranch owner Aylmer Robinson (who paid weekly visits to the island and lived twenty miles away on Kauai). Wary but warm, Kaleohano brought the enemy pilot to his home. Along the way, Nishikaichi asked Kaleohano if he was ?a Japanese.? The answer was an emphatic ?No.?

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

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