Bush Signs Insecure Farce Act, a.k.a. Secure Fence Act

October 23, 2006 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Great Wall of ChinaSometime on Thursday and accompanied by fanfare for members of Congress who want to look “tough on security” right before the November elections, the “small man behind the curtain,” President George W. Bush, will sign the “Secure Fence Act” authorizing the building of a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border and a “study” of the northern border. (Don’t trouble yourself about the fact that the Canadian border is actually 5,525 miles long. Known officially as the International Boundary, it’s the longest international border in the world between two countries.)

Apparently, the lessons of the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall have gone unlearned. Was it really only 19 years ago when Ronald Reagan said: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”?

Why do Americans think that a 700-mile fence is going to keep out immigrants? Not that this “feel good” legislation is well-funded. In a separate bill, Congress voted funding to construct 150 miles of it, but it would cost a staggering $600 billion to build the whole thing. Has it not occurred to anyone in Washington that undocumented immigrants are nothing if not determined and will look for other border locations at which to cross? Has it not occurred to anyone that cameras and sensors that the Department of Homeland Security is allowed to substitute for fencing can be shot at with high-powered rifles? We already put one approximately $5 million dollar drone aircraft along the border, but it promptly had a mysterious “malfunction” and crashed and burned. Hmmm…I wonder why?

Now let’s turn our attention to our northern border, the longest unprotected border in the world. Did you know that this 5,525 mile Canadian border includes inaccessible, heavily wooded areas of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and British Columbia where no one has a clue as to the actual border location? Let’s see…hmmm…first, we have to figure out where the border is. The Great Wall of China was 3,948 miles long, roughly twice the length of our mutual border with Canada. It was rebuilt five times (always with the same results), and the last version of it, with which we are familiar, took nearly 300 years to build. And still the Manchu conquered China.

Perhaps the Chinese were on to something, though. The first version of the wall utilized forced labor on the part of criminals, prisoners of war, and…political dissidents. Now, there’s a cheery thought! An end to prison overcrowding, a way to put those troublesome Gitmo prisoners to work, and a way to get the opposition to shut up. And if we could just criminalize the (best guess) 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, we’d be riding high! The “longest cemetery on Earth,” as the Great Wall is sometimes known, is thought to have cost about one million workers their lives.

Peter Fechter Dies at Berlin WallYes, walls keep people out. For awhile. But they also trap people within, as in this iconographic image of Peter Fechter dying in an attempt to cross the Berlin Wall. It was no accident when President John F. Kennedy demonstrated solidarity with those trapped behind the wall, saying: “Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bein ein Berliner.’”

We’re ashamed that we can find no better solution to changing demographics, a changing global economy in which we are a distant second to China, and a changing world which includes terrorism — fostered in part by our own foreign policies — than to attempt building a pitiful…wall.

As President Reagan said: “Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same — still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar…As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: ‘This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.’ Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”

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