In 1987 president Reagan uttered what might be his most famous line when he called on Russia to tear down the wall that had divided East Germany from West Germany, Communism from Capitalism.
Republicans lore has it that Gorbachev climbed with tremulous knees into his Russian made bulldozer and tore the wall down the next day. In reality, Reagan was done playing president by the time the political winds of change brought about the opening of the wall and then it’s destruction. It wasn’t Gorbachev’s bulldozer that brought an end to the Berlin wall, rather it was his policies of relative liberalization of the Eastern block, along with non-bloody revolution in East Germany. Officially deconstruction of the wall began in 1990.
Of course Republicans have since changed their mind about walls.
The Berlin wall was barely yesterday’s news, when politicians here were set upon by nostalgia or jealousy and started calling for a wall of our own. While East Berlin built the wall to keep people from leaving, it was said we needed one to keep trespassers out. Well certain ones anyway because like the impressive Berlin wall and the even more impressive Inner German Border our wall would only block passage from one country. Unlike the Germans however our wall would never be built. Bu there is still hope.
Early forays into physical blockades included Operation Safeguard in Arizona and Operation Hold-the-Line in Texas. These early operations where so unsuccessful that the bureaucrats and politicians decided to try again with Operation Gatekeeper below San Diego California, which is apparently a very popular destination for line jumpers. Every yard of physical barrier that our tax dollars erected meant another yard that these men, women and children would have to walk to find the end of the wall. that really was the effect of all three operations, they simply moved the entry point.
Politicians, bureaucrats and other curmudgeons lit cigars and raised glasses to the success of the California barricades. Border patrol officials who had previously measured effectiveness according to the number of arrests made, now touted the lower number of arrests as proof of the success of Gatekeeper. Some time later a couple whistle blowers came forward claiming that agents were told to arrest fewer people to make the new wall look more effective.
Of course there were detractors as well. Civil rights watchdogs like the ACLU and other hippy idealists lamented for those who died attempting to cross in the more rugged territory at the end of the wall. But should we really worry about a few hundred people a year who lose their lives trying to trespass? Especially given that we have more recently learned that almost all of them – including the children – are bad people? It seems that some time ago Mexico developed technology that allows them to determine which people are criminals and those who have lots of problems. When Mexico sniffs out one of these rotten souls they flag them as bad hombres and cast them out -along with their family. They are each given a suitcase of drugs and sent away to America.
If you are not already scared, maybe this will help convince you that we need a wall. Turns out it’s not just about stopping humans from coming over, it’s also about the drugs and the nukes, and the nukes inside drugs.
Recently congress critter Trent Franks made headlines with his dire warning that a nuke might be snuggled inside a bale of marijuana and sneaked over the border undetected. No, Representative Franks was not clever enough to cook this one up, he is merely parroting others. Democrat Representative Brad Sherman said the same thing back in 2007, but Sherman didn’t hatch the plot on his own either. Way back in 1996 David Kay from the IAEA said this;
“I’ve often said, my preferred method for delivering a nuclear device is, I would hide it in a bale of marijuana, contract it out to the drug lords and move it,” Kay said. “Marijuana is a good shielder actually for radiation. The drug lords have a superb record for delivery. They’re not Fed Ex, but they’re awfully close to it. And contract it out and get it across the border.”
Of course we are not supposed to believe that that Kay has tested this bomb in a bale theory as well as other methods to deliver nukes and has come to prefer this one. And never mind that this sounds more like the premise for a Cheech and Chong movie than something that might actually work. Of course It’s not literally about surrounding a nuke in some Columbia Gold and tying it off with baling twine.It’s also not about probability but possibility. Actually, no, it’s really only about plausibility and perception.
Drug dealers are clever and resourceful. Every year, despite vast sums of our money being spent to foil them, these dastardly doers dump dizzying amounts of drugs into our boulevards and back alleys. If anyone could get a nuke into the south side of Chicago or upper Manhattan it would be drug dealers. At least that is how the argument goes. Sure, If you kick the tires at all you realize the car you are being sold is just a cardboard cutout, but just try and prove what I just said is not at least plausible.
What you have been given is a dented-up, half-assed sales pitch for better border security, but that is not what is being sold.It’s about a wall, or did you forget that?
So, we are supposed to believe that the drug cabals are headed up by people ingenious enough to get weed wrapped weapons into our cities, but at the same time so incompetent that their hopes for branching out into terrorist delivery services will be dashed by a wall. Kinda falls flat huh? Now consider that even it the wall were to be built as proposed it would cover only a little over 1900 miles of more than 94 thousand total miles of U.S border. When you stand back and look at it, it becomes pretty clear what the wall is really all about. You don’t have to look much closer to understand why it will fail.
The border defenses that East Germany put up covered it’s entire western border. Walking around it didn’t work for the same reason that no walls were needed along East Germany’s other borders. The other countries which people might escape to were also soviet territory so there was really no point. In the late 1980’s soviet control was slipping in those countries and that played a part in the opening of the border. There will never be wall or even a fence along the entire border between the U.S and Mexico. because of treaties and waterways but suppose for a minute we manage to secure the whole border, Are we just making the problem worse?
Currently a person seeking to enter the US from Mexico has two choices. They can choose the legal route, a process that can take ten years or more, or they can sneak in. Sneaking in means either you walk across the border or you pay someone to carry you over. the folks who traffic humans from Mexico to America are called coyotes and they do not take the risks which the take for free.
Early efforts toward walling off Mexico moved illegal crossings away from the cities and suburbs and forced those who chose to walk across, take routes that were more challenging. As the risks increased human trafficking increased, as did the price that Coyotes charged. Business is good too, this piece from 2014 claims the practice generates almost seven billion per year by charging from four thousand to ten thousand per person for a trip across the border. Of course if these people had four to ten thousand dollars they probably wouldn’t need to sneak across the border. Best case is the people become indentured servants for illegal friendly farms and businesses in the U.S., worst case they become drug mules or sex slaves to pay this debt. It used to be that those offering coyote services and those trafficking in drugs were distinct entities. More and more the cartels are trafficking in humans. And why not? After all they are clever enough to get bales of pot – with or without a nuclear payload – into the country, hard to imagine that humans are so much different.
You have to have no respect for logic to believe that a border wall will stop illegal entry by those to the south of us, but it will have an effect. Unfortunately the effect will be to change more people from trespassers to mules and slaves. Then again if they are all bad people should we care? It will also enrich the coyotes and other criminals who take advantage of the desperation, but again not our problem, why should we care? Our war on drugs has made the cartels south of the border rich and very powerful, so too has our war on Mexicans. If that’s something we care about maybe we should do something about it.