July 22, 2013

Security Walls That Aren't

Construction of the Berlin Wall in Germany began in August 1961. It was, in fact, not a wall but 96 miles of barbed wire fence.  However, when this proved too easy to scale, work started on a second fence 100 yards further in. Later on even these measures were deemed insufficient and a concrete wall was added. Later the ultimate wall with reinforced concrete 1.5 meters thick and 3.6 meters high and topped with barbed wire was constructed. It included 300 watchtowers and 30 bunkers.

In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the people of West Berlin about the Berlin Wall which had just been built to divide the city and families, to keep West Berliners out of East Berlin and East Berliners out of West Berlin. He spoke of communism and freedom and democracy.  He said, "Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us."

In June 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke to the people of West Berlin at the Berlin Wall.  He spoke of freedom and security, and the advance of human liberty that can only strengthen the cause of world peace.  He concluded with a challenge to General Secretary Gorbachev:  "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Today the United States is building a "security wall" to separate the peoples and families of the United States and Mexico.  The immigration bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate significantly increases expenditures for border security. However, border security is already costing Americans $18 billion per year. There is one border patrol agent for every 500 feet of the Mexican border.  The border fence costs $16 million per mile, which is $3,000 per foot.

We have reached security overkill. How long until we cry out, "Mr. President, tear down this wall!"