Something there is that doesn’t Love a Wall – Part 3

Often deemed one of the worst failures in military history, this line of fortifications extended from along much of the Franco-German border. Rather than a continuous wall, the Maginot Line was composed of 500 forts and buildings stretching hundreds of miles. The idea was to stockpile defense and militarize the border with Germany in preparation for their inevitable revenge after the Treaty of Versailles. Having lost over 4 million men in WWI, the French government feared another invasion from Germany, a country twice its size. Charles De Gaulle advocated for an offensive strategy of mobile military and mechanized vehicles, but Andre Maginot, among others, convinced the administration that a wall was the best defense. The Maginot Line was built in stages from 1930-40 and cost $3 billion francs. Conspicuously, it did not pass through the Ardennes Forest, believe to be impenetrable; this is where Germany would land its first strike in its swift month-long victory.

Along America’s 2,000-mile border with Latin America, walls in Arizona and California have already begun to funnel border-crossers away from urban areas and into dangerous deserts. A document signed by the ACLU and drafted by the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico puts the death toll of border-crossers over the last 13 years near 5,000, and many more will die if they are continually routed into inhospitable places like the Sonoran Desert. The Secure Fence Act proposes some 700 miles of border barriers, which will reroute even more immigrants through dangerous sections of Texas, Arizona, and California.

One of the Maginot Line’s most salient characteristics was its 100 miles of interconnecting tunnels. This underground infrastructure facilitated a quick and covert response to any attack along the Maginot Line. These tunnels though, along with the line of fortifications, did not extend into the Belgian border because it was a neutral nation. When the German troops flanked the Maginot Line and flew over it with their Luftwaffe, the Maginot Line still remained largely indefatigable, though the country it was built to protect was forced to surrender.

In the 14 miles of border wall south of San Diego, more than 24 tunnels have already been found. According to some estimates, there are more than 50 tunnels subverting the border wall already. A border wall, if not coupled with an immigration reform which will help immigrants, employers, and Border Patrol agents, will only force immigration issues underground.

While the border wall, past and proposed, is supposed to block would-be Americalmosts from immigrating illegally to the United States, it does nothing to solve the issue of almost 6 million undocumented residents who came here legally, nor does it begin to grapple with the push/pull factors of immigration which highlight the weaknesses of an outdated quota system and an inhumane lottery system for citizenship. Lacking diplomacy or reform, a border wall without better laws is another Maginot Line costing an inexcusable amount of money merely to sidestep instead of solve immigration issues.

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2 Responses to “Something there is that doesn’t Love a Wall – Part 3”

  1. David A. Andelman Says:

    “…their inevitable revenge after the Treaty of Versailles….”
    For a compelling look at the Treaty of Versailles and its immense
    consequences down to the present day, DO have a look at my
    fascinating new book — “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the
    Price We Pay Today” published by Wiley and available at Amazon.com and
    most bookstores !
    The author (myself) — executive editor of Forbes.com and a veteran
    foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News is also
    available for speeches and lectures!
    Best,
    David A. Andelman
    david@ashatteredpeace.com

  2. S Nicol Says:

    The General Accounting Office found that the only real impact on border crossers has been to cause more and more to attempt to cross in inhospitable deserts, where an increasing number die. Go to http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06770.pdf to download the GAO report “Border Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995”. The wall will not save a single life by stopping a terrorist, but every year it is the direct cause of immense human suffering.

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