When in doubt, Build a wall
"I wasn't surprised to learn about the Bush administration's now-uncertain plans to build a wall between Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad. After all, walls seem to be one of his favorite, all-purpose solutions. From the increased security around the presidential palace in Washington to the anti-immigrant electrified fortress at the border with Mexico, this president has proven himself a builder and a divider.
He builds walls around information, too. Consider the secret detention centers and extraordinary renditions, the PATRIOT Act and secret tribunals, the stonewalling anytime Cheney or Rove are asked to account for their actions, the attempts to re-classify mounds of government documents and keep everything they do secret.
When President Bush spots a problem, he cordons it off. I imagine his task force to research what can be done in the case of troubled individuals like Cho Sueng-Hui will lead to much the same conclusion. Like Iraq, we couldn't actually have done anything to prevent the violence. We can only preempt it. With a wall. Maybe we'll call it an institution.
Now I could be wrong, but I thought society was moving in the direction of tearing down walls, not building them. Divisions between cultures. Inequalities between races. Lines between nations. Everywhere from the internet to the European Union to bisexuality on college campuses, it seems to me that walls are tumbling down.
Perhaps Bush's desperate grabs for political bricks and mortar are signs of regressive nostalgia. Ah, the good old days of the Berlin wall. When the enemy was clear and the defense budget rationales were clearer. Today Bush is having trouble getting his war supplemental through Congress. Ronnie didn't have these problems.
When the Great Wall of China was finally finished in the 16th Century -- the construction of which claimed over 3,000 lives -- it did little to prevent the Ming Dynasty from keeping out the Manchus, who nonetheless overthrew the government. Nor was the Berlin Wall particularly useful. In addition to being the physical embodiment of Cold War anxieties and tensions, it fractured a people who were once united, leaving such deep rifts that, in 2004, 25% of West Germans and 12% of East Germans still wished the wall existed. Have we ever found that walling off our problems is a good solution? ..... Read the continuation of this post HERE "