The �star� of the Olympics may not be multiple medalists but
the Great Wall of China. Every TV network covering the Olympics took the world
to see the Wall. It seemed as if almost every newspaper and magazine reporter
also visited the Great Wall.
But, the Great Wall, which was built and rebuilt many times
over its 22 century history, eventually was a failure. Although formidable, and
one of the world�s greatest engineering feats, the wall by the 16th century
could no longer protect China from neighboring armies.
The Maginot Line, which France thought could protect it from
Germany and Italy in the decade leading up to World War II, was largely a
The Berlin Wall, at first barbed wire and then concrete, was
built not to keep others out but East Germans in. But, there were more than
5,000 escapes during its 28-year history before the wall finally came down in
As we now know, poorly constructed levees in New Orleans
didn�t keep the flood waters of Katrina from destroying the city.
And now the U.S. is building its own wall. The Bush administration
is putting up about 700 miles of fencing and other barriers along the
U.S./Mexico border by the end of the year. The cost just to build that barrier
is about $2�$3 million per mile. But, in certain places, the cost far exceeds
that. This week, the government began excavating an area near San Diego. When
the three and one-half mile fence is finished, the cost will be about $57
million. That�s about $16 million a mile.
Most illegal immigrants pose no problems. They don�t receive
American benefits, contrary to a lot of Internet gossip. Most try to avoid
getting into trouble, since their purpose of being in America isn�t to get
noticed by the police. And, for those who think putting up a wall will keep
terrorists out of the country, reflect upon this: The 9/11 hijackers had
American-issued visas to be in the U.S.
Like the Great Wall, the Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall, and
the levees, this wall will also fail, as persons desperate to enter the U.S.
will find many other ways to cross the border. But, Americans will have spent
more than $2 billion for that lesson.
Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and president of the
Pennsylvania Press Club. He is senior author of the critically-acclaimed �The
Press and the State,� and author of ��Unacceptable�: The Federal Response to
Hurricane Katrina� (January 2006) and �Sinking the Ship of State: The
Presidency of George W. Bush� (November 2007), available through amazon.com. You
may contact Brasch at email@example.com
or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com.