U.S./Mexican Security Barrier
Great article comparing the barrier Israel is erecting to protect itself from the West Bank with the hypothetical barrier the U.S. would build to protect itself from Mexico:
The Israeli West Bank barrier, when finished, will run for more than 400 miles and will consist of trenches, security roads, electronic fences, and concrete walls. Its main goal is to stop terrorists from detonating themselves in restaurants and cafes and buses in the cities and towns of central Israel. So, planners set the bar very high: It is intended to prevent every single attempt to cross it. The rules of engagement were written accordingly. If someone trying to cross the fence in the middle of the night is presumed to be a terrorist, there's no need to hesitate before shooting. To kill.
As such, the Israeli fence is very efficient. The number of fatalities from terror attacks within Israel dropped from more than 130 in 2003 to fewer than 25 in 2005. The number of bombings fell from dozens to fewer than 10. The cost for Israel is in money and personnel; the cost for Palestinians is in unemployment, health, frustration, and blood. The demographic benefit -- keeping out the Palestinians -- is just another positive side effect for the Israelis.
No wonder the fence is considered a good deal by those living on its western side. But applying this model to the U.S.-Mexico border will not be easy. U.S. citizens will find it hard to justify such tough measures when their only goal is to stop people coming in for work -- rather than preventing them from trying to commit murder. And the cost will be more important. It's much easier to open your wallet when someone is threatening to blow up your local cafe.
Posted on June 13, 2006 at 6:50 AM • 83 Comments