This Is Just Pathetic: The Bush Administration`s "Fence Without Offense"
November 16, 2007, 06:18 PM
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The LA Times reports on the latest Bush Administration`s waste of time: building a "nice" fence on the Border that won`t actually do the job:

A fence without offense Strong but not lethal, effective but not ugly: The U.S. is looking for a barrier along the border with Mexico that will say `keep out` — nicely.

By Richard Marosi

... "They want to make it seem like you could shake hands through the fence," said Peter Andreas, a political science professor at Brown University who studies border security issues.

If you can shake hands through it, you can pass drugs through it.

Secondly, jeez, if the Bushies would come visit the Mexican neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley, they`d see that the Mexican homeowners are themselves putting up lethal fences topped with deadly finials designed to impale anybody who tries to climb over. C`mon, folks, Mexicans understand that the purpose of a fence is to keep people out, and they don`t need it sugarcoated. If you`ve ever been to Latin America, you`ll bring back memories of all the walls around yards with broken bottles embedded in the cement along the top. Latinos aren`t into friendly, aesthetically-pleasing security partitions. They`re into inflicting pain upon anybody stupid enough to try to climb over.

Whether the new fencing meets aesthetic standards remains an open question. Except for a five-mile stretch of steel-plate barriers outside San Luis, most of the new fencing is made of mesh or steel tubing.

The new structures are taller and more imposing than the landing-mat fencing. But then much of the new fencing has gone up in rural areas.

"There are very few people that can see the new fence, which may be why we`re not getting reports of people not liking it," said Jeremy Schappell, a Border Patrol agent who works in the San Luis area.

One of the Fence Lab barriers that agents seem to like best so far is a double-mesh barrier made of thick welded wires in a tight honeycomb-like design. The tiny holes between the wires make climbing difficult. Axes and crow bars are useless because the layers give under pressure. Blow torches get through, but it takes more than 15 noisy minutes to cut both layers.

Still, this summer a similarly constructed double-mesh fence went up along seven miles of border in Naco, Ariz., and within days Mexican smugglers had found a way to defeat it. By inserting screwdrivers into the holes to use as handholds, they are able to scale the fence as if it`s a pegboard.

"They get over in about 15 seconds," said John Ladd, 52, whose 14,000-acre ranch abutting the border is trampled daily by migrants.

Look, keeping criminals out really isn`t that complicated. There`s this 19th Century invention that was put up in 1914 in Europe and kept the German, French, and British armies out of each other`s lines until 1918. You might have heard of it: it`s called barb wire. You intertwine coils of razor wire with stronger steel elements and concrete structures, backed up with quick response, and ... it works. The Israeli fence has been keeping out suicide bombers for years, and they are a lot more motivated than coyotes.