Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE WALL....Here's the latest on those large concrete things the U.S. Army is building in Baghdad:

U.S. and Iraqi military officials scrambling to deflect criticism of a wall being erected to separate a volatile Sunni Muslim neighborhood from surrounding Shiite areas insisted Monday that the structure is not a wall at all. It's a barrier.

....Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shiite, said Sunday night that he opposed the project and had ordered it halted.

But Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim Musawi said at a news conference Monday that the project would go on and said Maliki had supported the barrier idea. Opposition arose after exaggerated media reports making the structure sound like the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China or the barrier being built by Israel in and around the West Bank, he said.

"There's a difference between constructing a security barrier and a security wall," said an infuriated Musawi. "Some media said the security forces will construct a security wall. This is inaccurate and groundless. As I said, these will be barriers."

Musawi's distinction between a "wall" and a "barrier" — especially when it's 12 feet high, constructed of 2,000 pound concrete blocks, and runs three miles with only one public exit point — is obviously specious. And it was the U.S. Army that started the whole "Great Wall" meme anyway.

Nonetheless, Musawi is almost certainly telling the truth when he says that Maliki originally supported the idea and is now folding in the face of public outcry. Whether he's right to fold like that is almost irrelevant. Either it was a good idea but Maliki didn't bother building support for the barrier among local leaders, or it was a bad idea and he never should have gone along with it in the first place. If he now flips again and allows the construction to go forward after "consulting" with American military commanders, his remaining credibility will be somewhere south of zero.

Can progress be made in Iraq without credible leadership? The question answers itself. A new military strategy and a few extra battalions in Baghdad do nothing to change that.

Kevin Drum 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Comments

"Credible leadership" is the issue?

You missed the horror of building a wall around a group of people.

Posted by: Slothrop on April 24, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we just kill the Iraqis down to manageable numbers and then tag them the way we do endangered species of animals?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 24, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

I wanted to build a 12-foot structure around my yard but the local zoning board prohibited it. I need to go back and tell them I'm now calling it a 'barrier.'

I'm sure they will allow it with the name change - not!

I get so sick of our government thinking that everything can be fixed with a little different marketing.

Posted by: Tripp on April 24, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

One public exit point?? How very convenient for snipers and suicide bombers who LOVE chokepoints that cause people to bunch up.

And did anybody catch the comments about the 12 foot wall being for protection against MORTARS? Someone seriously stupid there...

Posted by: Butch on April 24, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

...Followed by a 12-foot high 'security barrier' around the White House, to defend it from hostile Democrat insurgents from the restive Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Can progress be made in Iraq without credible leardership? The question answers itself. A new military strategy and a few extra battalions in Baghdad do nothing to change that.

Given that even the US acknowledges the occupation can't be "won" miltarily, the whole point of the surge -- ostensibly, at least (the real point being to kick the can down the road to Bush's successor) was to provide breathing spacve for the Iraqi government to assert "credible leardership." It's beyond clear that that isn't happening.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq has some credible leaders, but the US and its leadership are afraid of them, so they set up puppets like Malachi instead.

Posted by: Brojo on April 24, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The US will get credible leadership in 2008 when Hillary becomes commmanderess-in-chief and wages the war with Nancy at her side and Harry Reid and Howard Dean on the flanks.

In fact, yes, although any Democrat would bring more credibility than the sorry bunch mhr carries water for. Strangely, enough, though, the only part of mhr's statement that wasn't a bogus straw man argument was correct.

mhr's increasingly -- dare I say it? -- shrill frothing is a sure sign of dawning realization that his/her/its party is a bunch of frauds and losers. Delicious!

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq has some credible leaders, but the US and its leadership are afraid of them, so they set up puppets like Malachi instead.

At least it's an improvement over the puppet Bush intended to set up, Chalabi.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

mhr --
Which "lefty" has said that there's no terror to fight? Can't think of one? Me neither.

Posted by: thersites on April 24, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Two questions: What will this barrier cost? And who will get the contract to build it? Because given the track record of the occupying powers in Iraq, I suspect this thing will have about zero security value. It will be pork, pork, pork, and more pork. (In fact, real pork might be a better deterrent against Al-Qaeda.)

Posted by: ~~~~ on April 24, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

What is Musawi thinking? Does he actually imagine making a big deal about the difference between a wall and a barrier will get him anything but ridicule?

Posted by: KCinDC on April 24, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, good fences make good neighbors.

Now, we just need to export some Norman Rockwell paintings to Fallujah and we'll have the place looking like Woodstock, VT in no time!

Posted by: scott on April 24, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

This sure is bringing back memories for me. It seems like just yesterday that The Berlin Barrier was torn down! Remember Reagan's exhortation? ...

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this barrier!"

Posted by: Curt M on April 24, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

They built the first ghetto walls in Europe since WW2 in Chzekoslovakia - soon after there was a series of terrible wars in a neighboring country.
That ghetto was for the Roma peoples. ( Gypsies)
Reagan type repugs ought to have a problem selling this madness. ' TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!'

Posted by: professor rat on April 24, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Bush, tear down this falafel!

Posted by: Brojo on April 24, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Did somebody say falafel?

Posted by: Bill O'Reilly on April 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

All we are asking for is, give concrete a chance!

-- Malachi & the Puppets

(sung to the tune of, "Give Peace a Chance")

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 24, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Of course our enemies don't like the wall/barrier/whatever. They know that it represents a policy of divide and conquer - one that will give us victory and enable us to bring democracy to Iraq.

Posted by: Al on April 24, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi blogger Omar Fadhil favors the barriers, since they reduce violence, in his opinion:

Here’s some background straight from Baghdad, just as protests may be making both Iraqi and American officials reconsider the plan, according to some press reports.

Yesterday leaflets were distributed in the streets of Adhamiya (or Azamiya, English doesn’t have the exact sound anyway). The leaflets — printed and distributed by persons unknown — called on residents to protest the building of the wall. Knowing that the only organized entity capable of such quick response to events in Adhamiya are either the insurgents or al-Qaeda strongly indicates that they were behind the planned protest. More important still is that it indicates they see the wall as a threat to their movement and ability to carry out their actions.

From a tactical point of view these walls can be very useful in reducing the levels of violence in targeted areas. Militants will have to stay in their home areas to avoid passing through the controlled gates. This reduces their ability to transport weapons and munitions for storage or operations in other districts. Failing that they will have to relocate to a district where it would be easier for them to operate. In either case the capacity of the militants to sustain their current level of operations would be impaired.

Having walls and barriers that seal off an area also means that troops don’t have to worry watching the numerous routes that connect Baghdad’s interlacing districts that militants use to maneuver around security operations. By extension it means that unit commanders would have a higher percentage of their troops free to conduct real missions against the militants. This makes the “clear and hold” strategy much easier to implement and sustain.

It looks like those of you railing against the barriers are helping al Qaeda maintain its ability to carry out terrorist actions.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 24, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Musawi's distinction between a "wall" and a "barrier" — especially when it's 12 feet high, constructed of 2,000 pound concrete blocks, and runs three miles with only one public exit point — is obviously specious.

Hey, if it works for Israel...

Posted by: smedleybutler on April 24, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

That'll do it Al. One three mile wall will win the war...I think I see your point now.

Posted by: elmo on April 24, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, for anyone who hasn't seen it yet check this out

Posted by: Swan on April 24, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

...large concrete things the U.S. Army is building in Baghdad...

Nice.
Hook, line, and sinker.

Posted by: CEO @ Halliburton on April 24, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

It goes without saying that Halliburton is manufacturing the concrete for the walls.

Posted by: NSA Mole on April 24, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like those of you railing against the barriers are helping al Qaeda maintain its ability to carry out terrorist actions.

Damnit, he's onto us! And I thought we were being so subtle about it!

Posted by: Stefan on April 24, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, you are a tool six ways to Sunday. Omar from Iraq the Model is neither objective nor accurate. Like you he is a tool for Republican propaganda, and it comes as no surprise that you would find comfort in sucking at his teat.

Scroll through his archives to peruse any number of things he's been wrong about, from the effectiveness of Operation Lightning to the battle-ready status of Iraqi troops.

BTW, "the only organized entity capable of such quick response to events in Adhamiya are either the insurgents or al-Qaeda" is a laughable and transparent claim. No one else in Baghdad has a printer or copier? Is Al Qaeda the Kinko's of Iraq??

I'm convinced that you and Marler share a brain - and I'm also convinced you're sharing it with three or four other guys.

Posted by: trex on April 24, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

If it's all about terminology, I suggest:

Cement Attraction

Concrete Canvas for Spray Paint Artists

Freedom Initiative Structure

Unity Opportunity Foundation

Liberation Memorial Erection

Protective Social Formation

Surge Protector

Last Hope Construction

Posted by: cowalker on April 24, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Princess Bush: "I'm disappointed that the Democratic leadership has chosen this course," Bush said. "They chose to make a political statement," he said. "That's their right but it is wrong for our troops and it's wrong for our country. To accept the bill proposed by the Democratic leadership would be to accept a policy that directly contradicts the judgment of our military commanders."

I'm horrified that Princess Bush has chosen this course. He has chosen to make a self-serving partisan statement intended to save face at the expense of our soldiers. That's his right but it is wrong for our troops and it's wrong for our country. To accept the president's refusal to change course would be to accept a policy that directly contradicts the judgment of our best military commanders, most of whom have unfortunately left the military or been relegated to their desks and silenced because of the Princess's petulance.

Kevin: And it was the U.S. Army that started the whole "Great Wall" meme anyway.

No, it was conservative anti-immigration American racists who started the whole "Great Wall" meme anyway, at least with respect to the action of the United States.

Give credit where credit is due.

Conservatives love segregation.

But rest assured, the Sunni and Shiite enclaves will be separate, yet equal.

Equally subject to American rule and abuse.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

"The American people did not vote for failure," the Princess said.

And yet that is exactly what Princess Bush has given them.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Congress is preparing to deliver a message of surrender just as General Petraeus arrives in Washington this week to brief the commander in chief and members of Congress on the war," Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-California added.

Congresschild Lewis surrendered to greed and corruption a long time ago and surrendered his integrity to a president who is deceitful and who hides behind our troops like a coward, firing generals who disgree with him until he finds a lapdog like Petraeus willing to do or say anything for partisan gain.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

U.S. and Iraqi military officials scrambling to deflect criticism of a wall being erected to separate a volatile Sunni Muslim neighborhood from surrounding Shiite areas insisted Monday that the structure is not a wall at all. It's a barrier.

At least they are not calling it a "fence".

Posted by: Disputo on April 24, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Former Pfc. Jessica Lynch today told a House panel how she was distraught at her hero status after returning from Iraq where two comrades died fighting. It added insult to injury, literally, to hear "the little girl 'Rambo'" version of events being portrayed in the media, she said. Lynch added: "The truth is always more heroic than the hype."

The military is following the example of its dunce in chief, Princess Bush, and lying, lying, lying to and about our troops.

And now the Princess will deny our troops the funding they need just to further his own selfish arrogance and self-centered need to be right even when he isn't.

Bush the Pouter.

Bush the Tantrum-Thrower.

Bush the Fibber.

Bush the Tyrant.

Bush the Failure.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Presidential candidate Kucinich to call for Cheney impeachment

About damn time.

Too late, though.

Should've been done in February as one of the new Congress's first acts.

Posted by: anonymous on April 24, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

"The American people did not vote for failure,"

And yet they voted for Bush in 2004. Odd, that....

Posted by: Stefan on April 24, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hello, I've come for a wall.

Here you are.

That's not a wall, it's a barrier.

No it isn't.

Yes it is.

No it isn't.

Yes it is.

This isn't a wall, it's a contradiction.

No it isn't.

(repeat until 2008 elections)

Posted by: craigie on April 24, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: For someone who does nothing but advocate the neocon agenda, one of whose primary political purposes is advancing the interests of the State of Israel, "ex-liberal" is on record supporting the creation of ghettoes.

Further irony -- or, rather, dumbassery -- alert: "ex-liberal" cites Pajamas Media as a source.

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Please see the post for Saturday April 21 about the wall on http://digbysblog.blogspot.com
I find his prediction about what the wall will make possible all too probable.
The wall is a horrible idea, just like the war itself.

Posted by: Lynn Lightfoot on April 24, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. Make that http://www.digbysblog.blogspot.com

Posted by: Lynn Lightfoot on April 24, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Blocking all the Sunnis into a small area with one exit will save ammunition for the Shia.

Who comes up with these dumb ideas?

Posted by: ml on April 24, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, building a wall is the only thing between us and "victory" in Iraq? Unfucking real. Only simpering losers like ex-liberal can't figure out the ironic chasm between our winning strategy against communism and our losing strategy against terrorism.

Hint: In the more successful approach, we were against walls.

But I'm sure daily humiliations of the Iraqi population will go over real well.

Oh, by the way, is this the neighborhood McCain though was easily transversed without the 101st Airborne as chaperones?

Isn't it, in fact, proof that all of the bullshit about 'success' of the surge and the progress being made in Baghdad was, in fact, bullshit? What more proof would even a sycophant need than the actual actions of an administration desperate for any solution?

Posted by: noltf on April 24, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess the "gated community" meme didn't fly, huh? They just weren't fast enough getting the swimming pools and tennis courts in. Frank Luntz overreached himself this time.

Juan Cole says the wall the Israelis are building in Palestine is the real problem over there. Here it's the ghetto image. PR disaster all the way around. Score another one for the Bushies.

Posted by: Delia on April 24, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK
For someone who does nothing but advocate the neocon agenda, one of whose primary political purposes is advancing the interests of the State of Israel, "ex-liberal" is on record supporting the creation of ghettoes.

Its not really all that ironic for a supporter of the State of Israel to support that since the government of the State of Israel does, too.

As long as its done to some other Semitic people, its okay.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 24, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

GOOD OL' AL sez:
"... the wall/barrier/whatever...represents a policy of divide and conquer - one that will give us victory... "

Yeah, sure, Al. Victory is just around the corner. If we only knew what it looks like, so we would know when we see it!

If this were a conventional war, you could make the "divide and conquer" argument with some credibility. In other words, in WW II, getting Italy out of the way allows you to concentrate on Hitler and Japan.

In an insurgency, not so much. Just ask the Brits how much it complicates your efforts to resolve an urban struggle with a home-grown insurgent or terror group when your adversary metastasizes into splinter groups.
Remember "The Real IRA", and other Irish Republican [Not the Irish equivalent of the party of Cheney and Rove!!!] ex-IRA "alumni" groups, not all of which were willing to sign on to the April '97 "Good Friday" deal?

Remember confusion in the U.S. in the 90's, not knowing who to deal with when it looked like Yeltsin had a civil war on his hands, when Communists attempted to depose Yeltsin and re-establish the USSR?

The problem is, Al, you can't kill all the Muslims. There are over a billion of them. Sooner or later, if you want peace and security, you'll have to TALK with people who don't look like you. Your chances of success in any future discussions which might lead to peace and security are much greater, if your adversary speaks with one voice.

Posted by: shystr on April 24, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Arrgghhh! As all you Hibernians know, I meant the April 1998 Good Friday peace accord in Northern Ireland (still holding, praise God, coming up on nine years later!).

Posted by: shystr on April 24, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Fondly I remember my English class in high school, where we learned the immortal lines from Robert Frost:

"Something there is that does not love a barrier,
That sends the improvised-explosive-device under it
And spills the upper concrete block in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast."

Or something like that, anyway.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 24, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is the kind of comment that bothers me by people on both sides. What does Kevin really know about he credibility of Maliki among Iraqis? He cites not facts. I suspect he has virtually no factual support for his observation that Maliki's credibility will be south of zero. Actually, the stupid term "south of zero" also reflects the non-serious nature of Kevin's commentary on Iraq and especially military matters.

Posted by: brian on April 24, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

The purported distinction between wall and barrier is stupid, but why isn't it a good idea to put a wall up to help diminish violence/terrorist attacks? As a matter of common sense, it seems like a good idea.

Posted by: brian on April 24, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK
The purported distinction between wall and barrier is stupid, but why isn't it a good idea to put a wall up to help diminish violence/terrorist attacks?

Why do you think a wall will substantially diminish violence or terrorist attacks?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 24, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Picky picky alert: 2000 lbs of concrete would fit in the trunk of a Lincoln. Maybe these blocks are actually 20,000 lbs, or more.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 24, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I believe the thinking is that: (1) it will better control/monitor Sunnis seeking to leave the area to commit terrorist attacks; and (2) it will help protect the Sunnis from terrorists sneaking into their neigborhood to commit terrorist acts.

Posted by: brian on April 24, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK
…What does Kevin really know about he credibility of Maliki among Iraqis…brian at 6:55 PM
You could look up Iraqi opinion

…Some Iraqis blame their politicians for the situation - 53% were dissatisfied with the way the Iraqi government was performing, compared with 33% in 2005….
…In ethnic terms, Sunnis were more eager for troops to leave - with 55% saying they should leave now compared to 28% of Shia respondents.
...Security remains a key concern. Asked whether they felt safe in their own neighbourhoods, 40% said yes in 2004, 63% in 2005 but only 26% in 2007….

Posted by: Mike on April 24, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

A single public entrance sounds sort of unsafe for the people traveling through, no?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on April 24, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Tilli,

I don't think so. For thousands of years and in thousands of places, people have used such an approach. I assume here there also would be precautions taken to protect the people against terrorist attacks.

Posted by: brian on April 24, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Maliki, build up this wall!"

Ah -- I can see it now, engraved in genuine imitation faux marble over the Chevron Memorial Entrance to the Halliburton Wing of the ChoicePoint/George W. Bush Presidential Library. My gawd, it'll be beautiful.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on April 24, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, we're graced -- not! -- by an appearance by everyone's favorite faux-moderate concern troll, brian: This is the kind of comment that bothers me by people on both sides. What does Kevin really know about he credibility of Maliki among Iraqis?

Irony alert: brian complains about credibility.

Bonus irony alert: brian writes He cites not facts.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

brian, free advice: You're better off doing your usual drive-by concern troll schtick and not sticking around to defend your stupid Bush water carrying arguments as the ygo down in flames.

For thousands of years and in thousands of places, people have used such an approach.

Yeah, and for thousands of years and in thousands of places, car bombs have been a major threat. Oh, wait...

I assume here there also would be precautions taken to protect the people against terrorist attacks.

You'd also assume that there are already precautions taken to protect the people against terrorist attacks all over Iraq, only the facts indicate that such precautions are simply not very effective.

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

You're tough on me and logic. I assume you, like me, are not an expert on security. So my non-expert opinion is a wall will help security. You think otherwise. I think places like the entrances to the green zone show walls generally work as a security matter, but maybe there is an expert here who can better address the subject.

Posted by: brian on April 24, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to know if there's going to be a golf course. Gated community, golf course. That's the American way. They'll hopefully be able to get a top notch designer to do it. We wouldn't want to pay for an inferior course.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on April 24, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't a "wall;" it's a non-ambulatory restraint designed to direct the occasionally disordered flow of social interaction in Iraq. Everyone knows this.

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 24, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Curious... how did the English manage to exit from their two previous occupations of Iraq?
Might be worth a little research.

Of course one must realize that leaving Iraq to be run by Iraqis never was a part of the the Neocon/Bush plan.

Posted by: Buford on April 24, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else question whether it's a good idea to be setting up walls/barriers between ethnic/religous groups in Iraq, in light of how the majority of the middle east feels about our tacit support of such in Isreal?

Posted by: Mark on April 24, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Americans learn nothing from history. The Maginot Line did not keep Germans out of France. They just went around it.

This "security wall" is funny as hell.

Posted by: raj on April 25, 2007 at 6:15 AM | PERMALINK

The wall:

From a PR standpoint-very bad, correlated with the Israeli walls, Berlin wall and ghettoes of WWII.

From a social standpoint-even worse-people who are not predominant group in that area will be forced out, increasing segregation.

From a security standpoint-even worse than worse- mortar shells flying in all night long, snipers and bombings at the entry point, only one way in and out of the island, and finally, walls are very convenient to hold people in during the final "night of the long knives".

Posted by: Neal on April 25, 2007 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, right, sure a wall is not a barrier. Uh huh.

Why don't they put that at the Mexican border.. would do a heck of a lot more for this country and possibly not be a total waste of money.

Posted by: clem on April 25, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Wall, barrier: Whatever! I'm going to grab me some spray and tag that mother.

Posted by: BroD on April 25, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

"From a security standpoint-even worse than worse- mortar shells flying in all night long, snipers and bombings at the entry point, only one way in and out of the island, and finally, walls are very convenient to hold people in during the final 'night of the long knives'."
_____________________

Of course, the night of the long knives is infinitely easier to achieve if given free access to multiple lanes of attack. Limited access also means fewer assets are necessary to guard the approaches.

It's the same approach as a feudal city or a motte and bailey castle. Works fine, if the attacks are intermittent or countered in some way or are channeled to a few defended approaches. Walls aren't the perfect solution in a defensive situation - but they are better than no defenses. Just as in New York City, there are never going to be enough police or soldiers to guard every open street and alley in Bagdad. Close some of them off and you improve your odds of slowing the attack until it can be countered by a relief force. Without a wall, a large group can simply drive in and start killing.

Posted by: Trashhauler on April 26, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Without a wall, a large group can simply drive in and start killing . . ."

But, but, conservatives have assured us that the terrorists are not a large group.

I'm confused.

What do conservatives actually believe?

Whatever is convenient to the argument of the moment, no matter how directly it contradicts previous stated beliefs.

Posted by: anonymous on May 2, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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