Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Idea Of A Security Fence Is Not Just Common, It's Downright Ancient

Of all the points made in the argument about Israel's security fence, I don't think I every heard that the idea of a barrier itself is a very old one. Here, from an article in January this year:
Adapting ideas tracing back from ancient history to modern Israel, US Marines have sealed off flashpoint towns with sand walls in a new counter-insurgency tactic to quell the wilds of western Iraq. [emphasis added]
The idea that the US and Israel are using similar tactics did not seem to sit well with the troops in Iraq, while the Iraqis themselves don't seem to have that problem:
While some officers recognise similarity with Israel's separation barrier in the occupied West Bank in terms of the same stated goal of keeping "bad guys out" many are wary about drawing too close a politically explosive analogy.

"What surprises me is how much the Iraqis look at that. 'You ought to do what the Israelis do. If someone plants an IED, you should bulldoze their house'," says Lieutenant Colonel Jim Donnellan, US Marine commander of Haditha.

"Probably some of it does come from Israel, or at least the ideas behind it. We use the same bulldozers as they do, although I think we're a little more gentle. We don't run over any homes," says [Second Lieutenant Andy] Frick.

Colonel W. Blake Crowe, the overall US commander for western Al-Anbar, calls them gated communities and likens them to the walls around Biblical Jericho. [Captain Matthew] Tracy compares them to Neolithic barricades built to keep out nomadic invaders.
Keep in mind that back in January, when Second Lieutenant Frick was priding the US forces on being more gentle, 'the surge' had not yet taken effect and the US was clearly perceived as losing the war in Iraq.

By the same token, if Israel would mount a 'surge' of its own and consistently react to Palestinian terrorism from Gaza, perhaps there would not be a need to bulldoze homes either.

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