I'm still a bit mind-boggled by NBC News' article about the scaled-down border barrier offered by President Trump as a compromise in the present dispute with Congress. Here's an excerpt. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis, and will be commented on after the excerpt.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as "absolutely critical to border security" in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS.
. . .
Responding to the picture from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday morning, Trump claimed "that’s a wall designed by previous administrations."
While it is true that previous administrations used this design, the prototype was built during his administration.
. . .
In a statement, DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said, "The steel bollard construction is based on the operational requirements of the United States Border Patrol and is a design that has been honed over more than a decade of use. It is an important part of Border Patrol's impedance and denial capability."
. . .
"The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing U.S. Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution. In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair.
"The professionals on the border know that a wall system is intended not only to prevent entry, it is intended to defer and to increase the amount of time and effort it takes for one to enter so that we can respond with limited border patrol agents. Even a wall that is being breached is a valuable tool in that it allows us to respond to the attempted illegal entry."
In response to KPBS, CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio said the prototypes "were not and cannot be designed to be indestructible," but were designed to "impede or deny efforts to scale, breach, or dig under such a barrier, giving agents time to respond."
In his address to the nation Tuesday, Trump said the steel fence design is "what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense."
. . .
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D.-Miss., said there is "nothing special" about Trump's wall design.
"President Trump likes to pretend a wall will solve all our problems, but it's been clear for some time that it is little more than a very expensive vanity project," said Thompson. "Whether steel or concrete, there is nothing special about his wall and it will not secure our borders. Democrats are willing to work with the administration to improve our border security, but let's get back to proven and effective solutions."
There's more at the link.
NBC is making much ado about nothing. Consider:
- So the prototype can be cut through? Sure it can. A wall can be undermined or blown up or driven through with a bulldozer. A steel slat can be cut through with a power saw or angle grinder, or blown up (ever seen what a few coils of det cord do to a steel pole? It's impressive, I'm here to tell you!). There is no such thing as an impenetrable barrier if one has enough time, equipment and manpower to do something about it. What's NBC's point?
- Why is NBC trying to imply that President Trump lied when he said the design had been developed under previous administrations? It asserts that this prototype was built under his administration, but that doesn't contradict a word of what he said about its design. Is NBC merely looking for any mud it can sling at the President, and mixing its own mud when it can't find any?
- Security professionals are quoted as saying that the prototype in question is not indestructible, and is a method to impose delays on would-be illegal aliens rather than an impermeable structure that will keep them out forever. As pointed out in (1) above, there ain't no such thing. President Trump claims that the prototype is "what our professionals at the border want and need" - as the NBC article itself confirms, by quoting them. What's the problem with either statement? Why is NBC devoting so much attention to them? Is the network trying to insinuate that because the barrier isn't an impermeable, impassable barrier, there's something wrong with it? Neither the President nor the security professionals concerned have ever said that it is - so why the nagging attention?
- I note that the report ends with a Democratic Party spokesman commenting on how ineffective any wall - concrete or steel - will be. Israel would beg to differ. So would many major US politicians and many of their wealthier supporters, as President Trump has already pointed out. However, those alternate viewpoints aren't mentioned at all. One-sided, biased reporting, much?
I have no objection to news media offering their own opinions about policy and procedures. They have the same free speech rights as I do, and since I value mine, I won't do anything to denigrate or diminish theirs. However, I object to their making up negative news that isn't, in fact, negative news at all - merely a known fact being spun out of all recognition to attack the President's proposals. This is dishonest and (in my definition of morality, at any rate) immoral.
I wonder how NBC would like it if all the other networks were to criticize its operations in similarly negative, deliberately skewed fashion? I daresay it'd complain mightily about the unfairness of it all. Well, NBC, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. One day, your mendacity may come back to bite you in the proverbial backside. I can only hope it does.
I've crossed a large number of international borders. Some, under the stress of the moment (i.e. military combat operations), were crossed without benefit of customs and immigration processing. Others were crossed as part of humanitarian work, supporting refugees and trying to bring to safety the survivors of appalling events and conditions. Under such circumstances, the last thing we worried about were administrative formalities! However, I also know that where crossing was difficult, due to natural or man-made barriers, there was a lot less of it. Everyone hunted for the easiest, least risky path, and took it. The wall, particularly if properly built, monitored and patrolled, will stop much of our present illegal alien problem, and much of our drug smuggling problem as well. It'll at least reduce it to manageable proportions. I speak from experience when I say that.
EDITED TO ADD: CBS also shot themselves in the foot by trying to "fact-check" President Trump on the number of female illegal aliens assaulted on their way to the border. They merely succeeded in confirming that the problem is even worse than he'd said it was! Clearly, we have super-geniuses at work in our news networks . . .