'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors'

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"Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down."

~ Robert Frost, Mending Wall

You just gotta love this about the Great Commander Guy. When presented with a really stupid policy idea, he has no hesitation to run with it. All the brakes come off and it’s full tilt boogey downhill into the abyss of cretinocrity. (Yes my friend that is a word. My dictionary weighs more than my two dogs combined. Nimrod and Little Brain.)

What’s the latest from the Man Who Brings People Together (presumably so they can kill each other)? A wall! Great idea. Walls get built all over the place. They’re a part of world history and culture. The Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, the Vietnam War Memorial, and that sensational concept album by Pink Floyd. And let’s not leave out everybody’s fave, the Berlin Wall. Almost every suburban backyard in the USA has a wall.

Faced with a teenatchee neighborhood scuffle in the "liberated" city of Baghdad, the occupying forces have decided to separate the unruly parties with a wall. That’s using the old noggin.

Now, because we’ve been told over and over again, we know that "The Surge is working." Yeah right. It’s working about as well as that 1960s Lambretta Motor Scooter that’s been rusting out under that pepper tree for thirty years… like uh… mine.

There still seems to be a whole lotta violence and killin’ in the Wild, Wild East. So, around the district of Adhamiya, Baghdad, up went the security wall to keep separated the Sunnis and Shi’ites. Whatever happened to The Ditch of Brotherly Love?

Everybody loves a gated community! Well… maybe not everybody. Oddly enough, the liberated free people of Adhamiya as well as Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki have yet to warm to the Separation Barrier. Oops… excuse me, the Separation Barrier is that wall Israel is building to imprison the Palestinians all the better to steal more Palestinian land and water. How rude of me to mention the two in the same breath.

Anyway, Adhamiya is now locked down and secure. What a relief.

But… is this really going to work?

Let’s see, the Adhamiya Wall is only twelve feet high. Oh yeah, that’ll keep the Shi’ite militias out! What happens when someone uses a rocket launcher? I suppose it will never, ever, in a million years occur to any militant hoodlums to walk up to the wall and… hop the fence? Fire off a few dozen rounds? Lob an explosive device over it. Or how about simply blowing a huge hole in it with a truck loaded with explosives? Naw… that never occurred to the US Military Geniuses who came up with the wall scheme so obviously it wouldn’t occur to anybody else.

And of course, the hapless Sunni civilians incarcerated within have no way to get out let alone locate a safe place to hide within. Just like their Palestinian counterparts, the walled-in Sunnis will be able to enjoy perks such as leisurely long lines at exit/entrance checkpoints. Those Sunnis will be as safe as anyone who goes quail shooting with Dick Cheney.

Don’t you just wish your neighborhood had one of those walls too?

If you happen to live along the South Western border of the US of A, you’ll get one sooner than you think… like a wall that is 700 miles long. Fear not! It’s there for your security. You don’t really want to illegally sneak out of Bushyland into Mexico do you?

But wait that’s not all! Since freedom-loving Americans would never want the natives of a country we invaded and now occupy to feel oppressed, the Great Wall of Adhamiya has been adorned with art! See? It’s not really a wall of oppression… it’s a mural! Looky here, ponies! How pastoral. It conjures up visions like Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony with happy people enjoying a spring day in the countryside… uh… well, bad analogy.

I wonder who decided what art goes on the Adhamiya Wall? The National Endowment for the Arts? Who paid the artists? My guess is you and I did with our tax dollars as part of one of Bush’s emergency war blank checks from Congress. Well, now talk about wasted funds! As a former resident of the City of Angeles, I can tell you that anytime there is a flat, vertical surface, local "artists" will embellish it with their own unique expressions. I’m sure it won’t take long for the good citizens of Baghdad to catch on. Them purdy ponies ain’t gonna be purdy much longer!

Before you can say "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," the Wall of Adhamiya will bristle with local folk art and charming phrases on all the sections without blast holes. Ablaze with welcoming and universally recognizable sentiments, like "Death to America" and "Yankee Go Home," the wall will give those edgy Baghdad street artists yet another way to "Support The Troops."

Is the Great Wall of Adhamiya the first in a series? Oh I hope so! Will the Commander Guy decide Baghdad needs a whole Matrix of Control just like the West Bank? Oops… there I go again. Will the US turn all of Baghdad into little blocks of urban prisons? Sounds like the plan. Hey if this wall doesn’t work, you know that Bush will decide to spend ever larger sums of your money to build even more of walls. Of course if it does work, there’s another excuse to build more urban enclaves. Looks like US taxpayers are going to be buying a lot of walls.

For those of you who are concerned that this may… and I shudder at the thought… be folly, you can rest easy. The damned thing will fall down in a matter of months all by itself without assistance from explosive devices. It just so happens that a recent inspection revealed seven out of eight Iraq reconstruction projects built by US contractors are already falling apart. Brilliant! Planned Obsolescence at its finest! This way The Decider can keep the cycle of spending and killing, re-building and destroying going indefinitely!

Think of the dividends! The profits! Dow Jones hit a record high of 13,247.80 on Friday 4 May. Wow. I wonder who’s making all the money. Does your portfolio include walls? Or those who build them? Maybe Wal-Mart should get in on the action.

See, here’s how it works. US contractors build the walls. The Iraqis deface and blow up the walls. US contractors return to rebuild the walls… on and on and on. Of course Congress will have to pass funding for more Private Security Contractors to protect the walls. Hm… note to self; buy more stock in Halliburton ("They’re hiring like mad."), Caterpillar and Custer Battles.

But wait a moment. Could it be the US is walling in neighborhoods in the wrong countries? Let’s think this through. O.K., the idea was to wall in all the violent troublemakers…

Got it! Wall in Washington DC! Yeah! Now we’re cooking with Napalm! Since the US government is chock full of war criminals, scoundrels and scallywags, let’s wall them in with a deluxe thirty foot high Security Wall, complete with razor wire, hidden microphones, security cameras and "Smart Dust."

The big question is: should the Maximum Security Prison of Washington DC be privately or publicly run?

Wait a minute! It’ll pay for itself! When it’s completed Hollywood will buy the rights to make the movie: Escape from DC. What a blockbuster that will be! Can’t you just see Jim Carrey as George W. Bush and Danny DeVito as Dick Cheney? But of course, neither will actually escape. We do want a happy ending now don’t we?

Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.

Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.

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