Gotcha, Obama!

A mostly political Weblog.
March 18 2008 4:56 AM

Gotcha, Obama

Plus--Psst! It's Holbrooke either way!

(Continued from Page 13)

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Katrina of All Potemkin Fences! Gee, it seems like only five days ago that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was singing the virtues of Boeing's "virtual fence" on the Mexican border:

"I have personally witnessed the value of this system, and I have spoken directly to the border patrol agents...who have seen it produce actual results, in terms of identifying and allowing the apprehension of people who were illegally smuggling across the border," Chertoff said.

Today we learn, from WaPo, that the "virtual" fence "did not work as planned" and has been delayed for three years by Chertoff's department.

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The border fence saga can be confusing, filled with subtle twists, turns, and feints.** But here is my brief potted history. Please explain where I've got it wrong:

1) Border control advocates want  an actual physical fence.

2) Respectable Bush comprehensivist types like Chertoff want to substitute a sophisticated hi-tech "virtual fence" for the crude actual physical fence.

3) Border control types say the "virtual fence" won't work.

4) Respectable Bush comprehensivists like Chertoff in fact cut back on actual fencing, choosing the "virtual fence."

5) Where it's installed, the actual fence works.

6) Where it's installed, the "virtual fence" doesn't work .

7) Chertoff  feels sorry for himself  ("I thought I heard myself getting roundly criticized ... as squishy and soft").

Then you can explain to me why Chertoff still has his job.

P.S.: Tammy Bruce has one unsubtle, but not implausible, explanation--Chertoff was only doing what he was supposed to do:

In other words, we've all just been taken for a ride .... In order to do whatever possible to avoid building an actual physical fence ... Bush, McCain and their amnesty cronies made sure a monumental amount of money was wasted on a fake, untested, unreal fence to placate conservatives ... .

And now, after the tens of millions of dollars spent on an unworkable, failed system, and a year of the Feds touting the genius of the 'virtual' fence, Amnesty Secretary Michael Chertoff now says the border will not be prot[e]cted by a physical fence or even a virtual fence ...

Instead, Bruce notes, Chertoff seems to be counting on plans "to double" the DHS "fleet of three unmanned aerial vehicles." That's a total of six (6) drones. Not joking. That's what he said. Three thousand miles of border. Six drones. Talk about a "light footprint"! This is the pre-Petraeus Iraq strategy applied to the border.