Daniel Henninger’s Indefensible Propaganda

Murdered Breaking OUT

One might believe that an editor at the Wall Street Journal should have the first clue regarding the subject on which he’s writing, but I suppose it’s too much to ask that publication to take the time to restrain such claptrap. Outlets rabidly favoring open borders don’t seem to bother with such considerations while there’s propaganda to be spread.  In an article that should make its author a laughing stock, Daniel Henninger makes an easily-refuted claim that’s not even an original proposition: He thinks a fence on our border would resemble the wall that had separated East and West, from its ground-breaking in 1961 until its demolition begun in 1989 by East Germans who refused to be caged any longer.  It’s fair to say that I must have an advantage over Henninger, because I actually saw the wall from both sides as a young man. Apart from the fact that both are physical barriers, they are entirely different in character and purpose.  He thinks a border fence would constitute a national embarrassment, but I choose to reserve that description for his obvious lack of contextual reckoning.

Serving in the Army as I did in the 1980s, particularly in Germany for the final half-decade of the wall’s existence, I had more than a few occasions to see the wall and fences, and in one instance, pass beyond it on an official tour to see it from the East.  That tour, and the other instances told me all I needed to know about evil in the world: It is real, it is unyielding, and it throttles the lives of people who must live under its oppressive bonds.  We soldiers who embarked on that tour in 1986 crossed through Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, in our Class A uniforms and under official orders in a bus.  We had an official tour-guide, a propagandist of the Soviet Bloc’s military, who directed our attention to the state-sanctioned “highlights” along our tour’s course.  We hadn’t been in East German territory long when somebody whispered “look back.”  A number of us swiveled our heads around, gawking at what laid behind us.  From the West, things had appeared relatively neat and orderly, but as we moved Eastward into that sector of Berlin, looking West, we could see the shell damage that was still quite evident on the East faces of buildings and bridges that had not been repaired since WWII.  In fact, most of what could be seen from the West side of the wall was a facade patched together to conceal the truly deplorable conditions in the East.  Where West Berlin’s buildings had been restored, apart from a few war-damaged landmarks intentionally left as memorials with their battle scars, East Berlin was like a row of dilapidated headstones decorated in front with artificial flowers.

They stopped us at an open-air market to let us get off the bus to “shop.”  If you have seen the shelves at a grocery store in the hours just before a hurricane is expected to sweep through, you will be stunned to know that such are bountiful compared to what we saw.  We were shown only the very best they had to offer.  It would have been laughable had it not been for the grim realization that this “market” was better than what 95% of East Berlin residents would ever see under Soviet rule,  devoid of almost anything of value apart from some shoddily-made trinkets, interesting only to souvenir buyers.  Of course, this was the official “show tour,” but even on other tours along the border frontier,  the horrors of the meaning of the wall had never been clearer in my twenty-something mind.  Machine-gun nests laid out and manned for the purposes of preventing their own citizens from escaping were the most cruelly dehumanizing thing I had seen to date.

Daniel Henninger pretends that a security fence along our Southern border would be impractical or even impossible, but also that it would serve as a similar blight on the landscape of humanity.  Does he feel the same way about the fence around his back yard, or about the fence around the White House?  You see, the proper analogy to the Berlin wall wouldn’t be if we construct a fence along the border, but instead if the Mexican government were to erect one to hold their own people in at gunpoint.  A border fence constructed by the US along its Southern border serves its own citizens by keeping others out.  The wall that separated the East from the West was intended solely to keep the Soviet Bloc’s people in bondage. Hundreds were murdered or maimed while trying to escape.  As a Texas resident of more than two decades, I have yet to read a single report of Americans being shot in the back by the US border patrol while attempting to break out of the US into that bastion of harmonious prosperity named “Mexico.”

Anybody who cannot see the moral distinction between the two, and thus the philosophically opposite motives between their construction ought not to write for a major publication.  Never mind what we can learn from the fact that such a publication actually printed it, the real national embarrassment is that the Wall Street Journal employs a writer so thoroughly removed from reality.  I feel pity for Mr. Henninger, so hopelessly bound by his open-borders dogma that he feels compelled to write propaganda on behalf of a bankrupt idea.  It’s only possible for such an argument to carry weight among an ignorant populace, but thanks to the passage of time, and indeed to people like Mr. Henninger, there is greater opportunity for such farcical notions to take hold.  There is no real comparison between the two structures, either in intent or moral underpinnings, and it is a despicable day indeed when the Wall Street Journal is reduced to a slack-jawed propagandist so intent on political victory that it is now willing to lie both about the past and the future.  The alleged guardians of the Republic that comprise the fourth estate aren’t so much protecting the truth as shoveling dirt – or something – in its face.

I saw the Berlin Wall.  I saw the whole miserable stretch of it complete with towers and machine-gun nests.  I saw what they did to East Germans and Czechs who tried to flee.  Daniel Henninger, had he any scruples, would be mortally ashamed of himself.

Editor’s Note: The image used for this article is of 18-yo Peter Fechter, a bricklayer murdered by East German border guards on August 17th, 1962. He was the first among hundreds to be shot in the back while trying to flee to the West.

 

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  • the unit

    Why? Several months ago I saw a poll by WSJ/NBC. That’s all I needed to see. You know… nuts don’t fall far from the tree and all that, birds of a feather. No old media on our side.