Miami Dolphins @ CINCINNATI BENGALS (-6.5)
“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.”
General George S. Patton
One of the brilliant proposals Donald Trump has touted during this election campaign that has made him very popular with his Neo-Con followers has been his proposal to build a “Big, Beeeauuutivulll Wall” between the United States and Mexico.
Well, even overlooking their massive cost to build and maintain, it is a well established fact that long border walls never work for very long from a historical perspective.
However, when you sell it as fear outweighing need, it is often appealing to certain people in a superficial way, …… and in 2016, superficiality is trending well. …..
Overlooking the irony that lots of illegal immigrants will end up building the structure that is designed to keep them out, …. let’s take a brief look at history for some perspective.
1.) Hadrian’s Wall & the Antoine Wall
The Romans started building Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England in 122 AD to sort of mark a terminus point between their territory and the feuding, argumentative Scotti, Pict & other Celtic tribes that made their life hell during their occupation of what is today England & Wales. Unwilling to commit more troops to Britain, the Romans decided to keep the primitive northerners from Scotland ( and their allies from Ireland ) at bay by building a massive border wall along what is roughly the present day border between England & Scotland.
It was a dismal and expensive failure.
Although it sort of acted as a barrier at first, it evolved into just a border demarcation point for trade. It was always more about economic security & taxation anyways. It also was supposed to stop the Celts in Scotland from raiding the cattle & grain stores vital to the Roman army in northern England. It was always more about economic security than it was about military superiority.
As time went on, the wall got really expensive to maintain & still failed to prevent the Northern tribes from raiding in the South thanks to bribery, shoddy record keeping masking massive fraud by Romans themselves, as well as perpetual raids from the ocean, bypassing the wall.
There were 80 small milecastle forts across the isthmus dividing what is roughly modern day Scotland & England. Between them were 14 to 17 full sized forts with full garrisons of soldiers. A floating number of other fully manned garrisons wandered behind the lines.
The wall was not that effective & got so expensive to maintain that the Emperor Antoine decided to build a shorter wall 100 miles north that would come to be known as the Antoine Wall. This barrier had more forts & employed more men although it was roughly half the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Obviously, it was even more expensive to maintain, even less effective & lasted only decades before the Romans abandoned it.
Both walls were expensive, worked more as demarcation points than actual barriers during their brief lifespan and could be classified as dismal, expensive failures in their totality. In the end, they were breached, bribed through, sailed around, sabotaged and ultimately ignored.
2.) The Great Wall of China
The biggest, longest barrier ever built by man and the biggest failure. More or less erected from the 7th Century BC on to keep out various barbarian tribes, the wall with all its tributaries was built over a 1,000 years. It ended up being over 13,000 miles long. Many Chinese citizens involved in building it over hundreds of years were put into forced labour to erect & maintain it. Their resentment helped fuel its ineffectiveness and eventual demise. Through bribery, corruption, the building of secret tunnels & aiding in numerous other acts of sabotage made the wall more of a symbol than a barrier.
It didn’t stop the Tartars or Mongols from taking what they wanted from China and should have been the ultimate tribute to the limitations of the long term effectiveness of extensive barricades.
It did sort of partially work for brief periods of time after the Mongols, but in the end it proved General S. Patton’s quote that led off this article.
3.) The Maginot Line
After the Armageddon-like carnage of World War I, the French built the heavily fortified, ridiculously expensive 450 mile long Maginot Line along the French border with Germany, Switzerland & Luxembourg. They hoped it would prove impregnable.
They screwed up of course by leaving a massive gap in their defenses in their border with Belgium along the thick Ardennes Forest. They thought it could not be effectively passed through by the Germans and anyway, the Belgians didn’t want a fixed, fortified border with the French, their main trading partner.
The Germans of course split the Allied forces by going through the Ardennes, but they still attacked the Maginot Line at some strategic points, mostly as a diversion. They were successful at several locations along the line and failed at others, but the battle for France was already lost.
4.) The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 because the embarassment to Communist East Germany & The Soviet Union became too much to take as Germans overwhelmingly chose freedom over Communism after World War II. Prior to 1961, thousands of East Germans bribed officials, tunneled, cut their way through barbed wire, and even pole vaulted their way over the razor wire that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding territory of Eastern Germany that completely surrounded West Berlin.
Many of course died in the process.
When the Wall was finished, it failed to completely stop defections and in and of its self became a symbol of the suppression of freedom. Many martyrs were forged going through, over & under it, but thousands were successful. Eventually it came down in 1989, a symbol of totalitarian failure as Germany reunited.
Walls are testaments to the broad concept of insanity in a physical manifestation. Repeating actions with the same flaws & behaviour, but still expecting a different result.
The very definition of insanity.
“A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”
Maybe it will be different this time. The Mexican Wall proposed by rocket scientist Donald Trump will be modern, using the latest technology. This wall will work because it will be diligently monitored. That is more or less the same thing everybody said about every other wall ever built going back thousands of years.
We leave with another quote from that well-known “Liberal” General Patton.
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.”
Patton was a real General who despite his many flaws of ego was forward thinking and innovative when it came to defeating an enemy.
Donald Trump is a backward thinking, petty man & even pettier fraud, only interested in trumpeting any straw dog to appeal to the ancient instincts of frustration, prejudice & bigotry to attain his own selfish goals and feed his massive ego.
Unfortunately, throughout history, this often works with an electorate as angry, depressed, confused & ill informed as we see in 2016. Many of those worst case Trump petitions, especially in this election, appeal to an angry constituency mostly indifferent & numbed to the true facts.
Ingrained notions of scapegoating, jealousy & greed work on people too angry, lazy, uneducated or unconcerned to learn the hard facts simply because they feel they have lost hope and have little left to lose.
Simple answers often appeal to people who don’t have the time to pursue breaking down complex questions.
Donald Trump could give a damn. His goal is to better his already elevated position of privilege and feed his even bigger ego.
That trumps all else.
If he was alive, infamous extreme left winger George S. Patton would be shaking his head at the electorate in this election.
The Cincinnati Bengals have their own wall, their massive offensive line. Last week, they finally got their running game going behind those behemoths, but it didn’t produce that many points against the Broncos. When they had to return to the passing game late, they were out of rhythm. This week, despite Head Coach Marvin Lewis’ preference for the run, they will have to return to a balanced attack that features more tempo.
The Bengals welcome the return of all everything linebacker Vontaze Burfict after his three game suspension for his role in the shenanigans of last spring’s playoff game with the Steelers. They come off that tough 29-17 home loss against Denver, where they allowed a rookie quarterback to torch their secondary, especially CB Pac Man Jones.
Jones has vowed that this will not happen against the Dolphins.
The Bengals need this game to keep pace with the Ravens, Burfict’s return is a big boost and the short week helps the home team.
The Dolphins were lucky to escape with a 30-24 overtime victory in Miami where they almost lost to the woeful Cleveland Browns. The Browns used both rookie Cody Kessler & Terrelle Pryor at quarterback and almost beat the chronically underachieving or quite possibly chronically overrated Miami Dolphins.
The return of Burfict, the short week and the overtime game the Dolphins were extended in, all favour the home team.
Brutal: BENGALS -6.5
Bob: Dolphins +6.5