Saturday, September 16, 2006

"You Say `Po-TAY-to' and I say `Po-TAH-to'"

US denies Baghdad trenches plan . . . .

. . . . but no matter how you dress it, it's still a duck:
The US military denied reports on Saturday that Iraq plans to dig a giant ring of trenches around the city of Baghdad.

Iraq's Interior Ministry announced earlier this week that it plans to set up 28 checkpoints that would allow controlled access to the city, while closing off other roads as part of a security crackdown.

The New York Times quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying the Iraqis would also dig a giant trench around the city of seven million people.

'We're going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly,' Brigadier General Abdul Karim Khalaf told the newspaper. He said the trench would run across farmland and other open areas.

But Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said the description sounded like an exaggeration of a plan that mostly would rely on existing terrain features to ensure that traffic moved through the 28 checkpoints.

'No doubt there will be some trenches involved in this, but to say there is going to be a moat around the city is a bit of a stretch,' Johnson said.

'They've called it a trench around Baghdad. Really what this is, is there's a series of obstacles that the Iraqi government are planning, and we're working with them, to ensure movement through checkpoints, to keep terrorists and extremists and criminals from using those (other) routes,' Johnson said.

'So it's not a trench. It will be a series using the natural terrain that already exists such as canals, and some obstacles.'

Baghdad is 60 miles in circumference and surrounded mostly by farmland. But the land is already crisscrossed by irrigation canals and mostly impassible for cars driving off roads.

So, a mote around Baghdad and a fence around America.

This is how the Iron Curtain, with the Berlin wall, came into being. And China's Great Wall. And the Warsaw Ghetto. No matter the reason, no matter which side you're on, it's a `divider.' How ironic that the party of Reagan is building walls around America, both literally and figuratively.

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