Today is "Wall Day", the day that President Trump went to Texas to promote his demands for a wall that he admitted is "medieval", although he claimed that just like the "medieval" wheel, a wall works.
Today also is "Wall Day" because it's become clear that not only would Trump's concrete or steel wall of at least 1,000 miles along the southern border be virtually impossible to build and cost far more than the $5.7 billion he has demanded from Congress in return for ending the #TrumpShutdown, it could easily be breached with tools you can buy for a couple hundred bucks in a hardware store.
The worst part is Trump knows it because his administration's own tests have proven it, and unless he's refused to read the reports (there is that), or even view the pictures (see the link above), he's simply too stubborn to care.
And, today is "Wall Day" because one of my favorite columnists, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, did an exceptional analysis based on exhaustive research of just how an actual "medieval" wall could protect America from immigrant invaders.
This Washington Post analysis, based on experts in construction and steel, estimates that Trump's $5.7 billion portion of the wall would take 10,000 workers more than 10 years to build and would then cover only 230 miles. Moreover, while Trump says a big, beautiful steel wall would be a boon to U.S. steelmakers, the steel required would be a tiny percentage of industry annual output and would be spread over at least a decade.
The Post quotes Ed Zarenski, who teaches construction estimation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, as estimating Trump's 1,000 mile wall would cost at least $25 billion and that the project is probably not realistic.
But OK, let's say that somehow these obstacles are overcome and the wall of steel tubes, which Trump reportedly favors now, gets built. NBC has obtained a photo showing that it could be cut with an electric saw.
NBC reports that testing by the Department of Homeland Security in late 2017 -- more than a year ago -- showed that all eight prototypes that had been built could easily be breached. That was revealed in an internal February 2018 report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that was obtained by public broadcaster KPBS in San Diego.
Trump, true to form, blamed "previous administrations" for the wall's design, the prototype of which was built early in his reign. "It's very, very hard -- the wall that we are doing is very, very hard to penetrate," Trump promised.
Well now. Who to believe? So hard.
But Dana Milbank got it right in his column today, "Trump's Wall Isn't Evil. It's Medieval."
Here's some from his column:
I therefore reached out to various medievalists around the world to get their recommendations on how the United States can use technology that became obsolete in the 16th century to deter the murderous hordes of Trump’s fantasy amassing on the Mexican border. Just as the Pentagon undertakes a Nuclear Posture Review every few years, I did a Medieval Posture Review — and we’re slouches.
To turn the 2,000-mile border into the walled fortress Trump desires, my experts suggest a medieval arms race as terrifying as the plague. Not only will we need a 30-foot “glorious wall” (Trump will like that term) with towers rising to 50 feet, but we’ll also need two more “curtain” walls, a moat and an earthen berm to keep away the invading migrants’ siege towers, ladders, battering rams and pole axes.
Atop the 10-foot-thick walls, crenelated parapets, screened by animal skins, will protect our archers from arrows and stones. The towers, rounded to deflect incoming boulders, will project outward — the better to hit illegal immigrants with enfilading fire from crossbows.
We’ll also need a full arsenal of ballistae to fire spears at the invaders and mangonels to launch pots of burning pitch at their siege weapons. Above all, we will need people — lots of them."
Now I would suggest that there is one thing in common between Trump's 21st Century medieval wall and the one that would have been constructed five centuries earlier. Lots of people would be needed to do the work.
Welcome, immigrants. You guys do good work.