Last Spring in Baghdad, USA occupying forces built a new “Berlin” wall in Sadr City. Just like the infamous Berlin Wall before it, the Sadr City Wall is used to “protect” the troops, it serves as a “checkpoint” and it slows the flow of people in and out of the area. Just like the Berlin Wall before it, the Sadr City Wall is cracked and weeping people.
The wall — built along Al Qudis Street, and designated the “Gold Wall” by U.S. forces — was supposed to push insurgent rocket teams beyond the reach of the Green Zone. Building the concrete barrier was a tough fight: Col. John Hort, the commander of the Third Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division, told me that engineers had to breach a “minefield” of improvised explosive devices, often emplaced just five to 10 meters apart. North of the wall, tag teams of drones and attack helicopters loitered overhead, waiting to spot insurgent rocket and mortar teams.
But walls don’t always work as planned. I was out on a recent house-to-house search with Iraqi and U.S. soldiers. From a rooftop vantage point, I could see a breach in the wall just a few blocks east of one of the Iraqi-manned checkpoints. It looked as if someone had chipped away at the T-wall concrete with pick or a sledgehammer. Women, young men and children were gingerly making their way through the divide. “They’re not supposed to be doing that,” said one of the platoon leaders. An officer radioed down, and one of the squads rolled out in an MRAP to fill the breach with some concertina wire: a temporary fix.
The lesson of the Sadr City Wall is the same as the Berlin Wall: You cannot repress and restrict the freedom of people with free minds.
The free will of the people will always win against barriers, concrete and guns.
It’s shameful how the USA had such a large part in helping tear down the Berlin Wall to only turn around and, full of beans and bravado, build another humanitarian monstrosity on foreign soil — all in the name of freedom and a failed mission — just to continue an ongoing, immoral, occupation of foreign soil.