Hey, President Trump, how well did the Maginot Line work for France?
A protester waves a Mexican flag over the border wall that divides Mexico and the U.S. in March 2016. (EFE)
To the editor: How many walls have been built to secure a country from invasion? How many have failed? (“How to secure the border. Spoiler alert: A wall won’t do it,” Opinion, April 23)
The most renowned is the Great Wall of China, which did not keep the Mongols out. A more recent border fortification was the Maginot Line, which was built in the 1930s by France primarily along its border with Germany.
It was believed when the expected German invasion would start, the Germans would not go through Belgium to invade France, so the line was not as strong there. But in its sourthern section along the border with Germany, the line was heavily fortified with air-conditioned underground rooms and a network of tunnels, supply stores and underground rail.
But the Germans came through Belgium after all, rendering the whole line useless. It did not keep Germany from invading France, and the Maginot Line is now known as nothing more than a tourist attraction and an expensive effort to provide a false sense of security.
Will President Trump’s multibillion-dollar border wall also become a cautionary tale?
June Bailey, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: As human rights workers in Honduras, we were most struck reading Sonia Nazario’s op-ed article by what it omitted.
Nazario is certainly correct that a militarized approach to border security and the Central American refugee crisis is counterproductive and inhumane. But she neglects to mention that U.S. security aid to Honduras feeds into the same counterproductive and inhumane push factors that she insists they help alleviate.
It was reported just this week that two police officers receiving funding from the U.S. State Department are under investigation for accepting bribes in the form of guns and money — scarcely a sterling example of violence prevention. And these same security forces have been implicated in the killings of Honduran human rights defenders, journalists and activists, including in the emblematic case of Bertha Caceres.
We are in agreement with Nazario about President Trump and his wall. But funding a corrupt, human rights-abusing police force is hardly the solution.
Bryan Rogers and Ryan Morgan, El Progreso, Honduras
To the editor: How refreshing to read Nazario’s piece that looks beyond the symptom of illegal immigration to one of the fundamental problems: deadly violence in Central America.
Her call for affordable programs to “keep more families safe in their home countries” is intuitively sound, and it passes my “love thy neighbor” sniff test with flying colors.
That her analysis and recommendations are backed up by solid data, visits to the affected cities and even riding on top of the trains that migrants ride north to the U.S., makes them all the more compelling.
Andrew Shaddock, Manhattan Beach