Earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff observed that:
“Illegal migrants really degrade the environment. I’ve seen pictures of human waste, garbage, discarded bottles and other human artifact in pristine areas,” Chertoff said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “And believe me, that is the worst thing you can do to the environment.“
I beg to differ. Plopping a Camp Bondsteel down on a couple of shaved hill-tops in Kosovo is worse.
There aren’t similar photographs available of the bases set up in Iraq, so Bondsteel will have to serve as a prototype, albeit in miniature since the mega bases in Iraq rival the island of Manhattan and O’Hare airport in Chicago in size and activity levels. And, while the U.S. military still brags that the Kosovo intervention was undertaken and continues without the loss of a single U.S. troop to combat, setting up the semi-permanent bases in Iraq has obviously spawned a widespread resistance. Or perhaps that’s a response to the fact that four years after the invasion the Iraqi countryside is still being despoiled with daily bombing runs and missile attacks, turning the “pristine” landscape to rubble.
No doubt, just as whatever churning of the landscape will need to occur to set up the fences along the Mexican border will be defined as an “improvement,” setting up a series of Camp Bondsteels across Iraq to accommodate missile and radar installations and satellite communications facilities comes under the heading of “improvements,” regardless of the fact that the citizens of Iraq don’t need or want them.
Never mind that they interrupt the traditional trade routes and the livelihood of migrant herders. Migrants, whether in North America or the Middle East, are a real nuisance. They challenge the rulers’ ability to maintain order. People are supposed to be secure in their homes and stay there–unless someone tells them to go somewhere else.