History,  Stateside

Securing the border, DDR style

What does Joe Miller, the Republican candidate for senator from Alaska, have in common with Andy Newman of Socialist Unity?

They both find things to admire about the former East Germany.

At a town hall meeting, Miller responded to a question about illegal immigration. He said that while a cadet at West Point during the Cold War, he spent time at a border post between East and West Germany.

During that time, he said, “East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow” from one side of the border to the other. “Now, obviously, other things there were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, obviously to secure our border. If East Germany could, we could.”

Of course the East Germans were trying to keep people in, not out. And Spiegel Online reports:

There is no universally accepted figure for the number of people who died trying to escape East Germany, either across the Berlin Wall or through the minefields along the 1,380-kilometer (860-mile) border between East and West Germany, as the East German state manipulated records in a bid to cover up the deaths. The August 13 Working Group, a private initiative, puts the death toll at over 1,200.

But hey– if East Germany could do it…

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