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A Storm In Every Port

February 21, 2006

Everyone join hands! Finally there’s an issue folks from across the aisle can get hoppin’ mad about: an Arab company has been awarded a contract to run our ports! Oh the stupidity! Oh the joy! Let no one say Bush is a divider, not a uniter!

Well, maybe.

I’ve been thinking about Ken’s question about sharing my personal Bush hatreds, and I’d  really like to bond with some, but this one isn’t it. Yet. Something just seems fishy with this story. The way it’s been framed seemed too sensational to be true: "An Arab company will run our ports!!!" Don’t we like, um, have a Coast Guard and stuff? So I’m going to have to wait and see. I’m not mad at anyone for bringing this up, I just have a feeling it’s a lot worse than it sounds, and upon examination, may turn out to be a good decision. I’m open to it. I’m not the only one either:

Statement by Senator John McCain on the debate over the
Bush Administration’s decision to allow Dubai Ports World of the United
Arab Emirates manage U.S. sea ports.

“We all need to take a moment and not rush to judgment on this matter
without knowing all the facts. The President’s leadership has earned
our trust in the war on terror, and surely his administration deserves
the presumption that they would not sell our security short. Dubai has
cooperated with us in the war and deserves to be treated respectfully.
By all means, let’s do due diligence, get briefings, seek answers to
all relevant questions and assurances that defense officials and the
intelligence community were involved in the examination and approval of
this transaction. In other words, let’s make a judgment when we possess
all the pertinent facts. Until then, all we can offer is heat and
little light to the discussion.”

That McCain. Always good for a little extra aggravation for somebody. He could make a very interesting President.

As always, Instapundit has an excellent round-up. Daily Kos also had an interesting dissent from all of the panic well worth reading. As a member of a Union myself, a persuasive point in favor of chilling the heck out is that all the jobs where people actually touch stuff will continue to be done by Union labor. More to the point, I think cancelling this contract just because the company is Arab, is not necessarily a great message to send to a country we are trying to relate to as an ally.

The Kos entry ends with a rejoinder to get angry about the general lack of port security that exists even after an "unfunded mandate" to increase it. This is an issue I am concerned about, along with border security in general. I just have to say I think that throwing more and more money at this problem will lead us to a false sense of security at best. The truth is, we cannot put up a protective barrier of any kind on our coast and borders that will be as effective as we need it to be. Not that we shouldn’t try. But the volume of materials coming in and out the country is so vast, and the econmic need for it to all work smoothly so great, I’m not sure how secure we could ever really be. It’s a dangerous world, and evil people with evil purposes want to hurt this country very, very badly, and it will only take a handful of them to do catastrophic damage on a scale never before seen on American soil. If you want to get mad about something, get mad about that. Then do something about it, like not blocking surveillance of our enemies.

UPDATE: Jimmy Carter backs Bush. Yikes, maybe I outa re-think my position! Also, lots of useful panic-averse info at Flopping Aces "Ports & Mass Hysteria for the Bush-hating thumbsucker in you! Nothing has changed, only our perception of it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. klla permalink
    February 22, 2006 3:41 pm

    The deal has been reviewed, it’s a done deal. thats what leaders are for, they lead.

  2. February 22, 2006 4:19 pm

    What was it, two, three days ago when I sat in blissful ignorance, having not once heard a thing of the UAE and port management? Suddenly –– Pow!!–– I am shot in the head by a media blunderbuss, and this while I was still sorting quail bagged at a Texas ranch.

    I have no clear sense of this story at all. I am sure there is some way to make sense of it, but I will have to rely on others to point me in the right direction. My gut feeling is that no matter what reason President Bush presents to us, even if it reads like the oracle of Delphi, his decision to grant the UAE company such duties will be bad PR.

    I found that THIS editorial was a wee-bit helpful. But again, who knows?

    Peace to you, and good luck,

  3. February 22, 2006 6:06 pm

    Forgive the bad link info on my part. Here’s the URL of the editorial to which I was referring:


  4. Andrew P permalink
    February 22, 2006 6:09 pm

    I am disgusted by the ill-informedness of this “debate.” Kudos to McCain and Carter and the Count for saying waitaminute.

    I don’t know who I have greater disdain for in this ugly mess — the Democrats who would seize on anything to make Bush look bad or the Republicans pandering to the protectionist Buchananites. UAE is about as close as it gets to a moderate, stable West-leaning country in that region. We encourage petro-sheikdoms to diversify their economies, but when they branch out beyond owning a Malaysian cement factory or two we try to push ’em back into the desert.

    Goolging around, it looks UAE is joining the WTO. It would serve us right if they brought suit to sanction our racist chauvinistic keisters.

  5. Ken permalink
    February 27, 2006 4:58 pm

    I don’t think this is as big a deal as everyone seems to be making of it. It wasn’t a very good PR move, I admit, but I’m not going to bash Bush for it.

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