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Scooby Dubai Doo, Where Are You?

February 22, 2006

Where’s my echo chamber? I feel so disoriented. Why is it such a crazy mixed-up world again? I was just getting used to it the other way.

Michelle Malkin and Hillary agree. And Chuck Schumer hearts Halliburton.

Hugh is down on the Prez! But Progressive Kevin Drum says "it’s all just a mindless feeding frenzy". And Andrew P. agrees with me without a qualification!

Maybe, just maybe, folks are really trying to look at the facts before coming to a decision. Very interesting subject, much like the Harriet Meirs nomination. People are showing their true colors, much as they did then, ony more so.

Malkin makes some good points as she takes on the WSJ Op-ed mentioned in the comments. Business as usual is disturbing when you look at it close up. But what about the fact that the "overwhelming majority of the terminals at [America’s] ports are already leased or owned by foreign companies"?  That’s reality today, and it only gets  crazier the further out to sea you go.  An Austrailian owned boat registered in  Aruba sails with a Russian crew under a  Eritrian flag. What’s in the  cargo? That’s what I’m worried about, and I don’t know that this deal does anything about that problem one way or ther other. Kevin Drum agrees. Hopefully this will get some action on port security in general and not just devolve into yet another B.S. congressional inquiry into this particular case, that solves nothing but a need for media exposure by the usual suspects on capital hill. Stop arguing about this particular tree and figgure out what you’re going to do about the damn forest that’s dry as a tinderbox.

Hugh Hewitt also raises some good points about  inside jobs, but I don’t think he’s shown this transaction is going to make that likelihood any greater other than it just seems obvious that it would. Which isn’t a terrible argument, but… either our security measures, background checks etc. work, or they don’t. And can’t we aim the NSA on them anyway? Oh yeah, right.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rufus T. Flinger (Timmy C) permalink
    February 23, 2006 10:51 am

    A good article on the state of port security in general, no matter who is running them.

    I agree with your assessment that perfect security will be impossible, but we have clearly got room to improve…

    One quote:

    At least one of the ports where DP World is set to operate, Baltimore, has been dogged by security shortcomings for years. A Baltimore Sun investigation in June 2005 revealed that the port’s fiber-optic alarm system on the perimeter fence malfunctioned and was usually switched off, and that port police were so understaffed that their patrol boats often dry-docked because there was no one to operate them. The newspaper also found that a pair of “video cameras” guarding the entrance to one important marine terminal were actually blocks of wood on poles.

    Last summer, a tour of the port, the nation’s eighth largest, revealed gaps in perimeter fences, unattended gates, surveillances systems that didn’t work and insufficient police patrols on land and sea. State officials have acknowledged security gaps and said they have been working to close them.

    A study completed last year by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified 66 of the nation’s 359 ports as being especially vulnerable to terrorist attack. But while the country has spent $18 billion securing airports since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it has spent just $630 million to improve security at the nation’s ports. The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General last year sharply criticized the port-security program, saying it didn’t direct funds to the most vulnerable ports and compromised the nation’s ability to stave off terrorist attacks.

  2. February 23, 2006 12:03 pm

    Scary stuff. The truth is though, we could build as big and fancy hi-tech around the ports as we want, and boats full of whatever from where-ever come sailing in around the clock. There’s no way to effectively check every cargo package, and all it would take is one to really, really mess things up. Remember the dock workers strike a couple years ago? Our economy depends on our ports being maxed out to function properly.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t try harder, but there is a law of diminishing returns at work here. That’s why finding and killing known bad guys is so critically important (as opposed to searching everyone and everything at random). As any locksmith could tell you, no lock is foolproof, they just slow down an intruder. If they are motivated enough, bad guys will get through. That’s one reason I support going to where the bad guys are, before they come here. But that’s not a foolproof plan either.

    I actually was really opposed to the whole idea of the Dept. of Homeland Security. I’ve gotten used to it, but it struck me as odd to fix a slow-moving and burdensome beaurocracy with yet another layer of managment and more paperwork. That’s another rant.

    What will work? Jesus coming again. Seriously. Until then, it’s a dangerous world full of difficult choices and painful sacrifices.

  3. klla permalink
    February 23, 2006 12:09 pm

    Nothing to worry about

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