Port Security, 9/11 and Al Capone

March 12, 2006

In case you have been living under a rock, the Bush administration approved a deal whereby Dubai Ports World, a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would be running many of our nation’s ports. Ports, I remind you, were one of the biggies for the 9-11 commission; they felt we weren’t doing enough to protect them from attack. Bush says the UAE is a “staunch ally”in the war against terror(ists), but there are puzzling contradictions. The UAE boycotts Israel, did recognize the Taliban, appear to have been quite chummy with Osama bin Laden, and two of the 9/11 terrorists were their natives sons.

Some Americans were concerned about the port deal and wanted a little more scrutiny. President Bush was against such scrutiny. He said he was “concerned” that this sent “the wrong message” to the Arab world. I guess I can see that. But this is an odd concern coming from a man who invaded an Arab country with no ties to 9/11 and no weapons of mass destruction – and who says he’d do it again, even knowing that they posed no threat to us.

I’m not trying to make a big issue out of the Dubai Ports World thing. I think it’s entirely possible that letting this company run the ports is safe. What do I know? It doesn’t shock me, however, that people are upset about it. Why should anyone be surprised? After all the cinnamon-alerted, mushroom-clouded fear-mongering that the White House has engaged in since 9/11, Bush is confused by the fact that people aren’t keen on entrusting our critical infrastructure to someone in the UAE? Who could have guessed!

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of Bush. In fact I think he’s probably the worst US president in my lifetime. But I feel somewhat conflicted about the heat he’s taking on the whole port deal. After all the outrageous, dirty and dishonest things he and his administration has done, this is what people take notice of? It’s kind of like watching Al Capone get indicted for mail fraud: disappointing, but you take what you can get.

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  1. I know what you mean; Bush has done some utterly outrageous things, yet this action somehow wakes people up? I can’t think of a single thing that he has done that I agree with–that is very rare.

  2. Don’t feel conflicted. After all of Bush’s overplaying the terrorism and security card, he deserves such an unfair beating to equalize out all of the credit he’s reaped.

    I think the Democrats may just finally be learning to play the Karl Rove game. Find something simple and newsworthy that you can tie into an underlying concern. The whole Bush campaign was based on misinformation and causing concern over things that weren’t really issues themselves. For example: Kerry’s $87 billion ties to flip-flopping ties to keeping us safe from terrorists. Here we have an assualt on Bush for some port deal which may not have been scrutinized enough which ties to ineffectiveness of the adminstration (such as Katrina) which ties to keeping us safe from anything.

    Perhaps a less theoretical tact is this. For the past 2 years the Democrats have repeatedly tried to earmark money for port security, but have been defeated by the Republican Congress. I don’t know if the money would do a whole lot, but it seems better than the record pork earmarks. So it is a fight they’ve been itching for.

  3. There isn’t a Democrat in Washington with the balls. Except maybe Russ Feingold.

  4. Russ Feingold worries me — is he going to be one of those pols that you agree with all the way up until he actually swears in? He certainly appears to be just about the only vocal leader currently elected who gives a crap about civil liberties, and he does have a pair of brass ones…but he’ll probably raise my taxes…unfortunately, the libertarians are on this kick of nominating wackos again…not that I disagree with them, but some of them might want to learn a lesson or two from American Idol…

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