February 22, 2006



{...}Some of us are scratching our heads all right, but we're wondering why Mr. Graham and others believe Dubai Ports World has been insufficiently vetted for the task at hand. So far, none of the critics have provided any evidence that the Administration hasn't done its due diligence. The deal has been blessed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multiagency panel that includes representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security.

Yes, some of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE citizens. But then the London subway bombings last year were perpetrated by citizens of Britain, home to the company (P&O) that currently manages the ports that Dubai Ports World would take over. Which tells us three things: First, this work is already being outsourced to "a foreign-based company"; second, discriminating against a Mideast company offers no security guarantees because attacks are sometimes homegrown; and third, Mr. Graham likes to talk first and ask questions later.

Besides, the notion that the Bush Administration is farming out port "security" to hostile Arab nations is alarmist nonsense. Dubai Ports World would be managing the commercial activities of these U.S. ports, not securing them. There's a difference. Port security falls to Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials. "Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday. "The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation."

{...}Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative, which seeks to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. UAE leaders are as much an al Qaeda target as Tony Blair.

{...}So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for "hearts and minds" now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera.{...}

{emphasis mine}

While I've quoted liberally from this, please go and read the whole thing anyway.

I tried to pull my thoughts together on this whole deal last night but I couldn't: I was too angry at all the stupidity and grandstanding involved to get everything down in a coherent fashion. I'm glad for that because the Wall Street Journal editorial board did a much better job than I ever could have.

This whole controversy is manufactured. And it's been manufactured by people who are looking after American commercial interests, and then it was picked up by Hillary Clinton's people for the purpose of proving she's a hawk in time for re-election to her senate seat. That's it. And everyone has fallen for it, including Congressional Republicans who have a few electoral hopes and dreams of their own for 2008 and who are now in open rebellion against their president again over an issue that they're bound to lose. Did you hear me or do I need to repeat that again? Bush will win this one. It'll be ugly, but he'll win. This is not another Harriet Miers scenario. How could it be? All the facts are on Bush's side. The worm is already starting to turn on this issue. And this worm has teeth: it will come back to bite anyone who argues against the sale because that's the stupid, uninformed position to take.

None of this, of course, really gets into the first class xenophobia and, in some instances, flat-out bigotry on display here. While most Middle Eastern men do wear dishdashas and ghoutras, and this makes them look all alike, really and truly, you should be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys by now.

Or at least you should be able to if you want to comment on this matter without looking like an idiot.

The UAE is a liberalized country in the Middle East that we want to be associated with. It is in their best interests to foil Al-Qaeda as much as we would. They buy arms from us. They have some of the most innovative examples of free trade going on. Their oil runs out in 2010 and their leaders have done their best to make sure there is an economy for their people when this unhappy event occurs. They did this to make sure radical Islam did not gain a foothold within their country. To lump the UAE in with Saudi Arabia---which has done precisely the opposite in terms of building an infrastructure, liberalizing trade, and encouraging education---or Syria, or any number of repressive Arab countries is the worst of mistakes not only because it's a political boo-boo, but because it threatens our national security down the road by taking chickenhawk potshots at an ally who's done nothing but help us in the War on Terror.

This editorial ends with the hope that Bush means it when he says he's going to veto any legislation that would prevent this sale: I hope he means it too, and if he doesn't follow through on it, I will, again, wonder why I voted for him.

Posted by Kathy at February 22, 2006 09:01 AM | TrackBack

Wouldn't this be Bush's first veto?

Posted by: EveningStar at February 22, 2006 07:23 PM

We need knee pads in the kool aid aisle

Posted by: globalist_masher at February 22, 2006 08:00 PM


Posted by: Kathy at February 22, 2006 08:28 PM
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