Saturday, February 25, 2006

Terrorism, Port, Allah, Terrorism, Globalization....

From the liberal economist Andrew Leonard's How the World Works at Why is it that so many liberals are writing in support of Bush, yet Crooksandliars and Onegoodmove have posted any of them? Just as hippocritical as they say all "wingnuts" are)...

"Terminal Folly":
The ties of the Bush family to Dubai elites are also well known -- the infamous Carlyle Group does business in Dubai and Bush's brother Neil has been known to frequent the tiny emirate. The jump from these circumstantial pieces of evidence to the assumption that Bush approved the purchase of P&O as a giveback to his cronies is easy to make -- and in the current political climate, quite unavoidable. As many have noted, when you cry wolf about terrorism as much as Bush does, sooner or later the wolf turns around and bites you on the ass.

But the whole uproar is also kind of dumb. There's no evidence anywhere, yet, that George W. Bush, his brother or Carlyle had anything to do with the purchase of P&O by Dubai Ports World. The simple reality is that with oil prices sky-high, Dubai is flush with cash, and thus the state-owned DP World could outbid the Singapore state-owned PSA. No conspiracy necessary here. You could even make the argument that having a Dubai company run logistics at those terminals would make them safer. If you were a terrorist trying to sneak an atomic bomb into New Jersey, would you choose to do so on a container set to be unloaded at a Dubai-run terminal, where scrutiny would most likely be highest? Or would you look for the Singaporean or Korean or Japanese terminal, where no one was paying attention?

Port security, as has been noted repeatedly in press coverage, is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard and customs officials. One can quite reasonably argue that President Bush could have made a much bigger difference in keeping the U.S. safe if he had authorized the spending of a mere fraction of the funds that have gone to pay for the war on Iraq on bulking up container inspections. But how does it help anyone's security to deny a company that is playing by the same rules as everyone elsl the same opportunities as everyone else? If anything, it will only further inflame the sentiments of Arabs who see the U.S. as inimically opposed to all things Middle Eastern. And just as with the case of China's CNOOC oil company's attempt to buy Unocal, the political opposition sends a clear message to the rest of the world. It's OK for American corporations to traipse across the globe buying up everything they want, but don't you foreigners even dare to give us a taste of our own medicine.

In the long run, that kind of attitude is not going to bolster American security. It's just going to make the rest of the world even more angry at us than it already is.

"Democrats Ruining America's Future" (We remind you, this guy is a liberal, writing for a liberal media organization!):

In my e-mail this morning, an alert from an outfit calling itself Democrats for America's Future, claiming in screaming capital letters that "BUSH LEAVES PORTS OPEN TO ATTACK." "The White House is scheming to outsource management of America's six largest ports -- including two that account for 40 percent of the cargo needed for the war in Iraq. And to which foreigners is President Bush so eager to turn over control of our biggest and most security-sensitive ports? ... Why, the United Arab Emirates, of course!"

Wow -- what a bonanza: transparently stupid and racist to boot! With Democrats like these, who needs terrorists bent on destroying the American way of life? We're more than capable of undermining everything we supposedly stand for, right here at home.

...The [Dubai Ports] deal, according to analysts, is largely motivated by Dubai Ports World's desire to get a larger piece of booming Asian trade...

...Nearly all American ports are already operated by foreign companies, Dubai Ports World has a sterling reputation around the world, and it just happens to be run by a senior staff that includes a bunch of, guess what, Americans.

But heck, sure, security at U.S. ports is an issue, and we could probably could do a lot more to oversee them effectively. But that's a completely separate argument from the blatant fear-mongering, racist-baiting and flat-out misinformation that Democrats for America's Future is committing.

First, George W. Bush is not "scheming" to outsource anything. Operation of these ports was already in foreign hands, and the purchase of a British company by a United Arab Emirates company is hardly a result of malign White House maneuvers. Meanwhile, as Time magazine notes, the International Longshoremen's Association workers who currently offload ships at the U.S. ports will continue to do so, regardless of who has the contracts to run the ports.

But much worse, the spectacle of Democrats joining in a chorus that attempts to paint Bush as weak on security because, horror of horrors, he isn't stopping an Arab-owned company from operating ports in the U.S. is pathetic and embarrassing... Engagement of this kind with moderate Arab countries is exactly what this world needs more of. Instead, in their attempt to score political points against Bush, these bozos are telling all Arabs everywhere that we don't trust you and will treat you as the ultimate boogeyman.

Despite all that, people like Lou Dobbs (again, whom we generally agree with, but whom many also say wrote the book on protectionism) is furthering this drivel about Bush's connections. We are not denying people in the Bush Administration have some very questionable connections, but we have no reason to believe that any of this mess is a part of it.

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