Blog has moved, searching new blog...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Can Arabs Be Trusted to Operate US Ports

Can Arabs be trusted period? After years of immersion in multiculturalist kumbaya and stifling political correctness it's amazing anyone can still have such thoughts, much less openly express them. How refreshing.

Congressmen threaten probe of U.S. seaports deal
By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES February 20, 2006
"I think we've got to look into this company. I think we've got to ensure ourselves that the American people's national-security interests are going to be protected," said Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat. "And frankly, I think the threshold ought to be a little higher for a foreign firm. There can't be a choice between profits and protecting the American people."
Any company overseeing civilization's critical infrastructure deserves scrutiny, not just US infrastructure and not just companies owned by Arabs. "We've got to look into this company"? Who is "we"? Homeland Security has already looked into it. Should the NSA tap their phones? If the press wasn't so busy covering hunting accidents they might have broken the story sooner. Now that they smell another way to hurt Bush I'm sure we can trust them to "look into" it posthaste.
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Associated Press yesterday that the takeover terms are insufficient to guard against terrorist infiltration.

"I'm aware of the conditions, and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn't go to who they hire, or how they hire people," Mr. King said.

"They're better than nothing, but to me they don't address the underlying conditions, which is how are they going to guard against things like infiltration by al Qaeda or someone else? How are they going to guard against corruption?" Mr. King said.
Well that's the rub isn't it? How do we guard any company against infiltration by al Qaeda? US law prevents hiring based on a person's race or creed. Being blind to such things is considered a virtue, remember? Arabs aren't even supposed to get special scrutiny when they board an airplane. Al Gore says the Bush administration isn't letting Arabs into the US easily enough. Not nearly as easily as his administration.

What's ridiculous about this sideshow is that it boils down to some Washington grandstanders trying to queer the plans of some Dubai fat cats to buy port operation rights from some London fat cats. Are the Londoners Arabs? Does it matter? Neither Republicans nor Democrats have taken any serious action to stop illegal traffic across US borders. There is no need for Al Qaeda to infiltrate anything. They can safely walk themselves and their weapons right across the US-Mexico border. Which is not to say we shouldn't secure our ports. But with the front door wide open there's not much sense arguing about locking the back door.
Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, cited Mr. Chertoff's remarks as proof that the administration "just does not get it."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, agreed, calling the secrecy "ridiculous" and saying she will support legislation "to say no more, no way" to foreign ownership of U.S. ports.

"We have to have American companies running our own ports. Our ports are soft targets," Mrs. Boxer said. "Al Qaeda has said if they attack, that's one of the places they're looking."

"I don't think we're being overly paranoid. It's very simple to say that our infrastructure has to be protected and let's have American companies do that or the government itself," Mrs. Boxer said.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, yesterday called on President Bush personally to "override the agreement and conduct a special investigation into the matter." He was joined at a press conference by some family members of September 11 victims.
What caused Boxer and Schumer to suddenly morph into Global War on Terror hawks? Leftists don't believe we're at war, now they do? What might be motivating them? That the new port operators are rich Arabs? Class warfare, that's fine, but the racism - how unseemly. These recent converts to nationalism want to protect us from another 9/11? Leftists criticize Republicans for their jingoist slogans and exploitation of 9/11. Now it's OK? Is this the kind of awkward out-of-character posing we can expect in response to Hillary's call for Democrats to take "a backseat to nobody when it comes to fighting terrorism"? It's OK for Democrats to play the "fear card" now? Apparently so.

It makes far more sense to assume their motives haven't changed. That Boxer wants to expand government and Schumer is pandering to longshoremen. That and the usual "thwart Bush" strategy. Mystery solved.


Blogger flippityflopitty said...

The Bush Admin went on a combination of "dig yer heels in" and spin control. Yesterday, the senior staff had no idea about the deal until after the deal was brokered, signed and sealed.

Today, we learn about the back alley deal with Dubai to allow US Intel access to all info pertaining to US ports under Dubai control. (back alley deal is not being used as a prejudicial term - it simply fits the facts of the transaction. Furthermore, Dubai signed onto port security screening at the port of origin (the Emirate) this past week.

No one is trying to restrict or prejudice Arab/Islamist companies from doing business with or within the USA or its interests. They are questioning the wisdom of giving up a port operations contract which will involve in-depth security and logistic issues.

The real question for a post-911 USA is whether Reagan-era port facility privatization is in the best interest of the country. Should any private organization run our ports? (A la Boxer) Do the interests of capitalism trump the interests of national security? We can "muddy up" constitutional law for national security, but we cant touch the good ol' profit and loss statement?

As much as the media deserves a thrashing for the face-shooting coverage, they werent going to get this story until Dubai and P&O released the transaction to the media (cant screw with those stocks!). I wonder if any friends in Washington made some coin with Wall Street this week?

As much as the Dems are grand standing - can you blame them?

Back to the issue - security - how do we guard any company against infiltration by al Qaeda? Political incorrectness wont work these days either - Al Queada recruited Asians (according to the Bush LA story) and lets not forget Mr. home-boy Padilla and also there was that white guy from the PacNW.

The only thing this circus will get us is a bad rap on Al Jazeera. But who cares - when do we get a good rap? Even in the closest and friendliest relationship with our Arab allies (i.e. House of Saud) - we can never know or trust them. At best we can play them - hopefully better than the way they play us.

As far as Im concerned, privatization of the ports is no longer acceptable - as painful as this is to admit. You may as well privatize airline security (again) and nukular facilities (they are)and let Dubai have those contracts as well.

To quote Rumsfeld : Who knows?

.....maybe we can privatize the military and give contracts to the Chinese and Russians for ICBM maintenance and the Mexican Federales Border patrol.

2/23/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tanstaafl said...

So Arabs can't be trusted to operate US ports? I don't think so but it doesn't mean I favor the US government running them instead. Why will no US company step up? The labor is American in either case so it can't be much of a difference in labor costs.

2/25/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger flippityflopitty said...

One has to wonder two things (at least)...

What exactly does the port operator oversee, what "intel" is he privy to and what decision-making does he control on the container movement.

Secondly, when we privatized the port operations, national security was a non-issue (not a major issue anyway). At what point do I want a private company to weigh profit and loss, productivity, happy clients (that would be the people whose container you are slowing down) versus national security?

We make a big production about border security (rightfully so). The ports are the biggest holes in the fences around our nation. Are they considering using private companies on the Mexican border?

Who knows? (I love quoting Rummie) Maybe there is the answer.

It is clear that there is a large contingent that does not want our borders (and ports) secure - all in the name of $$$.

2/27/2006 10:51:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home