Sunday, February 26, 2006

"Portgate"

Anyone who knows my background, knows that I'm not crazy about the Bush Administration, but I have to say that this is one time I'm siding with them.

I don't get the whole flap about a company owned by the United Arab Emirates running major ports in our country. I can understand some apprehension being that the potential owners are from a current global hotspot, but that doesn't mean we go as nuts as some in Congress have been doing.

Congress in my view is trying to take the easy way out. It's easy to take potshots at a weakened President or at an ethnic group. It's much easier to devise an approach that will secure our nation's ports without resorting to cheap xenophobia.

Clearly, port security in the post 9/11 era is a top concern, but it is not going to be solved by blocking foreign companies from running our ports.

As a fellow blogger has said, the UAE isn't going to plunk to down a huge chunk of change just so that they can come in and blow up stuff. The UAE wants to diversify its economy away from oil and this is one way it can.

I don't need to remind people that the 9/11 hijackers flew jets owned by American airlines, and were trained by Americans to fly the planes they used as bombs. If the terrorists want to hit us, they don't need ports owned by Arabs.

Blocking this deal isn't going to make us safer. Maybe Congress can get off its high horse and developed a real plan for port security other than their current "America First" plan. But that would make too much sense.

4 comments:

Paul Wartenberg said...

My three problems with the port deal are:

1) I'm worried about any foreign company, esp. ones that are state-owned, have a say on our security issues. I wasn't even aware a UK company was running port security already, and what's this about a CHINA company running port security already at other locations? That's like having a Soviet Union company running airport security at Dulles between 1947 to 1989...
2) That Bush's administration seemingly pushed this deal through while ignoring a law that says there has to be a 45-day review period to clear it. This is just another example of an out-of-control executive branch (ignoring anti-torture law, ignoring warrants for wiretaps, ignoring FOIA, ignoring anything at all)that thinks it's above the law.
3) The post-reaction by the administration suddenly swearing that they weren't involved in approving the deal (Bush denying it, Rumsfeld denying it, Snow denying it) when there is clear evidence that both Rumsfeld and Snow were, and had to be, present for the deal to be confirmed. JEBUS! Just how much incompetent spin are they going to try to pass on us?

Toby said...

I agree with your point, but I wonder whether a lot of the uproar is over the administration's/state's mishandling of airport security. It is not logical, but stuffing up one (form of transport) is an accident, and two sounds like carelessness.

Alan Stewart Carl said...

There seems to be a major misunderstanding by a lot of people. The Dubai company will not be running security. They will just be running operations. Security has always been and will remain a task performed by the American government.

Also, this "deal" wasn't some backroom thing. DPW bought the London company that was running these ports and the U.S. Government agreed that DPW could keep the contract. It has been in the paper for months...the very, very back of the paper, sure, but it's hardly been a secret.

This isn't a big deal.

dorsano said...

Hmmm ... Let's see ...

The administration (with the help of the media) inflamed any latent xenophobic tendencies in Americans by conflating 9/11 with the invasion of Iraq

and it's surprised by the concerns of the electorate and the actions of Congress regarding entrusting port operations to an Arab/Muslim country?

Give me a break.

This is only one little, tiny, relatively inconsequential example of the harm that this administration has caused.