Saturday, February 25, 2006

Any Port in a Storm

Sooo, DUIbya (tm) wants to sell operations of six of our largest ports to a company owned by people in the United Arab Emirates (motto: "We only support terrorism when it doesn't interfere with our business interests.").

While I am by no means the first to weigh in on this, nor do I expect to be the last, let me suggest a few things he might also consider:

* Putting Jeffrey Dahmer in charge of the USDA (yes, I know he's dead! It's a metaphor!)

* Appointing Ken Lay to be head of the Federal Reserve (Maybe I shouldn't be giving him any ideas...)

* Putting Arther Andersen in charge of the National Archives

* Appointing Lynndie England as head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

That's the best I could come up with on short notice--Letterman, Leno, and the other late-nighters have already come up with the good ones.


* The U.A.E. was one of only three nations in the world that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan

* Two of the September 11th hijackers were from the U.A.E.

* The U.A.E. assisted in transferring funds for the 9/11 hijackers

* The U.A.E. has been instrumental in smuggling nuclear components to Iran and North Korea

I realize that I'm not the first to bring up these points. I simply want to add Voice in the Crowd to the growing chorus of complaints about this planned action.

The White House, meanwhile, is doing its usual furious spin about the whole deal. Over the course of the past few days, DUIbya and/or his surrogates have:

* claimed they knew nothing about the deal until a few days ago

* claimed that there are, in fact, some Arabs who are allies, not terrorists

* told the country that it shouldn't worry about security

* accused critics of the deal of being racists, or of racial profiling

* Threatened to veto any legislation from Congress that blocks the deal

That last item REALLY sticks in my craw. I mean, this is a President who has never used the veto once in his now more than 5 years in office, and now to threaten to veto legislation that could prevent a serious threat to National Security? And this, from the same President who has shredded the Constitution in the very name of National Security? Just when I thought he had reached the highest possible point of hypocrisy, someone handed him some more rope and he climbed even higher.

At any rate, the whole "Arabs = Terrorists" meme that the White House has been beating us over the head with for four-and-a-half years now has finally come back to bite them on the ass. Ever since 9/11, the administration has been stoking the country's fear of Mid-East terrorism, and now they act surprised when a large portion of the country, Democrats and Republicans alike, feel that it is a seriously bad idea to allow an Mid-East country to gain control over the operation of six of the largest seaports in the country.

As for my personal opinion, I feel that allowing this sale would be a serious mistake. While Dubai Ports World, Inc., may very well be (and probably is) a perfectly legitimate corporation, with no motives more sinister that accumulating a large quantity of wealth (although that in itself is ofter quite a sinister motive), consider the following scenario:

A few years from today, a Dubai Ports World middle manager somewhere hires someone without performing a thorough background check. He (or she) does this as a favor for a brother or a cousin. Or does it as the result of a small, untraceable cash payment.

Said person, once placed in a position where he (or she) is able to, causes an already inspected shipping container to be switched with another. That uninspected shipping container is loaded onto a truck and driven away. Two weeks later the contents of that container, be they nuclear bombs, "dirty" bombs, or chemical or biological weapons, are realeased upon six of the largest American cities. Tens of thousands of people are killed, with thousands more suffering

The employee who made the switch disappears. The middle manager, realizing he may have made a dreadful mistake in hiring this employee, destroys any and all record that this employee was ever hired. The United States has been hit with a devastating weapon within its own borders, and it has no way of tracing how that weapon made it inside those borders in the first place.

Osama Bin Laden, or his representative, issues a statement claiming credit for the attack, and promising more. Overnight, thousands of persons of Arab descent in the country suffer some form of abuse, ranging from verbal assaults to outright murder. The country descends further into chaos.

And, of course, the President suspends the Constitution and imposes martial law--as Congress, through inaction in the previous administration, has led him to believe his is allowed to do. People willingly surrender their freedoms in order to believe they are safe. They willingly accept any action the President orders, including the nuclear bombing of every city in the Middle East. What is left of the U.S. becomes a pariah nation in the eyes of the rest of the world. Other countries suspend all trade with the U.S. In the course of two or three days, the United States has gone from being an all-powerful superpower and a shining beacon of democracy to a dangerous rogue state. And all because an administration that will go down in history as the worst presidency ever decided, as it always did, to put the interests of business ahead of the interests of the American people.

I realize that what I have just described is the worst possible worst-case scenario, but those of you who have read Tom Clancy know that he foresaw someone using a jumbo jet as a terror weapon years before that frightening scenario became reality. And while I am by no stretch of the imagination on the same level as Tom Clancy, just remember if something similar to the scenario I described above happens, you read about it here first!

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