More on the ports....

Friday, February 24, 2006
My point here being pretty simple. Chuck Schumer misrepresented the port deal in his big, dramatic weekend news conferences on the docks. A British holding company that owns the rights to conduct lading operations was bought out by another holding company owned by the UAE, and operated primarily by high successful and reputable U.S. and European businessmen. The leasing of a franchise to operate “ports” - really a number of slips within much larger ports in this case - is comparable to the deal that airport authorities make with foreign air carriers to rent “gates” - departure gates and ticket selling / baggage handling sites. Security is in no way farmed out to UAE citizens; that is still in the hands of the Coast Guard and Customs & Border Protection, and local authorities. Homeland security staffed the issue, looked at the acquisition with Commerce, Defense, State, Justice and others, and found that while it could potentially raise concerns, it did not do so in actuality. This group of federal departments also weighed the importance of UAE in the War on Terror, noted UAE’s permitting the U.S. to station troops and to use port facilities in Dubai, along with noting UAE cooperation in the really important point-of-lading security programs being implemented to obviate the need for massive inspection programs in the States. They then blessed the deal, providing the company offered assurances of continued compliance with U.S. security requirements.

Senator Schumer, probably prompted by the dockworkers union lawsuit against the original owner of the port franchise (P&O) and by the opportunity to get in front of the camera, started beating on the populist drum. Hey, I can’t speak for anybody else, but I know that I’m worried about Arab countries, and realize there is a security risk attendant to doing business with them. But it’s not the hysterical matter that Schumer and xenophobes like Lou Dobbs make it out to be. You have to keep an open mind, judge the situation on the merits, and reach an independent judgment. This outright hysteria is shameful; it’s us letting our baser instinct run away with our mouths.


Pretty calm talk from a blog named Cold Fury.

[Update: Sorry, should have noted the emphasis above was mine. My bad. — Seneca]

14 comments:

David Thomson said...

I’m convinced that the Democratic Party is going to wish that it never started down this road. As matter of fact, a number of Republicans are also going to wish they had swallowed a chill pill before making such fools of themselves. Are you listening Senator Bill Frist? I was the perhaps the very first person who warned that something didn’t smell right. Senator Chuck Schumer simply is not a trustworthy human being. His existential commitment to leftism blinds him to reality. One must double check virtually everything the senior New York senator says.

Chuck Schumer and his buddies are guilty of Arab bashing. This is racial profiling at its worst. They have more than hinted that all citizens of Arab nations are terrorists. The dust is settling. This terminal agreement with the Dubai company will be easily approved. Did I say “easily?” Yup, it’s a done deal. It will take a few months only because a lot of politicians need some time to wipe the egg off their face. The Bush administration will be the clear winner.

terrye said...

david:

I don't know if it will be easily apporved or not but unless they want to build a wall around Detroit and start making all Arabs wear little arm bands with crescents on them they had better stop and listen to themselves.

Even if you check out comment threads most of the people who are against the deal are just doing their usual 'it ought to be a law to shoot a Muslim everyday' song and dance. It shames me to hear some of this stuff.

People say there are no moderate Muslims and none of them can be trusted. They want to know where the Moderates are...well maybe they are in the same place as the staff at papers like WaPo and the NYT who would not publish cartoons out of fear. Imagine living there. And this kind of attitude will only isolate those moderates even more.

David Thomson said...

“I don't know if it will be easily apporved or not but unless they want to build a wall around Detroit and start making all Arabs wear little arm bands with crescents on them they had better stop and listen to themselves.”

It's now a done deal. I am utterly convinced of this. Our politicians will realize that we cannot risk insulting our moderate Arab friends. And yes, this includes those who are already American citizens! The good far outweighs the possible bad. Is there an outside chance that an Islamic nihilist could infiltrate our ports? Yes, but most of these scenarios sound like something out of a James Bond movie. Heck, why don’t we also lower the speed on our highways to twenty miles per hour? Wouldn’t that be safer? Somewhere along the line, we must distinguish between reasonable risks and the statistically unlikely.

General Dwight Eisenhower was an ethnic German. Still, he did a pretty good job during W.W.II. We cannot afford to filth on all moderate Muslims simply because a very small handful may ultimately prove untrustworthy. Some risks cannot be entirely avoided.

terrye said...

david:

yes, I agree. Besides it would be a lot easier to bribe a longshoreman than it is to buy a whole big company.

Barry Dauphin said...

Try to imagine if the Bush Administration had decided not to use the Dubai company for some technical reason and then it came to light that the Bush Administration had turned down using an Arab company. Now picture Chuckie Schumer. He'd be screaming "Islamophobia" to every camera crew he could find. But then the "honorable" Senator from New york never met a camera crew he didn't like.

David Thomson said...

Allow me to make myself adamantly clear: there is no such thing as a risk free decision regarding the Dubai World Ports matter. We are in many respects damned if we do---and damned if we don’t. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt suggest that there is an outside chance an Islamist nihilist could be unwitting hired by this Arab run company. OK, I will go along with this reasoning. I am, nonetheless, convinced that there is a far greater likelihood that we endanger ourselves even more by crapping on our moderate Arab allies. Which risk seems greater to you? There are no free rides in life. You must make a choice.

Knucklehead said...

Thanks for the Cold Fury link. Interesting site.

“Also,” Senator Clinton said in a statesmanlike and moderate manner, “the Administration has entered into deals renting airport gates to these countries… and we know what these countries do with airplanes.” After making similar allegations, Senator Dick Durbin demanded...

Are the Dems really prepared to head off down the bunny trail of claiming we should not do business with any Arab/ME/IslamicWorld airline or other transportation company that operates in a business where leasing gates and terminals and such is a perfectly ordinary business process?

Are the Dems really going to step out front and lead the charge for racial profiling of not only individuals but entire nations and regions of the world?

Wow. I figured there had to be a seismic moment someday among the Dems but I never figured it would be an MTV moment of bumpin' uglies with the Buchananites.

Knucklehead said...

DT,

There is an outside chance, probably even a higher order of probability than "outside" that an Islamic nihilist could potentially compromise most any international business transaction. Heck, and Islamic nihilist can spring from whole clothe out of Rashid al-Anybody of South Bumble, MI, at any moment and kill a whole lot of people.

I can't believe the generally sensible likes of Hewitt are playing with this fire. Are we really, as a nation, prepared to go down the "no more business of any sort with the camel jockies, towel heads, and rug spreaders" road? WTF are these people thinking? I guess they want the clash of civilazation that they said wasn't happening and that some of us wanted to keep at a manageable level.

chuck said...

Knuck,

You do realize the Hillary quote is satire, right?

David Thomson said...

There’s also an outside possibility that Shaq O’Neal will slip on some water and break his leg. This should allow me to beat him in a one on one basketball contest. Will anyone place a bet in Las Vegas on this likely happening?

terrye said...

Well anything is possible. But then again it is possible that some union leader will be blackmailed into looking the other way when a certain shipment comes in too.

How many Arabs already work for international companies? Do we have Arab American pilots working for airlines? Where does this kind of thing stop?

I think people are overlooking the fact that the Dubai people are not criminals, they have broken no laws, the only question here is one of race and ethnicity.

Knucklehead said...

Chuck,

No, I didn't realize that. Oops. What can I say, I'm a humorless lumpen.

chuck said...

Heck, Terrye,

Just smuggle in anthrax as "normal" contraband: liquour, cigarettes, or dope. I'm sure lots of that stuff gets in via passengers and crew. Would you want to bet that none of the dock workers make arrangements with the crew of visiting ships?

Atomic weapons? If they aren't of the suitcase type they would need to go in something large. I would build them into a ship hull or put them in the stateroom of my doomsday yacht. One really has to catch those suckers in the making, I think.

Rick Ballard said...

Chuck,

Take five bulk carriers. Pump 100,000 gallons of diesel into their holds. Load two thousand tons of amonium nitrate on top of the diesel (stir gently - no smoking within twenty miles). Sail up the Mississippi to St. Louis or down the St Lawrence Seaway to Chicago or up the Delta to Sacramento or up into the Port of Houston or down the Ohio River. Light fuses - the explosions will be more than the equivalent of any suitcase nuke and no "freight terminal" AKA port facility will have to be involved.

Every one of our internal security measures have been farces since day one. They are there to calm public fears but the only way to stop terrorism is to take it right to source and remove the principal agents.

Do you recall in the very early days right after 9/11 reading about a Predator strike in Yemen that took out a Mercedes full of sheiks or princelings? I sure do - and I'll bet $100 that Predator strike had close to the value of the invasion of Afghanistan.