Our man in Dubai

Monday, February 27, 2006
Am I concerned about Dubai Ports World taking over the franchise to operate certain ports in America? Not at all. And neither should you be. The same union employees will still be running the cranes and forklifts, and the same Coast Guard and Customs officials will still be running the port security.

I’ve been there eight times. The Dubai ports are clean, safe, and efficiently run. The U.S. Navy runs its own port security operation when our ships are in port, in cooperation with the UAE military. I’ve worked port security in high-threat environments, most notably for eight months in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Port operations has very little to do with port security. They do talk to each other, but mostly about shipping schedules. Port operations are about operating cranes and forklifts. Port security is about patrolling the land and water, and inspecting cargo. The difference is not trivial.

I am concerned, however, by the knee-jerk, anti-Arab reaction of certain pundits and politicians on both the Right and the Left. You know who you are. I’m sure you’re not racists, but then again, I didn’t hear any of you complaining when the British were running those same ports.

Regardless of how you might feel about the ports deal, please don’t dump on Dubai. They are our friends – and when you treat our friends this way, you only end up helping our enemies. If Americans can’t learn the difference between Dubai and Damascus, we don’t stand a snowball’s chance in the desert of defeating Islamic terrorism.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

I'm sure even Democratic Senators from NY can learn the difference between Dubai and
Damascus. The question is, do they want to.

Skookumchuk said...

A friend who worked in Dubai told me much the same thing as what Lt. Smash has said. And some American ports could learn a trick or two from their operations.

Rick Ballard said...


My problem is that I've seen too many containers stuffed - and I've seen too much "contraband", generally undeclared gifts from vendors, stuffed in with the declared goods. Customs makes your life miserable if they catch you, but they don't catch you very often. I received more than twenty containers with gifts in them and the only one ever snagged occured because the the vendor sent wine without adequate packing of the bottles - several of which broke at the door end and leaked into sight.

That's leaving aside the fact that containers would be an absolutely stupid way to move real contraband if you had access to bulk carriers.

This is all just silliness.

Skookumchuk said...


It is all just silliness, even though container inspection technologies have greatly improved in the last three years or so. And yes, a nondescript Handysize bulker would be the way to do it - whether it is to deliver contraband or a Silkworm missile to be launched at us from offshore - and there is no talk about any of those things.

gumshoe1 said...

Seneca -

the Arab world
clearly has a PR problem.

blaming "ignorant Americans" for it
is just too easy.

terrye said...


Well, no doubt they have a problem. But then again one of the reasons crazy people take to the streets over cartoons is so that they can create division, it seems they have accomplished their heart's desire.

Now Americans are acting xenophobic. Hillary Clinton is talking about not allowing any foreigners contracts. Denmark is a foreign nation and so is India and Australia and Great Britain and besides we don't have the companies to do it.

Not one American company even made a bid on this and if Dubai had lost Singapore would have won.

Are we supposed to let our decisions be guided by the crazies? If that is true then why should Dubai or any other ME nation stick their necks out for us? Being our allies has made them targets and if they are treated like criminals just for buying a British company, which is not a crime btw, how we are being fair ourselves?

gumshoe1 said...

so what i hear you saying,Terrye,
is "Islamic Extremism hurts everybody".

i can get behind that.