Democrats & Liberals Archives

An Opportunity, If He's Interested

Bush has promised to veto any legislation or bill that would interfere with a United Arab Emirates company’s bid to run a number of US ports. From what I’ve heard, the company checks out, and there’s little reason to suspect that they would involve themselves in terrorist activities. What to do then, when the inevitable questions come up about whether the UAE connection to the terrorists who committed 9/11 comes up? I’ve got an idea on that.

Bush can take care of two liabilities at once: he should beef up the security at the ports, ensuring more containers get searched and more money goes to guarding our shores. By doing this, he can assure voters of their safety, and allow a deal with what seems to be a legitimate company go through.

We will not win with the terrorists by shunning those who share nationality with them. We will win by making it in the average Arab's best interests to embrace the west. Our dependence on oil has been a problem, because it is so one-sided. Here they are dependent on us, on our nations economic and social wellbeing. Let's not waste opportunities to make connections between the west and the Arab and Muslim world. To sever such connections would only please more those who see the west as their enemies, who wish to see their nations isolated from our influence. Let's not do the terrorists any favors, either in lax security, or in xenophobic knee-jerk reactions.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 22, 2006 8:07 PM
Comments
Comment #128705

Stephen:

I have often disagreed with you but I agree with your analysis of the pluses/minuses of the Port situation. If America accepts the contract I think that we could get alot of support from Congress to tighten oversight on shipping. Without polarizing politics, this could be an opportunity to make progress on this problem.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #128728

Yes. But the devil is in the details.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #128744

Whoa, I feel a little funny. Whoosie, even.

I can’t. Disagree with. Anything in. Your post…

I may need a doctor.


Way to go, Stephen. Something I can agree with about wholeheartedly and feel good doing it! I think that is actually a good idea.

The only caveat I can think of is that it will cost money, thereby increasing the budget deficit. Maybe we shouldn’t discuss what we think should be cut instead. Not right now. Let’s not spoil the moment.

Posted by: esimonson at February 22, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #128751

I do not think we should do business with countries that protect terrorism and or recognize terrorist states as legitimate. If you recognize and do business with them, then you are giving them what they want without any incentive for change. I would prefer a worldwide zero economic tolerance policy on terrorism. Much like Reagan did with communist countries.

Posted by: Max at February 22, 2006 10:36 PM
Comment #128759

Stephen:
“From what I’ve heard, the company checks out,”

Who exactly has said this state owned company checks out?

“there’s little reason to suspect that they would involve themselves in terrorist activities.”

You might want to read this interesting 2005 article:
An Unlikely Criminal Crossroads

A bit from the article:

From Egypt to Afghanistan, when terrorists and gangsters need a place to meet, to relax, maybe to invest, they head to Dubai, a bustling city-state on the Persian Gulf. The Middle East’s unquestioned financial capital, Dubai is the showcase of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich federation of sheikdoms. Forty years ago, Dubai was a backwater; today, it hosts dozens of banks and one of the world’s busiest ports; its free-trade zones are crammed with thousands of companies. Construction is everywhere—skyscrapers, malls, hotels, and, soon, the world’s tallest building.

But Dubai also serves as the region’s criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking. There are Russian and Indian mobsters, Iranian arms traffickers, and Arab jihadists. Funds for the 9/11 hijackers and African embassy bombers were transferred through the city. It was the heart of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan’s black market in nuclear technology and other proliferation cases. Half of all applications to buy U.S. military equipment from Dubai are from bogus front companies, officials say. “Iran,” adds one U.S. official, “is building a bomb through Dubai.”

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #128764
I do not think we should do business with countries that protect terrorism and or recognize terrorist states as legitimate.

That’s a nice idea, but that would include Russia, Germany, France, China and a whole host of others.

Reagan did not, actually, pursue such a blanket policy against communist states. In fact, trade enough with a communist and he’s not really a communist anymore.

The same goes for Arab states. They are not ALL terrorists, even if parts of their societies do have terrorist ties or sympathies. What’s necessary is to strengthen and embolden those parts of their societies which are NOT involved in terrorism and make their societies at large dependent on maintaining positive ties with the West.

I agree with Stephen on this one, too. Glad to see a voice of reason from the left on this issue at a time when even some of those on the right are succumbing to demagoguery.

Posted by: sanger at February 22, 2006 11:13 PM
Comment #128770

Adrienne,

Thanks for the link. Here’s another:

UAE, Port Security & the Hariri Hit
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2006/022206.html

Quote, “But the year-old mystery of the truck-bomb assassination of Hariri also has wound its way through the UAE’s port facilities. United Nations investigators tracked the assassins’ white Mitsubishi Canter Van from Japan, where it had been stolen, to the UAE, according to a Dec. 10, 2005, U.N. report.

At that time, UAE officials had been unable to track what happened to the van after its arrival in Dubai. Presumably the van was loaded onto another freighter and shipped by sea through the Suez Canal to Lebanon, but the trail had gone cold in the UAE.”

I still can’t help but feel we’re putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 22, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #128773

Adrienne,

This sort of makes one of my points. Call it, “Good cop, bad cop”. You don’t beat up those willing to cooperate with you against the bad guys you want to get at first. There is only one fully fledged western style democracy in the middle east and that’s Israel.

U.A.E. rulers have taken terrorism seriously since 9/11, but Washington has a half-dozen extradition requests that they refuse to honor. The list includes people accused of rape, murder, and arms trafficking, and the last fugitive of the BCCI banking scandal. The country has put money laundering controls on the books but has made few cases. Interior Minister Sheik Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan told U.S. News the U.A.E. has made great strides in cracking down, but he insists that the real problems lie elsewhere. “We are a neutral country, like Switzerland,” he says. “Give us the evidence, and we will do something about it. Don’t blame others.” Not everyone agrees. “All roads lead to Dubai,” says former treasury agent John Cassara, author of Hide and Seek, a forthcoming book on terrorism finance. Cassara tried explaining U.S. concerns about Dubai to a local businessman but got only a puzzled look: “Mr. John, money laundering? But that’s what we do. ” -David E. Kaplan

So if they’re not doing a good enough job now combating jihad, they’ll do much better when we tell them they are not fit to do business in this country?

I think part of the problem is the nature of news. The UAE will not actually be “controlling” ANY PORT, in any way, even though it is being reported that way.

Posted by: eric simonson at February 22, 2006 11:35 PM
Comment #128776

When we agreed to accept outside management of the ports, we established minimum requirements for applicable bidders and established the bidding procedure. DWP met the criteria for consideration and apparently submitted the best bid.

Now, politics have entered the picture, and the winning bidder is deemed unsuitable for reasons not expressed during the bidding process. It’s not as if new damning information has been uncovered that would make DWP ineligible.

If America wants to establish more stringent criteria for service venders based on Homeland Security concerns I can understand that. But the criteria have to be publically established and apply to all potential venders.

I’m not even opposed to profiling. It makes good sense in most security situations. But this company has undergone the established procedures for getting security clearance. You use profiling for people that don’t have clearance.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #128780

Whenever you employ a shortcut to reach a conclusion, you take the risk that you’re skipping past some facts that falsify your original thesis.

As I said in my original posts, we should not shun the people or businesses of a nation because of the terrorists. We should only take such protective measures if we know or strongly suspect the association to be true.

Profiling is a shortcut, sometime productive, but generally just a tool for alienating people. Profiles can be beaten by changes in appearance and by those Arabs and Muslims who resemble or belong in other racial groups.

What we need is to follow the clues. given a pool of many suspects, its important to be properly selective among them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #128786
The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

These “concessions” worry me.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 23, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #128787
The concessions described previously by the Homeland Security Department as unprecedented among maritime companies reflect the close relationship between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted by: womanmarine at February 23, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #128788

Well, as usual, the Bush administration’s penchant for cronyism-type agreements proves our unease is warranted.

I’m stunned as well to be in sync with Eric S., in agreement with your keen idea Stephen. Which would be a brilliant political move by Karl Rove btw, if he weren’t so distracted these days.

However, the Bush administration can not have it both ways on this issue. His tactic so far, is to nearly call his detractors racist for raising concerns over a firm from a Muslim country with an unacceptable track record on fighting terrorism. Further insisting, that by shunning a valued Arab ally, we are sending the wrong message to the Islamic world, thus giving aid and comfort to our enemy.

Yet, the Bush administration has directly created the context for such suspicion and distrust, by arguing that the mere expressions of the anti-war Left have the same resulting effect.

Posted by: Bert M. Caradine at February 23, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #128789

Security + Bombs = More security = More profit for nations with ties to terrorists?

I’d like to point out this place had a lot more to do with 9/11 than Iraq did. Why not outsource our security to Iraq? It would give them business. I think it’s actually a pretty simple question we are asking here: are you guys racist against Iraqis?

Posted by: Max at February 23, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #128795

How about Iran or Korea? Why not give them contracts to oversee pther key operational aspects of American security? I mean, if we do then those nations will become incentivized to watch our backs. It’s win win. Watch out, because if you disagree everyone going to know you’re a racist.

Posted by: Max at February 23, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #128797

I’m afraid that profiling will always be part of any security procedure. Consider the correllative nature of information used in profiling. You can establish a profile for the participants of all organized human activities. It is merely a statistical summary of selected measurable characteristics which are associate with the participants. While these statistical models are not necessarily predictive, they are generally reflect some characteristics that are likely to be present.

Example#1 A neighborhood has a gang problem with two unruly groups of blondes, (they are swedish gangs). If Bob and Joe, two blonde rotarians in town for a convention, are driving through an area known for gang activity, the cops on the beat may elect to maintain surveillance on Bob and Joe or question them. This is profiling. Even if cops are instructed not to pay attention to hair color, experienced cops will note Bob and Joe’s presence and react to the fact that they meet the profile for gang members.

Example#2: If police see three black teenagers driving through a predominantly white neighborhood that has a history of being targeted for day-time breakins by black youths. Even though the teenagers aren’t doing anything except using public streets, an effective police force will, at the very least, note their presence and observe them because they meet the profile.

That is exactly what you pay for when a neighborhood hires private security.

I don’t see how or why you would want to not employ knowledge from previous experience to new situations. We will very slow reaction time if we must treat every situation as if it had never occurred before.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 23, 2006 1:45 AM
Comment #128818

goodkingned:

Because profiling cuts both ways. It does allow Police to spot a certain characteristic in strangers but it also blinds police to anything NOT having that characteristic.

Posted by: Aldous at February 23, 2006 3:37 AM
Comment #128820

Aldous:
I recognize that prejudgements are blinders. The value of a profile is directly related to the quality of the data included.

When I lived in New Orleans, where the black population exceeded 60%, we would laugh at the descriptions of various criminal suspects issued by the police, such as a black male 25-40 years old with short hair. Clearly this sort of description has little utility. Likewise warning homeland security officers to be on the look out for men of Arabic descent between the ages of 25-40 is equally flawed.

In order for a profile to be useful it must contain info on characteristics that separate likely suspects from the herd of people who meet a general description.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 23, 2006 4:19 AM
Comment #128824

“As I said in my original posts, we should not shun the people or businesses of a nation because of the terrorists. We should only take such protective measures if we know or strongly suspect the association to be true.”

We can accept UAE business in other areas besides the ports… Let them make VCRs or watches or… some other thing that generally isn’t a high security risk.

I have friends from the Middle East & they say, placing Arabic interests in our ports is a bad bad bad idea.

:) Squeaky

Posted by: Squeaky at February 23, 2006 5:28 AM
Comment #128830

Steve

I agree with you completely.

I would add that a cooling off period should occur with Senate oversight however to vet out the issue completely .

We need to put on a face of cooperation as it’s all about losing face in that culture.

This might be a good step in the right direction toward a more moderate and understanding view of Arab culture.

Posted by: Sicilianeagle at February 23, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #128837

This deal won’t weaken port security but be wary of any rhetoric coming from the government about port security. As a manager working for private companies at both the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and Port of Houston I can tell you port security is a farce. Bush was announcing the ports were secure shortly after Homeland Security was stood up, but customs can’t inspect every box, and, as a matter of fact, most operators on the West Coast have eliminated inspections of empty containers coming in the terminal because union clerks make six figures and it slows production (moving containers in and out). Those same union members have most of the security guard contracts as well. As a strong union they have successfully opposed background checks and are, for the most part, motivated by money not how secure the ports are. At the Port of Houston I have been able to get access without showing any ID because my vehicle has a sticker on it that looks like a ship’s wheel, which was issued by my homeowner’s association to prove I live in my neighborhood. The truth is, this is one of those equations where it costs too much money to make the ports safe.

Posted by: sureform at February 23, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #128846

“For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid and it will be paid…. [Nations that support terror] are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice… We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.”
— GW Bush —

I had no idea that this was part of a bid process for our Ports. There is no doubt of the connection between the UAE and Al Queda… so how does Bush reconcile this bullish stance?

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #128849

I wouldn’t worry too much. Congress doesn’t support this and Bush wouldn’t veto anything to save his life.

Posted by: TheTraveler at February 23, 2006 9:50 AM
Comment #128850

Tony has a point. I already thought we were not doing business with countries that harbored terrorists or recognize terrorist pseudo-governments, such as the Taliban or Hamas.

SicilianEagle, first when you generalize all Arabs as being overly emotional and needing to save face you’re being a racist. Second, since when does our security in any sense take a back seat to saving face with Arab nations?

The reason this won’t go away is that most Americans are appalled to find out that other foreign nations of any kind, let alone ones where terrorism is rampant, have any operational control over any aspect of our security whatsoever. Why are we outsourcing areas of our security at all?

In terms of ways to make ports safer I’m sure this is number 205 of a long list of things Bush & Co has not done or rather is not aware of, but it’s so easy to do and sensible that it doesn’t matter. Foreign countries should not be running our ports. Don’t be racist against American companies ;-)

Posted by: Max at February 23, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #128855

It’s nice that the Bush supporters on this thread see the value in this proposed partnership. Imagine their reaction had some democratic senator floated the idea and Bush Co. had nothing to do with it.

The concept would be the same. The reaction would be 180.

Posted by: Schwamp at February 23, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #128856

Max
I said nothing about Arabs being overly emotionial..those are your words,not mine.

It is,however,all about losing face…a concept pretty much foreign here in America,but pretty common in pasrts of Eurpope,Asia and the Arabian Penninsula,so it is not being racist…..rather it’s called having a little bit of cultural understanding,that’s all.

By the way,yourlast paragraph is a misstatement too.No operationial security control is being given away by anyone.

Security is handled by the Coast Guard,then Customs all with the Homeland Security umbrella.

Americians in UAE do 95% of the interfacing here.By the way,the same outfit bought 2 ports in Britian…and not a peep out of anybody there.

Must mean something,no?

This is an example of globilialization,not protectioniism as you seeem to prefer

Posted by: sicilianeagle at February 23, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #128858

SicilianEagle,

I think the whole racist discussion is a joke, actually, but all things considered I still think you’re generalizing.

I’ll make this simple for you. Take whatever it is this government is doing, and that’s what I would prefer a company without ties to terrorism be in charge of.

“For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid and it will be paid…. [Nations that support terror] are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice… We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.” — GW Bush —

That’s what Bush said. Supporting this deal is flip-flopping. If you disagree, what would you call it?

Posted by: Max at February 23, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #128862

this may or may not be a good deal. the details will decide that. ( follow the money). One question nags at me, though. Why can’t we find an American company to protect American ports? Also—- why are we changing at all? What’s wrong with the outfit that’s handling security now?

Posted by: DoDiDo at February 23, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #128865

Stephan,

After doing some research, I’m starting to come around. Bush does have a chance here to start mending fences and at the same time, discredit those that would rather blow us up than live side-by-side with us.

I have always said that “if you were to put a McDonald’s and K.F.C. on every street corner in Havana, Castro would be history within months.”

People simply want to live better than they are right now. If we can show emerging nations that Capitalism can make their lives better, I’m sure they would rather throw dollars than bombs…and making billions of dollars with our ports is a great incentive to renounce terrorism and the harboring of terrorists.

Posted by: Jim T at February 23, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #128880

This is quite a stickler of an issue, not only because it smacks of xenophobia on one hand but also due to the bigger picture on the other hand - namely, that the policies and procedures of our federal government are far too frequently subjected to the same sort of bottom line/free market, mentality that is supposed to reign unencumbered in the business sector, free from any sort of ideological bias, deserved or otherwise.

I quite agree that westerners should seize appropriate opportunities to build relationships with businesses and governments in the Mideast. I also think that Arab nations and Muslims specifically are far too frequently dismissed out of hand by many westerners as radical, unenlightened, and not to be trusted.

However, to say there is no basis to the argument against the Dubai firm other than blind racism is oversimplification at best and utterly irresponsible at worst. As another poster pointed out, how do we gibe our enthusiasm to buddy up with this company with being so dead-set against doing business with other companies based in (or owned by) states with which we have an ideological beef? One truly cannot have it both ways…for example, either we were right to boycott apartheid South African companies in order to offer no support whatsoever to a brutal, criminal regime or the boycott was a mistake that ran squarely against the tenets of free-market capitalism - and our notions of human rights, freedom, and rule of law have no bearing whatsoever on decisions that should be solely debated on their economic, not dogmatic, merit.

I have NOT heard or read anything regarding this UAE-based firm checking out, even according to its supporters. Perhaps this is because it is a brand new entity that has been specifically created to acquire the British-based concern it is replacing. Oh, and don’t forget the two obligatory business ties to members of the Bush administration. Read about it here:
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/393375p-333478c.html

Posted by: macsonix at February 23, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #128885

So, nobody on this blog but me is worried about this “government run company” having a less restrictive deal “unprecedented among maritime companies”, and that they are not required to maintain paperwork in the US where it can be subject to US courts?

How do those concessions, and maybe some we don’t know about, be good for US security?

For me this is not a racist issue, I would take issue with any company that got these kind of concessions in secret.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 23, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #128887

I need to add my 2 cents worth here ( and no pun intended )…..but I think DoDiDo hit it…..”follow the money”…… There are just too many questions here knowing the history of the Bush family and the Saudi royal family…
Finding out this was essentially a done deal before Dubya even knew it is not a big surprise, and more confirmation of his level of knowledge. There are so many things happening now that are spinning out of control, it’s just a bit scary. This administration with all of its’ back-slapping cronies has created such a shroud of secrecy which parlays into doubt and mistrust. It’s almost as if there were a master plan to utterly confuse the masses while you rush your programs through. Paranoid????? I’d say so, but finding no assurances to not be…..

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #128891

Yahoo! Alerts Yahoo! News - My Alerts - Edit Alert
Thursday, February 23, 2006, 6:24 AM PST
WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush tries to calm uproar over an Arab company taking over operations at American ports, saying “people don’t need to worry about security.”

Well duhhhhh…..is this not in direct opposition to what his platform has been all along?????

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #128895

“Yahoo! Alerts Yahoo! News - My Alerts - Edit Alert
Thursday, February 23, 2006, 6:24 AM PST
WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush tries to calm uproar over an Arab company taking over operations at American ports, saying “people don’t need to worry about security.”

Well duhhhhh…..is this not in direct opposition to what his platform has been all along?????

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 01:00 PM”


Bush was just talking to his Republican Base in Middle America. The massive numbers of Democrats in the Coastal Cities are on their own.

Posted by: Aldous at February 23, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #128897

What happens if the government of the UAE changes?

Posted by: phx8 at February 23, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #128904

womanmarine:

I completely share your concern, especially with the revelation of the lax requirements as compared with other foreign operations. You’re right, it’s not a racist issue, its common sense. Making the argument that ‘Why don’t we let North Korea handle security somewhere in the US’ is a little ridiculous, but let’s make a more reasonable comparison. Iraq is supposed to be our friend now, so is Afghanistan. Would we allow an Iraqi or Afghani company to own and manage one of our airports? Or Saudi Arabia? These are all supposed to be our friends, they are supposed to be fighting with us.

The difference here is that these countries, UEA, Iraq, etc…, they’re not our ‘friends’, they are our allies. Russia was an ally in WWII, they fought with us against a common enemy, but I don’t think we would have turned around and given them control of US interests. The UK is a friend, we all share a common vision of life and the world, and our friendship and partnership has been built and developed over a long period of time. The UEA and other countries have only recently started to change their view of the world.

I think their government needs some time to mature and stabilize, and we need some time to develop a good relationship with them rather than trying to force us together like some kind of arranged marriage between strangers hoping they will learn to love each other, before we allow them to be such a significant part of US interests.

Posted by: Grant at February 23, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #128905

womanmarine:

I completely share your concern, especially with the revelation of the lax requirements as compared with other foreign operations. You’re right, it’s not a racist issue, its common sense. Making the argument that ‘Why don’t we let North Korea handle security somewhere in the US’ is a little ridiculous, but let’s make a more reasonable comparison. Iraq is supposed to be our friend now, so is Afghanistan. Would we allow an Iraqi or Afghani company to own and manage one of our airports? Or Saudi Arabia? These are all supposed to be our friends, they are supposed to be fighting with us.

The difference here is that these countries, UEA, Iraq, etc…, they’re not our ‘friends’, they are our allies. Russia was an ally in WWII, they fought with us against a common enemy, but I don’t think we would have turned around and given them control of US interests. The UK is a friend, we all share a common vision of life and the world, and our friendship and partnership has been built and developed over a long period of time. The UEA and other countries have only recently started to change their view of the world.

I think their government needs some time to mature and stabilize, and we need some time to develop a good relationship with them rather than trying to force us together like some kind of arranged marriage between strangers hoping they will learn to love each other, before we allow them to be such a significant part of US interests.

Posted by: Grant at February 23, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #128908

The story can be summarized in a sentence:

The US is selling its port operations to the United Arab Emirates.

That sentence exposes several irreconciliable messages that have been supported by the White House, but it boils down to this:

We’re at war; yet there is no threat.
Arab governments are our friends; Arab islamofascists are our enemies.

The deal raises everyone’s worst suspicions about the Bush administration:

The deal is done in secret, without review, with just a whiff of crony capitalism.
Why this is in the interest of the US in the first place is not an issue anyone wants to address.

This is that odd kind of story which brings political junkies along on the same wavelength, but will never make sense to the public. That one sentence at the beginning of this comment cannot be sold to most Americans.

When Bush threatens to veto, it just sounds worse.

No one even wants to say this part out loud:
We need the UAE money. The trade deficit is freaking ginormous, and we need money. We need it bad.


Posted by: phx8 at February 23, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #128910

I have to disagree, unless we can utilize this as a bargaining chip to shutdown terror funding across the middle east and a shutting down of wahabist schools in the area. They are funding terror cells now—question: Will they stop? Is this really a tough stance against them?

I reallize everyone on this thread is making such nice blissful cooing sounds I hate to be the ice chipper but does this really give us leverage in the area? Can we really influence them through such rewards?

The only way to destroy the stronghold of Islam on the region may be the eventual demolition of Mecca (we are too weak-kneed to be the provincial Roman). I know it’s fun to make peacemaker with this deal bipartisanly but this deal DOES NOTHING for us.

I think this is a negotiative mistake to put it bluntly and secures us nothing but rewards those who are also still doing things that are detrimental to western civilization (the funding,schooling and banking of terrorism). Why should they change now??? They get the full monty and can keep doing these things in the region—this gives our nation no balast.

I was just reading an article about slavery still going strong in Saudi Arabia—Are these really people we should be bending over for or still maneuvering with on the playing field to create a desired change??? As I see it this opens no doors for us only for them to continue to do what they do.

Posted by: Translator at February 23, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #128911

I have to disagree, unless we can utilize this as a bargaining chip to shutdown terror funding across the middle east and a shutting down of wahabist schools in the area. They are funding terror cells now—question: Will they stop? Is this really a tough stance against them?

I reallize everyone on this thread is making such nice blissful cooing sounds I hate to be the ice chipper but does this really give us leverage in the area? Can we really influence them through such rewards?

The only way to destroy the stronghold of Islam on the region may be the eventual demolition of Mecca (we are too weak-kneed to be the provincial Roman). I know it’s fun to make peacemaker with this deal bipartisanly but this deal DOES NOTHING for us.

I think this is a negotiative mistake to put it bluntly and secures us nothing but rewards those who are also still doing things that are detrimental to western civilization (the funding,schooling and banking of terrorism). Why should they change now??? They get the full monty and can keep doing these things in the region—this gives our nation no balast.

I was just reading an article about slavery still going strong in Saudi Arabia—Are these really people we should be bending over for or still maneuvering with on the playing field to create a desired change??? As I see it this opens no doors for us only for them to continue to do what they do.

Posted by: Translator at February 23, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #128912

I have to disagree, unless we can utilize this as a bargaining chip to shutdown terror funding across the middle east and a shutting down of wahabist schools in the area. They are funding terror cells now—question: Will they stop? Is this really a tough stance against them?

I reallize everyone on this thread is making such nice blissful cooing sounds I hate to be the ice chipper but does this really give us leverage in the area? Can we really influence them through such rewards?

The only way to destroy the stronghold of Islam on the region may be the eventual demolition of Mecca (we are too weak-kneed to be the provincial Roman). I know it’s fun to make peacemaker with this deal bipartisanly but this deal DOES NOTHING for us.

I think this is a negotiative mistake to put it bluntly and secures us nothing but rewards those who are also still doing things that are detrimental to western civilization (the funding,schooling and banking of terrorism). Why should they change now??? They get the full monty and can keep doing these things in the region—this gives our nation no balast.

I was just reading an article about slavery still going strong in Saudi Arabia—Are these really people we should be bending over for or still maneuvering with on the playing field to create a desired change??? As I see it this opens no doors for us only for them to continue to do what they do.

Posted by: Translator at February 23, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #128915

And in the meantime the violence in Iraq escalates:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Sectarian violence killed more than 130 people across Iraq and left dozens of mosques damaged or in ruins as the United States appealed on Thursday to Sunnis and Shi’ites to step back from the brink of civil war.

Where is the administration on stopping this?

Posted by: womanmarine at February 23, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #128923

So - I wonder what Bush’s back up strategy for Iraq is should a civil war break out.

Anyone worried that no such plan exists?

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #128924

You know womanmarine….I would like somebody..anybody to tell me without an attitude, how people can read papers, watch tv, listen to the radio, or download from a computer ongoing news about all the messes we are in and NOT question the rationale of this administration. They have managed in a short time to piss off most of the rest of the world. Some of them I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over, but most are pretty disconcerting. Do you think that anyone outside of this country gives a rip if we are “red” or “blue” ??
This president is the most arrogant, narrow minded and self centered to come along in a long time. The governing by fear tactics have been successful and I resent it. I’m obviously not alone with that thought or we wouldn’t be reading a lot of the posts in here. Maybe now we have enough incentive to get out of the apathetic mode we’ve been in for some time. I know that’s an issue for us and apathy has never gotten anyone anywhere. We just seem to constantly roll over when this man gets up on a chair and starts sneering and sputtering into a microphone. He can’t hurt us if we do something about him, but he sure as hell can if we don’t !!

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #128925

So - I wonder what Bush’s back up strategy for Iraq is should a civil war break out.

Anyone worried that no such plan exists?

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #128926

You know womanmarine….I would like somebody..anybody to tell me without an attitude, how people can read papers, watch tv, listen to the radio, or download from a computer ongoing news about all the messes we are in and NOT question the rationale of this administration. They have managed in a short time to piss off most of the rest of the world. Some of them I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over, but most are pretty disconcerting. Do you think that anyone outside of this country gives a rip if we are “red” or “blue” ??
This president is the most arrogant, narrow minded and self centered to come along in a long time. The governing by fear tactics have been successful and I resent it. I’m obviously not alone with that thought or we wouldn’t be reading a lot of the posts in here. Maybe now we have enough incentive to get out of the apathetic mode we’ve been in for some time. I know that’s an issue for us and apathy has never gotten anyone anywhere. We just seem to constantly roll over when this man gets up on a chair and starts sneering and sputtering into a microphone. He can’t hurt us if we do something about him, but he sure as hell can if we don’t !!

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #128927

So - I wonder what Bush’s back up strategy for Iraq is should a civil war break out.

Anyone worried that no such plan exists?

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #128928

So - I wonder what Bush’s back up strategy for Iraq is should a civil war break out.

Anyone worried that no such plan exists?

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #128929

Oh gee…..something more to think about Tony…no doubt our fearless leader has any number of contingency plans lined up !!! :( Who in here remembers the famous photo…on the flight deck, in a flight suit, thumbs up…”mission accomplished” ???? What a f-ing joke !

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #128930

I think the WatchBlog server is temporarily whacked.

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #128935
There is only one fully fledged western style democracy in the middle east and that’s Israel.

Which, incidentally, the United Arab Emireates does not recognize the existence of. A good reason, IMHO, to pick another company to run our ports.

Posted by: bobo at February 23, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #128937

Bush said “People don’t need to worry about security” The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by MY Government,”Bush said “the more they’ll be comforted that our port will be secure” Sign KGB
My GOVERNMENT Isn’t it our GOVERNMENT.

I think they broke the law somewere in this crap.

I bet the 50,000 papers from the Archives From
1999 to 2001 have something to do with UAE but
they are reclassified now and we might never know.

They will have BLUEPRINTS TO OUR PORTS just to name one.What happen to it only takes one mushroom cloud.

Wow don’t you feel safe now Just sit back and kiss our butts goodbye.

Posted by: js at February 23, 2006 6:21 PM
Comment #128938

Wow. Is it opposite day and nobody told me? Even the SicEagle who has ranted and raved about how libruls are all dumb because they don’t understand that we’re at war with the arab world is preaching patience and tolerance. Talk about shock and awe.

As for myself, I think that our ports shouldn’t be run by any foreign company. Ports are american assets let american business run it. Sounds crazy but it’s the old republican in me talking (the long dead one)

Posted by: chantico at February 23, 2006 6:22 PM
Comment #128941

According to this link, Israel has no constitution, so how can it be a democracy? Without such a document, isn’t its entire structure subject to elimination or modification at the whim of the ruling class? Of course, this comes from an organization that the Administration has revealed is full of faulty intelligence.

Posted by: mental wimp at February 23, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #128943
According to this link, Israel has no constitution, so how can it be a democracy?

True of the United Kingdom as well.

Posted by: bobo at February 23, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #128944

Chantico,
Just about everyone smells a rat with this ports deal. Secretary Snow claims he didn’t know about it. The liberal site, www.dailykos, has a diary suggesting James Baker & the Carlyle Group are behind it. Makes as much sense as anything else I’ve read.

I used to be a committed free trader. If nothing else, Bush has made me rethink that whole situation. Am I really supposed to believe no American company can run our ports? Am I really supposed to believe this is in our best interest?


Well, at least it’s a distraction from the mess in Iraq, which just got even messier, if possible.

Posted by: phx8 at February 23, 2006 6:57 PM
Comment #128963

Bobo…..that’s because the U.K. is not a democracy…..it is a monarchy.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #128968

sureform, one of those equations where it costs too much money to make the ports safe
Sandra Davidson , This president is the most arrogant, narrow minded and self centered
phx8, We need the UAE money
,

The Carlyle Group connection makes the most sense of any reason yet offered. I was trying to come up with an Anuunaki theory to connect the bases in Iraq with the spaceport in the UAE, but it did not make much sense.

Posted by: Ohrealy at February 23, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #128969

“Just about everyone smells a rat with this ports deal”

Smell it hell, I feel it biting at my ass!

KansasDem
PS: might I suggest that you visit JJ’s post:

That’s The Signpost Up Ahead - Your Next Stop…The Neocon Zone

Posted by: KansasDem at February 23, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #128979

The trouble with government nowadays is that people are more interested in glorious political battles that quietly doing the business of the people. It’s sad to me that nearly every facet of life from crime to politics and family life has to be turned into high drama. Mostly it seems like people just overreact and overact on a dime.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #128984

Stephen wrote:
“From what I’ve heard, the company checks out,”

I noticed he never did answer my question, but here is the answer:
Obscure US intelligence agency assessed ports deal

An intelligence agency that has existed for only four months and which is headed by John Negroponte were the ones in charge of looking at this deal — and deciding they “checked out”?
Sorry, but that just isn’t any kind of an assurance to me.

Negroponte’s record has been one of overlooking hard, ugly truths (such as deathsquads and drug-trafficking in Honduras) when that wasn’t what he and his president(s) wanted to see. And lest we forget, during his stint at the United Nations he served as the point man for their Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction claim, which means he presided over the dissemination of false information there too.
This whole deal stinks to high heaven.
Everything this whole administration does stinks to high heaven! And isn’t it funny how they just never seem able to follow the rule of law? Members of Congress are now claiming they didn’t with this deal.

phx8:
“No one even wants to say this part out loud:
We need the UAE money. The trade deficit is freaking ginormous, and we need money. We need it bad.”

Oh, that’s really depressing.

“Well, at least it’s a distraction from the mess in Iraq, which just got even messier, if possible.”

As my husband’s family would say: Oy gevalt!
Or as my own might: Dunach! (What a disaster)

Posted by: Adrienne at February 23, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #128990

Adreienne, it may be depressing, but it is a fact that we need their money, but it does not have to purchase this particular security related investment. We bought their oil, now we want them to invest that money back here. Are Hydrogen fuel cells sounding better now?

Posted by: ohrealy at February 23, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #128997

What I find amazing is that news of the cries from the GOP died over the past 24 hours. Today all of the cries of outrage came from the “left”!

I’ll go out on a limb here, within another 48 hours you’ll hear no more complaints from any Republican. In fact, I’ll go further out on the limb and say that within 72 hours you’ll find nearly all Repubs mimicing McCain.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 23, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #129018

“The Great Uniter” strikes again.

I doubt if any of us have a global understanding of ALL the ramifications of this deal that qualifies us to make more than simplistic analysis. I daresay that the many varied ramifications touched upon in this thread barely touch upon the whole. So let’s keep it simple.

The opaque Bush administrations has, once again, negotiated one of the most vital government contracts… vital to our economy and security… in secrecy. It was kept secret from the people, from congress, and, “if he is to be believed”, from the president. (Please excuse my cynicism neocon, but America has been burned far too often by the lies of the president to take him at face value.)

Are we to believe that all the time this deal was being vetted, that no one thought to vet it with those we hold responsible for our economy and our security, our elected representitives? That no red flags popped up? Forget about the direct implications of handing our port control over to the UAE. Did no one ask, “How are people going to react to this?”

Or was the question asked and answered. “It will polarize people.” It will polarize Americans against Americans. It will polarize Arab against Arab. And it will polarize American against Arab. Could the reaction to this deal have possibly been as unpredictable as terrorists flying jetliners into skyscrapers? As unpredictable as Iraq being WMD-free? As unpredictable as an unrelenting Iraqi insurgency fighting to keep their nation free from American control?

I doubt it.

Posted by: Thom at February 23, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #129023

Stephen,I agree!

Posted by: RDAVIDC at February 23, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #129027

Paul……can you, or anyone, direct me to any information on just if and what Snow may gain from this deal?????


Secretary Snow chairs the Committee on Foreign Investments — the same group that approved the recent contract with Dubai Ports World.

Secretary Snow used to be the CEO of the CSX Corporation which, in 2004, was acquired by Dubai Ports World. Snow has a deferred compensation package with CSX worth millions of dollars and the package includes a special retirement pension.

.


Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 23, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #129232

as unpredictable as terrorists flying jetliners into skyscrapers, Posted by: Thom
The plural case becoming necessary after GWBush was told about the first jetliner flying into the first skyscraper, the significance of which did not dawn on him, so he just went to read My Pet Goat to the children.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 24, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #129238

Wow! Asskissers, kissing eachother’s asses! Who would have thought that would happen on a Bush Lover’s site?

Posted by: politica at February 24, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #129275

sandra, united kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, where, it is combined with a representative democracy and the prime minister is the head of the goverment…. unlike a absolute monarch. where the king or gueen hold absolute power!!!!

Posted by: rodney brown at February 24, 2006 8:18 PM
Comment #129333

How about we refuse to sell or allow to be sold any US assets public or private to any government that is not democratic. Would not that stimulate democracy in the middle east as well as the rest of the world?
The UAE is a calaboration of feudal states. Saudi Arabia,feudal. Singapore,dictatorship. China,communist totalitarian.ad nausiem
Notice I did not say private companies from these states,if there are any, but government controlled enterprises.


Also wondering why BushCo. is so eager to defend this deal when not so long ago they were against the Chinese purchaseing Unocal obsteniously for security reasons.Were there any Chinese involved in 9/11 or funneling money to terrorist or did the Chinese just forget to grease the right people?

Posted by: BillS at February 24, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #129334

over three hours and no response thats no fun.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 24, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #129376

ohrealy, i quote (as the president was reading my pet goat to the children as the first jet hit the first tower. ok how would you handle it. pull your 45 cal out and start shooting.or yell to the children there bombing us. maybe you would rather he was reading. it takes a village full of idiots to ruin a childs life. or he could have burned his draft card in front of those children . or maybe monica could have kissed and held him for support,or he could have said to the children sorry i have to run because the world is ending. jeez talk about monday morning quarterbacking. i also remember he spent the night at the white house. you think mr billiegoat would have

Posted by: rodney brown at February 25, 2006 1:21 AM
Comment #129495

“jeez talk about monday morning quarterbacking. “

rodney -

Exactly how low have you set the bar for the leader of the free world. Wow. Ever spent much time around 6 yr. olds? Bush could’ve told them he had to pee - or maybe that a big important world leader had just asked him to go get some ice cream and that he had to leave. Or he could’ve told them the truth - that there was an emergency he had to go tend to.

Hell, let the nice secret service agent take over reading the book (cool!)

Posted by: tony at February 25, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #129520

tony, you guys have beaten that horse to death. hmmmm, you think you guys could move on to really important issues, instead of who shot johnny,and freudian metaphors??????

Posted by: rodney brown at February 25, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #129529

I think I’ll decide for myself what the important issues are. Was there any other reason for your response?

Posted by: tony at February 25, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #129531

I think the problem is that Bush apology has taken a life of its own, since folks have convinced themselves that everything else runs through the preservation of Bush’s leadership.

It’s alternatives like these they cut themselves off from, since admitting the need to remain accountable, taking new courses in policy, and admitting mistakes are all measures that leave them vulnerable to questions about what they have done and where they have led America.

And they can’t have that, can they? The Republican Party lacks the strength in its philosophy right now to both admit errors and hold a strong point of view. They feel they have to defend their views at all costs. The result is that it is at all costs, with casualties including truth, accountability, and other positives that philosophically they strive for. That is the conflict at the heart of the modern Republican party: when does boldy pushing the party line become fearfully desperately denying its weaknesses and sins?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #129543

stephen i really understand your point of veiw. but i think that hyprocsy, runs both ways. tony, thanxs for your colorful anwser. rodney brown.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 25, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #129613

“The Republican Party lacks the strength in its philosophy right now to both admit errors and hold a strong point of view. They feel they have to defend their views at all costs. The result is that it is at all costs, with casualties including truth, accountability, and other positives that philosophically they strive for. That is the conflict at the heart of the modern Republican party: when does boldy pushing the party line become fearfully desperately denying its weaknesses and sins?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2006 07:53 PM”

Stephen,

These words should be etched in a monument somewhere!

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 26, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #129650

the great philosopher and ambassador sir oliver franks was at a christmas party in 1948, a reporter asked a guestion what would you like for christmas? peace throuhout the world! the french ambassador demanded, freedoms for all the people enslaved by imperialism the soviet ambassador countered! and so it went on and on . the last reporter called on sir oliver franks, what do want for christmas sir oliver? it is very kind of you to ask, a polite sir oliver replied id quite like a box of crystallised fruit!!!

Posted by: rodney brown at February 26, 2006 3:22 AM
Comment #129665

I think all too often, the recognition that we are all equally vulnerable to corruption is often a motivation to remain mired in the corruption rather than do something about it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2006 8:59 AM
Comment #129717

stephen, possible, but to recognize that i am vulnerable,seems to me is a positive rather than a negative, i dont normally quote the bible, but jesus recongnized he was vulnerable hence the fast on the mt of temptation where satan said if you love your father surely you will jump.on the other hand if i felt that i was perfect and not vulnerable at all, (to me anyways) i would not have principles, or without sin,and i know that is not the case (for me anyways) that is my take on it. by the way ive only been on this blog site for a week, and you in my opinion are a very intelligent person and your IQ would have to be that of a philosopher.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 26, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #130044

Thank you for your kind words.

My comment stems from the fact that so many on the right talk of Democrat Hypocrisy without indicating that something must be done amongst their own ranks. Even if things aren’t quite as bad as we Democrats say, They must be coming pretty close to crossing the line if their activities invite indictments and investigations like this.

I am willing to engage the Republicans in a civil dialogue on corruption, but they must sometimes be the first to bring up their side’s problems, or else it all becomes partisan, and party loyalties bury effective reform.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2006 7:55 PM
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