Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm sorry, I thought the idea was to protect our ports?

"I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company"

With those words, George W. Bush has set into motion the phrase “Huh?” from coast to coast among Republicans and Democrats alike. His comments were in response to growing questions on how the administration could approve/ authorize the transition of the management of six major U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World which has it’s headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. Bush also stated that he would veto any legislation presented to him if Congress tries to kill a deal his administration has blessed.

Wait just a second, isn’t this the same administration that was going to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters, which happens to be in Qatar? So, we can bomb a television network in an Arab country on one hand, but on the other hand you are going to ‘give the keys’ to the 'cargo doors of America' to a company headquartered in another neighboring arab country without a second thought.

To understand the irony (and yes the absurdity) of these comments and actions let's take a look at what Bush has said in the past regarding safety and security concerns. Here are a few quotes from Clueless George:

"This is one of the busiest container ports in our country, it's an important hub of commerce," Bush said, his suit coat and hair raked by stiff winds. "We will make sure that not only is the port strong for economic reasons, we will make sure that the port defends the people — is ready to defend against the threats of a new era, that this port is secure and safe for not only the people of South Carolina but for the people of the United States of America."- George W. Bush in a speech touting the administrations efforts to keep dangerous cargo out of the United States at the Port of Charleston, February 5, 2004. (USA Today)

"What I'm telling you is that we're focused here," Bush said from the Port of Baltimore, where he got a waterside demonstration of cargo-screening techniques. "When you're at war, you can't lose sight of the fact that you're at war."- George W. Bush talking about the need for increased security of port cargo in a speech at the Port of Baltimore, July 20, 2005 (WBAL-TV)

“We’ve intensified security at the borders and ports of entry”- George W. Bush in his State of the Union address, January 29, 2003 (The White House)

What initiatives has the administration taken with regards to increasing port security?

  • 2002- Maritime Transportation Security Act
  • 2003- Operation Liberty Shield
  • 2004- Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act,2005

And now in February of 2006 this same administration, this same ‘President’ intends to hand over the ‘keys’ if you will to a company that has it’s headquarters in the heart of the middle east.

Isn’t it bad enough that we have only a fraction of the cargo inspected at this time? Do we have to give free reign to an entity that might have employees with ties or sympathies with our stated enemies?

I would like to draw conclusions and make analogies to anything similar during World War II, but I can’t… and to do so would be an insult to the brave people who lived and died for our freedoms over 60 years ago.

I had hoped that in the last sixty years we could have only become even smarter and even more pro-active in our defense than our forefathers. I guess not. How I wish we had their wisdom to guide us at this time.

Or am I simplifying this too much….


Edward B. said...

I'm not too convinced of this but part of me wonders if Bush is doing this to be a smartass. Kind of like saying, "Well, all of this time during the war, you've been saying that Iraq and other Arab countries don't provide a threat to the U.S., but now, you're conveniently worried about them using our ports."

Or, it's like saying, "We tried to prevent Arab non-US citizens from working at our airports (security/sales) and wanted finger prints from Arabs carrying green cards and the-like but it was blocked down because it violated rights. Now your bitching because our ports, like the airports will have Arabs working in them."

Just a thought.

Kemp said...

I've thought about that myself Edward but I honestly don't think Bush is smart enough to do something like that.

I think it has more to do with Cronyism than anything else. It will come out eventually I'm sure that a Bush friend or supporter has some sort of financial tie to all of this... just give it time.