Sunday, February 26, 2006

The false outrage in Washington

Well, politicians and radio talk show hosts are inflaming the American public over the recent Dubai ports deal. Bipartisan demagoguery is apparently de rigueur in Washington now. Don't believe the hype. There is nothing sinister about the ports deal. Allow me to sum up the main argument against the deal: "We cannot hand over security to a country that had two of the 9-11 hijackers."

This is a red herring. Security of our ports remains in the hands of the Coast Guard and Customs. Rich Lowry of the National Review makes the following point (see article here):

A management company has very little to do with port security. It unloads cargo containers and then holds them until they are hauled out by trucks. As homeland-security expert Stewart Verdery says, this is but a small part of the process. The U.S. begins screening select cargo containers at their port of departure. Then, when they are on their way here, computer-based risk analysis is done to decide which containers need further scrutiny.

I will quote two more port security experts (source is the Wall Street Journal):

Stephen Flynn (former Coast Guard commander):"The issue of who owns the terminal is less important than whether there are credible security measures in place and enough oversight of them."

Kristi Clemens, an assistant commissioner at Customs and Border Protection:"The security of America's ports and the security of cargo coming to this country will not change with this transaction."

Please don't believe the spin that a terrorist-friendly country is taking over our ports. The UAE has been very cooperative with U.S. authorities in cracking down on terrorist financing, among other things. Furthermore, as David Brooks of the New York Times points out: UAE ports service U.S. military ships and operates facilities in Australia, Germany, China, and Korea. These other countries apparently don't have guardians of the public trust like Hillary Clinton, so they are free to do business even with Arab countries.


Baby said...

"Terrorist" is really a word with certain assumptions that are not necessarily true. Terrorists are really what the big army calls the little army.

Jack Davis said...

I don't agree, and besides your point was pretty much ancillary to my argument.