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Sweet column: Port skirmish blindsided Bush


Here's the lede of my latest column:

The White House ignored warnings from Republicans that the deal to allow a United Arab Emirates company to manage port terminals in six U.S. cities would create at the least a perception problem for the Bush administration

To read the whole shot, click here


I'm a bit surprised that anyone's surprised by the administration's take on the port scheme. It's been their policy ever since Bush took office to do as they please regardless of the concerns and questions of others. When Congress is your lap dog with obedient underlings like Hastert, you can get away with that. However, you would've thought that Bush and company would've realized by now that they no longer hold all the cards after Katrina and the ongoing problems in Iraq.

No matter how little they resemble profiles in courage, members of Congress can smell political blood in the water. Otherwise, you wouldn't be hearing a peep out of them about this deal. Hastert's got be worried that the Dems could use this issue to wipe out his majority in the House. What's truly sad is all the controversy going on when the Administration is probably right about the deal. Plus, if someone really wanted to get into this country, they don't need to run the ports. Our borders are as porous as ever. This latest episode makes me think that historians are going to going to characterize the years of Clinton and the younger Bush as "sex, lies and stupidity". Thanks for doing what you can to keep them honest.

In contrast, it's shameful when people like Limbaugh and Hannity slam the MSM (mainstream media). They don't want an independent press or reporters like you who might cause people to use their noggins and do some thinking about the policies of our elected leaders. In Rush's world, you and other reporters are part of a cabal of liberals, feminazis and America haters. However, Rush and company never mention how financially profitable it is for them to feed the prejudices of their listeners. There are times I think we'd be better off if the fairness requirement had never been dropped from the airwaves.

After whipping up anti-Arab sentiment for years, the administration has the nerve to be suprised over the reaction to this blunder?

That said, there are plenty of reasons to oppose this deal. The UAE is hardly the most terrorist unfriendly place (nexus of 9/11 $ transactions; 2 of the 9/11 hijackers; helping AQ Khan smuggle nuke technology to Lybia, Iran, and N. Korea; recognizing the Taliban but not Israel, etc.).

Think of the Israeli raid on Entebbe: it was so successful because Israel had the plans of the airport. Israel had those plans because an Israeli company built the place. If a UAE state owned company runs our ports, UAE will have full knowledge of all operations at and blueprints of those ports. Think how much easier that will make it for terrists and those friendly to them to get their hands on that information.

I mean, let's at least TRY to make it hard for those who would like to do us harm...

As usual, Paul Krugman hits the nail on the head:

"The storm of protest over the planned takeover of some U.S. port operations by Dubai Ports World doesn't make sense viewed in isolation. The Bush administration clearly made no serious effort to ensure that the deal didn't endanger national security. But that's nothing new — the administration has spent the past four and a half years refusing to do anything serious about protecting the nation's ports.

"So why did this latest case of sloppiness and indifference finally catch the public's attention? Because this time the administration has become a victim of its own campaign of fearmongering and insinuation...."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 23, 2006 9:52 AM.

Ports flap: White House issues ``fact sheets'' on U.S.-UAE relations and ``CFIUS'' process was the previous entry in this blog.

Who knew file: New $10 bill on the way is the next entry in this blog.

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