The backlash against the incompetent and cavalier manner in which the Bush Administration has handled the DPW port sale imbroglio has spawned its very own hysterical opposition – much of it from those who should know better. And I can assure these holier than thou hysterics that the way to make friends and influence people is not by calling them bigots or questioning their patriotism.
I don’t like waking up in the morning and discovering that I’m an “Islamaphobe” or “Un-American” for calling the Administration a bunch of rabbit heads for the way they’ve managed the unveiling of this idiocy. To tell you the truth, I resent it. It bespeaks a certain kind of intellectual laziness when the best one can do to counter an argument is to indulge in an orgy of name calling and finger pointing. Better to have the facts at one’s disposal and try and counter an opponent’s argument in a logical and rational manner.
The funny thing is, no one is disputing the basic facts that the Administration is using to justify the sale. Nobody is claiming the DPW isn’t competent enough to handle the management of the six ports in question. No one is arguing that the UAE isn’t a friend of the United States. Nobody is making any grandiose claims that our security will be compromised although dismissing security concerns out of hand reminds me of a pre-9/11 outlook on defending the homeland more worthy of the mindless mouthings of the John Kerry’s of the world. Nobody is saying that the deal doesn’t make good business sense.
What those of us who oppose this deal are criticizing is the way in which the decision was reached in the first place and that the decision has to be looked at in the much broader context of the cavalier way in which this Administration has handled some – not all – key homeland security issues that call into question whether or not we are doing all that is humanly possible to prevent a repeat of 9/11.
September 11, 2001 is the elephant in the room that refuses to get up and leave. The left has tried to sweep that date from the historical record because it disadvantages them politically. The date reminds voters (and they need little or no help from the Administration to have their memories jogged) that there is a difference in the way the two parties have responded to the challenges posed by the attacks on America: One party has responded by taking down two murderous thugocracies, pursuing the perpetrators of 9/11 all over the planet, attacking their financial infrastructure, and generally making life miserable for terrorists everywhere – even in this country.
The other party has whined incessantly about the Administration using the attacks to gain a political advantage and resurrect the Third Reich . Outside of that, there have been no concrete proposals for fighting terrorists save arresting them after they’ve committed a crime. The unspoken denouement to that little scenario is, of course, lots of dead voters which may explain why the majority of Americans trust the left with our national security just about as far as they can throw that elephant in the room.
But some of the critiques on homeland security from the left have been spot on. And one of their more prescient arguments is that our ports are wide open to attack because the Administration has failed to adequately plan and fund a comprehensive security program that would inspect more than the 10% of the 9 million containers that arrive by ship in this country every year as we do currently.
Yes, much has been done especially in upgrading our capability to detect nuclear materials and some bio threats. And we have also done much in concert with our trading partners to increase security generally at ports around the world. But more than 4 years after that awful September day, the Republican Congress and Administration have failed to give our ports the attention they deserve and have left us vulnerable to the kind of WMD attack that would make 9/11 seem mild by comparison.
And lets not even get started on illegal immigration. The attitude of the Administration and many in Congress toward the flood of lawbreakers who cross our borders with impunity is maddening. It isn’t just the illegals themselves. The megatonnage of drugs that cross our borders every year could someday be matched by a similar megatonnage in a nuclear blast effect given the ease with which both drug dealers and terrorists can enter the United States.
That’s why this argument is not taking place in a vacuum. And to accuse those of us who see this deal as one more piece of evidence that the Bush Administration is not doing enough to protect the homeland of ethnic hatred or betraying the “values” of America is pure bunk.
Is Michael Ledeen an Islamophobe:
This is the foreign-policy equivalent of the Harriet Meiers nomination to the Supreme Court, isnâ€™t it? Just as her wit and wisdom were beside the point, so Homeland Securityâ€™s careful negotiations with the new owners have nothing to do with the main issue, which is that only a tone-deaf bureaucrat would turn over the operation of our ports to a company from Dubai. Not only does it add new security burdens to an agency already overwhelmed by its impossible mission, but it puts one of Iranâ€™s closest partners in a most sensitive position inside the United States. As Iâ€™ve had occasion to note over the past few years, Dubai is home to billions of mullahdollars, and the black market through which all manner of illegal arms shipments and money-being-laundered have passed. Iâ€™m sure it will have the same outcome as the Meiers fiasco. Faster, please.
As I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday, Dubai has been a major financier in the export of the Saudi brand of Wahhabist Islamism to the west.
From the very beginning in the 1970s, the UAE has been a key source of financial support for Saudi-controlled organizations like the Islamic Solidarity Fund, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), World Council of Mosques, and the Muslim World League (MWL) as documented in The Muslim World League Journal, an English-language monthly. The IDB alone, for instance, spent $10 billion between 1977 and 1990 for â€œIslamic activitiesâ€ and at least $1 billion more recently to support terrorist activities by the Palestinian Al Aqsa and Intifada Funds.
One of the most successful Islamist operations in the U.S. early on involved the Wahhabi ideological takeover of the Nation of Islam after the death of its founder Elijah Muhammad. Of the $4.8 million â€œpresentedâ€ to W. D. Muhammad, Elijahâ€™s son and successor, in 1980 alone, one million came from UAEâ€™s president Sheikh Zayad, according to the August 1980 issue of the MWL Journal.
Why is this important? Could it be because DPW is a state owned company? I am puzzled when I read the argument made by those who downplay the security angle to this deal that other countries have terrorists operating inside their borders but we don’t penalize them for it.
â€œMuch of the operational planning for the World Trade Center attacks took place inside the UAE.â€ Well, the Hamburg cell planned a lot in Germany. Are we to distrust German companies? Does this fact outweigh the fact that our military leaders credit the UAE for cooperation and help in the war on terror, and call them â€œvery, very solid partnersâ€? Do we suspect that Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace are lying, and putting American lives at risk because they really want to see this deal go through?
First, German companies are not under the thumb of their government like DPW is with Dubai which is ruled by a Medieval autocrat named Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. Sheik Mo rules the Rhode Island sized city-state with a combination of “hail fellow well met” casualness and a draconian application of Middle Eastern thuggery. His cronies and, more importantly, his family owns and operate all major businesses including most of the locally owned banks that coincidentally handled much of the financial arrangements for the 9/11 hijackers. To this day, those banks are conduits for terrorist financing. Also, it has been charged but never confirmed that Sheik Mo participated in one or more of those famous “hunting trips” with Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar prior to 9/11.
What we do know is that the Sheik bankrolls the “hate the west” religious instruction taught in the Madrasses set up by the Wahhabi sect all over the world, including America. For that reason alone, the state owned DPW should be denied the contract.
But Geraghty brings up a good point about Rummy and Pace. Of course they don’t want to put American lives at risk. But perhaps Geraghty would like to explain why those two esteemed gentlemen were never briefed prior to the CFIUS Committee giving the go ahead on this deal.
While he’s at it, maybe he could include an explanation as to why President Bush himself was kept out of the loop.
This is the point of my critique. I asked yesterday, “How could DPW being in charge of the management of our ports facilitate a terrorist attack on the United States? Do you want to find out?”
It’s never been my contention that this deal is bad on its face. The problem I have with it has been that in the Age of Terror, from the bureaucrats who sit on the CFIUS all the way up to the President himself, there have been several blind spots relating to our security. By not engaging the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the outset on this issue, it is one more indication to me that there is too much business as usual, too much bureaucratic inertia that makes it appear that too many in the Administration take our security for granted.
In short, I just don’t trust them.
After having her site criminally hacked and put out of commission, Michelle Malkin is back this afternoon – with a vengeance.
Malkin’s post starts much as mine did – castigating the tone and language of supporters of this deal. She then rips their arguments to shreds with devastating clarity and without calling them nasty names:
Many retreating politicians, pundits, and bloggers are all too eager to overlook the dubious business-as-usual approval process that supposedly vetted the deal’s risks thoroughly. The supporters of, and retreaters on, the deal are also silent about the unprecedented, Islamic law-compliant funding scheme that allowed state-owned Dubai Ports World to force its more experienced rival to drop its bid for P&O. (The underwriters of Dubai Ports World’s $3.5 billion Islamic financing instrument called a “sukuk”—Barclay’s and Dubai Islamic Bank—were both cited as probable conduits for bin Laden money.)
Read the whole thing.