Ports Deal Pros and Cons

So far, the strongest argument I've seen against the ports deal comes from Charles Krauthammer:

....as soon as the Dubai company takes over operations, it will necessarily become privy to information about security provisions at crucial U.S. ports. That would mean a transfer of information about our security operations -- and perhaps even worse, about the holes in our security operations -- to a company in an Arab state in which there might be employees who, for reasons of corruption or ideology, would pass this invaluable knowledge on to al Qaeda types.

Certainly, we don't want anyone finding out about the holes in our security systems. But is blocking foreign investment the way to address that problem? Shouldn't we be fixing the holes? If your roof is leaking, you don't just stop letting people into your house -- you get the roof fixed.

Besides, there might be employees in a non-Arab state who would pass our security information on to "al Qaeda types" -- as Debater Derek points out, two of the 9/11 hijackers may have been from the UAE, but all four of the London subway bombers were British. Any one of them, or one of their associates, could have worked for P&O and passed sensitive information along to their terrorist buddies. Even Krauthammer, who says the port deal is a close call, concedes that point, and admits that Dubai Ports World "manages ports in other countries without any such incidents."

Not only has DPW managed those international ports really well, but its U.S. ports would join the ranks of 15 other American ports under foreign management, as E.J. Dionne notes.

Several Debaters have made a big issue of government vs. private ownership. At least one Debater even asserted that the companies I mentioned in my last post were all private. Not so.

Fraport, which manages baggage and ramp services at Jacksonville International Airport (having direct access to the most secure parts of the airport and airplanes) and provides computer systems for air transport in Orlando, "was wholly owned by three levels of government (Federal Republic of Germany, State of Hesse, City of Frankfurt) until June 2001," according to Fraport's manager of international press, Robert Payne. At that point, the company underwent a partial privatization, but even now "a controlling portion of the company's shares remains in government hands." Fraport is also looking to expand its airport ground services in the United States.

Recall that much of the planning for the attacks of September 11 took place in Germany, where some of the terrorists even lived for quite a while. Should we kick Fraport out of Florida?

Speaking of foreign ownership of American assets, Debater KG brings up the Toshiba acquisition of Westinghouse. "Toshiba will then own and operate at least six nuclear power plants on American soil," KG explains. I find this particularly interesting, since Toshiba is based in Tokyo, and Congress's original reason for introducing the Exon-Florio provision (granting the president authority to suspend or block foreign acquisitions on the basis of national security) was a concern over Japanese takeovers of American firms.

And let's not forget all the products that are "critical to U.S. national security" (see page 14 of the PDF) and are produced by overseas firms.

David Ignatius contends that the increase in foreign ownership is "an inevitable consequence of the reckless tax-cutting, deficit-ballooning fiscal policies that Congress and the White House have pursued." He also makes this important point:

[Al Qaeda] accused the UAE leaders of working with the U.S. government "in order to appease the Americans' wishes which include: spying, persecution and detainments." Al-Qaeda claimed it has penetrated the UAE government, and the United States should certainly vet any UAE personnel working in the United States. But the idea that by purchasing the British company that has been managing six U.S. ports, Dubai Ports World is somehow opening the door to terrorism is, frankly, racist.

Blogger logicnazi agrees, providing links to back up the opinion that "both the common people and educated professionals rightly view this as discrimination." Katrina Vanden Heuvel questions President Bush's motives in supporting the deal, while railing against the anti-Arab sentiment that has again boiled to the surface thanks to this controversy.

Under the headline "They Have Got It All Wrong, Again," an editorial in the Dubai-based Gulf News (an English-language paper) chalks up the furor to "an ignorant mix of anti-Arab sentiment, anti any foreigner feeling, terrorist panic and domestic point scoring." Elsewhere, the Gulf News calls for DPW to be judged on its merits. In the Khaleej Times, also based in Dubai, Mohammed A. R. Galadari reminds us that "there are no two opinions about the competence of the UAE firm to undertake a vast global operation of this kind."

Columnist Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. doesn't think competence is the core issue. "At least the previous foreign contractors were from Britain, a country on our side before September 11, 2001. The same cannot be said of the United Arab Emirates," he writes in the Washington Times. But pre-September 11, 2001 behavior is not a very good indication of the UAE's reliability, argues the Post editorial board, noting that it is "a standard of judging under which neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations would fare all that well."

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page supports the ports deal, and is giddy over what they see as hypocrisy by Democrats opposing it: "Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera."

An editorial in the Financial Times (subscription required; read it in full reprinted in the Gulf News) suggests "the honourable senators might get this purchase in perspective by pondering the extent to which the Gulf allies they so distrust already own vast quantities of U.S. assets, as well as dollar assets held offshore. For Abu Dhabi alone, a one percentage point move in U.S. interest rates now means more than a $10 per barrel swing in the price of oil. Do the maths."

Relations with the UAE are another key consideration. In the In From the Cold blog, a "former spook" discusses why pulling the plug on the Dubai deal might not be such a good idea. Refusing to approve the takeover "could mean the end of U.S. basing rights in the UAE, strained relations with other regional partners, and the potential loss of a key defense contract, all viewed as critical in fighting the War on Terror."

Columnist Harold Wheeldon reasons, "if the fear is that at some point the important relationship between Dubai and the U.S. might change, then the U.S. will always have a justified political option to take back control of domestic assets."

[2/27/6, 00:02] Update: The White House has released its own fact sheet regarding DPW and the UAE. The only fact on it that makes me nervous is the third one: "America's ports will be just as secure after the DP World transaction as they were before." For some of you, the White House document will lend credibility to DPW; others won't believe a word of it. Judge for yourselves.

Debaters who oppose the takeover, how do you reconcile that position with not objecting to the decade-long German management of U.S. airports? Given the known terrorist presence in both Germany and Britain, how can you be so sure that the UAE -- a key U.S. ally in the Middle East -- presents a greater threat?

Challenge to Debaters: Debater butchie b says, "I'm told there is one U.S. company left qualified to manage ports. Name of Halliburton." Can anyone provide evidence that confirms or denies butchie b's claim?

* Corrected: Fraport, still German government controlled, operates in Jacksonville and Orlando; BAA, formerly British government controlled, runs the airports in Indianapolis as well as other services at major airports around the United States. My sincerest apologies for the confusion.

By Emily Messner |  February 24, 2006; 11:48 AM ET  | Category:  Facts , Middle East , U.S. Foreign Policy
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Very nice Emily. For once we agree on something. The responses should be interesting.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 01:16 PM

Emily, props to you - this is possibly the best writing on this whole Dubai thing I've read so far.

Posted by: Matt | February 24, 2006 01:28 PM

Round 1 has gone to those opposed to this port deal. DPW has postponed the transaction, and the White House has also backed off from the issue. Do you really think there's going to be a Round 2? There isn't... the port deal is political kryptonite at this point and no politician that values their standing with the American people is going to support it. In fact, they'll all try to ride the wave to kill it with legislation in the coming weeks. Debate all the pros and cons you like... the port deal is rightfully doomed.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 01:33 PM

Since the port deal is off the table at this point, a more interesting discussion might be about how desperate the Washington Post opinion columnists are to get the deal to be accepted by the American public that strongly rejects it. Krauthammer, Ignatius, Messner, and a few others have all tried different tacts, but they all share the same agenda: compromise our standards of national sovereignty and security for one reason or another. It's as if a PR firm were hired to get the deal through by trying a variety of marketing campaigns.
This whole port affair seems to be a case of the political class trying it's best to play mind games with the American public when there's a disagreement among what will benefit the elite and what will benefit the public good. Whether it's the Bush administration or beltway journalists, opinions on the matter seem to be given out in a top-down kind of fashion, as if they know better than the rest of us how to handle the national interest. Only thing is, they can spare us the 'we know best' posturing, as we all know the best and brightest in this country do not get into journalism or politics... as is glaringly obvious by the current state of our media and government. Besides, this is the United States oF America where the people get the last word, not the press or the politicians. Try all the op-ed pieces you like... this port deal has no chance of going through as it is against the will of the majority of the American people. That trumps any and all pros or cons.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 01:49 PM

It's time to wake up and smell the hatred of America coming from the Gang Who Can't Shoot At Our Enemies in the White House.

No amount of whining or excuses will change that.

Posted by: Will Affleck-Asch | February 24, 2006 01:50 PM

In response to what I wrote:

Another blogger wrote:

it was April Gillespie, and NOT Ms Albright who went to Iraq, and with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union.

Posted by: FROM: Overstating the Impact of Iraq War Casualties: Early Warning | February 24, 2006 01:59 PM

This is what I said in my posting:


REMEMBER: WHEN IT STARTED, sort of

Bush Sr. is former head of CIA, Congressman before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 30 years on the case...

SUDDENLY
Under Bush Sr.:
Madelaine Albright goes to Iraq, prior to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and gives Saddam the nod...

He invades Kuwait, we now have an official reason to be there....

looks like we'll establish a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi.


Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the brits.


Protecting the Kuwaiti's:

We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and stop short of Bagdhad....you know why, we're going back...

and now we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait.

we put the country of Iraq in stasis with embargoes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...


we need to intervene....we in this case is the international riche, which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the Gawdfather on this on, or at least the gawdfathers visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry from being unhooked.

so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..


then Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loads of cash, right?


the museums were emptied right?


ha ha ha...


that's rich.


THE OTHER BLOGGER WROTE BACK:

it was April Gillespie, and NOT Ms Albright who went to Iraq, and with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union.

then I INSERTED THIS:

It's been awhile since I dealt with the Saudis...that sort of fell out when I was talking to one of the people that interfaced with them...about 25 years ago...

as far as conspiracy goes,


there never was a CIA/NORIEGA/BUSH Sr. connection right?

Posted by: A correction from Early Warning.... | Feb 24, 2006 12:26:21 PM | Permalink

the thing of it is,

we suckered, or Bush did, into attacking Kuwait, we could attack him, and become military occupiers...


this has a lot to do with families working together as well as politics as well as...


helping you to understand that it isn't all cowboy hats and honesty leading you...


Saddam was deliberately mislead into settling a border dispute with Kuwait, that included some oil well that he thought belonged to Iraq.....


did we tell him the truth?


no.


it wasn't to our advantage.


the bushes intimately understand the middle eastern tribe mentality, they have it....


ps. you're not included in their tribe....


come back when you grow up girl, you're still living in a paper doll world...


morons in charge and morons voted them in...


you want a better country quit pandering to morons.....

Posted by: the point of it is, the bush family, is trying to bury some information that needs to be understood | February 24, 2006 02:03 PM

this is what I wrote:

we suckered, or Bush did, into attacking Kuwait, we could attack him, and become military occupiers...


this is what I should have written:

we suckered, or Bush Sr. did, Saddam Hussein into attacking Kuwait, we could attack him, and become military occupiers...

and set things up for our present occupation of Iraq...


get it?


thanks so much.

Posted by: a small correction: | February 24, 2006 02:06 PM

The port idea would be bad even if we had been inspecting 100% of our cargo and taken other necessary measures to ensure that our boundaries are secure. Who outsources border patrol? Esp. after 9/11.

It's a conflict between the elites whose interests are in making money, and the rest of us, who want to be secure. If that's the clash, for Bush, the elites trump "the people". This puts his true priorities in stark relief.

"We the people" can give up our Bill of Rights and constitution, but never will corporations be asked to give up anything that gets in the way of making more money, not even their tax cuts.

So there is a global "elite" whose "free trade" rights are inviolate and there are the rest of us whose rights are expendable. Not a pretty picture.

Posted by: MaryAnne | February 24, 2006 02:07 PM

Well put, MaryAnne. Definitely better than what any Washington Post columnist has added to the conversation so far.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 02:15 PM

and they're busy selling Montana, are you getting any money from that?

Posted by: that's right.... | February 24, 2006 02:15 PM

urgency, to achieve the bestowment of "war powers" by the frightened sheeple...


so that the rape of you and yours may continue unimpeded by intelligence, morality, oversight or anything approaching "I care about you," from your !leaders....


you left that part our.

Posted by: the other part is, the terrorist threat is manufactured to create an | February 24, 2006 02:18 PM

I do not think all those who oppose this port takeover are racist. Instead, I think they are fearful, and with good reason.

Dave Ignatius writes in today's WaPo:

"The real absurdity here is that Congress doesn't seem to realize that an Arab-owned company's management of America's ports is just a taste of what is coming. Greater foreign ownership of U.S. assets is an inevitable consequence of the reckless tax-cutting, deficit-ballooning fiscal policies that Congress and the White House have pursued. By encouraging the United States to consume more than it produces, these fiscal policies have sucked in imports so fast that the nation is nearing a trillion-dollar annual trade deficit. Those are IOUs on America's future, issued by a spendthrift Congress."

I myself have been more worried about China calling its notes due than Arabs running our ports. But after five years of Bush using the Arab boogeyman to scare us into submission, is it any wonder the people threw a fit over this port deal? I get the feeling that nothing is more important to the Bush Administration than the safety of the American people, unless it is protecting the free flow of capital.

Posted by: wiccan | February 24, 2006 02:23 PM

I see the gov of Maryland has done an aboutface! Such political courage! Such cojones!

It's very easy to defeat this deal, just paint a mushroom cloud above the city of Baltimore the way Condi painted a mushroom cloud over America to sucker us into Iraq. And then ask the gov how he plans to deal with such scenario? If he has no plan that can deal with such catastrophic event then the port sale should be canned and the gov should be replaced in Nov.

Ask him also if he knows what stuffs are in those containers that go thru Baltimore days in and days out? If he doesn't know then ask him why an Arab company should be the one to know the exact moment of their coming and going? We are not talking about just nuke here but all sort of chemicals that can be hijacked and set ablaze. Can Baltimore handle a ship full of chlorine or fertilizer going up in smoke in its port or up and down the bay? Can Maryland or Virginia for that matter?

The Post editorials completely miss it in this case. Objections to this deal can have nothing to do with racism. Let this Dubai company buy Chrysler from Mercedes or Trump casino in Atlantic city instead. I'll have no problem with that. Just like you don't put the brother of a known drug dealer in charge of our police department, you don't put a foreign company owned by the govt of a country with known sympathy for terrorists and terrorist states such as Iran and the Talibans in charge of our ports. It may not seem fair but fairness has nothing to do with a case that can have such dire security consequences regardless of promises by our officials and experts. We've seen the results of their expertise in Iraq, New Orleans, and elsewhere.

It's also not so surprising to see Krauthammer caved in his latest piece and did not pull the same trick he did with the Hariet Miers case. Ask both the Bush and the Dubai govts to turn over all the documents dealing with this case and all the worldwide financial records of this Dubai company to Congress for further investigations. Then they can withdraw this deal citing executive and sovereign privileges blah blah blah...

Ehrlich! Ehrlich!

Posted by: Ehrlich! Ehrlich! | February 24, 2006 02:52 PM

A recent poll shows that only 17% of Americans approve of the Dubai Ports World deal. Here's a link:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/February%20Dailies/Dubai%20Ports.htm

Tell me again why you want to debate the pros and cons of a port deal that is currently postponed and on it's way to permanent retirement? Again, the better topic is why these Washington Post columnists have such a united front on such an unpopular issue.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 03:02 PM

this isn't about this deal and yeses or noes...

it's about understanding the world that you live in...


you need to be invited to the information party, and you need to get paid for having made this country what it is....

and that includes retirement and healthcare for all..........

Posted by: you need to work on your 30 second attention spans... | February 24, 2006 03:09 PM

>> Relations with the UAE are another key consideration. In the In From the Cold blog, a "former spook" discusses why pulling the plug on the Dubai deal might not be such a good idea. Refusing to approve the takeover "could mean the end of U.S. basing rights in the UAE, strained relations with other regional partners, and the potential loss of a key defense contract, all viewed as critical in fighting the War on Terror."

Gee like the govt of UAE lets US ships dock at their port out of their love for America. They have their own agendas as well as we. The US warships docking there help get rid of Saddam who would love to make Dubai one of his own ports. It also keeps their other big bad neighbors from contemplating the same thing.

As for the WSJ their front page article yesterday also said as recently as 2003 the UAE govt refused American request to stop illegal shipments of nuclear components to South Africa. It also said to this day Dubai is the port used exlusively by middle men to bypass the US embargo on Iran. That means anything Iran needs to get from the US gets shipped to Dubai first and then a short hop later to an Iranian port.

Posted by: Spook schmook! | February 24, 2006 03:16 PM

this is like 12 dimensional chess...


you have to look at everything at-once...


then you need to see the trajectories of events...


then you need to let go of your preconceived notions of what morality consists of and see the effects that things have...


like whatever happened to ecology?


is there such a thing as human ecology?


what would it look like?


would concern for the world we live in be a part of that?

Posted by: you really need to get this.... | February 24, 2006 03:18 PM

>> the better topic is why these Washington Post columnists have such a united front on such an unpopular issue.


Three words: belt way pundits. Just like the Washington politicians out of touch with the real America, these journalists think they know better than the rest of us. Out of greed or the wrong sense of political correctness these elites totally disregard the people's "sense of security" on this issue. Whether the security threat is real or not, the people of NY, NJ, PA, MD, FL and LA should not have to go to bed every night wondering if the ports in their midst are going to explode on them in the middle of the night.

Posted by: Belt Way Pundits | February 24, 2006 03:28 PM

Certain members of the press seem to confuse xenophobia with patriotism. Here is an excerpt from George Washington's Farewell Address, which might explain to confused journalists why this port deal is fundamentally un-American and against the common good. I'll take Washington's words over theirs anyday:

"So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop."

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 03:34 PM

To all the lefties "concerned" about their security:
Just a few weeks ago you were all bashing the wiretappings. What are they there for? Your security! You all jump on whatever train is riding against Bush. He could come out tomorrow and say the sky is blue and you'd all disagree.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 03:40 PM

ErrinF - We all know what happened shortly after Washington when the United States attempted to stay free of commercial foreign relations. The War of 1812 and the destruction of our capitol.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 03:44 PM

I'm not a lefty or a righty, I'm a pissed of citizen of the Former United States In America! Tar and Feather the Republicans and Democrats in the War Party. We are the people too. We are fighting to be free. We only want justice for the Third World War!

"Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wrh_9-11_index.html
-- US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report on the Israeli spy ring and its connections to 9-11.


It's been 1,621 days since GWB said he'd catch UBL 'Dead or Alive!'

Sunni Arabs in Iraq blamed US troops for not protecting Sunni mosques and worshippers from violence. The US military ordered the US soldiers in Baghdad to stay in their barracks and not to circulate if it could be helped. [Later reports said some US patrols has been stepped up.] This situation underlines how useless the American ground forces are in Iraq. They can't stop the guerrilla war and may be making it worst. Last I knew, there were 10,000 US troops in Anbar Province with a population of 1.1 million. What could you do with that small force, when the vast majority of the people support the guerrillas? US troops would be useless if they hcad to fight in alleyways against sectarian rioters. If they tried to guard the Sunni mosques, they'd have to shoot into Shiite mobs, which would just raise the level of violence they face from Shiites in the south. USA! USA! USA! USA!

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/lies.mp3
(right click and save)

Posted by: UBL - RIP | February 24, 2006 03:44 PM

Alex Ham, you only support this deal because your Brokeback buddy Bush does too. It's pathetic what a blind follower you are. This isn't a partisan issue, as the 'lefties' against this deal include Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and the vast majority of the Republican party. Your puppy love for George Bush is not shared by the rest of us. Save it for the mountain, cowboy.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 03:51 PM

ErrinF - We all know what happened shortly after Washington when the United States attempted to stay free of commercial foreign relations. The War of 1812 and the destruction of our capitol.
Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero Feb 24, 2006 3:44:21PM

Ya, right, The War of 1812 was caused by England, not by Washington's policies. I can't believe a moron like you goes around naming themselves after Alexander Hamilton. Dude, you're barely Harry Whittington.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 03:55 PM

ErrinF -
You sure? Not that it matters because it's off subject, but the War of 1812 came about after the lack of a stance by both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson concerning relationships with France and England. Take a look in a history book smartass.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 03:57 PM

Erlich is right -- Baltimore Mayor O'Malley is behind the curve on the facts, as are the others opposing the deal, including those here, but with no good excuse, since the facts are out there for the reading. I suppose all of you opposing this deal want to ban cargo from the 23 ports in other countries that Dubai Ports World now operates, including those it acquired from CSX last year.

Funny, but none of you now hyperventilating about this said a word about that acquisition. That's because you're too uninformed about this issue to have any opinion that is worth considering. I suppose you know better than the US Navy -- whose ships use the UAE ports more than any other ports outside the US, and the UAE is responsible for security at those ports. They won't be responsible for security at the 6 ports they'll operate in the US, the Coast Guard and US customs will continue to do that job. Get a clue -- if DPW were a security risk, it would be because of the ports they operate from which goods are shipped TO the US, not its operation of US ports.

But you're willing to trash the cooperative international relationships that the US has established for port and container security just because the new owners of P&O will be Ay-rabs or other foreigners -- oops, I suppose you weren't happy about the Brits who sold P&O to DPW, or are white European foreigners ok? How about the Singapore firm that was the next highest bidder for P&O? There are Muslims living in Singapore -- does that make that firm a security risk, too?

Errin thinks the opponents have won round 1. Not true. The deal has been delayed so that the truly stupid can be separated from those who are merely temporarily misinformed. Erlich fell into the latter category, but is now becoming informed, and as he does so, is leaning toward approval of the deal. O'Malley, who is firmly entrenched in the "truly stupid" category, is proving yet again that he's too wet behind the ears to be entrusted with the running of a city, much less the governor's office -- recall his "over my dead body" noises about the Ay-rabs taking over port operations (never mind that the executives of DPW who'll be running the port are mostly American). Another Maryland Dem, Mike Miller is joining O'Malley in ever more obvious stupidity. This is an opportunity for Doug Duncan to distinguish himself from O'Malley's immaturity. It shouldn't be too hard to do, but he'll make most of the rest of his state party's leadership look like idiots -- not that they need much help.

Spook, do you know what suport has been given for the "it is said" nonsense about Dubai being the port through which Iranian front companies ship prohibited goods? It's a case in which persons doing that were convicted by a US court for doing just that. The most important fact in that story isn't that the shipment went through Dubai, but that the perpetrators were caught and convicted -- with UAE's cooperation and assistance, of course.

This is isn't even racism or Islamophobia -- but it's politicians either playing on racism/Islamophobia or fearing a racist or Islamophobic response of voters. The Dems start by trying to appear to be on the President's right on a matter of national security, some Republicans panic and figure if the Dems are opposing a deal on national security grounds, then they need to jump on board also. Never mind that killing the deal, rather than approving it, would tend to impair security. From the 9/11 commission to every other person with experience in international security arrangements, the most consistent recommendation has been to increase international cooperation on matters of security and commerce. The arrangements between the US and UAE represent exactly that kind of cooperation, and killing this deal would represent exactly the opposite.

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 04:04 PM

You're right, Ham. Your 1812 bullshit has nothing to do with anything, and is merely a distraction from Washington's words explaining why this port deal is foolish and against our nation's common interest. I don't need a history book to know that the British, not Washington, started the War of 1812, dumbass. GMAFB

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 04:11 PM

Your minority view is amusing, RC, but, alas, the port deal is wounded and crawling towards it's ultimate demise. Circling the drain as we speak, if you will. Sounds like you just oppose whatever the Democrats support. This isn't a partisan issue, however, so that approach isn't going to win over any hearts and minds when it comes to this port deal.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 04:17 PM

So if I oppose warrentless wiretapping I'm helping the terrorists, but if I'm concerned that a foreign government owned company will be running our ports I'm a racist Islamaphobe. Am I the only one seeing a lack of consistency here?

BTW- if this deal had been vetted by Congress, like it was supposed to, this whole tempest could be avoided.

Posted by: wiccan | February 24, 2006 04:17 PM

Hurricane Relief: $20 Billion

War on Terror: $72 Billion

Being Called a Dumbass By the Most Stupid Bitch Who Writes on This Blog: Priceless

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 04:18 PM

Gee thanks for telling us we are all stupid for not trusting your man!

Who took us into Iraq and don't have a clue of how to get us out of there?

Who was in charge of HS when Katrina hit?

Go down to the local mall recently? It's filled with Hispanic looking dudes who I'm sure are also too stupid to know the Mexican border is wide open because Bush is totally occupied by Iraq. And don't even toss that race card around. The US now has an open border with Mexico. Who's responsible for border patrol?

Who turned a budget surplus into the biggest deficits in history?

Go read the WSJ article, Iranian oil money helps build the current Dubai boom. Dubai was and still is the transit point for embargoed goods to Iran it says. The WSJ for gosh sake!

Who's in charge the past five years? You?

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 04:24 PM

Looks like it's glaringly obvious that the Bushbots are merely defending their fearless leader on this one. What is it with them that they are so obsessed about defending George Bush above all else? The political class and those that are blindly subservient to it are sickening in the way they conduct themselves. How thoroughly unpatriotic.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 04:36 PM

Thanks ErrinF, fearless leader is an accurate description of old G Dub. He doesn't take any shit and I commend him for that. He managed to not take any shit for his first four years in office and still got re-elected, great huh?
By the way, what's with all the gay stuff? And you call me homophobic?

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 24, 2006 04:47 PM

Here's a link to a news article about legislation and other legal obstacles taking place to kill the port deal:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11540632/

Face it; The port deal is toast. Lame duck Bush can't do a damn thing about it.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 04:50 PM

ErrinF, you're lingering a bit too long in the neighborhood of the truly stupid. The information's available (has been for plenty of time, now). Sure, ask the questions necessary to become belatedly informed on the issue, but then apply the information, rather than merely parroting the "popular" (read: ignorant and misinformed) position. Or, stick with the lemmings opposing the deal.

Fortunately, the lemmings won't have anything to say about this one, ultimately. Regardless of lemming support for the truly stupid position, there's no way that Congress can block this deal permanently or even for an extended period. W will veto it and he'll get the votes he needs to make the veto stand up, certainly in the Senate, and probably also in the House. The Dems will stick together of course, they won't help themselves on the national security issue; to the contrary, the facts will become well-known on this issue, and this will just be another instance of the Dems demonstrating their cluelessness on matters of security. The sad part is, that even some Dems who understand the issue and would prefer to support the deal, will stick with the herd opposing it, just because it's a position opposite the President's, never mind what's best for the country.

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 05:00 PM

>> The Dems will stick together of course, they won't help themselves on the national security issue!


Damn straight! Not a single dem should vote for this and give W a cover when one of these ports go up in flame. W ain't man enough to admit he and he alone pushed the Iraq war and tried to use the dem vote on it as cover. Nothing good politically will come from giving this Dubai company control of US ports. On the other hand if even one port goes up in smoke in the future the reps are also toast!

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 05:08 PM

ErrinF, don't you get it? The president gets a veto over legislation and simple majority can't override the veto. There's no way that the President won't get the support he needs to make the deal happen, even if a majority in the House and the Senate say no.

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 05:12 PM

Emily-

"Debaters who oppose the takeover, how do you reconcile that position with not objecting to the decade-long German management of U.S. airports? Given the known terrorist presence in both Germany and Britain, how can you be so sure that the UAE -- a key U.S. ally in the Middle East -- presents a greater threat?"

How do I reconcile it? What is there to reconcile, exactly?

I don't take issue with the Iranian government because Iranians tried to smuggle 3,000 night-vision goggles (through Dubai, incidentally) for terrorists, I take the Iranian Government to task because it supports the wholesale destruction of Israel among other things.

For the same reason I do not take the British government to task for the actions of crazy Brits.

I take the UAE government to task for its Royal Familial ties to Osama Bin Ladin, its potential state-owned bank funding of known terrorists, and it's poor record on Democracy, Women's Rights, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Religion.

Is that good enough for you?

Posted by: Will | February 24, 2006 05:21 PM

Headlines across America:

BUSH USES FIRST VETO TO GIVE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES GOVT CONTROL OF US PORTS!


The dems can't ask for better political ad than that comes November. Not even Karl Rove can top that!

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 05:22 PM

The port deal is dead. RC and Alex Ham can wave their Bush pom-poms around all they wish. They are blind to the political realities that the GOP congress will forfeit their seats this election year if they support this port deal. No way in hell is the deal going through.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 05:24 PM

Ah, one of the truly stupid weighing in with the "when the ports go up in flames" nonsense. If the ports go up in flames, it won't be because of the port's commercial operator, but because of a security breach at the other end, where the cargo was loaded (you know -- at one of the ports outside the US). That's one good reason not to stick a finger in the eye of an ally who is now cooperating with us on port and cargo security.

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 05:26 PM

Errin, there will undoubtedly be some GOPers among you and the other lemmings. But not enough. All it will take is 34 Senators sticking with the President and that's already in the bag. The deal is done.

Alex, one of the teachings of Confucius is that one should not seek the admiration of all people; rather one should seek the admiration of the good and condemnation of the bad. The more shrill the ranting from the clueless here, the more vindication it provides.

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 05:36 PM

I go along with a comment from above -- some of the press and Mr. Bush seem to be confusing Xenophobia with Patriotism --
Forget the lipservice of a quiet period, taking possession but not occupancy (isn't that for homes??) -- let's do it legally and correctly (for a change) --the 45 day inspection period -- this should have started in December (but what the h... first holidays then vacations and don't forget hunting -- Dubai will still be there; for now let's consider security over the money -- it's not so much what they will do it's the information that will be gained and the knowledge of just how vulnerable we are at these ports.

Posted by: Paulet | February 24, 2006 05:37 PM

The stupid terrorists won't bother trying to load anything into any ship from any foreign port. Just like 9/11 they will use their contact in "the port's commercial operator" to find out which ships heading for one of these ports contain the most explosive and/or deadly chemicals and just hijack them right in the harbor when port security is on their lunch break. Of course the Bush crowd will come out after and say nobody could imagine terrorists would hijack ships and just blow them up with themselves still in them.

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 05:39 PM

Oh, yes, how dare we insult the Emir of Dubai by not handing the operation of our major ports over to him. Again, your minority view is amusing, RC, but hardly relevent. The only stupid one here is you for being so out of touch with the will of the American public on this port matter. And you must be dumb as a rock if you think any Republican in Congress is going to risk their seats so as not to hurt the UAE's feelings. Bush and his blind followers are picking the wrong fight at the wrong time. Whatever weak talking points you've put together to push forth this way out and wrong port deal are failing miserably, RC. By all means, stick to the losing side in your battle AGAINST the will of the American public.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 05:42 PM

Fine observation in today's WP editorial "How to Lose Friends".

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/23/AR2006022301949.html

"Last year, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, 56 U.S. warships, 590 U.S. Military Sealift Command ships and 75 allied warships were hosted in the United Arab Emirates -- at a port managed by the very same Dubai Ports World. To our knowledge, none of the objecting members of Congress have expressed alarm at the national security implications of that situation. Yet the six ports now in question will be far less dependent on Dubai's goodwill, because security there is controlled by the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, no matter who's doing the accounting. American longshoremen will load and unload cargo, no matter who pays their salaries."

Now, if Leftists like ErrinF want to do a 180 and say that companies of individuals from evil Muslim countries who have just a handful of Islamoids amidst their people MUST BE PROFILED!! Then, it is only logical to assume that if companies run by Muslim individuals must be profiled, Muslim individuals should be profiled at airports and through wiretaps.

Wow! It seems they have come around to the other side fast! "Precious civil liberties of Muslims" arguments useful in the past to bash their real enemy, the Bush-Hitler, conveniently get thrown out the window when the Bush-Hitler supports the right of friendly Muslims to invest in America..

Well, this new Political Conversion by Lefties and liberal Democrats, (as astonishing as it is totally insincere) should be tested by calling the hate-America crowd's bluff, as was done in the 403-3 defeat of their pet war hero du jour John Murtha's cut and run Amendment..

Lets see..... the legislation could take several paths:

1. Democrats and Lefties propose a law that all Muslims and Muslim states "that have any terrorists" within their populations, even if allied with the US...cannot invest in any business in America Democrats list in their legislation as "security-related". We let those friendly Muslim countries know that we want them as friends and allies in the struggle with radical Islam....but will also give them a message that by being Muslim they are still considered second class and untrustworthy and will not get the same investor access and opportunities we give to European nations, Asian nations, and dear old Israel...Call it the Lefty and Democratic way to overtly diss every Islamic nation..

2. Democrats and Lefties just say in their law that all Muslims should be profiled...be it at an airport line or as business owners...and even if innocent and a friend or ally of America should be barred from flights in case they decide to abandon good nature and embrace the dark side of jihad in mid-flight, or own any business that could endanger others - like gas stations full of deadly gasoline...And, telephone conversations of Muslims should be bugged because ports are only one thing that the Muslim could affect.

3. A law saying that no foreigner of any sort, not just barring Muslims..no foreigner at all can invest in a list of 500 or so industries, key resource areas in America...So pull your 2 trillion out tomorrow and let us deal with the hyperinflation and stock market collapse..

Frankly, the alliance between hate-America Lefties and liberal Democrats alongside black helicopter Conservative xenophobes looks to be as fruitful and productive long-term as the gay activist-radical Muslim alliance seen at "Down with Islamophobic and Homophobic America!" rallies in Europe.

Vote away, guys!

(If we want a realistic law or policy, it should focus on America striving not to be a debtor nation where we give away 800 billion of our wealth a year to invest anywhere, and rely on foreign gov'ts to fund a huge government growth racket unwilling to tax it's own people to pay for the stuff they demand gov't do. That we say that massive ongoing increase in foreign ownership of American currency, critical industries, critical infastructure, and America's most profitable businesses --is a bad thing and we will start on the path to get out of our dissolute ways of charging today's spending orgy on the credit cards of our children.)

(And we might start thinking about urging the Lefties, liberal Democrats, and Know-Nothing Yahoos on the Conservative Right Congress to better inform themselves of global business transactions and security needs before they react hysterically to stuff like precious Islamoid rights not to be profiled or wiretapped and hysterically to Bush's failure to profile Islamic-owned businesses)

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 24, 2006 05:49 PM

The same people trying to sell us on this port deal are the same people who sold us the Iraq War. Don't worry, they said. Our friends in Iraq will greet us as liberators, they said. Today, Iraq is on the brink of civil war... they never mentioned any risk of that back then when they were selling the war, did they?
Now they want us to unquestionably allow this port deal to go through. Once again, they are completely blind to what a Pandora's box they will be opening if this port deal becomes reality (not that it has a snowball's chance in hell at this point). Bush and his followers are the blind leading the blind... haven't we learned that after 5 years? No one's buying into this port deal besides the usual right wing zombies, and even half of them aren't buying into Bush when it comes to this port deal.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 06:01 PM

Only drugged out cons believe we have 'friends' in that part of the world. Of course all their 'friends' in Iraq either lost the election or else turn out to be even friendlier friends of Iran.

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 06:01 PM

Don't forget Saddam was once 'friend' of the previous Bush admin. We have picture of him shaking hand with Rummy to prove it.

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 06:05 PM

Errin, you're being even more stupid than usual today. Are you sure you're the real Errin, or someone else just trying extra hard to make you look bad?

Look, this isn't all that hard to understand, is it? It really doesn't matter very much what the media polls say, or what you think, for that matter, because our government doesn't make decisions on the basis of media polls, and certainly (and thank God) no one consults you. The fact is, the decision to approve or disapprove the deal is an executive decision. Congress can take action to block it, but the president can veto that action. If there aren't the votes to override the veto, the deal goes through. It's that simple.

As to whether the deal creates a security risk, I'll trust the Coast Guard before I'll trust you or even Chuckie Schumer. The Coast Guard says this is no problem -- they view point of origin as a much more sensitive security concern than the US destination, which is why their security strategy is described as pushing the borders outward, in other words, entering into cooperative arrangements with reliable security partners in the ports where cargo originates. Port security can't be viewed as purely or even primarily as a domestic issue, which is what the opponents of the deal are doing. Mistrusting DPW (and its American executives) would lead to the conclusion that we don't accept cargo from foreign ports operated by DPW. That's the only logical conclusion if you think that DPW can't be trusted to run commercial port operations here. Maybe Chuckie Schumer should explain that one to his Longshoreman constituents. They'll understand that if shipping is cut in half, they'll be out of work. Maybe that's ok with them, but I'll bet they need a better reason than your dumbass argument -- which boils down to "most uninformed people are opposed to DPW running US ports."

Posted by: RC | February 24, 2006 06:07 PM

>> our government doesn't make decisions on the basis of media polls


Surely you joke! Now you have insulted the great accomplishments of Mister Karl Rove and countless other political hacks in this administration.

If you truly believe that I have a port, er bridge in Brooklyn I want you to invest in.

Stupid is as stupid blogs!

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 06:15 PM

RC-

"Mistrusting DPW (and its American executives) would lead to the conclusion that we don't accept cargo from foreign ports operated by DPW."

That's an awful conclusion. How about "Not allowing DPW the rights to manage our ports would lead to the conclusion that we do not want Islamic Kingdoms with Ties to Terrorism State-Ownership of our ports." Will that work?

Posted by: Will | February 24, 2006 06:16 PM

One reason people consistently ignore why we might not want to give a Dubai State-Owned company Port Management rights is because it severely damages our ability to bargain with that company. Dubai, which has a financial stake in DPW, can always hold "Well we allow your troops/warships in our country" over our head.

Posted by: Will | February 24, 2006 06:20 PM

The UAE does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state. It seems to me that those worried about hurting the UAE's feelings by denying this port deal should be concerned about insulting Israel by okaying this deal. They're not, though. Such a double standard shows that they care nothing about the feelings of our allies beyond using it as a pitch point to sell this shameful port deal. So desperate these salesmen...

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 06:20 PM

They were one of three countries that recognized the Taliban though.

Posted by: Will | February 24, 2006 06:26 PM

You're missing something. Ohh, what could it be? You write:
"Not only has DPW managed those international ports really well..."

NOT SO. Dubai allowed Pakistani nuclear salesman Khan to transport his nukes to Iran, North Korea, etc., through ports in UAE.

Gosh, it's not that hard. You don't hire a babysitter who's also an ex-felon. It really doesn't matter how "progressive" Dubai is, and it has nothing to do with this bs crying about bias against Arabs.

There just shouldn't be ANY foreign companies, including the British, running US port operations.

With only 4-6% of containers inspected, that only provides THE OPPORTUNITY for anyone so inclined to facilitate the transfer of nukes, etc.

Which is what we're trying to prevent.

So hire the babysitter from within the family, at least.

What else?

Oh, yeah. As Josh Marshall reported, Bush & his administration negotiated a contract that specifically allows DPW to operate AT LOWER STANDARDS than other port operators. The terms ask for pledges, promises, etc. -- BUT NO LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

DPW if this goes through, is LITERALLY ABOVE THE LAW.

Doesn't sound very attentive to national security to me.

Further, the spurious notion that the Coast Guard is in charge of security is IRRELEVANT. Having RUN a shipping and receiving operation, I can testify that it doesn't matter which rent-a-cop is standing by the door. What matters is who's doing the receiving, the auditing, the accounting, and the inventory.

If it's gonna be DPW, then there will BE no security.

Posted by: SombreroFallout | February 24, 2006 06:31 PM

>> They were one of three countries that recognized the Taliban though.


And they may yet do so again now that them Talibuns are 'reconstituted' as a fighting force in Afghanistan thanks to W's Iraq diversion.

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 06:32 PM

Well, now, we're all getting a good laugh from this salesman RC. His labeling of others as 'stupid' is obviously self-projection.
Bring on the congressional showdown, RC. In fact, why don't we make this the main issue of 2006? Bush doesn't have the political capital to survive a legislative showdown over this. It won't get to the point of veto, but if it does, that veto WILL be overridden. If it is not overridden immediately after being vetoed, then it will be overridden after election time, when a new Congress deals with the issue, as all those who support this port deal will be out of office come Election Day.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 06:32 PM

Alex Ham states:
"To all the lefties "concerned" about their security:
Just a few weeks ago you were all bashing the wiretappings. What are they there for? Your security! You all jump on whatever train is riding against Bush. He could come out tomorrow and say the sky is blue and you'd all disagree."

Theres a large difference between putting a group that is argueably sympathetic to terrorists in charge of US ports and allowing Bush to to conduct warrantless wiretaps regarding US citizens without any oversight.


RC states:
" It really doesn't matter very much what the media polls say, or what you think, for that matter, because our government doesn't make decisions on the basis of media polls, and certainly (and thank God) no one consults you"

RC, have you actually studied American Politics? Especially in an elction year, public opinion matters greatly. And by and large, the American people are uninformed and will react based off of their gut feeling. In this case, most people's gut feeling regarding an Arab group in charge of US ports will not be sympathetic to Bush's cause. And media polls reflect this, as they reflected the lead up to the war in Iraq. If you recall, that too was swayed by pandering to media beliefs. Many politicians would not speak up against the war in Iraq because they could not appear to look weak.
When push comes to shove, you may find that Bush's guaranteed veto may be weaker than you think.

Posted by: Freedom | February 24, 2006 06:40 PM

There won't be no veto. That's just cowboy talk. What they will do is, contrary to a previous assertion, Karl Rove will do a daily poll and then tell George to tell Dubai to back off citing failure to get financial backing and/or insurance for such controversial project as an excuse. It already started with the delay annoucement. What else Rove gonna do, swiftboating their base and the reps in congress?

Posted by: RC! RC! | February 24, 2006 06:43 PM

The UAE and Dubai undoubtedly have intelligence services. How well do you think those intelligence agencies understand the specifics of American port operations? Not as well as they will if this port deal goes through. That's the kind of thing you need to be vigilant against when assuaging this port deal affair.
Also, isn't an emirate a monarchial kingdom? The UAE is a confederacy of kings and princes, right? Forget xenophobia... I've got regiphobia! Most Americans do... that is why we don't want to hand our ports over to the betterment of a despotic monarch, let alone a conglomeration of them. What a joke that some have acted like a private British company is the same as a state-run company owned by a royal despot! Power corrupts, and handing the operation of our ports over to the Emirs of Dubai and the UAE will only lead to temptation and corruption from the extra power running our ports will provide them. I'm sure the princes of the UAE have enough jewels in their crowns; They don't need to add our ports to their collection.
I hope the UAE is seriously and wisely thinking about how damaging a prolonged public relations battle within the US is going to be for them, and how that damage will be long term and costly on an economic and diplomatic level. It may even mean putting them under our microscope and expediating a need for Dubai and others to democratize. Is that a consequence the Emirs are ready to face? Postponing the deal was wise on their part; Completely killing the deal effecting America would be wiser. Just some friendly advice to our allies if they value American public opinion and goodwill towards their country. It's only going to get worse and worse, so quit now, UAE, before the damage is too great.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 06:56 PM

I have a better idea. Simply abide by the prior terms of the sale, but add the following condition:

We will have 25-50 nuclear warheads aimed at your country, ready to go at any moment. If your _state-run_ business f**** up, we will obliterate your entire country, including that neat indoor skiing facility you just built. Otherwise, welcome aboard guys.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 24, 2006 07:27 PM

Why is this racism when TSA no-fly lists, which are almost entirely based on racial profiling, are not?

Why is this racism when almost all detainees are of arab heritage?

Why, when we've been told time and time again to FEAR terrorism and to be concerned with national security, is it now "paranoid" to be concerned with this deal?

Can't have it both ways. Either there's a real concern for national security, or there's no need to be concerned at all (in which case, bring the troops home).

Posted by: EQ | February 24, 2006 07:46 PM

Since RC seems so confused about what 'stupid' means, I thought I'd provide a link that graphically portrays what stupidity is all about:

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/analysis/toons/2006/02/22/mitchell/index.html

Enjoy! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 08:42 PM

Alex Ham wrote,
"To all the lefties "concerned" about their security:
Just a few weeks ago you were all bashing the wiretappings. What are they there for? Your security! You all jump on whatever train is riding against Bush. He could come out tomorrow and say the sky is blue and you'd all disagree."

After the November elections, all the lefties will agree with Bush that the sky is blue.

Posted by: Jamal | February 24, 2006 09:05 PM

Emily wrote:

"Certainly, we don't want anyone finding out about the holes in our security systems. But is blocking foreign investment the way to address that problem? Shouldn't we be fixing the holes? If your roof is leaking, you don't just stop letting people into your house -- you get the roof fixed."


Atta girl, Emily!! Bless your heart.

You just put the important matter here front and square. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | February 24, 2006 09:18 PM

You can't trust your government, nor the UAE...to be working for your best interests...

Perhaps you've forgotten what this is really all about.

the looting of America, and the plundering of the citizens by the elite....


forget about getting tarbabied with cries of "left" "democrat" "republican" "airhead"

how about,


why is it okay to sucker punch Saddam Hussein by inviting him to attack Kuwiat?


why is it OK for the President and his families to cut deals that benefit him and his friends but leave the citizens paying the bill....


how did this start?

This is what I said in my posting:


REMEMBER: WHEN IT STARTED, sort of

Bush Sr. is former head of CIA, Congressman before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 30 years on the case...

SUDDENLY
Under Bush Sr.:
Madelaine Albright goes to Iraq, prior to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and gives Saddam the nod...

He invades Kuwait, we now have an official reason to be there....

looks like we'll establish a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi.


Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the brits.


Protecting the Kuwaiti's:

We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and stop short of Bagdhad....you know why, we're going back...

and now we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait.

we put the country of Iraq in stasis with embargoes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...


we need to intervene....we in this case is the international riche, which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the Gawdfather on this on, or at least the gawdfathers visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry from being unhooked.

so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..


then Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loads of cash, right?


the museums were emptied right?


ha ha ha...


that's rich.

THE OTHER BLOGGER WROTE BACK:

it was April Gillespie, and NOT Ms Albright who went to Iraq, and with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union.

then I INSERTED THIS:

It's been awhile since I dealt with the Saudis...that sort of fell out when I was talking to one of the people that interfaced with them...about 25 years ago...

as far as conspiracy goes,


there never was a CIA/NORIEGA/BUSH Sr. connection right?

Posted by: A correction from Early Warning.... | Feb 24, 2006 12:26:21 PM | Permalink

the thing of it is,

we suckered, or Bush did, into attacking Kuwait, we could attack him, and become military occupiers...


this has a lot to do with families working together as well as politics as well as...


helping you to understand that it isn't all cowboy hats and honesty leading you...


Saddam was deliberately mislead into settling a border dispute with Kuwait, that included some oil well that he thought belonged to Iraq.....


did we tell him the truth?


no.


it wasn't to our advantage.


the bushes intimately understand the middle eastern tribe mentality, they have it....


ps. you're not included in their tribe....


come back when you grow up girl, you're still living in a paper doll world...


morons in charge and morons voted them in...


you want a better country quit pandering to morons.....


the point of it is, the bush family, is trying to bury some information that needs to be understood

Posted by: It's really all about understanding the world that you're working with... | February 24, 2006 09:34 PM

you're competing with 3rd world countries with no protection...

and your land is being stolen, what will China get if we renege on our deals? Montana?


Hello, silly people it's not just about the ports...


the slap in the face is that bush is playing the terrorist card to control you and then forgets about it,


when he wants to move something that will pull his butt out of jail....financially.


30 years from now, this country will be 3rd world for it's citizens and the landed will be living in compounds like they do in other 3rd world communities...


they're already outsourcing whitecollar jobs, and replacing IT departments with part-time workers...


cheers sheeple...


bite 'em hard.

Posted by: you're not in on the deal... | February 24, 2006 09:40 PM

Errin, apples don't fall far from the tree. Like the rest of the moonbats on the loony left, as soon as someone presents a well-crafted and reasoned challenge to the tripe you are spreading, you immediately melt into a bush-is-cheney-is-hitler mode and go personal. Here's a thought which will likely draw your ire...maybe, just maybe, the people who make these decisions (including Iraq and Afghanistan)are evaluating their choices with much more knowledge and intellect than you or your moveon.org friends can comprehend. You see, at the end of the day, GWB and the real adults don't give a shit what you think for one simple reason...you lack credibility. That's what stings the most, isn't it? You want to heard...to be taken seriously. Everytime you and your leftie soulmates resort to the reflexive Bush-bashing, take a time-out and ask yourself why. What sets you and those like you off is that you lack relevance. You want a seat at the table? Then get serious and 86 the whining and bitching. Add something of value for a change. The port deal may come apart...maybe it won't. The sad fact is that next week there will be another issue for you to blather on about...no matter what side GWB and associated "bushbots" are on, you'll be on the other. You can't help it.

Posted by: The Other Will | February 24, 2006 09:41 PM

this isn't about this deal and yeses or noes...


it's about understanding the world that you live in...

you need to be invited to the information party, and you need to get paid for having made this country what it is....


and that includes retirement and healthcare for all..........

you need to work on your 30 second attention spans...


and your ability to percieve being led, jesus...


what a bunch a wankers....

Posted by: filling the space with childish arguing, is that purposeful? | February 24, 2006 09:45 PM

right like through personal connections with the Saudi's...


and that's why 9/11 happens, because we train them so well....


thanks for your insights....

and why did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait?

do you know the ansswer little man?

tell me...

Posted by: more knowledge and information.... | February 24, 2006 09:47 PM

For somebody who is supposed to be so focused on terrorism, George Bush is overlooking one important form of terrorism as he tries to push forth this port deal: domestic terrorism.
If the port deal goes through, all ports run by DPW in the US will be at risk of domestic terrorism when they weren't before. When the Bush administration claims that the security risk will not go up if this port deal goes through (as Scott McClellan did in a recent press conference), they are not factoring in that any domestic terrorists within the US will surely put the ports on the top of their list of targets. Besides the foreign terrorism that the American public fears may result from this UAE deal, there's domestic terrorism that should also be factored in when making threat assessments. Yet the administration hasn't done such.
Also, why does the Bush administration claim that the UAE should be treated just like every other ally of America's, and yet, the administration required extra security provisions in this deal that were not also applied to the British firm currently running the ports? That's hypocrisy, pure and simple.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 09:54 PM

The words of 'The Other Will' just go to show that many of those supporting this port deal are merely doing so because George Bush said so. How pathetic that such small minds let themselves be so easily manipulated by the political class.
I have a few words for 'The Other Will': Katrina, Abramoff, Cheney hunting accident, port deal, civil war in Iraq. Enjoy the 'moonbat' landslide come election time, loser. So sad you don't realize that you and Bush are yesterday's news. Conservatism is a lame duck; You are the irrelevent one, Other Will.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 10:10 PM

there is a nest...


ha ha ha ha .....

Posted by: oh I see it's pop goes the weasal... | February 24, 2006 10:14 PM

so we tricked Saddam Hussein into invading Kuwait, so we could be heroes...


sort of like flying airplanes into buildings so we can have an excuse to invade another country and control a region...

now why was Noriega selling Cocaine in Panama? to finance the Salvadorans in their freedom fighting bid? is that right, and Bush Sr. was involved in that right?

is he in jail, or just Noriega?


what's the point?

just because they're your leaders doesn't mean they have your best interest at heart...


did McCarthy?

or was he just a shill for the riche that were afraid that their country would be given to the working class....and that they would be beaten to death with hammers like in Red China....


what do you know?


want to talk about it?

or just spew garbage about being losers and what not....


sort of like setting a stink bomb off...

Posted by: I spellled weasel wrong... | February 24, 2006 10:19 PM

Alright you kids...Don't make me pull this blog over. I've been reading this for a couple of months and enjoyed the (mostly) high level of discourse on important subjects like this one.
Name calling doesn't help, however entertaining.
Seems to me this is the seamy underside of globalization. We better learn to work well with others, and set rules which create secure environments, level playing fields etc.
And could someone get Lonemuleoff the can: I have a slight medical problem and could use his expert advice.

Posted by: lemon grover | February 24, 2006 10:32 PM

The UAE is an oligarchy, P&O would be taken over basically by a mafia.

Is such language justifiable? The UAE is run by the constituent emirs. There is no freedom of the press in the UAE and they see fit to print anti-semitic cartoons in their papers. Most of the issues discussed on http://www.uaeprison.com can be independently verified.

No doubt a lot of big business is unethical which is why there's supposed to be a certain seperation between state and business so that the former can regulate the latter and not so that the latter can entirely set the former's agenda.

Posted by: jvd | February 24, 2006 10:34 PM

the family stays in the family.


I'm just trying to state for the record, that the mob is alive and well and using the white house as a hideout while they loot america...


the family in charge, just looks different, they're still dividing up your share and makin you pay protection...


that you don't need, except from them...

Posted by: you're leaving out that they are tribal and for the most part don't share as well as believe that wh | February 24, 2006 10:44 PM

It's a strange concept; sell to the highest bidder. Profit over principle every time. All this big scare about terror and danger and what it all boils down to in the end is who'll do the job at the cheapest price. Who cares, really, about real security, about national economic power, about how we husband and use our resources (including our best resource, our American people)?
Why not contract out the airports? The Army, Navy, Marines? We're already hiring "professionals" to conduct military activities. So why make a big deal about selling off our seaports to international corporations?
The whole of this administration's priorities are bass ackwards. They open warfare with a country that didn't matter, they loosen grip on national entry points that do. In any dozen ways, the leadership in the White House - and to a lesser extent, in Congress - shows that unrestrained capitalism is their only goal, their only priority. You can cite examples of other instances where foreign ownership of productive assets is "okay" but the long and short is that it is generally the country in the weak position whose assets are bought and those in a strong position doing the buying. Is there something else going on here?
We've weakened our own economy and lied to ourselves that it isn't so. We are a major debtor nation. Powerful men and women in industry and commerce control most important regulatory agencies of our government. The Bush administration and much of Congress has been supporting this very significant shift of national purpose. Things are beginning to unravel from the carefully knitted imagery spun out by the White House and party leadership. We're seeing some of the seamy insides of an ambitious machine with a decided self-interest. It's pretty foul.
We still have national concerns and issues which are not being well addressed.
So the executive is now the authority to interpret our Constitution, national security does not, somehow, involve seaports (if he wanted to nationalize something - ah, but I digress). It's supposed to be the people's country: Land of the free and the home of the brave. Are we going to run it or leave that to ones who are most interested in making a dollar?

Posted by: Jazzman | February 24, 2006 10:59 PM

The UAE is foolish for letting this port deal controversy drag on. It should be quite apparent to the UAE that there is no way the American public is going to let this deal go through. Each day the UAE let's this drag on is another day they accrue more negative sentiment from the American public, sentiment that will hurt the UAE economically and diplomatically. Each day is another day they will be under the microscope of the American press. Does the UAE really want to tango with the American press for as long as this port controversy lasts? Our media is going to go over Dubai with a fine-toothed comb for the month or so it takes to resolve this port deal, and I sincerely doubt the UAE wants that type of scrutiny. Just ask Dick Cheney if he enjoyed what he's had to go through with the press and his hunting accident; Imagine that same treatment being given to the UAE government for as long as the port controversy lasts (and afterwards too). It's not pretty, and Dubai should avoid it if they can. Since they can, they should.
The wisest thing for the United Arab Emirates to do at this point is to cut their losses and seperate the American ports from the rest of the deal. Otherwise, this port deal is going to cost them a lot more than whatever dollar amount they paid. I only hope that the UAE understands American culture well enough to steer clear of the public relations nightmare they are about to engage in. Cease and desist with this foolish port deal before UAE's reputation in America is damaged beyond repair.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 11:00 PM

At present less than 5% of cargo is inspected. We are at the mercy of all countries shipping into our ports and to the final destination of the cargo within the United States. The original loader of the cargo within foreign countries, just as in the country, loads shipping containers with, with few exceptions, no security. A sealand container may be loaded in a terrorist training camp, with a few easily forged papers, and shipped not only to our ports, but to any point beyond the port. And targeting countries linked to terrorism does not take into account shipping to intermediate countries, where cargo can be falsely re-manifested.

Following this reasoning of thought, the port deal only pertains to 5% of cargo, since at present 95% of cargo has no security inspection. And remember 100% of cargo will not be inspected for the same reason we don't control our borders, Economics. Illegal immigration provides cheap exploitable labor and cargo "screening" keeps security costs at a minimum and prevents an adverse slowing of commerce. Bush is not concerned about port security, because he has understated how vulnerable we are at our ports.

Bush promised to do everything he could to PROTECT the American people from the terrorist threat. And even at 5% of cargo that may or may not be threatened by the port deal, he has reneged on his promise. Bush exploited terrorism for political gain and now it's being exploited on him. And when Bush accused those who opposed him as "aiding terrorist against the soldiers in the field" or "unpatriotic", can it now be said Bush is aiding the terrorists on AMERICAN SOIL if the port deal is finally approved? You reap what you sow. Most Americans are calling him on this, liberals, moderates, conservatives, democrats, Republicans....

When Bush said he didn't know about the port deal, he created political maneuvering room. I don't see a veto, public opinions polls on this issue will over ride a bush veto before it happens.

RC wrote,

"Look, this isn't all that hard to understand, is it? It really doesn't matter very much what the media polls say, or what you think, for that matter, because our government doesn't make decisions on the basis of media polls, and certainly (and thank God) no one consults you."

Your statement applies more to China, a country now run by nine people with engineering back grounds, that don't have to worry about being re-elected and plan far beyond a few years. Our country is run almost entirely by non-engineers, who can't see beyond one term at a time, not that I'm promoting engineers.

Posted by: Jamal | February 24, 2006 11:07 PM

And now we hear that the New York Port Authority is putting forth a lawsuit to stop the DPW port deal. Being that they actually sufferred through 9/11, I'm inclined to side with them instead of the Bush administration when it comes to this port deal being a national security risk. Expect a ton of legislation and lawsuits in the next few weeks to prevent this port deal from going through. That is, unless the UAE wises up and nips this issue in the bud before it gets out of hand.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 11:08 PM

I could understand ErrinF being "stuck on stupid". Her Lefty talking points about pretending her grave concern is about "STATE-OWNED!!" - not bad, bad Muslims per se - allows her to ignore her Dem Party's sudden turnaround on "Profiling Muslim people" by pretending it is only about "STATE-OWNED" Muslim investment. If it was the BinLaden Group, Ltd. - she would have no problem. Same with any China "private company" already in control of US assets. Cause Lefties like ErrinF now conveniently swear Chinese companies (like Halliburton??) are completely separate from the Politburo's influence and dictates..And somehow failed to raise a peep when past "STATE-OWNED!!!" foreign companies in Israel or Europe or Asia or China got pieces of US airport and seaport action...

But it is disappointing to see Will similarly stuck on stupid. He professes not to care what happens overseas...that Dubai Port Worlds sends 17.8 million barrels of petroleum product a month out of it's ports in the ME, Venezuela to the US and allies (, nor that much of the China & Australia trade is on DPW container ships). Will only cares to look when an uninspected ship arrives here within 10 miles of 9 million Americans...because Damarsk, DPW, Lion Ports of Singapore can't be trusted to be responsible overseas shippers?

The originating port is where the bulk of real control takes place in international maritime law, not the destination.. That is where the shippers assemble the legal shipping manifest declarations which if false would kill a shipping company or Port.

Will thinks all the inspections happen in receiving ports. But they don't. Only final Customs.

So if we follow the deranged Left's advice, and Will's mindset - we don't care what is sent by Dubai or Saudi Ports to us - just as long as the Port that gets the ship with the oil and containers (each which could have nuclear weapons concealed in the holds or a container with a ready trigger set) - is placed in the control and inspection of 100% pure Amuuuuricans!!

Amuuuricans like Will think as long as an unscrutinized ship is stopped in the targets of Miami, NYC, Honolulu, LA, Long Beach, Portland, Seattle, Philly, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Boston, Jersey City, Jacksonville, etc.. and really searched in the center of a major population for WMD - we don't care if those throwaway cities get a nuclear detonation as they search cargo in the middle of their cities - as long as Akron and Santa Fe are saved by focusing our efforts on only searching once a ship gets into a major US coastal city harbor??

If we ban DPW from shipping us 20% of ME oil imports and 24% of our gobal cargo, they will happily ask the Chinese to take the ME oil and Venezuelan oil they ship instead - and focus cargo container work outside the US until they figure the surcharge to add. DPW is preparing to use 6 new Chinese and 2 new Indian ports now under construction.

The ignorance of the American public is amazing. PT Barnum could have been a Lefty or a Know-Nothing Republican. "No one succeeds in "progressive" Lefty politics or ignorant Rightwing Yahoo causes by underestimating the stupidity of the American public."

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 24, 2006 11:13 PM

Jamal's observations about Bush's national security FLIP FLOP are right on the money. Bush's one trump card was terrorism, and now he has recklessly tossed that card into the Potomac. And for what? I can see it already... no congressional seat within the vicinity of any of those six major ports will be held by Republicans come November because of this port controversy. The port deal is political hemlock at this point; If Bush and his supporters want to drink it, let them go right ahead.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 11:17 PM

Chris Ford attacks the messenger because he doesn't have a leg to stand on in this issue. Nothing new, really. The port deal's dead on arrival, Chris Ford... deal with it, you state-owned-lovin' commie symp.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 24, 2006 11:20 PM

As for those of us that do not live on the coast, the biggest terrorist threat/attacks over the last few decades of the Republican Revolution are from home grown right wing conservative extremists. Remember conservative right winger Eric Rudolf? The conservative right wingers that perpetrated the Oklahoma City bombing?

Posted by: Jamal | February 24, 2006 11:38 PM

I mean how much of what we borrow from China gets delivered to the job?


I mean I can write you a requisition form to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to you and get as much as it's worth....


but like I said, what did China buy for 1 Trillion dollars? And why don't you effin know?


there is no oversight....frick the terrorists, your commander in chief is known in Europe as TERRORISTA NUMERO UNO....


not that after invading countries on trumped up basis' is going to make us popular with our middle eastern buddies but hey....

IF I broker a deal for you, I get a cut REMEMBER...


IF I'M THE PRESIDENT OF THE FRIGGIN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


I GET A BIG FRIGGIN CUT, AND I'VE


GOT A BIG FRIGGIN FAMILY THAT GOT ME HERE>>>>


AND THEY WANT SOME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!


sorry, my caplocks got stuck...


comeon, open your brains up


outsourcing is taking advantage of you and your country but it's your leaders lack of restrictions to corporations that is allowing it to happen...

this is a little different,


it's basically bush, openin everything up for sale and taking a cut...


all the while telling you that you need to give him the keys to the treasury called


listen:


WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWERs

GET IT?

Posted by: it isn't about cheapest price it's about most profit.... | February 25, 2006 12:05 AM

if you want war powers?


a war,


you have to convince the american people that they've been attacked by an enemy....


who would you like as your enemy?

someone relatively helpless and already under your control that also happens to be sitting on billions of dollars in OIL...


Saddam his Nastiness Hussein...


butcher of bagdhad that you suckered into attacking Kuwiat, and you have in your thrall via embargoes out the wazooooooooooooo...


the evil dictator,


unlike the evil dickless tater that is running the united states....


oh, sorry a lapse of taste....


yours, not mine, I didn't vote for him...


so he gets a cut off of each piece of the pie that he sells


UNLIKE YOUR SORRY ASSES....

you're good to water his lawn, or shine his shoes.....

CHINA --->>>>>>>>> WALMART


that's the deal


and China gets Montana as payment on their loan....thanks to your smarmyness geo. witless Bushsnatcher...

Posted by: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FABRICATE.... | February 25, 2006 12:11 AM

In its evaluations, I think Homeland Security has failed to ask the critical question of whether UAE still sponsors various forms of jihad against other nations. This is a must in determining the mindset of a regime that had been associated (before September 11, 2001) with jihadi groups opposed to America.

Investigations have revealed that UAE (even after 9/11 attacks on America) continues to sponsor various forms of jihad against world's largest secular democracy -- India.

UAE's apparently helpful attitude towards America can be seen as capitulating in front of Bush Administration's "either you are with us or against us" demand given to many Islamic nations. But UAE's real mindset is revealed through its continued sponsorship of jihad against India -- a nation considered soft by Islamists.

Had Homeland Security asked this question, no doubt, the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World wouldn't have been given permission to take over significant operations at six U.S. ports.

In moving forward, the Congress and Bush Administration should revisit -- since 9/11 -- UAE's track record of sponsorship of radical Islam worldwide.

Posted by: Moorthy Muthuswamy | February 25, 2006 12:11 AM

and you'll be too poor and to far out of power to do jack about it....


unless you wake the frick up.

Posted by: he'll be dead before you figure out what happened... | February 25, 2006 12:13 AM

This is like an onion, the more layers you peel away the worse it smells.

There are so many issues here. I'll review one at a time.

Why are we selling of our nation an acre at a time? If it hadn't been for a public outcry China would now own one of our major oil companies. Americans sense we are on the wrong track but allow the wool to be pulled over their eyes every time they try to make a stand. Ignatius nailed it on this - its time for some leadership and national dialogue on where this country is headed - to hell in a handbasket comes to mind. We have to take a stand somewhere, why not start now?

Does it matter more that this sale is to an Arab company, compared to the ports we now allow Britain, Germany, etc to operate?

It matters that we would allow ownership of barely protected major seaports to a government that refused to open up their banking practices to enable us to follow the 9-11 money, and that now will be allowed to keep the records of their business offshore and not subject to subpoena. If they want to be further enriched through business dealings with us they need to cooperate with us in stemming their cash flow to terrorists.

Does it matter that they don't really need our money? No. Just because they are fabulously wealthy without our money is no justification to reward their refusal to cooperate on terrorism funding issues with more money. Does it matter that we still need their oil? Not really. We import so little oil from them that all our glorious leader would have to do was start a public information campaign to check tire pressure once a month and we wouldn't need any more of their oil. Would that hurt them financially? Maybe, maybe not. But just because a $10 million dollar fine for malfeasance wouldn't hurt Bill Gates or the Bush family or some other multimillionaire doesn't mean we shouldn't assess the fine if it is deserved or reward them financially for it. http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/aoilpolicy2.asp
http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/rep/chap1.asp

Does port ownership constitute a security risk? There is no question that it would give them intimate knowledge of our port security procedures and weaknesses. Maybe it would be easier/cheaper for them to go through Canada or Mexico instead to smuggle in nuclear material. But you don't leave your doors unlocked at night simply because the burglars could come in the window or shoot the lock off. You lock the windows too. ANd really important places guard the alternate entrances.

At least two of the ports are military. We are at war in that part of the world. Do we really want to provide the cargo manifest and shipping informaion on our military cargo to a government run operation with known ties to terrorists? Especially when there is no accountability for the flow of their cash or information? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

And finally, why haven't we secured our ports? What I read on this blog is that its too hard, too expensive, or that the terrorists would just find another way. (So, go ahead sleep with your door unlocked tonight to save the burglars the trouble of finding another way into your house).

Steven Flynn says we could secure our ports for the cost of 3 days fighting in Iraq and two fighter jets. (see Ongoing Neglect of Maritime Transportation Security, 2004)
http://www.house.gov/transportation/


We are desperate for real leadership that will put America's interests above 30 millioin pieces of silver in the Bush and crony pockets. We need to stop the bleeding of our resources, we need to stop enriching those who trade with the enemy, and we need to secure our ports and borders. And if we need to cut and run from Iraq to have the money to do it, then we better get started.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 25, 2006 01:04 AM

Why are we giving financial assistance to those countries (indeed most of the world) who continually thumb their noses at us?

How they vote in the United Nations:

Below are the actual voting records of various Arabic/Islamic States which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:

Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time
Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time
Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time
United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.
Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.
Yemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Oman votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.
Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.
Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.
India votes against the United States 81% of the time.
Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.
Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.
U S Foreign Aid to those that hate us:
Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against the United States, still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.
Jordan votes 71% against the United States
And receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
Pakistan votes 75% against the United States
Receives $6,721,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
India votes 81% against the United States
Receives $143,699,000 annually.

Perhaps it is time to get out of the UN and give the tax savings back to the American workers who are having to skimp and sacrifice to pay the taxes (and gasoline).

Posted by: | February 25, 2006 02:39 AM

"And finally, why haven't we secured our ports? What I read on this blog is that its too hard, too expensive, or that the terrorists would just find another way. (So, go ahead sleep with your door unlocked tonight to save the burglars the trouble of finding another way into your house). "

I'm with you 100 percent on this one Patriot. Of course our ports should be secured. The Bush Administration puts all our eggs in one basket. They say the only way to make us secure is to take the fight to the enemy through our actions in Afganistan and Iraq. Meantime they seem to have ignored completely many of the recommended precautions here at home. Even airline security is still not where it should be since as far as I know, cargo holds on passenger jets are still not examined. Our southern border is a sieve. Of course there no easy solutions, but we should be trying and get the impression that instead of trying to improve, we are ignoring these glaring issues altogether.

The only recommendations in the 9/11 Commission Report Recommendations that have been acted on by the Bush Administration were those that they had to act on due to public pressure (Consolidation of the Intellegence Agencies), and some of the aspects of the Patriot Act that give them greater power with relaxed oversight. Many of the recommendations in the report have been swept under the rug.

Meanwhile the administration puts time and energy into developing phoney definitions of torture and avoids oversight of its warrantless wiretapping program.

Posted by: DK | February 25, 2006 02:40 AM

Who can honestly say (regarding the Dubai Ports arrangement) that their country will get different leadership in the future? Look what happened to Iran!

Posted by: | February 25, 2006 02:43 AM

Has Bush ever made a mistake? We have to TRUST him, people! The Dubai Ports is a 'done deal'. There's no getting out of it, so just accept it! By next week, everyone will forget about it!

Posted by: dave | February 25, 2006 03:02 AM

I assume the debater Dave is joking. If he is serious, it's still a joke. This port deal is dead in the water.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:09 AM

Walmarts and cheap imports unite! This will make our U.S. ports even larger!!

Posted by: | February 25, 2006 03:30 AM

One minor problem with this six-port deal is that it's not six ports ... it was revealed this morning by UPI that "A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported."

Posted by: | February 25, 2006 03:33 AM

Instead of Emily's list of pros and cons, here's a link to a better, more expert group of opinions on the port deal:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060225/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ports_security

Both the New York Port Authority and members of the 9/11 commission want this deal terminated. I'll take those experts over Bush's 'experts' (i.e. cronies) any day.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:35 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

What the ports controversy says about Washington's "war on terror"
By Patrick Martin
25 February 2006

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

The political uproar in Washington over the sale of cargo facilities in six US ports to an Arab-owned company has exposed the cynicism of the Bush administration's so-called "war on terror" and its claim that military aggression abroad and attacks on democratic rights at home are aimed at protecting the American people from new terrorist attacks like those of September 11, 2001.

Bush has used the "war on terror" as an all-purpose pretext to justify actions ranging from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq to the passage of the USA Patriot Act and the illegal NSA program of warrantless electronic surveillance of Americans. But the administration is now finding it difficult to square its propaganda of the past four years, calculated to stoke up fear of terrorism for political purposes, with its decision to approve the transfer of port facilities in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans to the control of Dubai Ports World (DPW), a state-owned firm based in the United Arab Emirates.

Leading Democrats have seized on the issue in an attempt to outflank the administration on national security issues from the right, and they have been joined by sections of congressional Republicans. In both parties, the controversy is being exploited to whip up chauvinist and anti-Arab sentiment. Predictably, the trade union bureaucracy, led by the Teamsters and the International Longshoremen's Association, has enlisted its services in this reactionary campaign.

All of these administration critics evade and seek to obscure the legitimate political issues raised by the administration's sanction, without any public discussion or congressional review, of the sale of the port facilities.

There is an obvious double standard at work: American citizens are to give up such fundamental rights as habeas corpus in favor of unchecked executive powers to arrest, imprison and even torture anyone designated by the president as an "enemy combatant." Giant transnational corporations, however, lose none of their freedom of action. Their decisions, even on such a sensitive issue as the control of US port facilities, are routinely rubberstamped by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration was forced to take a step backward Thursday from its initial adamant refusal to consider the objections raised by congressional Democrats and Republicans to the Dubai acquisition. By the end of the day, after behind-the-scenes prodding from the White House, DPW management announced that it was prepared to forsake direct control of facilities at the six US ports for the time being so as to allow further study by US officials, so long as its acquisition of the British-owned Peninsular & Oriental company (P&O)--the current port facilities operator--went ahead. American operations accounted for about 10 percent of P&O's profits last year, and DPW has already begun taking over management of P&O's Asian and European facilities.

The way that this temporary retreat was made public sheds light on both the internal functioning of the Bush administration and the political motives behind its "war on terror." At a public hearing before a Senate panel, 10 administration officials defended their approval of the sale of P&O to Dubai and dismissed the concerns raised by the five senators present, four of them Democrats. As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described the scene, "Several of the officials spent their two hours whispering, passing notes and occasionally smirking at the senators' barbs."

Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt, chairman of the secretive committee that ratified the P&O sale, would not even concede that the statute requiring a 45-day review period whenever security concerns were raised over a foreign acquisition actually meant what it said. After several Democrats read out the legal language, Kimmitt replied blandly, "We didn't ignore the law. We might interpret it differently."

His position was essentially the same as that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who earlier this month defended the warrantless electronic surveillance by the NSA on the basis of similarly contrived interpretations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Only a few hours later, however, a change in position was revealed by Karl Rove, deputy White House chief of staff, in a radio interview with Tony Snow of Fox News. "There are some hurdles, regulatory hurdles, that this still needs to go through on the British side, as well, that are going to be concluded next week," Rove said. "There's no requirement that it close, you know, immediately after that. But our interest is in making certain the members of Congress have full information about it, and that, we're convinced, will give them a level of comfort with this." This was followed soon after by the announcement from Dubai Ports World that it would delay taking over the US facilities.

The sequence of events is both extraordinary and revealing. The issue posed in the port sale is, at least nominally, whether adequate security procedures will be observed at major Atlantic and Gulf Coast seaports, where a smuggled nuclear device could put millions of people at risk. Yet a shift on this critical policy matter is announced, not by the president or any Pentagon or Homeland Security official, but by Bush's chief political aide. Government officials stiff-armed a Senate committee, but the White House took a far different approach toward right-wing talk radio, which had begun to hammer the port sale as a cave-in to "Arab terrorists."

Rove is the Bush spokesman who told Republican campaign officials two weeks ago that they should make the defense of illegal NSA spying an issue in the 2006 congressional elections by accusing the Democrats of a "pre-9/11" mentality on security issues--underscoring the cynicism of the whole "homeland security" campaign.

The takeover of P&O faces additional legal obstacles after the filing of two more lawsuits. A Miami stevedoring company went to court in London to block the sale of P&O only days after filing a similar suit in Florida. In New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the port facilities that would be leased to Dubai Ports World, filed suit in a New Jersey state court, citing security concerns. The Port Authority said that P&O's transfer of the facilities violated the 30-year lease the company signed in 2000. Also in New Jersey, former governor Thomas Kean, chairman of the bipartisan commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks, said in a press interview that the sale of the port facilities to Dubai "should never have happened."

While the outcome of the legal and political conflict remains uncertain, the credibility of the Bush administration on its self-proclaimed strong suit, the "war on terror," has been compromised. The barrage of media criticism includes many apologists for the war in Iraq, like the Washington Post, which editorialized Friday: "The chickens are coming home to roost. A White House that routinely brands anyone who disagrees with its positions as soft on terrorism is now complaining that election-bound lawmakers are callously using the ports deal to frighten voters."

There was also criticism of Bush's critics in Congress, on the grounds that they were appealing to protectionist sentiments that might damage US commercial relations. The Wall Street Journal noted that Middle East oil exporting countries held $121.1 billion in US securities in 2004, giving them considerable leverage against a US policy that discriminates against foreign investors from the Arab world. Other commentators declared dependence on Dubai for port facilities was nothing compared to dependence on central bankers in Beijing and Tokyo to finance huge US budget and trade deficits.

There were also more perceptive critiques. Sheila Lennon, a columnist for Rhode Island's Providence Journal, pointed to the central contradiction in Bush's posture, writing: "The administration cannot have it both ways. Either the terrorist threat is real, in which case we need to zip up America, run our own ports and restrict investments in critical infrastructure to our longtime allies. Or bin Laden is a bogeyman, useful for achieving a level of domestic control long held in check by the protections for civil liberties and privacy inherent in the American Constitution, but definitely in the way when it comes to attracting investment from Arab countries flush with oil money."

The columnist voiced her own skepticism about the administration's claims, concluding, "Like a bucket of cold water, the Dubai Ports World deal is serving as a reality check on the difference between the administration's rhetoric and its assessment of the actual likelihood of attack."

Such commentaries are a sign of things to come. The Bush administration has played a double game with the events of 9/11. It has exploited the tragic deaths of 3,000 innocent people to justify wars of aggression that have killed tens of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan who had nothing to do with the destruction of the World Trade Center, and taken the lives of nearly 2,500 American soldiers in the two countries. At the same time, it has blocked any serious investigation of the attacks, which would reveal connections between the terrorists and US intelligence agencies. It is becoming increasingly difficult to conceal from the American people the contradictions in this two-faced policy.

See Also:

Posted by: che | February 25, 2006 03:37 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

The Dubai/US port controversy: "war on terrorism" propaganda in hyperdrive

By Larry Chin

Following the mounting uproar over the revelation that Dubai Ports World (a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates) was engaged in deal to manage major US port terminals in New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the Bush administration finds itself in another no-win situation, with its damage control apparatus in disarray.

After a threatened veto of any blocking of the port deal, Bush then claimed that he was unaware of the deal that he had just spent 48 hours truculently defending. From Associated Press coverage: "WASHINGTON (Feb. 22) - President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday."

Similarly dubious claims of ignorance soon followed, from Donald Rumsfeld and many other Bush officials, rushing to distance themselves from the matter with immediate plausible denial and a variety of excuses.

It is typical of the openly criminal Bush inner circle, that Bush and his operatives have even tried to deny knowledge of a port deal that they "thoroughly vetted," and over which a secret deal was already negotiated. But the criminal nature of the Bush administration, and its slow motion stumbling, is not news.

Bush Weakness Fuels Intensified 9/11 "War on Terrorism" Fear Mongering

Whether it is the result of purposeful disinformation, calculated political motive, or genuine stupidity, top Washington officials, as well as pundits from both "progressive" and conservative circles, have tripped over themselves to scream about the "national security" threat posed by the DP World port deal.

Officials continue to obsessively recite the original 9/11 "war on terror" myth, including the bogus 9/11 hijacker legend (the "two 9/11 terrorists from Dubai") and other known fallacies. The myth of the "outside enemy" and "Islamic terrorism" remain the propaganda cornerstones of this Empire, and it is a bipartisan agenda, as well as around the clock material for the media.

The DP World story, complete with its 9/11 red herrings, half-truths, and out of control "terrorism" fear, is more of the same. It is one of many emerging battles to control the future of the "war on terrorism" itself.

The scandal-ridden Bush administration seems to have lost control of its own "war on terrorism" fabrication. A typical New World Order business deal, that would have sailed through a few years ago, is on the verge of being aborted, in bitter irony, by the "war on terrorism" fiction itself, which is being wielded like a weapon against Bush, by both Bush political foes and allies alike. Corrupt-beyond-redemption members of Congress, from both parties have moved in "solidarity" to attack Bush. Even Bush's own Republican suck-ups (Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, even Tom DeLay) are in full mutiny mode.

Commenting on the political foolishness, George Friedman of Stratfor noted, "I find it amazing to watch the Democrats who have consistently argued that the Bush administration holds a simplistic understanding of the world and treats all Muslims as equals, to take this position. Republicans have the virtue of being both wrong and consistent. They have consistently taken the view that the Islamic world should be regarded as a universal threat. The Democrats sudden discovery of how dangerous this particular purchase is, is inconsistent, as well as wrong."

Dems & Progressives Push "Port Security" Pretext for Further Militarization of the US

It is no surprise that congressional Democrats are attacking the Bush administration for another "incompetent failure" to "protect the US from another Arab terror attack," and even blasting Bush, for "not doing enough." The controversy has also sparked a new and coordinated braying from progressives, from the intellectual consent creators to activist groups, screaming about the privatization and corporatization of "our infrastructure," screaming for Bush to "make us safe." (According to John Nichols of The Nation, "the problem with the Ports situation is not that the corporation in question is Arab-owned. The problem is that Dubai Ports World is a corporation.")

Democrats have been fully complicit with the Bush administration in maintaining 9/11-related propaganda, and the expansion of the US war of conquest to Iran, and beyond, as well as the deepening militarization of the civilian infrastructure of the United States. As pointed out by Michel Chossudovsky in America's "War on Terrorism," "the Democrats are not opposed to the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor are they opposed to the militarization of civilian institutions, as evidenced by their 1996 initiative to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act. Moreover, their perspective and understanding of 9/11 and the 'war on terrorism' is broadly similar to that of the Republicans." The leading Democrats also have no qualms about world oil conquest or globalization.

Indeed, it is the Democrats who are screaming the loudest for more homeland security, more domestic militarization (of everything from airports to emergency response, to railways and the ports), and even more of a police state within US borders. It is a page out of the John Kerry-John Edwards presidential campaign, during which the candidates incessantly railed Bush for failing to provide "port security."

There is no finer an example of how the Democratic Party really works than Joe Biden, one of many Washington officials who met with the Pakistan ISI Chief (and Al-Qaeda-ISI-US go-between) Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad before and on 9/11 (and has not addressed or clarified what happened in these meetings). Biden, a leading advocate of "bombing the hell" out of Afghanistan, and a supporter of US force in the Middle East is among many Democrats calling for an "investigation" of the port deal with "our Arab friends."

A cynical view goes like this: the Democrats probably have no real problem with the UAE (a key Middle East "war on terrorism" ally, and major oil supplier). They probably have no real problem with DP World, or even the idea of outsourcing US ports. They certainly could not have any real issues about foreign investment in the US (a staple of multinational globalization). What they are doing is playing political football with "terrorism," in an election year. In other words, in exchange for a deal, and a piece of the action ("congressional involvement"), the Democratic faction will likely stop barking.

Anti-Iran Propaganda

Another red flag is the propaganda linking of the Dubai/port story to Iran, in preparation for future military hostilities with "terrorist nation" Iran.

Mainstream media has been quick to note that Pakistani nuclear terrorist A.Q. Khan met with Iranian officials in Dubai (a major transshipment point). Watch for the Iran-"terror" connections to become increasingly prominent as the Middle East crisis worsens.

Business and Treason as Usual for the Empire

Those who are railing about the administration's apparent hypocrisy (such as Paul Krugman) and the many groups pointing out how the entire reaction has been violently racist (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of New York, Arab American Institute, etc.) are correct. But they miss the larger points.

In defending the deal, Bush combatively warned, "After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward. 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 Great British company." Bush may have unintentionally told the truth.

The DP World deal is, on the surface, no different than untold numbers of transactions that take place on a daily basis at the highest levels of power, where morals and ethics are selective or moot, and laws have little or no bearing.

The fact that the United States does business with criminals, and nations with real and alleged ties to "terrorism" (of which the United Arab Emirates is just one of many) is thoroughly unremarkable. It's the norm in a world economy that is built upon the maintenance, control and guided use of criminal money flows. Enron, AIG, the Carlyle Group, and Halliburton are not atypical examples.

A glance at the board of directors of any typical Fortune 500 company is all that is required to understand how business is really done, and the members of the New World Order who really run things. For example, the financial ties between the Saudi royal family and Wall Street is in the billions. Saudi Prince Alaweed is the largest single shareholder of Citigroup, where he sits atop its board alongside former CIA director John Deutch and Roberto Hernandez, who has been exposed as one of the largest drug money launderers in the Western hemisphere.

Contrary to news analysis praising his "nuanced diplomacy" (he isn't capable of that), Bush actually told the truth about how US elites, like his own ruthless family, do business. And it has nothing to do with "security," justice, or legality. At that level, such concepts are just that: jokes.

The UAE, Oil, and Geostrategy

How the DP World/port story highlights the reality of world energy depletion, Peak Oil and Gas, is both obvious and unaddressed.

An overture to the United Arab Emirates is no surprise. The relationship between the US and the UAE is longstanding -- with unquestioned bipartisan support in Washington. It is a major oil supplier and home to some 8 percent of the world oil supply, a key Middle East geostrategic political ally, a major donor to Bush. A strategy involving the UAE is a component of the still-secret Dick Cheney Energy Task Force.

It is also a nexus for money laundering, and it is linked (in both real and bogus ways) to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. A series of reports in 2001, by Le Figaro, Radio France International, and the Guardian, placed Osama bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July of 2001, where he met with two CIA officers as well as members of the Saudi royal family, and Prince Turki, the head of Saudi intelligence.

The Bush administration cannot and will not offend any "friendly" government that serves key functions. Seen through the eyes of a Bush regime that knows that the jig is up, a major deal for US ports, the outsourcing of chunks of the US homeland, is a small price to pay to maintain its relationship with the UAE.

DP World itself is, on paper, a purely commercial enterprise, with the UAE government having no involvement in day-to-day operations.

If DP World does not get a free pass, the upcoming congressional "hearings" may still result in a negotiated deal, after the Democrats are done batting the political football around for show. DP World has hired the despicable Bob Dole to plead its case in Congress.

Potential for False Flag Operation

If there is a possible hidden agenda exposed by the DP World story, it is in the potential for US ports to be used as part of a false flag operation, or a "new 9/11," with "failed port security" serving as a component.

The false flag operation is one in which the perpetrator supplies its own enemy. Nothing better exemplifies this type of event than 9/11. False flag operations have also been the staple of post-9/11, from the Bali bombings to Madrid to London 7/7, likely orchestrated by Anglo-American intelligence, and blamed on "Arab terrorists."

In blasting the administration, Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), asked, "Is there not one agency in this government that believes this takeover could affect the national security of the United States?" Not in the way he suggests, and only under certain conditions.

The threat is not, as the shrill Democrats deceptively or stupidly insist, a potential exterior attack delivered by "Arabs," but another interior operation planned from within Washington, with bipartisan support.

This returns us to the central issue: that the 9/11 event was not an "outside" attack, and that the "war on terrorism" is a fabrication. There is more than ample documentation that al-Qaeda, and "Islamic terrorism" are creations of the CIA, and that these "terrorists" function as guided US military intelligence assets and propaganda vehicles in false flag operations, the largest of which was 9/11.

As Mike Ruppert notes in Crossing the Rubicon, "the movements and activities of Osama bin Laden and his family are desired outcomes, rather than the effects of collective stupidity." Any real or imagined "terror" event, including any discussion of the port controversy, must be viewed from this perspective. All of the propaganda smoke must be brushed aside.

Who Actually Runs Port Security?

What much of the mainstream coverage of the port controversy downplays, or entirely ignores, is the fact that companies that own and manage US ports have no control over security issues at US ports. DPW and the United Arab Emirates would, therefore, have no control over security. Who does?

In fact, US port security is managed by US Homeland Security, and the office of Michael Chertoff, in conjunction with the Coast Guard, local police and US Customs. In other words, the Bush administration is ultimately in charge of the ports.

What about the vaunted Committee on Foreign Investment charged with oversight? Members of Congress are calling on this body to do something. It is a multi-agency arm of the Bush administration, headed by the US Treasury Department, with chairmanship shared with, among others, the Secretaries of State (Condoleeza Rice), Defense (Rumsfeld), Commerce (Carlos Guiterrez), the Attorney General (Alberto Gonzales) and the Department of Homeland Security (Chertoff). In other words, the Bush administration is also in charge of managing and monitoring foreign investment in the US.

If there is a genuine threat, it will come from the wolves guarding the hen house -- the Bush administration. Having the ports operated by Dubai, but with security controlled by Homeland Security, is an ideal arrangement that ensures control for a false flag operation, as well as a convenient built-in scapegoat -- "Arab terrorists running our ports."

It is interesting to speculate about the possibility that a planned false flag operation, perhaps involving these specific DPW-designated ports is, or was, in the works. Perhaps the entire controversy we are witnessing now is fallout from this operation being blown, for whatever reason, at inception. But this is pure speculation.
While the actual details of the port deal have not been revealed, and there is currently no evidence supporting any "terrorism" scenario, the ongoing threat posed by the desperate Bush cabal, as well as increasingly strident neoliberals and Democrats, must be understood clearly -- distractions, political smoke, and propaganda notwithstanding.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Posted by: che | February 25, 2006 03:42 AM

Wow. It is indeed 21 American ports set to fall under UAE influence if this deal goes through. Here's the link to the story the other debater mentioned:

http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20060223-051657-4981r

Outrageous. However, be it 21 or 6 ports, this port deal is wrong either way. It's just even worse now that we see it to be of a wider scope than originally stated. So typical of politicians to downplay the scope of their scandals. The scope of the warrantless domestic surveillance is probably greater than Bush has made it out to be as well. Notice how we're also being sheltered from the full scope of civil war in Iraq.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:45 AM

You gotta love the bush administration and the republicans! The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee unveiled draft legislation today that would create a temporary guest worker program that could allow hundreds of thousands of foreigners to fill vacant jobs in the United States for periods of up to six years. (maybe they could work at the ports?)

The draft circulated by Senator Arlen Specter would also authorize millions of illegal immigrants who arrived in this country before Jan. 4, 2004 to remain here indefinitely, along with their spouses and children.

This administration 'brags' about our economy and that our unemployment rate is "only 3%". As of today, the U.S. population is 298,181,759.

Does anybody have a calculator??

Posted by: Mark | February 25, 2006 03:48 AM

People are accused of being 'unpatriotic' if they are against the war in Iraq. People are accused of being 'xenophobic' if they don't like the UAE ports sale. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Posted by: | February 25, 2006 04:08 AM

For the president, his administration's lenience toward the Emirates recalls the unpleasant history of Harken Energy, the loser oil exploration firm that provided him with a handsome profit when he unloaded his shares during the summer of 1990. Years earlier, Harken had been rescued from bankruptcy by timely investments of millions of dollars from the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International, also known as the "bank of crooks and criminals." Although dominated by Saudi friends of Dubya's dad, BCCI was headquartered in the Emirates, specifically in Abu Dhabi. That may seem like old history, but the first family's intimate connection with the UAE royals has continued without rupture over the past two decades.

Posted by: Jerry | February 25, 2006 04:19 AM

Sure... we should be fixing the holes. But there are always holes. That's why people do break out of maximum security prisons, and that's why computers do get viruses. You may call it pessimism, or you may call it security, but it's safest to plan for the worst-case scenario. There are two weak links in this chain... the holes themselves, and the exposure of the holes. We should address both. Krauthammer is right to mention the risks inherent in the exposure.

Posted by: Joe | February 25, 2006 04:33 AM

From an administration that assured us that war on Iraq would be paid for out of oil revenues, that only a few spots of resistance remained (2003, 2004, 2005), that does not include the costs of war in the budget, that hides the costs of prescription coverage under medicare by threatening its own employees with firing if they reveal truths, that blatantly favors its friends and appoints incompetent ones to oversee emergency measures, that has no qualms about deceiving the public to achieve its ends, why would anyone with any slightest consciousness of the everyday functions of this administration trust it to make a good arrangement in the case of the ports?

Posted by: Ruth | February 25, 2006 05:15 AM

For this debate I have three points:

1. What's wrong with an American company managing the ports, why does it have to be foreign? Have we become a country so inept at doing anything big that we have to look to foreign nations to do it for us?

2. The President stated he was unaware of the depth of this aggreement but then went on to say he supports it. Doesn't this amount to asleep at the wheel? Is he really selling American's national security?

3. This is politics getting in the way of common sense. It's not that anyone is anti-Arab, it's that an Arab nation is more likely than not to be infiltrated or more open to being permeated by terrorist organizations. To simply say that those who oppose this are anti-Arab holds absolutly nothing - but is a staple argument by most liberals against most conservative positions. The ports of the United States of America are about to be handed to a state-owned company that is from a region more likely than not to support, facilitate, motivate, and inherit terrorism.

I ask you this: If Iran wanted to manage a U.S. port would you support it? What about Syria, Libya, or Cuba even? Dubai is a Middle Eastern country. We are at war in the Middle East. Middle Eastern nations, scholars, religous clerics, leaders, and people have openly stated they want death to America. If you put Dubai in control of our ports it's only a matter of time before they become a magnet for terrorists seeking to use it as a hole in our national security.

Posted by: Jonathan P. | February 25, 2006 07:17 AM


otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

February 23, 2006 -- Add two more U.S. ports to Bush-Dubai deal. In addition to the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia-Camden, Balitmore, Miami, and New Orleans being taken over by Dubai Ports World, add two military contracts that are held by the company -- Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O Co.) that has been purchased by the Dubai firm. The two contracts, let by the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, provide stevedoring [loading and unloading] of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through 2010. Almost half of the U.S. Army's sea cargo for Iraqi operations is handled by the two ports.

Military cargo operations in Beaumont and Corpus Christi (above) also go to Dubai Ports World under Bush deal.

Posted by: che | February 25, 2006 07:26 AM

Ports and shipping run on petroleum. ME has it in abundance and we don't.

The issue that frames 'who gets to do ports management' is the broader issue of America's seemingly irreversible commitment to globalism. [I don't remember voting on that one.] And, of course, globalism is enabled by petroleum which will not always be economically available.

The greater security risk and prime source of American vulnerability is globalism, not ports management which (once we have leapt into globalism as a grand strategy) is a technicality.

When Dubai runs the ports, and something goes wrong, it will be convenient for politicians to shift the blame to them, rather than assigning it to the more basic impending threat, excessive globalism and dependence on oil to run that system.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 25, 2006 07:52 AM

The universe is made of information.

We don't trust the Bush Government to do a good job.

When W told Brownie he was doing a "heck of a job" W was telling the truth.

............

Posted by: Marty McFly | February 25, 2006 08:56 AM

"Military cargo operations in Beaumont and Corpus Christi (above) also go to Dubai Ports World under Bush deal."

This is correct. They will have cargo manifests and shipping records of at least two of our military ports supporting the wars in Iraq and AFghanistan.

No national security concerns here. Nothing to see folks. Security is only about Customs and radiation detectors. Just keep moving on.....

I wish I could be as confident as ErrinF. From what I've seen with, for example, the 9-11 report, renewal of the Patriot Act, hearings into domestic spying, and now port security, the BA will hunker down until the public cools off, put lipstick on this port deal, and tell gullible Amaerican public it is no longer a pig. And they will get away with it so long as Americans continue to allow themselves to be seduced by lipstick and blinded by gay marriage/adoption.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 25, 2006 09:57 AM

Reading all of you expert commentators has been fun!
Let's all face facts:

The United States has become a third world country. We export our natural resources (lumber, iron ore, etc.), and import foreign made goods.

We have no compamies that can manage our ports, so we need to have the Brits or UAE do it for us.

Thank God, I am close to death!

Posted by: Captain Crab | February 25, 2006 10:06 AM

The territorial pissings in Iraq war are over, Iran Won! Israel Lost! USA! USA! USA!

It's been 1,622 days since GWB said he'd catch UBL 'Dead or Alive!'

Posted by: UBL - RIP | February 25, 2006 10:20 AM

How very interesting all of this is. Having created this era of hysteria over the treat of terrorism since the 9-11 attacks, Bush and the republicans have now become victims of their own making, hoisted as it were on a petard of their own manufacture.

Most of us out here are not sufficiently schooled to make any sort of educated guess about whether this is a good thing for us or a bad thing for us. But one thing is certain: Americans are suddenly awakening to the fact that their government--their President and their Congress-- has for too long been engaging in secret, back room financial deals that that are proving every day not to be in our own national interests.

As one columnist put it, we had better get used to this situation because we are now so heavily in debt to the rest of the worldthat our national parks will likely be the next thing to be purchased by some foreign country. It is not Dubai or Britain who is at fault here. They are simply playing by the global rules that our own leaders has been pressing upon us for years.

If I had one piece of sage counsel for the American people, it would be this: You asked for this. You voted for this every single time you allowed yourself to get carried away with all of that trivial, irrelevant hoopla about abortion, prayer in the schools, gay marriage, John Kerry's war medals, and a bevy of other so-called "cultural" issues designed to keep your ADD-addled minds off the big stuff they were doing. You brought this on yourselves everytime you allowed yourself to be dazzled by the low prices of imported junk being peddled at the new Walmart Superstore just around the block.

You can't just blame the muddleheaded yahoo in the White House for all of this. You should have been thinking instead of reacting to all of those Swiftboat Veteran's for Truth television ads when you punched the card on November 2, 2004.

Posted by: Jaxas | February 25, 2006 10:37 AM

Jaxas:

Excellent!

Posted by: Captain Crab | February 25, 2006 10:50 AM

The election was hacked man.
W and his like are Criminals and need to be put in jail.

Posted by: Impeachical | February 25, 2006 10:50 AM

Toshiba has already sold us out once before - to our enemies, the Soviets -

http://www.japanlaw.info/lawletter/april87/fdf.htm

Above, the president of Toshiba Machine. MITI and the Chairman the Japan Machine Tool Industry Association, in knee-jerk reactions all called American charges trumped up. Later after employees of Toshiba Machine admitted installing the devices in Soviet shipyards, two presidents and one chairman in the Toshiba group had resigned and Prime Minister Nakasone had claimed that Toshiba had betrayed Japan, the government of Japan has prepared new legislation to be implemented to make certain that "what didn't happen" never happens again. Nevertheless, one of the leading business experts an Japan, Professor Gregory Clark (not an American, but an Australian), has called the new measures totally inadequate. Under the new legislation, if Toshiba were to do the same thing again, i.e. make a $17 million sale to the Soviets and inflicting $30 billion in damages to American security, the company would be subjected to a fine of 2 million yen ($14,000).

Gregory Clark, an American (sic) professor of sociology and international business at Tokyo's Sophia University, dismissed the government's penalties on Toshiba Machine and the other companies as mere "slaps on the wrist"...The more than 50 Japanese trading companies competing in the Soviet Union "are vulnerable to suggestions they will get favorable treatment if they cooperate with Soviet authorities." Mr. Clark said. "They are all jockeying for the same market, he added, and the pressure to cooperate is overwhelming." To deter wrongdoing, Mr. Clark said, far stiffer penalties are necessary. THE ASIAN WALL STREET JOURNAL 7/20/87. p.7.

This problem arose in March of this year, when the US Defense Department pointed out that machine tools of Toshiba Machine have been used to improve the efficiency of Soviet submarines. The president of Toshiba Machine defiantly replied, "When we received these charges before, it was found that we were innocent. All exports receive the approval of MITI. There was no violation of COCOM. Why are they bringing this up now? MITI also took the position that "There was no violation. The case is closed." But now the company is being prosecuted by MITI itself. There is a great deal of mystery surrounding what happened between March and now...The chairman of the Japan Machine Tool Industry Association charged that "what has brought this problem back is the deterioration of relations between the US and Japan." This investigation is "a human sacrifice due to American pressure. It is a false charge." NIKKEI SANGYO. 5/1/87, p.10.

Posted by: Aurence | February 25, 2006 10:58 AM

NOW GWB CLAIMS IGNORANCE OF THE ARAB PORT WATCH DEAL AND YET HE WAS GOING TO FORCE IT DOWN THE AMERICAN'S FOR FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER.
WE NEED TO RELEASE GWB OF THE REMAINING
WHITE HOUSE OBLIGATIONS FOR THE REST OF HIS REMAING TERM WHICH INCLUDES D.C.
RUMMY, C.R. AND ALL THE REST OF THE CORRUPT
REPUBLICANS.

Posted by: Concerned American | February 25, 2006 11:01 AM

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/New_York_Times_backtracks_after_declaring_0224.html

I'm just saying, nyt pulls punches far more than washpost. you can not tell me they are _more_ liberal. washpost is still the most liberal widely circulated daily. you should be happy about that since 'liberal' translates to 'factual' in the present climate.

>>>

on topic...

uae is a collection of sheiks, some are helpful to our nat'l security interests (financial) - many continue to fund terrorists. like most of the middle east, they function on a clan-based system. they've had some nasty shoot outs on the way to unity, godfather style.

a deal with uae is a deal with all of them, not just the cooperative ones. ergo, funding those who want to blow us up and giving friends of a jihadist access to things we would rather they didn't have access to.

we should take a queue from mosadeq and take control of our own sh!t back. maybe then iran will overthrow the president and put prince charles back in power. bizarro world!

>>>

btw, you people are all too cranky. history will show that bush saved us from ourselves and delivered us to the caring hands of the almighty military/intelligence/policy-industrial complexi. praise be onto Ratheon, the only licensed re-seller of NSA software to the general public! because making money is more important than protecting our technology.

yeah...ha!

Posted by: coffee house king | February 25, 2006 11:10 AM

"Patriot" 1957 sez: "And finally, why haven't we secured our ports? What I read on this blog is that its too hard, too expensive, or that the terrorists would just find another way. (So, go ahead sleep with your door unlocked tonight to save the burglars the trouble of finding another way into your house).

Steven Flynn says we could secure our ports for the cost of 3 days fighting in Iraq and two fighter jets."

*Sigh*

If nothing else comes out of this or the US gets tossed out of friendly ME countries and the usual fingerpointing starts, at least the ignorant American public will get a rudimentary idea how shipping works.

The major security is at point of origin. That is where high-bonded shipping agents take goods from reputable companies they have established relationships with and assemble them into certified shipping manifests. The goods are inspected while being loaded and checked against the declared manifest because the logistics of unpacking then repacking each shipping container at Port of entry would be enormously time consuming, labor-intensive, and very expensive. That would also require construction and staffing of a huge number of new "Inspection Warehouses" at each Port where min wage TSA-type Federal drones under the oversight of real, highly trained Customs Inspectors and Coasties would vie with massively overpaid longshoremen to see who could pilfer the most stuff from containers when the seal was broken.

There are solid reasons why we don't do this...

We don't check every Chinese container headed to Walmart because we random sample to keep them honest about declared goods packed in Harbin, Shanghai, and a dozen other Ports where the manifests are assembled...and possess the ability to royally fuck the Chinese or the shippers if we crack a container and find it's full of AK-47s for sale to gangs, or full of China White heroin.

Same deal with Arab oil tankers or transhipped containers originating on a particular ship from where resorting from other ships happens at Suez, Dubai, the Muslim Ports along the Straights of Malacca as containers are transferred and new manifests are made.

China, the friendly Muslim nations so critical to shipping security have a huge national stake in ensuring nothing goes wrong that threatens their livelihoods through shipping dangerous contraband. The example of what happens when a nation fucks up their port of origin and shipping resonsibilities is N Korea, notorious for drug and weapons smuggling. They are shadowed by warships on the high seas and barred from most ports.

"Patriot" (snicker..) quotes Steven Flynn as saying securing our Ports would be a simple little cost. .....Actually, "Patriot" misquotes the guy, a retired CG Commander...who said we need to go from 5% up to maybe 10% inspection and what Flynn is saying is not literally unpacking containers at 10% but giving 10% some form of scrutiny like checking a container to verify it came from a certified shipping agent by phone more often. Flynn NEVER said the cost of two fighter jets (50-70 million) would SECURE our Ports, but the additional outlay would be cost effective if we got to 10% of giving some form of scrutiny and "BETTER SECURE" our Ports.

Flynn would also be among the first, if he hasn't been interviewed on DPW yet, to admit it makes little difference if the receiving shipper is Hutchinson-Whampoa, Damarsk, Americans working for now-foreign-owned Sealand, or DPW, or if we want to "go native" and force the biz to Halliburton, as some Democrats now demand.

Flynn is actually far bigger on beefing up the security of the overseas Ports of origin. That is where goods can best be run through radiation detectors before being covered in tons of other goods and the steel shipping container before the manifest seals are applied. And the overseas ports are where the host nation has the opportunity to best do internal security scrutiny of possible terrorists infiltrating the yard or of businesses possibly playing ball with the terorists, and where the labor costs are best placed of ensuring cargo is clean....not made a US taxpayer liability. This means that we want local people aware of local terror threats to screen Port employees and provide local security over the manifest, to do the labor to ensure a cargo assembled in say Istanbul, is certified clean in Istanbul.

Security works in layers. Most of those layers are best done overseas. And not just defense, but taking the fight to the Islamoids and their sympathizers.

Better a fully staffed Turkish internal security force tracks terror threats in Turkey to the shipping industry that would massively damage Turk's economy if they lost global trust by letting terrorists succeed - than an FBI agent in Denver. Better the shipping agent there absorbs the security costs of certifying his manifest is clean than foist the costs on the US taxpayer.

And aside from the point about DPW being outside any US Port security, the folly of insisting on not bothering on putting most effort into country of origin is obvious. If our security effort begins at the border under the Halliburton management that generally ignorant Americans want, especially the Hate-America Left and the xenophobic conservatives...What would the American ignoramus want?

1. Halliburton ownening the operating lease.
2. American longshoremen handling all cargo we don't want secured at the other end of the ocean. They would like the extra work that 100% inspection would give.
3. A legion of several thousand bossy, imperious slack-jawed minimum wage McDonald rejects in their stretch fit polyester Homeland Security outfits while Federal free day care is available for their chilluns'. Waiting for the Coastie or Customs agent to order the removal and repacking of 100% of each containers items, while a shipping agent verifies manifest items and watches the min-wagers don't pilfer the goods.
4. A 2-3% Federal tax is placed on all goods for the costs of the "Federal inspectors" and the real security people that need to watch them like hawks (same setup as the TSA screeners).

Sound like a Lefty's wet dream?

More like a terrorist's wet dream.

Because why would a terrorist want to try and smuggle a WMD cargo past an All-American owned port or the thousands of simians in polyester? They are already inside a perfect target for a nuke when the ship hasn't even docked yet - center harbor in a crowded American city. Good release point for a shipping container full of nerve gas or anthrax spores as well, at least from an Islamoid perspective...

Unless, of course, they really wish to bypass NYC as a target because they have such a hard-on to take out Albany or Montpelier Vermont...with the same situation at 20 other major ports..In that case, the multi-billions spent on Simian Americans in Polyester and insisting on Halliburton makes perfect sense..

Non-ignorant Americans on the other hand, understand that the major security effort must be made where the terrorists work and plot.....and also understand that part of security is offense (find, kill, interrogate Islamoids + deter wannabes) and the willingness to club the living shit out of any country that lets terrorists work plots, penetrate air or sea transport systems, or seek obtaining WMD in a safe haven.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 25, 2006 11:18 AM

The best reason for oposing the ports deal is that it will hurt Bush. Right now nothing is more important than immobilizing this dangerous president who has brought us to the brink of disaster abroad and at home. Get Bush! That should be the message.

Posted by: candide | February 25, 2006 11:23 AM

Way to go Jaxas

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 25, 2006 12:11 PM

Pros:

1) It would create stronger business partnership ties with a ME country, fostering better relations.

2) A state-related business brings to the front responsibility at the state level.

3) It has created discussion of the vulnerability of our ports, the procurement processes that involve our government, and our own unwillingness to pursue these businesses at competitive levels.

4) It has brought out hidden prejudices present in the minds of liberals and lefties :)

Cons:

1) As Charles Krauthammer correctly points out, we should spend much time and effort to ensure all the holes are plugged, which would involve our money.

2) Over time, years from now, sloppy and careless handling of things related to 1) above will creep in (potential invaders are patient types).

3) It may come to the point that we must clobber the crap out of them when they screw up.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 12:19 PM

Over the long run, I'm probably more worried about a Chinese company under Chinese management running Long Beach than I am with an Arab company with deep British-management roots running east coast ports. I guess the Chinese were more savvy about American politics and made sure the right people got paid-off before announcing the deal.

Posted by: George | February 25, 2006 12:26 PM

he worked it because he could....

that's the point.


HE IS NOT homophobic, really-christian, anti-abortion...or afraid of the terrorists...he are the terrorists...

sheeple are the problem.


he's a wolf that is surprised that you have a problem with that...you've never had any before...

that's the point.

listen closely:

he joined the National Guard so he didn't have to go to war and risk getting his ass shot off.....


He sent the National Guard overseas, knowing full well that most people join because they are closet pacifists, and the historical reason for the creation of the National Guard is to work _at-home_ not overseas...

he doesn't care about you, and never did, and he's getting a cut of whatever goes through those ports or one of his friends is....and cutting him a deal on something that they have....

where is all of the money that we're borrowing from China? Is it getting spent on education? Why is it all right to the American people that we go into debt to create rathskellers in the presidents hunting lodge?


Kerry, folded, took-a-dive, gave-it-to-em....


I'm no politician, I could kick gw bush's butt in a debate just by telling the truth...

this is about the public becoming exposed to the reality that on some level there's always been a royalty in congress, in government.

with the lack of expansion available to us as a nation in resources, land, what not....they want the same amount of money in excess of what they need and they are taking it from the citizens...

1. by outsourcing

2. by moving factories overseas without giving the americans an osmotic barrier trade-wise so our people have to accept increasingly 3rd world working conditions to keep their jobs while they lose their benefits....bob cratchitt, Dickens, muckrakers, child labor, labor laws, womens rights...return to the past...

3. cutting into your benefits as a citizen

4. selling federal land, your land

5. selling US whatever to the highest bidders, and taking your share of it and spending, not investing so it's liquidated and they need more to replace it...


a bit of history: muck rakers is a term that the wealthy had for those who wrote articles exposing them during _those-times_

now they are calling them _liberals_ and adding a sneer to make it more believable...


take them down,
and drag them through the streets...

Posted by: dear Jaxas.... | February 25, 2006 12:29 PM

lefties, righties...

labels are good for people that can't see to find their own ass, which is what they usually talk out of...


knock it off.

Posted by: simpletonian... | February 25, 2006 12:34 PM

My ass is magnificent and wise. It speaks the truth! Sometimes it does stink up the place.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 12:42 PM

This issue has nothing to do with George Bush, Republicans, or Democrats. It's against our national interest for a foreign government to manage our ports. Period. End of sentence. Those that want to make a partisan issue out of this are missing the point, as usual. Those who are ranting about liberals and lefties amid all this rant about liberals and lefties no matter what the situation. Those who are on their high horse lecturing the American public for buying into George Bush need to come off it. Why don't you lecture Al Gore, John Kerry, and the Democrats for failing to offer the American public a better alternative to Bush? YOU lose the election, then blame the American public? This port deal is a serious matter, and now is not the time to be sore losers over past elections. Besides, this is an election year, and the public will vote their minds on this issue regardless of your high horse lecturing.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 12:48 PM

has two sides:

when a consumer buys a product regardless of how well it's made, because it's got

_that label_


on it.


really speaks to someone that wants to puff up their self image by saying,


"that's me"


I'm as good as, as rich as, as brave as,

Calvin Klein, Clint Eastwood, Arnold

labeling is usually used to make sure something isn't examined on it's own merits....

and it can be used against someone, like the term used during the late 19th early 20th century to disparage a certain type of emergent journalism.

muck raker: a journalist that writes about child labor, womens right, the oppressed worker...

as a single example:
when children 10 years old were working in factories 13 hours a day...turn of the century, pickle factories, losing fingers in the process to the pickle brine....as an ordinary thing....


they were called muck-rakers by the riche, to stain them with a filthy-ness

because they exposed the results of their selfishness.


in case you wonder,


there is enough for everyone to have a high quality of life, education and ability to be socially acceptable, regardless of where they are now.


there are countries in existence right now that have 5 weeks of vacation for everyone, healthcare, good education, low crime rate....that includes everyone in the governing/living/receiving process...


there isn't a need for such selfishness, exclusivity, hidden business deals.....

it's bullshit...

Posted by: labeling.... | February 25, 2006 12:58 PM

Yes, this is about the whole crew ~ Bush, Rice, Rumsfield, Cheney, Libby ~ ad nauseum and their neocon view of the world. It accounts for U.S. jobs going overseas (cheap labor, big profits, low taxes for the U.S. corporations), our huge trade deficit with China (cheap imports and Walmart), and the billions of dollars of aid going to other countries while the gap widens in the U.S. between the haves and the have-nots. Maybe if they can keep us all too busy simply trying to 'make ends meet', we won't have time to notice what they're doing.

Posted by: Mark | February 25, 2006 12:58 PM

attack and argue like it's some kind of virtue...


telling the truth, seeing clearly, allowing yourself to see if you're not seeing something clearly, trying to find the best way to deal with something

are virtues

being defensiveness is a ploy,

it's called avoidance,

the intellectual that doesn't want to concede a point,

the cracker that doesn't want to see blacks as being human,

the child that doesn't want to admit that it stole the cookie....


defensiveness is a ploy to avoid "waking up"


I already said that Kerry took a dive,

it's called education.

Posted by: is that the only thing you can do | February 25, 2006 01:07 PM

Chris Ford-

One problem is that our "willingness to club the living shit out of any country that lets terrorists work plots" only extends so far. We are discussing a State-Owned shipping company deal with a country that has done precisely what you warn against more than once.

Dubai Banks (possibly state owned) let terrorist dollars filter to Al Qaeda.

The UAE still refuses to hand over half a dozen extradition requests for the United States. By the way, the people in question are not wanted in the United States for jay-walking.

They also watched as Khan used and abused their borders so that he could plan and execute, on UAE soil, an enormous black market nuclear proliferation deal that ultimately gave North Korea and Pakistan the Bomb (thank God Iran has not yet developed the bomb, though they were in Khan's pocket).

And it wasn't the "American-Loving" United Arab Emirates, or Dubai, who exposed Khan's deal (though they were certainly in an propitious position to do something about it), it was the Libyans, who admitted that Khan was helping them get the bomb as well.

The way that we excercise your proposed "offense" against the terrorist-complicit likes of UAE is to reward them with lucrative Port Management deals and defend their gentile sensibilities by calling their detracters xenophobes.

Talk about playing hard ball. Take that, King Fahd.

Posted by: Will | February 25, 2006 01:08 PM

Patriot1957, I wish you could be more confident too. Just what exactly does your defeatist attitude accomplish? The Bush Administration had to compromise their warrantless surveillance program by opening it up to Congress, and the program is still undergoing scrutiny (True, the Senate Intelligence Committee isn't going through with hearings, but the Judicial Committee headed by Arlen Specter is still moving forward with more). And the Patriot Act was only extended for 5 weeks! That's hardly some giant victory for the BA, patriot; Hardly worth the handwringing and worrying you're doing. Stop buying into Bush, Cheney, and Rove somehow being unstoppable villains that will always win in the end like some bad Hollywood script. You're buying in hook, line, and sinker to these paper tigers when you overblow them to be much more competent and fearsome than they actually are.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 01:18 PM

By the way, 1/4th of Dubai's population are Iranian citizens. HINT: the other 3/4ths are *not* from Canada and Iceland.

Posted by: Will | February 25, 2006 01:21 PM

Bush is fortunate that Dubai Ports World has given him at least a "temporary" out: the announcement that while it will go ahead with closing the deal, it will "not exercise control" over its new U.S. operations for the time being.

Posted by: Mark | February 25, 2006 01:25 PM

yeah, like Kerry is a neo-con...


anyone, that's not treating you like you matter

isn't interested in your welfare...


that's the label you ought to be using...


Kerry is as much the reason the bush family is kicking your ass as anyone...

he gave it to them....for something.


I worked in Washington DC for over 20 years, I was astounded by how much the world had moved backwards since I had been ensconced in an area where there are more college degrees per square inch than any other part of the United States....

the household income is about double to triple the national average and being out of work is hard to do....


living there


you'd have no idea what the rest of the country is going through...


that's what your congress does, it lives in an area seperate from "the real world"


where's the blue collar in DC?


there isn't any.


they are out of touch, and everyone else is working two jobs to make the same income as they used to make with one job....


they are also used to making deals, and getting paid back in deals.


the republican senator from Oklahoma that suggested that they take the money from the Alaskan Bridge to NoWhere and give it to New Orleans was voted down by 67 of the 80 sitting senators the day it was suggested because of "comity"

it's not just the NEOCONS, they're just the most obvious


the people in charge are working hardest on what helps them....


the only way that changes is if you call them on it.

not label.


they'll

just move the effin pea to a new sexier label and say, "that's us"


and "they" the old label suck...


that's the effin point...


learn to think, not label.


study this: doctor seuss, star bellied sneeches.

Posted by: neocons.... | February 25, 2006 01:36 PM

Anybody curious about how long the UAE has set their postponement of this port deal to be? INDEFINITELY. It is entirely dead in the water right now, with no timetable whatsoever for pushing it forward. Next week, more hearings and new legislation... UAE and the BA won't be able to take the firestorm for too long. The indefinitely postponed port deal will go from postponement to annullment in a matter of weeks.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 01:36 PM

It's time for our conservative media to push the abortion and gay issues now to get our focus off the Dubai Ports.

Posted by: Doug | February 25, 2006 01:55 PM

"The words of 'The Other Will' just go to show that many of those supporting this port deal are merely doing so because George Bush said so." ErrinF.

Nice try...I didn't take a position on the port deal, one way or the other. Let me re-state and try not to go moonbat on me. This deal didn't come out of Shangri-La...several agencies/committees worked it, vetted it and the recommendation was made. To blithely assume, as you and others here have repeatedly done on this issue (and others), that all of these folks don't know their collective ass from their elbow...and that you and your ilk do...proves the point I made -- you cannot be a credible player when your comments (cleverly cast BTW) belie that your opposition isn't about the ports, Iraq, WMD, quail hunting with BigTime, etc...it's about Bush. No matter how artful the spin you play or how many CNN and/or conspiracy links you offer, it's all the same...you can't help yourself. C'mon man...put it out there...

Posted by: The Other Will | February 25, 2006 02:00 PM

Errinf is trying really hard to hide it, but it still seeps out! Ha ha

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 02:04 PM

The Other Will, you're just a partisan ass stuck in Rush Limbaugh mode. You're making generic arguments against 'moonbats' that have nothing to do with the arguments I've made against this port deal. You prove my point that you are unable to look at this issue beyond George Bush.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 02:10 PM

Just like your penchant for violence always leaks out, johnnyg.
I hide nothing, old man. I certainly have never backed off from your cantankerous old ass. You're just nursing the same old wounds as before, johnny. Thanks for the laughs, as usual! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 02:13 PM

Why is it irrelevant, in a war against Arab and Islamic terrorists, to question the transfer of control of our East Coast ports from Britain to the United Arab Emirates?

Posted by: Jerry | February 25, 2006 02:16 PM

A little something for the 'cons' here, who certainly aren't pros:

February 21, 2006

The Honorable William H. Frist, M.D.
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Frist:
We thank you for joining the call of lawmakers who are gravely concerned about the Dubai Ports World deal. As you know, unless Congress acts, operations at six major U.S. ports, and other U.S. port facilities, will be turned over to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, on March 2. This sale will create an unacceptable risk to the security of our ports. We therefore request that emergency legislation we are introducing to ban foreign governments from controlling operations at our ports be slated for immediate consideration when the Senate convenes on February 27.
Dubai Ports World has announced plans to buy P&O Ports, the company that runs commercial operation at ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. The transaction was reviewed and approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a committee made up of representatives of different federal departments and agencies.
Since that approval, however, numerous questions have been raised about the quality of that review and the prospect of a company owned by a foreign government controlling operations at U.S. ports. Only 5 percent of containers that enter the United States through ports are actually inspected, despite repeated warnings by security experts that ports are a prime target for terrorist attacks.
The president has the authority to reverse or approve decisions made by CFIUS. However, in the absence of presidential intervention, the Senate must show leadership and act quickly. We urge you to bring up for debate legislation we are authoring to prevent sales of U.S. port operations to companies owned by foreign governments. This issue transcends philosophical posturing and partisan bickering - it is about our nation's security.
The Senate must act fast and show leadership on this issue because too much is at stake. We look to your leadership in assisting our efforts in making this legislation a priority.

Sincerely,
ROBERT MENENDEZ
United States Senator
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
United States Senator
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG
United States Senator
BARBARA BOXER
United States Senator

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 02:17 PM

trying to dismiss his penchant for texas salaami by saying you don't want him to have it....

con game.

Posted by: the other Will is subtlely labeling | February 25, 2006 02:17 PM

when in the process of discovery...


is what a used car salesman is tryin to rush a deal....


always walk away....

but first arrest the president and anyone working for him.....like the other will.

Posted by: COME ON SAY: yes or no... | February 25, 2006 02:20 PM

The U.S. CAN'T run the ports! We don't have the money! Maybe we could borrow more from China. Cost of America's War in Iraq:

$243,402,318,292

Posted by: Mark | February 25, 2006 02:20 PM

Errinf, take a look at the seal of the United States. In the eagle's right talon is an olive branch, and in his left a bundle of thirteen arrows. You can freely associate my "violent side" with the arrows, because I see this as symbolic of our defense.

You claim to be for diplomacy, but yet you cannot see anything good about this deal. Sure, there are reservations to be had, but it nevertheless is some form of an olive branch, and it should be presented along with arrows held in reserve.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 02:26 PM

The Bush administration is as incompetent in fighting terrorism as they were in dealing with Hurricane Katrina. In fact, their policies increase the risk of terrorism and the number of terrorists.

Posted by: Larry T | February 25, 2006 02:28 PM

What the Dubai port deal represents is the seedy, treacherous, greedy, cynical underside of the Bush dynasty. They are experts at playing the American public for suckers while they and the Republican Party -- which is really their Royal Treasury (along with private firms like Halliburton and the Carlyle Group) -- gorge themselves at the trough of big oil and multinational corporate sellouts.

The Dubai arrangement is perfectly reasonable to Bush: it's about the money. For the Bush Dynasty, money and corporate cronyism trump national security any old day.

Posted by: Tim | February 25, 2006 02:31 PM

The left's outrage about racial profiling goes out the window the minute partisans see an opportunity to bash Bush. Ditto all that high-minded rhetoric about the need for America to win friends among People of the Religion of Peace and snooty Frenchies constituting "The Ultimate Moral Force of the UN & the international community".

I don't believe politicians, closet racist/amoral partisan opportunist Leftist, or know-nothing Nativists have singled out Dubai Ports World simply because Dubai, like the US has a few citizens who are Islamoidish...If ties to terrorism were the issue, critics would have made a stink about P&O because convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid is a British citizen. Face it, Dubai is a target because it is Arab and Muslim.

It's only a matter of time before former Veep Al Gore denounces the Dubai deal -- even if he recently lashed out against the "terrible abuses" inflicted on Arabs in America after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when he was in Saudi Arabia, and despite his Jeddah pronouncement that, "The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States."

I wait on Noble Algore's pouncing on Bush with about the same delight as he got when he got his "whore for the Saudis" 180,000 dollars for denouncing America in Jeddad.

ErrinF - " It's against our national interest for a foreign government to manage our ports. Period. End of sentence."

Only a stupid Lefty Partisan like Errin fails to distnguish the loyalty of a "private" company like Wangsun Harbor Mgmt which runs a US West Coast terminal and also transports China military supplies free anytime their Party rulers tell them to, and "loyalty" concerns about DPW or a "STATE-OWNED!!!" German company managing a MidWest USA airport.

(Nor will solid Muslim allies we have in the struggle against radical Islam and the nations that mostly lean to favoring the US fail to note how America treats it's Muslim friends - especially when they know China gets the welcome wagon and worse, full knowledge that America openly allows state-owned Israeli defense firms to work TSA security contracts at US airports, US telecom security services, and allows Israeli-owned Carnival shipping to lease several Port Terminals in the USA. That dissing will be right in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan. Iraq, Indonesia, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, and in India's faces.)

Truth is that this just is another point where Americans have an oportunity to react to the Republican and Democrat elites of the Owner Class who maintain open borders, out of control immigration, gut American manufacturing and high tech jobs for Owner Class profit, and who have put us 2 trillion in the hole for foreign ownership of US currency, and who gleefully welcome the bit-by-bit selloff of sovereign American debtor assets to our foreign creditors now festooned with petrochem and Walmart dollars.

It didn't start with Bush. The corporate oligarchy began this decades ago and had folks like Clinton, Daschle, Tip O'Neill as their willing free trade/globalist whores, as well as Kissinger/BakerIII/BushI/BushII/Delay.

The elites do not want to allow the American public to set limits on immigration, trade, the export of industries and jobs. They are making a killing off cheap foreign labor, destruction of US production, and being the free trade middlemen.

The DPW reaction is ignorant, misplaced because China gets a pass while a truely friendly Arab nation essential to our defense and oil supply is falling victim to open Democratic closet racism and Know-Nothing Red State xenophobia - but given the growing anxiety of Americans that we are losing control to foreigners that are eating our lunch and out to mess our nation up in the long term - the DPW reaction is expected.

But the ignorance and stupidity of opportunistic politicians and media is not expected. Or, maybe it should be given their track record of pandering. Or failing to note how the tilt favoring Israel and China over Muslim allies will affect long-term relations with the Muslim world.

"Be friends with the US? What does that get you but America spitting in your face while they bend over backwards for Israel and their biggest rival, China. They hate Muslims and can never be trusted not to stab us..", might be a common Muslim reaction to the "anybody but Muslims" American reaction..

No Lefty is talking about tossing the Chinese out. Nor the Israelis. Nor the European state-owned firms. This is how Democrats really feel about Arabs once they get past bashing whom they see as their biggest threat, the Bush-Hitlerburton.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 25, 2006 02:47 PM

My idea of diplomacy is not handing off 21 ports (6 of them major ones like New York and New Orleans) to a foreign government. I am surprised any conservative is supporting a company ran by a government owning anything, let alone our port operations.
Also, I already posted the excerpt from George Washington's Farewell Address that basically says that undue favoritism in foreign alliances is of the detriment to all countries involved:

"A passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld."

I'd rather listen to the words of the Founding Fathers than creatively interpret the Seal Of The United States, johnnyg. Your idea of allowing the port deal is a bad one because it rests on your assumption that a threat backed by enough violence is all that it takes to insure our national security. It is not. Your faith in the almighty iron fist solving any and all problems is delusional.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 02:48 PM

cf, you're such a whiner...


asked to give up your labels you continue framing


all of reality into


right and wrong

left and right


how about what is going on as an event and let your framing be non-existent...


you're like archie bunker trying to learn how to parent...


you either ignore or hit the kid...

please, flexibility in thought

Posted by: Jeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzeee | February 25, 2006 02:57 PM

Right wing crackpot Chris Ford can't see this issue beyond his fanatical 'right vs. left' worldview. I'm not bothering much with your idiocy, Chris Ford, if you haven't noticed. This is the same old same old from you regardless of what the issue is. I've provided so many arguments against this port deal that has nothing to do with right, left, or George Bush. According to your logic, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, and the majority of the Republican party are 'lefties' when it comes to this.
You're just the Don Quixote of the Right, Chris Ford, chasing windmills while the rest of us are trying to seriously deal with the issues. You don't care if Osama bin Laden is caught. You don't care if our major port operations are controlled by a foreign government. You don't care about anything except your one-man war against the Phantom Lefty Menace. I'd tell you to shut it, but your fanatical diatribes always expose you as the twisted reactionary you are, so rant away, loser.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:01 PM

Dubai has little in the way of oil reserves, and are mainly a trading company. So Chris Ford is lying when he claims they are essential to our oil needs.
Democratic senators are introducing legislation banning any and all foreign governments owning US port operations, including Israel, China, and EU state-owned business. So Chris Ford is lying when he claims the left is being selective in what countries they bar from port ownership.
I could spend all day dissecting the lies of Chris Ford, but I have better things to do than deal with his constant attempts to distract and obfuscate any real debate beyond his Rush Limbaugh talking points.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:09 PM

establishment...

because with the simplicity of mindset that you all have with labeling...


his label would mean he wasn't...

that's as far as you'd look...

jesus wouldn't ask you to kill anyone for him, he'd do it himself if it needed doing...


jesus wouldn't be upset at someone taking his name in vain....he wouldn't be so effin petty...


he'd be addressing facts and taking a "reporting" perspective....no spin.

Posted by: the best place for satan would be as a leader of the christian church | February 25, 2006 03:11 PM

Small typo: I meant Dubai was a trading country, not a trading company. The Emirate of Dubai makes most of it's money through trade through it's ports, not from oil.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:12 PM

not their words...

by their works.

Posted by: by their actions | February 25, 2006 03:14 PM

I have read many boards on both sides of the fence today. I have read the words of people who say they are from UAE, Dubai, Iran. I have read the interchange between these people and others who identify themselves as Americans.

I believe the problem is a cultural one.

Think of it as two diverse companies, once competitors, being force to mere to a common culture, but everyone is vivying for control, so no one is in-charge.

The result is confusion.

We must take a moment to realize what we must do.

We should pause and reflect as to what is the right course.

We then need agreement as to shared values so that we can interact and cooperate with trust.

There is no trust currently.

Anything could happen just because of that.

Posted by: IB | February 25, 2006 03:15 PM

agreement based upon lack of knowledge...


the american indians trusted as a show of faith...


it is better to understand who you are dealing with,


it has less to do with dubai


than dubya....


the president has shown himself unworthy of trust and should never have been allowed to lead...


certainly no one with his skillset has led previously


even Grant could understand what was in front of him without needing dad to tell him what to do...

Posted by: trust comes from knowledge, not | February 25, 2006 03:19 PM

Well said, IB. I bet that bloggers from the UAE are taken aback from Americans and our "don't tread on me" mentality in situations like these. I think the UAE has realized the scope of the unpopularity of this deal, and are now simply figuring out how to get out of it before this becomes a public relations nightmare for them. Ditto for the Bush Administration.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:21 PM

Therefore, I am currently opposed to the sale because if offers only one degree of separation between our respective completing cultures.

We should put this one off until everyone can approach the issues with cooler heads.

When the Jihad ends and there is Peace

Then we can talk.

Posted by: IB | February 25, 2006 03:24 PM

In a way, neoconservative foreign policy is bursting with explosive self-contradiction. It urges Washington to use its military power to establish a hegemonic position in the Middle East, while at the same time it calls for holding free elections that empower forces opposed to the American hegemon and its allies. In Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia, free voting has resulted in the election of political parties that are less than enthusiastic about American's goals. That free elections in the Middle East region, where hostility towards the United States is reaching the stratosphere, would bring to power illiberal and anti-American forces shouldn't surprise anyone.

Posted by: jude | February 25, 2006 03:29 PM

Errinf, the strawman maker, quotes GW:

"A passionate attachment of one Nation for another ..."

Is favoritism happening here? I did not see facts regarding how DPW actually was chosen over others, but was it absolutely favoritism based on a passionate attachment? Please provide relevant facts before quoting GW.

In any event, if it were possible for you to look at this deal in a practical way, you would realize that diplomacy does involve tradeoffs, and often requires planting seeds of trust. As Chris Ford asserts, why should anyone in the ME trust us after we spit in their face in response to their providing needed assistance?

It may turn out that my initial perceptions are wrong, but I will not jump to conclusions without knowing more of the specifics of this matter.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 03:30 PM

the looting of America, and the plundering of the citizens by the elite....


forget about getting tarbabied with cries of "left" "democrat" "republican" "airhead" "islamoid" "christian murderers" "israeli supporters"

why is it OK for the President and his families to cut deals that benefit him and his friends but leave the citizens paying the bill....like forking Montana over to China...while they create new abundance in their country homes with your 1 Trillion.

Bush Sr. is former head of CIA, Congressman before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 30 years on the case...

SUDDENLY
Under Bush Sr.:
it was April Gillespie, and NOT Ms Albright who went to Iraq, and with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union.
He invades Kuwait, we now have an official reason to be there....

so we established a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi...controlling events, giving the kuwiati's an army and getting a cut..


Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the brits. who ran dubai until '71 the brits.


TO Protect the Kuwaiti's:

We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and stop short of Bagdhad....you know why, we're going back...

and now we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait.

we put the country of Iraq in stasis with embargoes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...


we need to intervene....we in this case is the international riche, which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the Gawdfather on this on, or at least the gawdfathers visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry from being unhooked.

so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..


then Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loads of cash, right?

the museums were emptied right?

ha ha ha...

that's rich....and so is someone else, who?


the thing of it is,

we suckered, or Bush SR. did, Saddam Hussein into attacking Kuwait, so we could attack him, and become military occupiers...perhaps he's our Noriega...


this has a lot to do with INTERNATIONAL families of influence and affluence working together, as well as olde-style/kingdome politics as well as...


helping you to understand that it isn't all cowboy hats and honesty leading you...


it's all about cowboys/leaders herding the sheeple as they drive them to market to sell to the highest bidder....

Posted by: why we are here... | February 25, 2006 03:30 PM

in cash in the three tractor trailers...


was that Saddams ransome to the bushe family?

does someone in his family have a new lear jet?

how about 900 new lear jets?

Posted by: what did happen to that 9 billion... | February 25, 2006 03:34 PM

Johnnyg, I'm not your nurse, so it's not my job to explain how the port deal goes against the spirit of what George Washington was saying. Figure it out for yourself; You're just being contrarian, making your own straw man arguments while accusing others. You only made an effort to misconstrue Washington's words, nothing else. Hardly practical at all.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 03:37 PM

Reading the comments is amazing. This administration has spent since 911 telling the average Joe 6-pack that the world has changed since 911. A little spying on a citizen, it is for your safety. Torture, it is necessary because everything changed with 911. Everything changed! Be afraid! Trust us!

Now, Joe 6-pack is asked to ignore his own sensibilities that say it might not be a good idea to have someone from the UAI sitting in on managment meetings with the people responsible for port safty, and learning what the weaknesses and strategy for protection is... No, that is bad. Forget what we said except "Trust Us".

Oh, regarding the trust issue. Trust the people that told us there were WMD's in Iraq. Trust the people that told us it would be a cakewalk and their oil would pay for the war. Trust the people that re-organized FEMA. Trust, Yeah sure.

Thoughtful people can understand the subtle reasons for approving this deal. They may not agree, they may think the risks are more than the benefits when it comes to our country's security. But, they can understand.

But Joe 6-pack won't give a darn about subtle reasons. He can undersand this real good. Arabs from a country involved in 911 want to run our ports. NOT!

Bush may pull this out of the fire when all is said and done. But if he does, the Republicans will pay in November. Joe 6-pack may just stay home.

Posted by: JWC | February 25, 2006 04:05 PM

Right off the bat, in the first sentence, CF gets it wrong.

If any recent issue is not about the "Left" this is it. Objections are coming from all quarters. I can't wait for my next issue of American Conservative to see how they eviscerate Bush on this one.

And racial profiling applies to individuals, not companies owned by foreign governments. Good grief, Chris. Get a grip.

Posted by: johnuw93 | February 25, 2006 04:07 PM

Seems to me there has been little effort to explain this port deal being beneficial, and A LOT of effort made to quash any dissent from George Bush. This happens every issue Bush screws up (which he does constantly, that or Cheney's getting into hunting accidents). I've said for a while the right wing extremists are driving the conservative movement into the ground, and the conduct of many such reactionaries on this very issue proves my point.
Unlike Chris Ford who puts forth lies without any proof, I'm going to do the opposite and put forth proof without any lies. Here's a link to a recent poll showing beyond a doubt that only a small minority support this port deal, and that this is not a left/right issue:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/February%20Dailies/Dubai%20Ports.htm

Now watch Chris Ford discredit the real facts so he can put forth his distorted reality. He's so in his own world it's not funny.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 04:18 PM

21 ports are effected by this deal. Aren't all politics local? I wonder how many Congressional races are going to be locally effected by this port scandal. This entire port affair is a cancer on the presidency, and the GOP is going to pay for it big time when the electorate speaks it's mind come November.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 04:27 PM

JWC, I believe over 90% of American's "felt" that way, myself included, when this first surfaced in the media. Governor Ehrlich of MD publicly expressed his grave concerns a week or so ago, and has since backed off a little after being briefed on some details. I think it is a good thing this is being further investigated. However, it is clear that the Democrats and some Republicans are politicizing this before considering the facts they do not yet have.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 04:50 PM

Chris Ford writes:

"Non-ignorant Americans on the other hand, understand that the major security effort must be made where the terrorists work and plot.....and also understand that part of security is offense (find, kill, interrogate Islamoids + deter wannabes) and the willingness to club the living shit out of any country that lets terrorists work plots, penetrate air or sea transport systems, or seek obtaining WMD in a safe haven."

Find, kill, interrogate "Islamoids"? Do you mean whether they are terrorists or innocent civilians suffering collateral damage so to speak? Deter wannabes? Or do you mean create wannabes and provide them with opportunities for training in the battleground of Iraq?

If we are going to club the living shit out of any more countries we will either need to reinstate the draft or walk away from Iraq. Which do you prefer?

By interrogation do you refer to the creative methods used that have been artfully defined as not torture? When GWB, as the primary spokesperson for the United States of America talks about spreading the values of democracy, freedom and human rights throughout the Middle East, do you think people throughout the world believe in his and through him, the United States' credibility? This is what angers me the most about Bush and his inner circle. They want to use the method you allude to to fight the War on Terror. Almost assuredly that approach will not work when we throw our values out the window because they are inconvienient. We will end up in a centuries-long conflict where more innocent people will suffer than those that deserve it.

I'm not necessarily saying we shouldn't be active overseas, but we'd sure better learn to be smarter about it than we have been. Meanwhile we ought to pay a lot more attention to our points of entry. Of course there are many hurdles to overcome. I don't recall anybody suggesting a 100% check of cargo entering our ports, but we ought to be able to do better than 5%. Maybe we should follow the advice of Flynn and go to 10%. Maybe we develop a variety of security measures and checks of the containers - I don't have all the answers and nobody will in this blog, but one thing I do believe in is that our greatest asset as a country is our ingenuity. I believe we could, if we put our minds to it, develop procedures that could screen cargo entering this country much better than we do now. Not just the cargo but the means of access to the ports and their warehouses, docks, machinery, adjacent industries etc.

As for your well-researched discussion of what point in the process the majority of screening should take place, its all very interesting and probably valid to a point, but I'm still not convinced that those facts eliminates the need for us to tighten up things on our end as well. You write:

"Flynn is actually far bigger on beefing up the security of the overseas Ports of origin. That is where goods can best be run through radiation detectors before being covered in tons of other goods and the steel shipping container before the manifest seals are applied. And the overseas ports are where the host nation has the opportunity to best do internal security scrutiny of possible terrorists infiltrating the yard or of businesses possibly playing ball with the terorists, and where the labor costs are best placed of ensuring cargo is clean....not made a US taxpayer liability. This means that we want local people aware of local terror threats to screen Port employees and provide local security over the manifest, to do the labor to ensure a cargo assembled in say Istanbul, is certified clean in Istanbul."

It makes sense, but the problem I see with it is - How much control do we have over the operation of ports in other countries?

It seems to me that if so much of the screening takes place at point of origin, then there is a risk involved in loading that cargo, regardless of the procedures. Especially when the point of origin is in a country or controlled by a company that might have terrorist sympathies. Isn't there some liklihood that some pro-Al Qaeda faction could get control of critical aspects of any port's operations at a point of origin and figure a way to dupe the process and smuggle arms, parts of a weapon, bomb, lead packed nuclear material, chemical or biological agents? It might not be something that could be detonated in New York harbor. There are thousands of possibilities.

As you said security needs to be applied in layers. So I say look carefully at the loading at the point of origin, and find ways to increase the quantity and quality of screening at the point of destination using sampling techniques and/or technologies that result in higher confidence levels.

One last thing: I don't like to make too many assumptions, so before I assume I know what you are implying with some of your clever statements, please specifically explain what you mean by your references to "Simians in polyester". I'm not sure I like the sound of it, but I'll reserve judgement until you see fit to explain yourself.

Posted by: DK | February 25, 2006 05:01 PM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is trying to kill their ports being involved in this UAE deal. Are we to believe they are left wing politicians? Like most Americans, across all party lines, the Port Authority sees this port deal for the threat it is. Either by lawsuit or legislation, the port deal will not go through.
As for reactionaries like johnnyg suddenly denouncing national security being politicized, what a joke! I sure didn't hear a peep from them criticizing Karl Rove every time Rove made a speech essentially saying 'Attention all GOP: Politicize the HELL out of national security!'. This port scandal has exposed these Bush-blinded conservative clowns as a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to national security and playing politics with it. Spare us your sudden sense of moral outrage, you two-faced jokers! You'll gladly compromise national security issues for your own politicking, so don't even begin to pretend to denounce it now when it's politically expedient to you. Sheer hypocrisy. Idiots.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 05:15 PM

"Dr. Zira, I must caution you. Experimental brain surgery on these creatures is one thing, and I'm all in favor of it. But your behavior studies are another matter. To suggest that we can learn anything about the simian nature from a study of man is sheer nonsense. Why, man is a nuisance. He eats up his food supply in the forest, then migrates to our green belts and ravages our crops. The sooner he is exterminated, the better. It's a question of simian survival."

Posted by: Dr. Zaius | February 25, 2006 05:15 PM

Chris,
Thanks for the research on the grungy mechanics of container shipping. Its helpful, and it raises a number of specific questions I'll put to you when I get time to sort them out. In any case, I remain convinced, as I think you are, that port security depends in large part on security measures taken at the last point of origin ( to recognize intermediate point juggling).

As for your following post, I had to chuckle at your artful defense of an islamoid point of view. As I think I said some time ago, your willingness to acerbically point out hypocrisy knows no political, class, racial, or religious bounds; its wherever you see it. :o)

ErrinF,
It was good of you to post some of Washington's words from his Farewell Address, but I would also urge you to read it in its entirety, to take note of what he also said about the dangers of party and of faction, of narrow interests gaining too much sway in government (lobbyists anyone?). You might also consider the degree to which our policy with regard to Israel and the Palestinians perfectly fits what he explicitly outlined as the inherent danger of favoring one foreign nation over others, and the consequences he predicts from it. Consequences we see unfolding on a daily basis now. One thing you can say about our so-called "founding fathers", they were uncommonly thorough in thinking through their undertaking, taking account of all they knew of human history and all they knew of human nature. We should do so well.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 25, 2006 05:17 PM

"Idiots!"

Posted by: Napoleon Dynamite | February 25, 2006 05:22 PM

One of the 'experts' involved in the process of approving this port deal was none other than Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security. Just ask the people of New Orleans if they think Chertoff is an 'expert'. He certainly wasn't expert at much during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Michael Chertoff is an expert on port deals like Michael 'Brownie' Brown is an expert on running FEMA.
So much for the Bush-blinded and their talking point that we leave the port deal up to the 'experts' like Michael Chertoff and not to the common sense of the people. The American people have spoken on this issue, and they overwhelmingly do not support this port deal. I'll trust the will of the people anyday over so-called 'experts' that are part of an administration known for cronyism and incompetence.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 05:24 PM

Cayambe, I urge you to shut it. Get back to brownnosing Chris Ford and spare me the small-minded advice of a person I don't have one iota of respect for (i.e. you). Spouting nonsense about lobbyists and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with this port deal; You might have well typed in 'asdf' for your remarks about George Washington. Thanks for nothing, sucker. Next time I need a rube's advice, I'll ask you for it, Cayambe. Until then, shut it!

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 05:45 PM

Damn Erinnf, Cayambe made a good point. Our favor for Israel can easily be argued as an underlying cause for ME hatred of the US. I'm not sure that the UAE is near that category of favoritism.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 06:06 PM

We certainly must pay more attention to where the cargo is loaded and not put all our eggs in the leaky (gaping, actually) basket of security on our own ports. So why was the requested 2 billion for this voted down? (NOte my take on Flynn isn't that he gives green light to this takeover, but that he says we have much bigger fish to fry right now).
http://www.cfr.org/publication/9629/port_security_is_still_a_house_of_cards.html

Is my objection to this deal merely ignorance or xenophobia? If I keep reading with an open mind will I eventually be reassured? I am well aware of the statement that port security is supposed to lie in the hands of Customs/CoastGuard/Homeland security, etc. But the more I read the more I am convinced that securing the ports is not done in the absence of cooperation or out of the view of the port operator. Who tells Customs there is a ship coming in, and from where, and provides them a copy of the cargo manifest, and owns the crane that opens the container? Here is a quote from a port operator about their role in security. It does not reassure me that the port operator is divorced from the security process: "At the Port of Seattle, for example, SSA Marine, the biggest U.S.-owned terminal operator, uses an X-ray machine to screen all the containers that come in, said Bob Watters, the company's vice president. Customs agents, who are supposed to receive advance notice of the cargo on incoming ships, have the right to open any container and inspect the contents; such procedures are conducted on about 5 percent of all containers nationwide. "We also have overall security plans that we have to develop and have vetted by the U.S. Coast Guard," Watters said.

Critics voiced strong doubts about whether the existing procedures are commensurate with the threat. "There are not enough Customs and Border Protection inspectors at the nation's ports to handle the incoming traffic that we have now, and our guys at the ports are being told that they can't do any overtime," said Charles Showalter, president of the American Federation of Government Employees union, which represents officers who inspect ships. "That combination often results in uninspected ships being left unattended in port overnight." end of article citation

Here is the entire article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/21/AR2006022101924.html

I wonder, those security plans that Coast Guard has to vet - does the Coast Guard then supervise the way the port operator carries them out? Test them, inspect them? Or do they just have to file a plan on paper saying we require ID badges to get into the port area and have a few security cameras in strategic locations. We are being asked to decide without knowing this information.

No, the more I read the less I like it. A business run by a government with known terorist sympathies, who likely still funnels money to terrorists, and who is in a position to learn firsthand the weakness of our port inspection system and possibly mislead Customs about what to expect to be coming from where. Not OK.

I do not see how this deal could be made acceptable to me. Even if port security was truly divorced from the port operator, and even if all cargo was inspected at the port of origin, this deal would be using US dollars to further enrich a country that is funneling money back to terrorists and won't open up their banking to us to verify where the money goes. I don't need to pay for the bomb that blows up my nephew, thank you.

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 25, 2006 06:10 PM

From CNN:

The former head of the CIA's unit tracking terror leader Osama bin Laden joined in the criticism.

"The fact that you are putting a company in place that could already be infiltrated by al Qaeda is a silly thing to do," said Mike Scheuer, who headed the CIA unit until 1999.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/25/dems.radio.ap/

Posted by: Jeff | February 25, 2006 06:13 PM

Errin is quick to call others liars while her transparant lies make her the laughable one.

1. First and formost, her perpetual claim that she is not an America-hating, Bush-hating Lefty but a "progressive" is undermined by her constant use of Lefty rhetoric and talking points.

2. Errin likes to make inaccurate statements and accuse her critics of things that only exist in her sorry mind: "You don't care if our major port operations are controlled by a foreign government." How exactly when US law is followed, the operation is done by an American workforce and supervised by US Customs, Coasties, and Homeland Security is one terminal of many in one Port "Controlled by a foreign government" of investors back in China, Singapore, and Dubai???

3. "Dubai has little in the way of oil reserves, and are mainly a trading company. So Chris Ford is lying when he claims they are essential to our oil needs."

Dubai, along with Bahrain, hosts the US and UK ME Naval Fleet, essential to keeping the Persian Gulf open. They export 18.1 million barrels of oil/month on Dubai tankers, and are one of 6 key world centers for container ship resortment of cargo.

4. "Chris Ford, chasing windmills while the rest of us are trying to seriously deal with the issues. You don't care if Osama bin Laden is caught."

No, when you say anyone "doesn't care" about Binnie, you are doing what all hysterial, semi-deranged Lefties are wont to do - project their logic-less "feelings" onto others. Conservatives want Binnie, preferably hunted down and shot without trial so we can avoid the ACLU circus. Unlike you, we don't consider him the White Whale of paramount importance that will return the whole world to 9/10/01 happy bliss if he is gotten...And all Lefties that demand we stop all other efforts in the struggle with radical Islam sure shut up fast when told that we could get Binnie by taking tens of thousands of deaths, maybe more, in starting a major war by invading Pakistan. To my knowledge, no Lefty nag pissing and whining about "failure" to get Binnie has introduced a measure to declare war on Pakistan. Not a single pathetic Lefty in either the Senate Democrats or House side. The public knows the truth. Lefties whine but when called to commit our troops to die in getting him - squirt puddles of piss around their feet, and quickly say nevermind....Mother Sheehan says no!

5. "Democratic senators are introducing legislation banning any and all foreign governments owning US port operations, including Israel, China, and EU state-owned business. So Chris Ford is lying when he claims the left is being selective in what countries they bar from port ownership."

Oh, and Muslims will not be smart enough able to see through that little bit of racist Democrat/Know-nothing Republican window dressing??? When for 30+ years not a Democrat peep was made about state-owned, Communist "private" ventures of the Party elite, and bona-fide private companies from Singapore, Britain, China, Japan, Germany, Israel, France that owned airport security ventures, a piece of critical US telecom and internet operation, and of course the right to invest in an American-labor force operated Port terminal?? The legislation is another spit in friendly Muslim nations eyes. Not only are Muslims held below all other so-called allies or even rivals of the US, but we also count on them being so stupid
that they will be mollified on Democratic legislation that will never be carried out - (since it would go against the 2 trillion in foreign American asset holdings and 2 trillion in currency and likely trigger a stock market crash and sharp currency devaluation and a bunch of pissed-off Brits, Chinese, Israelis, Japanese, and other Asians and Euros on top of spat upon UAE, Iraqi, and Saudi citizens. Even the Democrats aren't that dumb. After they throw red meat to their yahoos, they are as fearful of voting on what could be a catostrophic diplomatic mistake as the Know-nothing rightwing yahoo's Republican Reps are.)

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 25, 2006 06:26 PM

"The way that we excercise your proposed "offense" against the terrorist-complicit likes of UAE is to reward them with lucrative Port Management deals and defend their gentile sensibilities by calling their detracters xenophobes.

Talk about playing hard ball. Take that, King Fahd.


Hey Will, that was good!

Politics certainly does make strange bedfellows. I couldn't have disagreed with you more on the cartoon thing, but couldn't agree with you more in this.

ErrinF, I don't think I'm being defeatist. I think I'm being a realist, and using the energy of my disgust to keep me motivated to effect change. But my disgust no longer rests with the BA alone. It now rests with the baa-rely thinking American public who will again believe gay adoption is more important that our shockingly lax port and border security and suicidal foreign policy. We are on the way to becoming a Christian Taliban.

I used to wonder, why didn't all those Jews just leave Germany? Now I get it - who would have believed where it would end up? Surely, any day now, the nation would come to its senses, no?

Emigration applications to Canada are at an all time high - those are the defeatists. I'll hold on in the place where my job and property and family and history are, fighting all the way. But I won't live in a Christian Taliban. So the flock better find a new shepard soon.

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 25, 2006 06:30 PM

it's not whether you can trust the UAE,
or the legality of the situation, or has it happened before....


what is going on is, "the sale" is inconsistent with what the administration has been spewing....


which is basically that we are at war with mad and crazy terroristas that are looking to destroy the United States.


If in fact you call the Bush Administration and current sitting congress terroristas....I'd agree with him...he knows what he's talkin about....


he's a friggin genius...

NOT


he forgot what he was trying to sell.

we are at "war"

It's about a MANUFACTURED THREAT,

that doesn't exist, BEING EXPOSED.


AGAIN:

we're supposed to be knee deep in a war on terror, that the president has "war powers" from, which means he doesn't need your approval...for what ever he wants to do including NSA Warrantless spyin'


This, is pretty simple:


Bush can't keep his story straight on his lies.

we're not at war, he's knows that there's no terrorist threat, he's the terrorist threat...he's manipulating cirmcustance to concoct a story that needs us intervening in Iraq, when what we're really doing is protecting _his_ , _HIS FAMILIES_, and his _Friends_ economic investments....


knock off the party rhetoric...it's not a Republican Democrat issue, it's a friendship amongst the elite issue coming to light.


no documents needing to track things,


that means george walker bush, and the people he represents trusts them...no matter what he's been selling _you_


that bullshit about, "no knowledge," Froomkin posts about them being warned some time in advance and wanting to rush it through without public scrutiny...


republicans/democrats ~= riche people skinning the other 97% and selling their children into slavery at Walmart...


let go of mommy and daddy caring about you, and take over your own countries government....arrest the traitors.


It's not about terrorism, or a threat we're facing, it's about being lied to in order to manipulate a situation that he created with dad's help....as everyone knows he ain't thet smaht.....take him out, put him and his family in an orange jump suit and go visit the donated lands of the old plantation...that will become part of the National Park Service, along with Unca Dick's holdings...


see if you can bury that.

Posted by: It's nice that you're all switching to whether there's any danger or not... | February 25, 2006 06:43 PM

You got to know when to hold 'em.

Not those, the ports!

Posted by: Kenny | February 25, 2006 06:49 PM

re Dubai: When your crazy aunt wants to you to write a big fat check to a stranger, it's proper to investigate it before you drop her envelope into the mail, though you want very much to believe she's not ALWAYS unbalanced. The problem with the ports isue is this: Mr. Bush has no credibility. It's gotten to the point where if he heartily approves something, it's time to worry.

His racing to invade Iraq was based on the "best intelligence" that WMD were not only present but an imminent threat --not a week to spare to find out how a forgery had been slipped into the "best intelligence" and landed up in the Oval Office. Oh well.

And then he was going to be stern with the 'leakers' who exposed the CIA agent (and coincidentally her informants) working to learn Iran's weapons secrets. Oh well.

And there was Harriet Meirs, his personal attorney he touted for the Supreme Court. Oh well.

And then he couldn't be bothered to keep up with the situation in New Orleans --"heck of a job, Brownie!" Oh well.

Now, he's learned late (as usual) of a deal that just a tiny bit feasibly could affect port security and within ONE DAY is so convinced by what he's been told by those having the "best information" (uh-oh!)
that he'll veto any congressional rejection of it --
it's so important to act fast, without reflection!
Time enough later for "oh well."

Consider too that the man has consistently surrounded himself with yes-men and corporate manipulators and fired or let resign individuals whose advice turned out to be correct, if unwelcome, and promoted and kept those who were fatally wrong but said what he wanted to hear (Rumsfeld springs to mind). In this case, it's Snow, an ex-exec for the tangled web of corporate businesses buying the right to run our ports. Mr. Bush is a non-reader among incompetents and self-interested manipulators.

That is the pattern the record shows.Given his record, it seems only wise to take a second look, a long hard look, at what he rushes to push down our throats. His "oh wells" have cost thousands of American lives alone.

How many more must die through his negligence because nobody wants to offend him?

Dubai deal? OK, very possibly a fine thing. Mr. Bush just crazy about it? It needs a second look and that's not politicizing it, that's taking his personal record into account. It would be the responsible thing to do, most especially in Mr. Bush's case.

Posted by: kentL | February 25, 2006 06:56 PM

Now watch Chris Ford discredit the real facts so he can put forth his distorted reality. He's so in his own world it's not funny.
Posted by: ErrinF | Feb 25, 2006 4:18:19 PM

I'd tell you to shut it, but your fanatical diatribes always expose you as the twisted reactionary you are, so rant away, loser.
Posted by: ErrinF | Feb 25, 2006 3:01:47 PM

I could spend all day dissecting the lies of Chris Ford, but I have better things to do than deal with his constant attempts to distract and obfuscate any real debate beyond his Rush Limbaugh talking points.
Posted by: ErrinF | Feb 25, 2006 3:09:37 PM

From now on, Chris Ford can refer to this post as my response to ANYTHING he posts. It will ALWAYS apply to his crackpot postings.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 07:33 PM

Chris Crass Ford wrote,

"A legion of several thousand bossy, imperious slack-jawed minimum wage McDonald rejects in their stretch fit polyester Homeland Security outfits while Federal free day care is available for their chilluns'....thousands of simians in polyester....the multi-billions spent on Simian Americans in Polyester....."

"Non-ignorant Americans on the other hand, understand that the major security effort must be made where the terrorists work and plot.....and also understand that part of security is offense (find, kill, interrogate Islamoids + deter wannabes) and the willingness to club the living shit out of any country that lets terrorists work plots, penetrate air or sea transport systems, or seek obtaining WMD in a safe haven. "

Dear Chris Crass,

So you really believe all the foreign ports shipping to the United States are going to let us take over security, set up radiation portal monitors, open any sealand we want? So you want to start more Wars, we can't even win the two we're in now? And if we knew where terrorists worked, then why haven't we killed them? You're an absolute idiot and that's not even taking into account the racial crap you spew out.

And unless you're an ABHP Certified Health Physicist, why are you pretending to be knowledgeable of nuclear weapons and radiation? You're only spreading mis-information about a subject you know nothing about.

Posted by: Jamal | February 25, 2006 07:37 PM

Care to elaborate on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict relates to this DPW port deal, johnnyg? It sounds like a stretch to me.
The more apt relation Israel has to this port affair is that the UAE does not recognize the state of Israel's existence. The UAE recognized the Taliban, but they have yet to recognize Israel. Tell me again why we need to spite one ally to appease the other? When it comes down to it, the Israelis have proven to be better allies than the UAE.
Except in one case, in which the Israeli intelligence service abused access to our information to spy on us. Now we're about to hand over port operations to a state-run company that undoubtedly has ties to the UAE's intelligence service. That creates a needless temptation and foolishly disregards conflicts of national interest among the UAE and the USA.
Again, Washington's Farewell Address is apt:
"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop."
We maintain our strong ties to Israel, and do not grant our allies the UAE new engagements beyond what is already established. The port deal is not established; In fact, it would break established precedence by having a foreign government running the operations of many of our major ports. In no way would George Washington or the rest of the Founding Fathers ever approve of such a deal.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 25, 2006 07:59 PM

ErrinF:

My statement is somewhat objective and does not pass judgment about whether the US should, or should not support Israel. I think we should, but it has had consequences regarding ME relations that you cannot deny.

The UAE, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, all considered allies, recognized the Talibon.

If we do not allow the UAE to proceed, it will have a negative effect with ME relations, but probably not all that great of one. On the other hand, giving them the bum's rush in a huff of rage and continuing our favored relations with Israel further polarizes in their view to one side of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

GW speaks of "little political connexion as possible." Whether this is of great political connexion depends on how this operation is carried out, and any correlations it may have with our national security. As I have stated above, there is not enough information available, at this point in time, to declare a national security crisis. Apparently, these issues have been reviewed before approving the deal. However, it has become "politicized," I believe prematurely so, by the likes of H. Clinton et al.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 09:00 PM


Does anyone happen to know:

What other countries' ports are operated by foreign companies, and in those cases, whose companies are running whose ports?

Who's operating Dubai's ports?

Which American companies operate the ports in what other countries? Any?

Did Mr. Bush say the Dubai outfit was going to work "hand-in'glove" with American security. Did I get that right?

Thanks for the help.

Posted by: kentL | February 25, 2006 09:03 PM

I missed this ErrinF:

"We maintain our strong ties to Israel, and do not grant our allies the UAE new engagements beyond what is already established."

LOL. Israel wasn't around at the time the US was formed. I imagine GW was speaking of prior commitments that existed before the war and were still ongoing at that time.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 09:33 PM

Contractor Pleads Guilty to Corruption
Probe Extends Beyond Bribes to Congressman
By Charles R. Babcock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 25, 2006; Page A01
"Washington defense contractor Mitchell J. Wade admitted yesterday in federal court that he attempted to illegally influence Defense Department contracting officials and tried to curry favor with two House members, in addition to lavishing more than $1 million in cash, cars, a boat, antiques and other bribes on convicted Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.).
The new admissions, including details that identify Reps. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.) and Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) as recipients of illegal campaign contributions, are contained in Wade's agreement to plead guilty to four criminal charges stemming from his role in the Cunningham probe. The congressman resigned after pleading guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in bribes from Wade and others in return for steering federal funds and contracts their way."

I wonder if Katherine Harris counted her bribe money as well as she counted votes in Florida to get GWB elected?

Posted by: Jamal | February 25, 2006 10:30 PM

kinda stinky...

Posted by: whoa, that's.... | February 25, 2006 10:39 PM

"kinda stinky..."

They should be shot. The whole lot of them. Traitors.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 25, 2006 10:45 PM

Cayambe,

I look forward to your dialogue on shipping. Obviously, you have grasped the obvious that has eluded so many...that once a ship carrying WMD is dead center in the heart of a main target like Miami, NYC, Seattle before the ship even docks - receiving Port security is either useless in stopping the detonation or release, or good for finding a dud that failed to go off, no matter how many simians in Federal Polyester they have waiting at the wharf, no matter if the receiving Port terminal operator investors are in Las Vegas, Dallas, Tel Aviv, or Dubai.

An analogy is saying that you will wait for suicide bombers to get to the center of a crowded restaurant before you search them, while thinking the most important prevention strategy is that the restaurant never be owned by foreigners or immigrants, even those strongly against suicide bomber terrorism.

A lot of movies use the plot device that the WMD is delivered in pieces and only an "American expert" is required to set the nuke or nerve gas off. But if you had such a weapon, disassembly is a stupid idea. Far better to wait until the ship is well into NYC Harbor, SF Bay well before the "ace" cast of thousands of "Federal container 100% inspection agents" are within a mile of the arriving ship. Just have a GPS switch or a willing Shaheed martyr waiting to flip the switch. It's not like our own WMD delivery systems ever relied in sending the pieces at the enemy target where a team of special forces people would then reassemble the weapon and set it off. Once the ship is in range of a major city target, it's too late. Thats why 95% of all the focus is overseas on layers of defensive and offensive counterterrorism measures involving over 140 countries.
=============================

Jamal's stupidity continues: "And unless you're an ABHP Certified Health Physicist, why are you pretending to be knowledgeable of nuclear weapons and radiation? You're only spreading mis-information about a subject you know nothing about."

My, Jamal sounds pretty confident! In fact I don't have Health Physics cert - Just military cert in nuke weapons handling, mishaps, radioactive spill control, NBC countermeasures, and a few other military certs not to be discussed. And one of my undergrad degrees is in nuclear engineering. And a civilian NRC license is also nice, though Homeland Security has failed to tap that extensive military vet/civilian nuclear power base much. The average member of the public is even more ignorant than you are about nukes, dirty bomb effects and cleanup, and radiation in general. We pay for the Bushie and others, inc. the media, failure to educate or involve 98% of US citizenry in the struggle with radical Islam. If vets and civilians well versed in NBC are frustrated at being ignored, let me tell you that is nothing compared to citizens I know that are fluent in Arabic or Pashtun or Urdu that have volunteered to pitch in and translate conversations or documents, and been blown off by the Feds.

And more of poor Jamal being stuck on stupid: "So you really believe all the foreign ports shipping to the United States are going to let us take over security, set up radiation portal monitors, open any sealand we want??"

No Jamal, you really don't have a clue of overseas Port security. We wouldn't have American workers staffing all overseas ports. Each nation handles it's own internal security. Knowing if they fail big time in a matter like sea or air port security obligations, not only are they barred from most global shipping ports lose all their Port jobs and a substantial part of global economic business, as the pariah NORKs now are suffering from their antics - but they have a good chance of a bullshit angry US after a WMD attack tracing the source back to their Port and clubbing the crap out of their whole country. What America can do, is doing, and should be doing more of is helping poorer countries with an Islamoid threat within implement better security systems and detection technology with both US security expertise and funding. Multiple layers of allied nation's security finding Islamoids and stopping their threat is far more effective than waiting until unknown ships and unknown contents can be inspected by legions of simians in Federal Polyester well after a transiting ship is positioned well-inside ground zero of a major American or other infidel city.


===========================
ErrinF lays out a complete non sequiter on why America, a 3rd Party, should not seek friends and allies in the Muslim world:

"The more apt relation Israel has to this port affair is that the UAE does not recognize the state of Israel's existence.....they have yet to recognize Israel. Tell me again why we need to spite one ally to appease the other?"

22 Muslim countries do not recognise Israel based on Israel's rejection of numerous UN Resolutions even the US voted for going back to 1948. Shall we tilt so hard to Israel that we have no hope of being seen as a fair, honest power in the rest of the world? Or are we so locked into propping up Israel's land grabs and thinking of them as some sort of 51st state that we are incapable of friendship or credibility with other nations unless Israel gives us permission??

=====================

DK - "Find, kill, interrogate "Islamoids"? Do you mean whether they are terrorists or innocent civilians suffering collateral damage so to speak?"

Ummmm, yes, that is what your goal is with the enemy in wartime. Find. Kill. Interrogate the survivors. Outwit, outposition, achieve victory. Stay and nation-build or if that doesn't work, let 'em clean up their postwar mess.

DK - "...training opportunities on the battlefield of Iraq?"

Some get trained, but a lot more get whacked or are captured so we can hopefully pry out what terrorist/Islamoid networks they were in in their native lands and fold those up, too..

"If we are going to club the living shit out of any more countries we will either need to reinstate the draft or walk away from Iraq. Which do you prefer?"

Whichever works best. If the National Will is there. And though many Lefties and Liberals think a Draft is forever a politically forbidden thing or it will be easy and socially popular to duck it - I doubt that would be the case if America suffered a very serious attack bigger than 9/11 on the Homeland, and determined it needed 2 million more men fast to hold and control ground that better-trained US volunteer troops won.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 25, 2006 11:21 PM

thanks for sharing your wet dream...


you seem like the kind of fireman that would start a fire to be a hero...


you know like the one burning houses in MD a couple of years back...

cheer up, perhaps they'll nuke Texas and you can help them clean-up...

Posted by: and I have a certification in bullshit detection... | February 25, 2006 11:52 PM

cheeze sandwiches...


here's yours.

Posted by: I am trained to kill with | February 25, 2006 11:57 PM

ha ha ha....

Posted by: I believe they should institute a draft but only let christians participate... | February 26, 2006 12:03 AM

but pr0 war...


also they need to think that anyone that doesn't know jayzus is going to hell...


that way it should work out...


and we'll only let them use personally constructed roadside bombs detonated with cell phones....


didn't dumbass leave about 2,000 tons of munitions unguarded when they first went in?

Posted by: mostly the ones that are anti-choice | February 26, 2006 12:07 AM

LOL. Israel wasn't around at the time the US was formed. I imagine GW was speaking of prior commitments that existed before the war and were still ongoing at that time.
Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | Feb 25, 2006 9:33:56 PM

That was Washington's Farewell Address exiting the presidency. Plenty of things weren't around during the Founding Fathers' time, but their words are still appropriate concerning such things. In this case, Washington was clearly talking about dealing with nations in general terms, not specificallt to his time period. You''re just being a contrarian idiot, johnnyg.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 26, 2006 06:04 AM

Always funny when Chris Ford accuses other people of being stupid. Chris Ford is so stupid that he rants and raves at us all for being Lefties while simultaneously taking a position FAR to the left of most of us on this port issue. To denounce the left while maintaining a position that is leftist is as stupid as it gets. Actually, stupid doesn't quite cover it. Perhaps, 'fupid' is more apt. Chris Ford is fupid. Yes, that works much better. Now see if he can figure out what it means... nah, he's too fupid to figure it out.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 26, 2006 06:10 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

http://www.unobserver.com/layout5.php?id=2147&blz=1

U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY RFI HEIGHTENS PUBLIC CONCERNS OVER RFID, notes CASPIAN

2006-02-23 | DHS Wants to Track Spychips in Moving Cars Going 55 MPH

"Call it Big Brother on steroids," say privacy advocates Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, co-authors of "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID." The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking for beefed up RFID technology that can read government-issued documents from up to 25 feet away, pinpoint pedestrians on street corners, and glean the identity of people whizzing by in cars at 55 miles per hour.

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is a controversial technology that uses tiny microchips to track items from a distance. These RFID microchips have earned the nickname "spychips" because each contains a unique identification number, like a Social Security number for things, that can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves. Privacy and civil liberties advocates are opposed to the use of the technology on consumer items and government documents because it can be used to track people without their knowledge or consent.

Albrecht and McIntyre have uncovered a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Department of Homeland Security that underscores these privacy and civil liberties concerns. DHS seeks "superior remote data capture" that "offers significant improvements in performance" over the RFID technology currently being trialed in its U.S. Visit program border security initiatives. The RFI indicates this more potent tracking technology might be used in other initiatives and by other federal agencies.

"While the RFI is directed at border security, we're very concerned the government will use this tracking technology in our driver's licenses," said McIntyre, who is already opposed to the implications of the Real ID Act that passed last spring. That Act gives DHS the power to set uniform national driver's license standards. "Already the Real ID Act creates a de facto national ID since all Americans need a driver's license to participate in modern society," she observed. "Imagine having a remotely readable national ID that can be scanned by the government as you drive by or walk down the street."

A copy of the RFI is posted at authors' website:
http://www.spychips.com/DHS-RFID.pdf

DHS is seeking RFID devices that "can be sensed remotely, passively, and automatically....The device must be readable under all kinds of indoor and outdoor conditions... and while carried by pedestrians or vehicle occupant."
DHS has set "several high-level goals" for the reading of RFID "tokens" carried by travellers, including:

- The solution must...identify the exact location of the read such as a specific pedestrian or vehicle lane in which the token is read.

- The solution presented must sense the remote data capture technology carried by a pedestrian traveller at distances up to 25 ft.

- The solution presented must sense all tokens carried by travelers seated in a single automobile, truck, or bus at a distance up to 25 ft. while moving at speeds up to 55 mph.

- For bus traffic, the solution must sense up to 55 tokens.

- For a successful read, the traveller should not have to hold or present the token in any special way to enable the reading of the token's information. The goal is for the reader to sense a token carried on a traveler's person or anywhere in a vehicle.

ABOUT THE BOOKS

"Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID" (Nelson Current) was released in October 2005. Already in its fifth printing, "Spychips" is the winner of the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty and has received wide critical acclaim. Authored by Harvard doctoral researcher Katherine Albrecht and former bank examiner Liz McIntyre, the book is meticulously researched, drawing on patent documents, corporate source materials, conference proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a convincing -- and frightening -- picture of the threat posed by RFID.

Despite its hundreds of footnotes and academic-level accuracy, the book remains lively and readable according to critics, who have called it a "techno-thriller" and "a masterpiece of technocriticism."
Read the foreword by Wired technology commentator and best-selling author Bruce Sterling.

"The Spychips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance" (Nelson Current, January 31, 2006) is a paperback version of the original book that addresses Christian concerns associated with the technology.

CASPIAN Consumer Privacy
http://www.spychips.com // http://www.nocards.org

Please also see:

'Big Brother' Watching E-mail, Computer Data: US Report
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0223-03.htm

Posted by: che | February 26, 2006 08:07 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

http://kurtnimmo.com/?p=240

As usual, the corporate media attempts to steer us away from the real situation behind the wholesale takeover of shipping operations at six major American seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates. "The president on Tuesday defended his administration's earlier approval of the sale of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to Dubai Ports World, despite concerns in Congress it could increase the possibility of terrorism at American ports," reports the Associated Press. "It sends a terrible signal to friends around the world that it's OK for a company from one country to manage the port, but not a country that plays by the rules and has got a good track record from another part of the world," Bush said, characterizing opposition as a form of Arab racism, and thus deflecting the real issue--big transnational corporate fish eating smaller transnational corporate fish, nothing more than business as usual, a neoliberal feeding frenzy, in this instance controlled by the UAE royal family. On its face, it would appear the Bushites have sold U.S. ports to a country, or rather a decadent royal family. It should be noted that the UAE is tight with the Free Trade Agreement and last month it was announced "the US will grant the UAE access to the largest consumer market in the world," according to the Bahrain Tribune. Of course, in order to facilitate this access, it sure doesn't hurt to control the ports. So, in short, nothing going on here, just neoliberal business as usual. So please move on...

Posted by: che | February 26, 2006 08:14 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org

http://www.counterpunch.org/stocker02252006.html

Privatizing US Ports
Snow Job

By DAVID STOCKER

Yet again, as we stare uncomprehending into the abysmal state of world affairs, we ask "Why must we now learn about Dubai?"

We are told by the Bush Administration that this deal was checked out thoroughly and that it would be wrong to discredit an Arab buyer, Dubai Ports World (DPW). Thus, we are exhorted by the same government that has brought us jihad in a half dozen Arab lands to believe that if we disapprove of this multibillion dollar contract, we are being unfair to the good Arab folks. Whenever the words "multibillion dollar deal" and "the Bush Administration" occur in the same paragraph, good folks everywhere should pay close attention.

By all reports, Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a rowdy seaport. Liken it to the picture of Casablanca in the famous movie of the same name. There is little regulation and no taxes!!! The usual suspects include, drug traffickers, arms dealers, smugglers, people wanting to move illegal goods globally without taxation, while blurring the lines of accountability. From say nuclear weapons, to restricted technology, to human cargo, lets just say, the biggest players in the world go here, not Vegas. According to Webster, an "emirate" is the jurisdiction of a direct descendant of Mohammed. This is an Arabian land run by chieftains, perhaps more bound by wealth than by Islamic fealty. DPW, is state owned, meaning it is the playground of the governing chieftains. Newsweek (March 14, 2005, Fareed Zakaria) characterized U.A.E. as among the most repressive governments in the Middle East and at the opposite end of the human rights scale to Israel (as long as you're not Palestinian). This is all in contrast to the spin the Bush people now want to create about U.A.E.

The gatekeeper to the seaport deal is John Snow, Secretary of the US Treasury, who replaced Paul O'Neill. Remember, O'Neill was fired because he refused to give in to pressure from the Bush people to support the invasion of Iraq.

Until he was tapped to serve our government, John Snow was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Corporation, "where he successfully guided the transportation company though a period of tremendous change."

CSX is the massive railroad monopoly that controls almost all cargo movements across America from the seaports. Snow's knowledge of international industry "stems from his tenure as Chairman of the Business Roundtable, the foremost business policy group comprised of 250 chief executive officers of the nation's largest companies." This group advises the Administration on business policy.

Prior to answering the call to serve in government, CSX Corporation under Snow, paid no federal income tax at all, "supplementing its over $1 billion in pretax profits over the four year period with $164 million in tax rebate checks from the federal government. During the same period, CSX joined the list of 100 top political campaign contributing corporations,(70% to Republicans) gave Snow $36 million in salary, bonuses, stock and options, and forgave a $24 million loan so he would not lose money along with other shareholders as the company's stock price declined."

Not trumpeted on the government's website is the fact that Snow is now the head of a little known government committee that privately approves foreign business transactions. When CSX, was bought out one year ago this week by Dubai Ports World for $1.4 billion, Snow cashed in on his stock options. DPW, the very same U.A.E. state owned company that is now with help from Snow, closing the loop for packages moving from the slums of Dubai to your own home.

My point is this, with a nuclear bomb the size of a laptop we are already unsafe. If somebody wanted that to happen, it would. The extreme efforts and enormous expense to protect our homeland have proven utterly ineffective. This DPW deal under a microscope is yet another example of the theft of our government by a small cadre of wealthy people with a very narrow agenda. It is an effort by Bush to pay back his Arab handlers while he still can. This should put the light to their faux democracy-mongering throughout the world. It should lay open the huge homeland security budget as largely a sham and history's greatest boon to cronyism, with the sole intent of distracting Americans from seeing that the policies and actions of our own government are the greatest danger to the safety of the people of the world today.

The Sultans of spin in the White House and the Emirates of Arabia should read the words of Mohammed. "Be charitable. Allah tolerates trade, but loveth not usury. Guard against the time when you shall be brought before your sins. Be saved from avarice."

For many reasons and on many levels, Bush's February 24 statement to the national press, rings true. "This deal would not go forward if we were concerned about the safety of America." They are not.

David Stocker, is a writer, musician and teacher in the Midwest. He is part of a musical tribe called OneDrum and can be reached at www.onedrum.net.

Posted by: che | February 26, 2006 08:20 AM

G. W. Bush, in preperation for exiting
the presidency a "Farewell Address"
will not be necessary, just leave the
White House in disgrace and the real
American's will begin to rebuild the
mess you have created.

Posted by: Concerned American | February 26, 2006 08:35 AM

Impressive resume Chris. Still, the way you apply all that knowledge is simplistic and at times chilling.

So we should go club the shit out of any country that harbors terrorists. I agree when its a situation like the Taliban was in Afganistan, but what about Pakistan?

Does Pakistan "harbor" terrorists? - certainly factions within that country do, but we are trying to work with Mushariff to root that stuff out. Are you saying chuck it all, lets send in our troops and airpower and take care of it fast and easy?

I have a feeling you'll find many more situations like Pakistan's than you will like Afganistan's. Saudi Arabia comes to mind as well. The reality is that Al Qaeda style terrorists have no alliegence to any country. They are active in a variety of countries and melt away to an alternate havan whenever things get too hot for them in any particular spot. Iraq is a prime example. they've been meddling over there since the insurgency started. They blend into the insurgency, but I believe many of the insurgents don't like them very much.

As for trying nation-building if it works, otherwise let them clean up their own post-war mess - the nation-building doesn't seem to be working all that well, does it. That leaves us with the latter of the two options. Don't you think that creating post-war messes in the middle east will spawn an entire generation of of disaffected young Muslim men that will take up their IEDs, small arms, rocks, or whatever and go out to fight and die to kill the western devils led by the U.S.? Even 2,000,000 troops (I agree that a draft could be brought back if we had another 9/11-like attack on our soil) are not enough for us cover all the possible terrorist havans in the world. Even if we could occupy all that territory, there's still the problem that we aren't fighting troops for the most part. We have to be able to distinguish between the terrorists and the civilians that are not terrorists. that seems to be very difficult for us in Iraq. Iraq is really a small scale test case for the actions that you are suggesting Chris and that isn't working out too well.

We have to focus a lot more on winning the hearts and minds of people in the middle east. Sorry if thats too "touchy-feely" for you Chris, but its the only way to gain ultimate victory against the doctrine of jihad and terror. This is an ideological conflict that knows no political boundaries, Chris. We have to have more tools in our bag than simply "clubbing the shit out of countries".

As for the ports - what about smuggled biological or chemical agents, weapons, other things that don't constitute a ready made bomb to be detonated in the harbor.

Also I don't find that much comfort in your analysis of countries making sure that their security is impregnible because they don't want to suffer the economic and diplomatic consequences of a ship explosion in New York harbor being traced back to them. They may think their security is impregnible, but as has already been pointed out there are very active terrorist leaning and radical fundamentalist factions in many countries that are't worried about those type of consequences. Those factions could find ways to impact port security in other nations and plant people in critical posts to carry out smuggling activities. If that were occurring its very possible that smuggling wouldn't be detectable or traceable back to the point of origin if the containers containing smuggled material were unloaded from the ship and trucked to where the smuggled material would be recovered. It could be happening right now for all we know. That is why I go back to your statement of security layers. We need it to thwart certain threats at the point of origin, and we need better security at the point of destination to account for other types of threats.

Finally, I am often impressed by your researching prowess and historical knowledge, but it is so interlaced with rascist comments and innuendo that I'm afraid that a lot of your talents are wasted on people that would otherwise pay a lot more attention to what you have to say. Its too bad, because I think that in your less offensive posts you make many very good observations that do get the consideration they deserve.

Posted by: DK | February 26, 2006 09:00 AM

Chris Crass Ford wrote,

"A legion of several thousand bossy, imperious slack-jawed minimum wage McDonald rejects in their stretch fit polyester Homeland Security outfits while Federal free day care is available for their chilluns'..... Just military cert in nuke weapons handling, mishaps, radioactive spill control, NBC countermeasures ....thousands of simians in polyester..... a few other military certs not to be discussed ....the multi-billions spent on Simian Americans in Polyester.... And one of my undergrad degrees is in nuclear engineering ....."

Now Chris, look at your quotes, do you think you seem credible? You must have not expressed your true views during your security investigation or you would have been allowed anywhere near nuclear material. And if you were that qualified, then why hasn't the president tapped into your vast knowledge of WMD? Or even port security? Is he saving you for a raining day? And if you so strongly support the Iraq war, why haven't you volunteered to go to Iraq and fight? I'll tell you why, you're a lying, racist, chicken hawk.

Our port security is mostly paperwork, just as it is in other countries. And how many of the less than 5% of cargo containers that we do inspect are actually inspected 100%? How many cargo containers are unloaded and every package opened for inspection, some containing thousands of individual packages? This doesn't take into account a WMD that may be hidden inside of a product. A WMD can be very small and easily hidden, whether it is nuclear, biological, and chemical. How is an x-ray of a 40 ft. x 8 ft x 8 ft sealand full of a large variety of electronic equipment going to reveal electronics used for a WMD? It's like looking for a needle in a hay stack, if you can even see what is in the center of the sealand.

Incoming cargo into the United States is a security risk no matter what mode of transportation or what country it's coming from. This has been identified as a major security risk since 911 and no serious action has been taken.

Posted by: Jamal | February 26, 2006 10:54 AM

Errinf: "Washington was clearly talking about dealing with nations in general terms, not specifically to his time period."

Yes, he was talking about nations generally; no, I believe he was talking about that instant of time. Stated another way, GW appears to say that we may have some commitments that do not comply with what was just stated, but let us let them run their course and not enter into any more (or reduce their number to little as possible), from this time forward. Your application of it to continuing our relations with Israel, but not to enter into new contracts with UAE, is silly. In fact, it appears that our favoritism toward Israel violates the former statement.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 26, 2006 10:59 AM

This issue has lit an awful lot of spidery corners that many might have preferred remain in the dark. That is reason enough for me to support the full, formal 45 day review. These deals do not happen overnight and it is not at all unusual for various things to come up that cause delays in their completion so 45 days is not odd or even too much to ask.

Americans are racist. Our racism tends to be pointed at either people whom we have devalued as a nation or peope we are shooting at the moment. We should be careful not to make too many very long term decisions based on these emotions I think.

The ports deal, when announced, initially triggered my current concerns about Arabs in general. However, in cooler reflection and as news of how this is not as unusual as I presupposed, I am not so much worried about Arabs as about our sovereignty. Yes, there is a global market and yes we cannot become isolationists. However, to say that we are isolationists for reserving the right to run our own infrastructure and manage our own strategic assets is ludicrous.

To answer Ms Messner's question, I would draw not line at all. All US strategic assets; all US infrastructure and resources should be wholly owned and operated by US concerns. If this makes me one of the many bad "ists" (isolationist, nativist, whateverist) so be it.

The supposed "global" market is by no means fair and free of local interest. We act to impose our national will around the world and harm poor nations through our lending policies and through our trade practices. Less developed nations subsidize their key industries, dump goods on our markets, and operate their businesses in ways against our laws harming our ability to compete. If there were truly "free" trade and "fair" markets, the US would be as competitive as anyone else and global integration would prevent wars and conflicts as the government would have us believe is the case now.

No, without radcal change in the national character of the US and he rest of the world, it is foolish in general to offer too much of ourselves up to people who would do us harm. UAE may very well be a good and permenant ally. They are so now before this deal goes through for whatever reason and that reason should exist regardless of this deal. Will they be happy if it fails; likely not. Good friends ought to be able to survive some unhappiness. If they are truly our friend, they will understand that this particular deal at this particular time, presented in the pathetic, miserable way that it was is too much for a populace too raw from the prospect of constant, unending war with a shadowy world of which they are a part.

If they are truly our friend, they will work to make the world less attractive to that enemy (i.e. not circumventing our trade with Iran, not smuggling nuclear materials to S. Africa, not providing banking havens for our enemy, etc...) and provide the societal racisim in America with too little material to care.

We should rethink this deal and at the very least restructure it to look and act more like the same deals we make with the rest of the world. Papers here; corporate officers here; and transparent oversight here. If they are really such a strong ally; if they have nothing to hide (where have we heard that before?); none of this should be a problem.

Posted by: turnbulld | February 26, 2006 12:09 PM

It is now apparent that the port operator is responsible for "perimeter" security - hiring and firing security guards, keeping people off the street out of the area, keeping people from stealing cargo, etc., while the US government is responsible for making sure the cargo itself is acceptable to enter the US (drugs, fake copies of designer jeans, nuclear bombs, etc).

I agree with the CIA guy. Allowing a country with known ties to terrorism guard the perimeter really would be letting the fox guard the henhouse.

Just because the burglar could bring the nuclear bomb in the window or explode it outside the house doesnt' mean we shouldn't lock the doors. But while Lindsey Graham and Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert et al are still on their high horse about this, maybe we should start hounding them to stop killing funding for overseas port security programs too so we have a higher likelihood of keeping it off the ship in the first place. D'ya think? You can email them through www.house.gov/ and www.senate.gov/ Please do.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 26, 2006 12:24 PM

patriot 1957 wrote:

"Just because the burglar could bring the nuclear bomb in the window or explode it outside the house doesnt' mean we shouldn't lock the doors. But while Lindsey Graham and Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert et al are still on their high horse about this, maybe we should start hounding them to stop killing funding for overseas port security programs too so we have a higher likelihood of keeping it off the ship in the first place. D'ya think? You can email them through www.house.gov/ and www.senate.gov/ Please do."

We do the best we can on port security. Almost all countries have terrorists, even ours. If a country is statistically more likely to be a security risk, then we take more precautions. And funding over seas port security will help a little, but that security will still be controlled by another nation and it's still at low percentage of cargo inspection. For example: soccer balls from Pakistan are still made in children's sweat shops, hypothetically who is there to prevent a biological WMD from being hidden in a soccer ball, then boxed, placed in cargo container long before it ever gets to the port? Shipments are almost never assembled at ports, the process starts long before arrival at the port.

Most comments have focused on smuggling of WMD's. Smuggling has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around, not just WMD's, industrial secrets, drugs, gems, guns.... We try our best to prevent it, but something can get past.

A global economy is based on a certain degree of trust, or it won't work and we fall back into isolationism. The invasion of Iraq has hurt Americas standing in the world and thus will hurt cooperation from other nations in the fight on terrorism.

The Bush administration seems to be almost clueless on preventing terrorism where it begins and that's how to deal with the disenfranchised people of the Middle East. His "cowboy...axis of evil" attitude might get him votes at home, but in the Middle East, it's only going cause wide spread hatred toward the United States and fuel more terrorism.

Posted by: Jamal | February 26, 2006 01:49 PM

GMAFB, johnnyg. Washington's Farewell Address clearly speaks in general terms about all nations and alliances with them. It applies to countries back then and countries now. According to your idiot logic, anything the Founding Fathers say is strictly appropriate to their time. Washington was hardly asserting to not make ANY more alliances as you have stated; He is talking about alliances that are already in effect and how to deal with them:
"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop."
Anyway, you're the only one bitching about it, and you're doing so because you're nursing old wounds; This is the typical conduct I get from you. Then again, after your wacky interpretation of the Seal of the United States, it might just be that you have comprehension problems and truly don't understand Washington's Farewell Address.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 26, 2006 02:28 PM

Erinnf, wtf does "here let us stop" mean? It was not the concluding sentence of the address, LOL, The next paragraph:

"Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities."

When some change is desireable, there may be an instant point of time designated to defined what might have gone on before and thereafter. Here, GW less sharply defines it. He grandfathers in previous commitments, and warns to carefully choose new alliances.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 26, 2006 02:58 PM

Here is an excerpt from George Washington's Farewell Address, Posted by: ErrinF | Feb 24, 2006 3:34:12 PM

From the get-go I've said that I was posting an excerpt from the Farewell Address, so don't act like I've been doing otherwise, johnnyg. Also, your 'next paragraph' doesn't discount or negate my observations one bit. Until somebody credible raises an objection to what I've said (not just somebody like you, johnny, a big baby nursing old wounds), I'm fine with my posts concerning Washington's Farewell Address. My mistake for even acknowledging you, johnnyg. This whole Israel discussion has been a waste of my time, and it doesn't pertain to the port issue at hand.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 26, 2006 03:27 PM

DK - "Impressive resume Chris. Still, the way you apply all that knowledge is simplistic and at times chilling. So we should go club the shit out of any country that harbors terrorists. I agree when its a situation like the Taliban was in Afganistan, but what about Pakistan?"

The notion of "clubbing the crap out of a nation" is not to do it, but to let that nation know we are perfectly willing to if pushed too far or "losses" necessitate not just diplomacy, a law enforcement effort, or a "police action" - but full scale war.

Geneva only goes so far. It never covers what happens when WMD go off. All Geneva rules go out the window. And what has happened with Pakistan is some very "chilling" Americans in uniform and 1,000 dollar suits got together with their Paki counterparts after 9/11 and the complicity of Pakistan in WMD proliferation was proven and reminded the Pakis what was the next step. Deterrance is all about having the ability to flatten a country and recognize that, like with how we would have nuked countless 99.9% innocent millions of Soviets or now Chinese and NORKs if nuclear-attacked, without hesitation. In our quiver of defense measures the notion of sure deterrance.

Sometimes, even with all the PhDs involved, all the Ivy League diplomats permeated with "nuance", and all the 100s of billions spent on defense down to a very simplistic concept, DK. "Fuck with us, and we will fuck with you far worse, your innocents damned with the rest."

DK - "Don't you think that creating post-war messes in the middle east will spawn an entire generation of of disaffected young Muslim men that will take up their IEDs, small arms, rocks, or whatever and go out to fight and die to kill the western devils led by the U.S.?"

That is not the first option, but when all other options run out, turning a nation or culture into rubble does work in ending a threat if you do a thorough enough job. Carthage, cities that opposed the Mongols, what we did to Germany. There were still plenty of haters in the rubble of Samarkand, Tunis, Berlin...but too busy trying simply to survive than do anything about it.

Modern states are even more vulnerable than in past eras because systems necessary for populations to get by are concentrated, interdependent and most people shouting "Death to America" lack self-sufficiency and are highly vulnerable to tremendous disruption, dislocation, and suffering if that systems infrastructure is attacked and destroyed.

Which we of course would only seriously contemplate if a true, no holds barred, clash of civilizations or a WMD existential threat exists.

But imagine being a radical Muslim in a country highly dependent on foreign aid, live-sustaining commodities imported from elsewhere, with a romantic notion of killing infidels and returning in doing so to the pure 8th century life. Then finding yourself there because your whole transportation, electric generation & distribution system, water supply system and dams, communications system, food system, and any military assets of note, plus all major private & governmental financial systems are destroyed, along with any value to currency. America now has that ability with precision-bombing...

Like with nuclear war, if one side starts it, you are automatically outside Geneva reciprocity arrangements and under no obligation yourself to follow Geneva rules in any way. Unrestricted warfare. Scary and final. No concern of anger, no occupying troops, IEDs useless, and the only stones thrown are by survivors trying to down a dog or a Sunni in a Shia neighborhood for a meal.

===========================

You see, DK, there is the diplomatic approach, there is the nation-building approach which has not gone well in costing us over 150 billion extra in Iraq and over 13,000 casualties, and there is the "example nation" - Carthage approach. You wouldn't need to help the all radical Muslims find their way back to the 8th Century, one "example nation" might suffice. The Romans were actually quite proud of Carthage and spent a lot of effort having leaders of other tributary nations transported there and given the "tour" on what could happen if "Death to Rome" rallies happened. Not quite a perfect analogy because we are not Empire, the Arabs are not tributory nations, but even if it was a case of State terrorism responding to low-intensity Carthaginian terrorism, it worked and Rome settled that threat with finality and deterred others for centuries. And, more recently, we ensured every Japanese and German schoolkid was taught about atrocities and the consequences in war carnage German and Japanese wars of aggression had caused - before we turned the keys over.

=========================

DK - "interlaced with rascist comments and innuendo that I'm afraid that a lot of your talents are wasted on people that would otherwise pay a lot more attention to what you have to say..."

I'm pretty honest about PC rubbish that that I think lets problems intrinsic to a culture fester uncorrected. I consider Islamic civilization inferior to Western Civ. I thought the Native American culture was seriously debased by alchohol, NA's do have a genetic vulnerability to alchohol, and support reservations and NA tribal lands being dry - no matter what the civil libertarians say. That we saw the consequences in NOLA of a parasitic underclass dependent on goverment handouts that not only caused the pathologies that caused the steep decline in NOLA before Katrina, but in an emergency, both they and the government they gave rise to were too inept to cope without more competent people picking them up. And I don't think tens of thousands of low-skill, low-IQ, rude Federal drones manning TSA airport checkpoints looking for dread toenail clippers is much of a defense against the 100,000 domestic targets the high IQ terrorist military scouts, planners, and combat operatives the radical Islamists have - anymore than having another 80,000 drones searching cargo containers matter much.

It may be racist to challenge cherished Lefty PC, moral equivalency, and multi-culti notions - but that time is long overdue. Europe bit deep and hard on the "diversity salad" of PC, non-judgementalism, and love of multi-culti..

Now they are gagging on the maggots they found mixed in with the exotic fruits and veggies.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 26, 2006 04:12 PM

Patriot 1957, you want Frist et al. to stop killing the funding for overseas port security programs? Just what programs would those be, the ones operated by UAE, or the ones operated by the Chinese, or perhaps those operated by Singapore, or perhaps the Saudis? You're right about one thing -- overseas port security is the most critical element of our own port security, because if the ports of origin aren't secure, we're stuck with random container searches as the only practical means of detecting illicit cargo (stopping every ship and inspecting every container isn't practical). There are those that complain that ony a small percentage of containers are inspected. That's true, but it's also true that only a small percentage of containers present a risk, and that's because there are cooperative security arrangements in place among the US and other nations, including UAE. DPW does participate, just as other port operators do. Documentation for containers, including a list of contents, are made available to the Coast Guard. For shipments coming to the US, this information originates at the foreign port, not the US one. If we decide that we don't trust UAE or DPW, then the logical response is not to prevent them from running commercial operations at some US terminals, but to prevent them from shipping cargo to the US from the foreign ports they operate (including those they bought from US-based CSX at the beginning of last year -- none of the people complaining now have said a word about that deal).

If that's what the opponents of the deal propose, then I suggest that they go make their case to the longshoremen whose jobs will be gone when the stream of incoming shipping slows to a trickle. Next, they can tell the average consumer whose affordable foreign-manufactured goods are suddenly much more scarce and expensive, not because of a lack of willingness of the producers to supply them, but because of the security bottleneck in the international shipping system.

But don't expect ErrinF or the others here giving us knee-jerk, ignorant opinions about the deal to think ahead. The the game is chess, but checkers is a challenge for them.

Good thoughts, Jamal, but the last couple of paragraphs are a bit of a non-sequitur. It might be a fair criticism of the President on some other issues, but it doesn't fit in this discussion. The administration's support for the interagency approval of the DPW acquisition is a stand in favor of the sort of international cooperation that you identify as necessary. I won't join in your Bush-bashing, but I'd be more inclined to give it a fair hearing if you'd save it for a topic where it's not in plain contradiction of the facts.

Posted by: RC | February 26, 2006 04:15 PM

RC wrote:
"Good thoughts, Jamal, but the last couple of paragraphs are a bit of a non-sequitur. It might be a fair criticism of the President on some other issues, but it doesn't fit in this discussion. The administration's support for the interagency approval of the DPW acquisition is a stand in favor of the sort of international cooperation that you identify as necessary. I won't join in your Bush-bashing, but I'd be more inclined to give it a fair hearing if you'd save it for a topic where it's not in plain contradiction of the facts."

Fair enough on the last two paragraphs.

Posted by: Jamal | February 26, 2006 04:53 PM

Before getting into shipping mechanics I would like to make one general point.

DPW is not “buying some of our ports”. Nor are we selling anything ourselves. The actual transaction is between parties in the UAE and parties in Britain, and what the UAE is buying is the prior British investment in these US port assets. The assets in question are leases of land owned by 6 Port Authorities, the terminals and various kinds of loading and unloading equipment on that land, and whatever operating contracts are part of the present British operation. We could buy them ourselves. All we have to do is better the 6.8 billion dollar offer from DPW and pony up the cash. If we prohibit this transaction between the Brits and the UAE we not only piss off the UAE, we piss off the Brits who apparently have a greater need for cash than they do for these assets. No problem right? Just add another 7 billion to the deficit. At least this 7 billion would have some real assets associated with it.

Chris……..
“The originating port is where the bulk of real control takes place in international maritime law, not the destination. That is where the shippers assemble the legal shipping manifest declarations which if false would kill a shipping company or Port.”

Right, this is where the bulk of real control should take place. Given that, I will start with a Customs/Coast Guard destination port point of view.
1. I expect to have in my hot little hands, long before the ship actually gets here, the detailed manifests for all cargo elements on board this ship, to include the originating port, the destination port, the final destination, the shipper, the shipper’s agent, and the original inspection authority or agency, i.e. who really did inspect it.
2. How I get this data matters. If I am getting it through the port terminal operator who is going to handle this ship then I have to worry about fraud from that source in this information, and I have to worry about fraud from any prior source that provided the information to the terminal operator.
3. If I didn’t have this information then I wouldn’t want to let this ship into our territorial waters without first having the Coast Guard board it and get a copy of all manifests for review prior to advancing into our territorial waters.

What might one do with this information?.
As a practical matter, I imagine we would begin by excluding those manifests in which we have confidence of point of origin control, i.e. in which we have confidence in the original packing inspection, and sealing method. That confidence might be derived by having had our personnel present, by having certified the inspection authority at the originating point, or whatever.

With the remainder, one might look for cargo coming from particularly dangerous places, North Korea, for example. In brief, I am looking for something so suspicious I don’t want to let it in the harbor without first having the coast guard inspect it with radiation detectors at sea.

The remainder is divided up into two classes. Cargo that is destined for this port and cargo that is just transiting on through this port to another port. Do you think these containers would actually be subject to Customs inspection?

The cargo that is destined to this port is the pool subject to inspection. It is also the pool subject to customs duties so the detail of the contents serves more than just a security interest. There are probably lots of ways to rank these. Something like axles destined for Ford Motor Company at the Detroit are not likely to harbor contraband. In some way I want to focus most of my limited inspection capacity on the most suspicious and/or probable targets within the pool.

From the terminal operators point of view he doesn’t really need to know what is inside the container, except to the extent that he might be the one tasked to provide it to Custom’s authorities. All he needs to do his job is to be able to identify the container and know where it goes next, either internally via what carrier within the country or externally on what ship to what port when. Come to think about it, he probably also needs to know what the weight is, especially if he is going to load it on another ship or a truck.

Nor is it a given that the terminal operator belongs to the same company as the terminal operator who originally loaded the incoming ship. In view of that, it isn’t really obvious how manifest information actually does flow and whom it flows through.

In my youth, we used to ship balsa wood out of Guayaquil Ecuador to Newark New Jersey, kiln dried wood loaded on pallets. We made up shipping manifests (7 carbon copies) by typewriter. The 7th stayed in the office, the 6th got mailed to International Balsa office in Jersey City, and the rest went with the load on the ship, which mostly carried bananas to the East Coast (Grace Line ships). How the wood got unloaded and through Customs was always a mystery to me and still is. I do know we trucked uptown to the pier and it got hoisted aboard and stowed below using one of the ship’s hoists before they started loading banana stems (one 150 lb stem on each mans back walking up a 15 inch wide gang plank with a 20 ft rise).

Might you have some insight into how this data actually flows these days?

Might you have some insight into what percentage of the incoming containers actually come out of what Custom’s might see as “controlled” environments?

I used to have a 32 ft ketch that I sailed for 15 years out of San Francisco bay, as far south as Santa Barbara, as far north as Eureka, and as far east as Stockton. I was never stopped, never inspected, and didn’t even bother to register with the DMV for the whole time. I just sailed when I wanted, where I wanted, and how I wanted with no thought to getting anyone’s permission or approval. More than once it occurred to me that I could easily bring in a ton of coke or mary jane and no one would be the wiser. There are all kinds of places up in the delta where it could be off loaded at night in complete privacy. So I’m still persuaded that the easier and safer way to get something really nasty into a position to do the most damage would be a 50-60 ft innocent looking sailboat that could carry a couple of tons below deck without looking the least out of place.

Finally, a little off topic, having read all of your posts here, I have reason to believe that you might know the degree of certainty with which the residue of a nuclear explosion can be analyzed to determine its source based on its physical properties. Any thoughts?

Posted by: Cayambe | February 26, 2006 07:10 PM

the agenda to perceive and handle the reactivity of the American people...

to be honest with you as a business man, this is an essential part of your life...


but you need to understand that the Americans are not who you're doing business with, so it really doesn't matter how we feel...it's what you can get...


which is blamed.

Posted by: you r straight ahead comments regarding shipping mask another agenda... | February 26, 2006 07:16 PM

Jamal - "And if you were that qualified, then why hasn't the president tapped into your vast knowledge of WMD? Or even port security? Is he saving you for a raining day?"

You're just showing more of your ignorance, Jamal. There are 30 million Vets in this country. 4-5 million who had extensive NBC training and quals. There are another 19-23 million MDs, scientists, engineers, civilian nuke industry and pharma, chem workers that could step into a volunteer NBC prevention or response function with little or no training.

My quals and educational background are common, but Lefties tend to avoid military service or technical fields so you simply think it is special from lack of knowledge. Nor are you familiar, it appears, with the screening processes that combat military, professionals, and critical industry workers, in fields potentially affecting the safety and health of the general public undergo.

As is, a common complaint on the milblogs and nuke bulletins and university forums I follow and post in - is frustration about the lack of strategy in Homeland Security, lack of investment in response networks, and lack of use of volunteer resources. We went down a wrong path in assuming security was best managed by retired "crimedogs" and best performed by "first responders" generally lacking past NBC training.

As others in the "community" note, they generally focus on a single matter they suggest a fix for. And have generally been frustrated by arrogant factotums in the Administration that blow off those suggestions, even when letters or email are accompanied by State official endorsements, Flag officer approval, University Dept head agreement, even endorsement by one or both Senators that the suggestion should be pursued.

My single issue, that I have worked starting back in 2002, well before Katrina, was the absence of any approved emergency plan decision for cleanup standards for a radiological bomb or persistent nerve gas agent. There are two cleanup standards - the military and civil defense standard for an attack and the EPA standards for an accident. The first can be best described as "dilution is the solution" quick containment and fast cleanup to recover a city....and the EPA's "not a speck left, even if cleanup takes years, costs tens of billions, and leaves a dead city..."

The "law enforcement professional" factotum's basic strategy is to wing it and decide what resources and approach will be done days after an attack after everyone sits around and debates and agrees with as little confusion as possible. Sort of like Day 2, 3, or 5 after Katrina.

After 4 years, they are still at the cordon off, collect evidence for future prosecution, and do rescue ops stage. Civil defense methods and equipment, or the time and cost are no object EPA approach? No one knows or seems to be able to answer or respond to this specific inquiry of mine, or all the other average but knowledgable citizen suggestions...

The one that really frosts me is the Gov'ts indifference to the huge pool of untapped Arabic, Pashtun, and Urdu speakers and readers not just here in the US, but pro-West exiles in other lands like the UK, Russia (Afghans), Australia, etc. Or using "friendlies" in our allied nations in the ME to translate or transcribe documents and conversations that have been sitting 3-5 years in warehouses..One bilblog had a Lebanese Christian housewife with 3 young kids and 8 relatives lined up willing to translate any documents emailed to them, even be available to translate for soldiers in Iraq with a phone call....no interest...

============================

Jamal goes from dumb to insipid:

"And if you so strongly support the Iraq war, why haven't you volunteered to go to Iraq and fight? I'll tell you why, you're a lying, racist, chicken hawk."

It's a favorite jeremiad of Lefties, and a most pyrric one. The notion that only people personally favoring something strongly should pay and sacrifice for it. It leaves Lefties open to the counter-reply...if you love inner city parasites so much, the comfort of muderers in prison so much...then if only pro-war people should join and fight, it is only fair that the rest of us stop paying for welfare sucking inner city parasites and drop 4-5 of them off at a Lefty's door where the Lefty becomes responsible for full lifetime care and support of them. Sort of an imposed adoption. And impose an "adopt a murderer" program where Lefties have to pay for all jailing expenses, comforts, and legal assistance...

Of course, by the Lefty jeremiad about only pro-war people should sacrifice, it's counter that only Lefties should fund the whole welfare state - then - those in the middle that don't care a great deal one way or the other and are silent about war or inner city parasites or prisoner rights and care would escape all sacrifice.

So it is hard to call Jamal simply stupid when he is really more accurately just being insipid.

'Course, dumb or insipid Jamal - take your pic - obviously doesn't read or note who here is a Veteran or not. Nor does that precisely matter in the Lefts pathetic attempt to redefine who can be permitted to be pro-defense or not.

The idea in defending a society isn't to have the slackers and risk-adverse cowards hang back and claim moral exemption from military service by virtue of hate-America political conviction or lack of testicles - while calling any pro-defense person not on the frontlines a "chickenhawk". It is a collective responsibility and sacrifice, just like subsidizing parasites, to a certain humane extent.

Other societies have quickly recognized the self-centered, risk-fearing chickens that hope to benefit from the toil and sweat of others. Some are indeed selfish right wing manipulators, but since WWI, the true dodge of chickens is to pose as a "principled pacifist" where they are on a "higher moral plane" - because they say service to country or cause is "evil". And hope to opt out of sacrifice while still posing as "Too noble, pure, and sensitive and Christian to ever support "senseless, evil slaughter".

This facade of Lefty cowards breaks down when they are caught up. It separates the true pacifist of conviction from the risk-avoider, and avoider of general unpleasantness.

In the Soviet Union, in WWII, shirkers were gathered up and sent right to the front lines as "first wave assault" cannon fodder, backed by Party Commissars in charge of machine gunners that would shoot them if they refused to charge or retreated w/o orders. One group was part of a Crimean city-wide scam of wealthy little Lefties paying off officials doing conscription..They and the head scammer were went to the Front. Only 8 of 3 dozen plus the ringleader survived the 1st week. 5 of the 8 Lefty "pacifists" then killed the ringleader with their bare hands...and of course, were shot.

In Vietnam, we saw the same, as "principled Lefty pacifists" lacking resources to flee to Canada were dragged into the Army. They were offered jobs that true pacifists did - unarmed rescue medics and litter carriers that had a very high casualty rate, or 4 years duty stateside emptying bedpans with a private's pay and 60 hour workweeks.

When the bulk of Lefty pacifists heard about the unarmed medic casualty rates or being stuck in a miserable, low-paid job for 4 years vs, the military normal obligation of 2 -- most dropped the pretense and picked up the rifle as the least onerous choice..

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 26, 2006 07:22 PM

neither of these is available to you.

Posted by: there's a way to be and a way to be that's not an asshole... | February 26, 2006 08:02 PM

Cayambe - "Might you have some insight into how this data actually flows these days?"

I know there have been struggles between business, which moves at light speed to get new technology and the Feds and unions dragging their feet. Unions have opposed increased computer automation at Ports, Fed security - notoriously the FBI being just inept and not tech savvy - at new technology and IT. The Coasties do miracles despite their not being 1t in line for Homeland Defense funding, and Customs is pretty well computerized. But paper still exists for law enforcement and legal considerations. I think manifests are all electronic now for the rest of the players, with paper accompanying the actual cargo. I know that they have gotten big on encoded and nonencoded RFID tags and electronic seals. There are likely other security features that the average Port person knows about but not Joe or Abdullah in the general public.

"Might you have some insight into what percentage of the incoming containers actually come out of what Custom?s might see as ?controlled? environments?"

I do know from news reports that the 1st Nation and company to fall in compliance with the US's Secure Containerized Cargo Program was the UAE and DPW, from news stories. A bit of irony. I really don't know who as a shipper or originator is considered suspect. That is probably something that the public should not know. Perhaps the NYTimes will once again rise to the occasion and alert radical Muslims. I do know that the deranged NORKs, Iran after the Karina A, and Yemen are certainties. Plus, the old "war on drugs" countries Customs and the Coast Guard still bird dog...

Cayambe - "So I?m still persuaded that the easier and safer way to get something really nasty into a position to do the most damage would be a 50-60 ft innocent looking sailboat that could carry a couple of tons below deck without looking the least out of place."

I don't know when you did that. But I went out with a friend in 2004 fishing in the Gulfstream off Florida and a Merchant ship passed close by. I said we would be challenged by either a deputy dawg police boat or Coasties on the way back in because the radar would show his boat and the merchant ship were intersecting. And a possible pickup could have happened. And we were stopped and boarded..

But you're right. Dozens of other smuggling methods or ways of getting a nuke in detonation range exist besides container vessels. Drugs, illegals, even freon crosses into the US...

=============================
Finally, a little off topic, having read all of your posts here, I have reason to believe that you might know the degree of certainty with which the residue of a nuclear explosion can be analyzed to determine its source based on its physical properties. Any thoughts?

No certainty. But two phrases that I might give you some new info on. Both are very much in the " need to know, beyond top secret world". (1) The 4th Protocol; (2) NEST and nuclear residue analysis.

1. The 4th Protocal evidently exists. But no one in the public has seen the document, if a signed document indeed exists vs. a direct verbal agreement. It was from back in the 50s when concern existed that special forces teams or diplomatic pouches could be used to smuggle nukes past Cold War lines. Detection technology was primitive then and vast, vast borders open to penetration existed. What the Protocol stated was that detection of any covert smuggling would trigger global thermonuclear war, as assumption would be made that other weapons smuggling had been successful before the failed attempt, and full war was an option. That put smuggling into an unacceptably high risk category for both sides. That form of deterrance appeared to have worked - and no doubt similar warnings have been formally stated to N Korea and Pakistan (and of course China much earlier) of the consequences of detection of it. While many say terrorism has no return address and only law enforcement works, I differ. If we find a bomb or suffer detonation and it turns out it came from radical Islamists in Pakistan "who in no way represent either Pakistan or the religion of peace" - that IMO, wouldn't get Pakistan off the hook. Just as 99.99% of the Russians we would roast in retaliation for a nuclear attack would have innocence from their dictators decision, knowledge that Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta might roast obviously makes the government and military more vigilant on looking out for "rogue elements".

2. Nuke residue analysis has been going on for 60 years. Some capabilities are also very secret.

We do have the ability to determine basic design of the bomb. And if certain components existed in the bomb. And from % fissile material remaining, how efficient it was. We also can determine how long the reactors supplying Plutonium-type bombs burned fuel.

Nuclear Emerency Search Teams have analytic capability, so too the nations nuclear labs, and the AF. Tom Clancy perhaps exaggerated NEST capability in his book "The Sum of All Fears" to quickly determine what specific reactor produced the PU and when. This is unlikely to be like a wine expert swishing a mouthful and saying, "Ah, a 1993 red Bordeaux, from the Mastrech Estate, North Slope!" No one wishes to become a nuclear bomb residue taste expert - short career and many other downsides.

Clancy's fictional failed H-Bomb with a PU pit. Tracing would be clearly more difficult with a HEU simple "gun type bomb". We do have clues from enrichment contaminents, degree of HEU enrichment, even differences in non-nuclear materials by manufacturing nation.

There is still work to do securing Russian PU and HEU stocks better, but the Russians have better control than the alarmists in the media and Democratic Underground think, for no other reason than the biggest smuggling and theft threat is from CHechens..and Russia is their #1 enemy. Suicase nukes are another alarmist myth. None appear to be lose - despite the ravings of a drunken erratic general, and if any were, they would not be usable was weapons due to age and lack of maintenance..

But I would indeed lay odds that we could trace a nuke back to the guilty party - as bomb residue would be just one of many clue trails pursued as the highest priority by the global intelligence community.

Same with a major anthrax or other biowar attack. (Non-withstanding the botched FBI investigation of the 2001 attacks hampered by legal criminal due process impediments, and FBI culture). A major attack puts the whole world at risk of more, and very serious guys all around the world would be taking every investigatory angle with no consideration for criminal rights or delays intended to aid in "building a legal case". When serious folks in full diplomatic immunity show up at nations doors and request to check the DNA and faclities of the biowar stock they have or "we assume it's you, and the Trident subs will soon begin their firing drill..."

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 26, 2006 10:48 PM

I really don't know who as a shipper or originator is considered suspect. That is probably something that the public should not know. Perhaps the NYTimes will once again rise to the occasion and alert radical Muslims. I do know that the deranged NORKs, Iran after the Karina A, and Yemen are certainties. Plus, the old "war on drugs" countries Customs and the Coast Guard still bird dog...

See, it wasn't that hard to figure out, was it? A high school kid could do it. You traitor, you alerted our enemies.

Posted by: | February 27, 2006 12:04 AM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

www.wsws.org


http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

February 25-26, 2006 -- White House "finds" missing Cheney e-mails.

The White House turned over to CIA Leakgate Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald some 250 pages of e-mails from 2003 that it originally claimed were somehow deleted or lost. The e-mails reportedly demonstrate that Vice President Dick Cheney and his staff were squarely behind and coordinated efforts to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and reveal the identity of his covert CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, to the media. The e-mails are said to implicate Cheney and his key staffers in potential criminal wrongdoing involving the disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's identity and those of her Brewster Jennings & Associates covert colleagues.

The White House said it "discovered" the missing e-mails two weeks ago and turned them over to Fitzgerald. However, three and a half weeks ago, WMR was contacted by an anonymous source who claimed to have intimate knowledge of how the "EOP" (Executive Office of the President) archived older e-mail and other documents. The source said that it is EOP policy to send archival documents to an underground Federal Support Center at 5321 Riggs Road in Olney, Maryland for safekeeping.

Were missing Cheney e-mails trucked to secret White House underground facility in Maryland? Insider said yes.

WMR passed this "tip" on to those who have "back channel" communications with Fitzgerald's office with an emphasis that the anonymous source appeared to have a very good working knowledge of White House document handling and archival procedures. The anonymous source suggested that Fitzgerald and a team of FBI agents show up unannounced at the Olney facility and simply seize the e-mails in question. WMR held the information on the possible whereabouts of the missing e-mails so not to alert the White House political operatives of their existence and location.

In any event, except for some e-mails for which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is claiming executive privilege, most of the the "missing" 2003 smoking gun e-mails involving Cheney's office have been found and these may prove to be as politically damaging to the Bush White House as the Watergate tapes proved to be for Richard Nixon.

Posted by: che | February 27, 2006 03:06 AM

DK - Chris,

On "clubbing the crap" ...
We all agree on Afghanistan. I would even say that staying to do nation building there is optional. Not that I object to it in this particular case; I don't; but we should not be hamstrung in doing the clubbing by a moral imperative to rebuild the nation we clubbed.

As to Pakistan. There is an op-ed piece today that argues that Pakistan is at some level complicit in harboring the Taliban and that the tribal agencies are complicit in harboring Al Qaeda. It is difficult to know what the real truth is. Certainly there is a vocal segment of Pakistani society that is sympathetic to fundamentalist Islam. In any case, we don't have the option of "going into Pakistan" a la Iraq or Afghanistan. They have nuclear weapons and I've no doubt they would use them in self-defense...as we would in the same circumstances. In order to go in to Pakistan we would first have to take out their nuclear capability and it is most likely you would have to resort to nuclear weapons to do that. After all, they must have their nuclear sites hardened sufficiently to weather a first strike by India. Pre-emption with regard to Pakistan is not the same as pre-emption with regard to Iraq. So unless and until Pakistan actually attacks us in some specific manner, we don't really have an option, other than a full scale nuclear first strike. Nor would this change if Mussaref gets overthrown by the bad guys. Note that we wouldn't put ourselves at physical risk by a nuclear first strike, Pakistan has no capacity to retaliate against us because we are too distant for their missiles to reach us. Actually, the best way for us to wipe out Pakistan would be to smuggle a missile in through Afghanistan and launch it towards India from close to the Pakistani border and then let India wipe them out in self-defense. (Just joking of course)

=======================================
DK - "Don't you think that creating post-war messes in the middle east will spawn an entire generation of of disaffected young Muslim men that will take up their IEDs, small arms, rocks, or whatever and go out to fight and die to kill the western devils led by the U.S.?"

That is not the first option, but when all other options run out, turning a nation or culture into rubble does work in ending a threat if you do a thorough enough job.
snip snip...
Which we of course would only seriously contemplate if a true, no holds barred, clash of civilizations or a WMD existential threat exists.
=======================================

I would answer DK with a yes. But unlike our President, if we must fight them, I would prefer to fight them here. Bush and others have often argued that it is better to fight them in Iraq than to have to fight them here. I mean really, apart from the WTC, what success have they had, here? Murtha is absolutely right to point out that our presence there makes us sitting ducks. They have all of the advantages and we the disadvantages. They have wide support, we do not. Further, if we remove our presence we remove the burr under the saddle and the horse has no reason for further disaffection. On the other hand, if they choose to fight us here, they are the strangers in a strange land (as we are in Iraq), one that is not so easy for them to get into or for them to swim in once here.

I agree with Chris about what to do "when other options run out". Where we probably depart is in the meaning of "options run out". I require a violation that demands actual self-defense, specifically disallowing "pre-emptive stuff". Nor would I countenance the use of nuclear weapons unless they had been used against us. On the other hand, as examples, I would have no qualms responding to either the Cole, Khobar Towers, or the African Embassies with overwhelming conventional forces once the perpetrators were located, wherever they were or are. The proper response to an act of war is annihilation, as specific as possible, but annihilation in any case. On that, I am sure Chris and I are in agreement. It does work, and the more brutal and swift it is, the better it works.

I take a different quote than ErrinF from General Washington's Farewell:
"Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it."

...as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it. The words are worth repeating.

"The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes."

Washington would be appalled at the notion of recommending our form of government at the point of a gun. We are envisioned as providing an example worthy of applause and affection. I hear less and less applause, much less affection, as the years go by. How about you? Nor was the good General unaware of our unique blessings, the same religion, manners, habits and political principles; without which this constitution would have undoubtedly taken a different shape. Amazingly, it has thus far accommodated wave upon wave of diversity and we are no less American for that. Europe has been far less successful in the matter of integration and assimilation, not that we did so well with our blacks. Perhaps because unlike others, they did not come by choice.

Other nations, other civilizations, must find their own way to their own political systems. It is not our place or job to do it for them or to complain of their choices in different circumstances. We may recommend ours in good will, but they are not bound to choose it.

=======================================
I'm pretty honest about PC rubbish that that I think lets problems intrinsic to a culture fester uncorrected. I consider Islamic civilization inferior to Western Civ.
=======================================

I always think you are entitled to your opinion, and often enough I can agree with it, if not the manner of its expression. I don't think that Islamic civilization is inferior to Western civilization, indeed I have to wonder what the term "inferior" really means in this context. As a young boy I once went down to the market and bought a shrunken head from an Indian who was selling that and other things like cute ocelot cubs. That was back in the days when they were genuine and not faked using pigskin the way they are now. The following year he took me on a trip back to his home village in the Amazon for a couple of weeks, whole trip took 4 weeks, mostly by river. Most of the villagers had never seen a white guy before so I found out what it was like to be a celebrity. Oddly enough, these were a very happy people, quite gracious and hospitable, and quite comfortable in their primitive surroundings. In terms of their social life I thought they were rather superior to what we had at home. In terms of the bed and the bugs I thought it left a lot to be desired. In their isolation, they were pretty damn happy with what they had, happier it seemed to me than we more civilized folk. So I think civilizations are just different and the measure of their worth can really only be assessed from within them. It does not seem to me necessary for there to be a war between civilizations here so long as each civilization does not seek to impose itself on the other. More than a few missionaries lost their heads discovering that in the Amazon basin. (Mine was not a missionary, just an unlucky fellow from another Indian tribe :o)


=======================================
Tracing would be clearly more difficult with a HEU simple "gun type bomb". We do have clues from enrichment contaminents, degree of HEU enrichment, even differences in non-nuclear materials by manufacturing nation.

But I would indeed lay odds that we could trace a nuke back to the guilty party - as bomb residue would be just one of many clue trails pursued as the highest priority by the global intelligence community.
=======================================
I'm not so concerned with H-bombs, these are considerably less of a proliferation threat, at least for the immediate future.

I agree with you that the Russian's undoubtedly have a close hold on their devices for the very reason you provide. And I rather think that Iran makes them nervous in that regard and so too Pakistan. Binnie is not the only potential customer nor we the only potential target. Unlike us, the Russians are within missile range of both. They have to depend on AD to quell those two threats and they are in a terrible pickle if the Chechens get their hands on something. Not being a state they just might be nuts enough to use it.


Thanks for the stuff on paperwork. I sure don't like seeing the FBI getting in the middle of this. I still think the British model of a domestic intelligence agency would have been more efficacious.

And yes, the coast guard is a hell of an agency; the one operation that acquitted itself absolutely admirably in Katrina.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 27, 2006 03:23 AM

Much of the partisan bickering over this debate misses the larger point. Our port security stank before this deal and remains bad afterwards. Remember how in the first Bush/Kerry debate the President actually said it was too expensive to worry about port security and instead he preferred expending blood and treasure in a country like Iraq. I think we now all see the lack of wisdom in that decision.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 27, 2006 07:54 AM

Che quotes:

"Imagine having a remotely readable national ID that can be scanned by the government as you drive by or walk down the street."

_____________

Sounds a new cottage industry to me, making wallets with metallically shielded card pockets.

The real concern with RFID chips is when they are concealed and the holder does not know where.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 27, 2006 09:44 AM

Cayambe-

At risk of taking us away from the main subject because all my other inquiries have become largely irrelevant to everyone else, apparently. Here is my go at staying active in this thread.

"Other nations, other civilizations, must find their own way to their own political systems. It is not our place or job to do it for them or to complain of their choices in different circumstances. We may recommend ours in good will, but they are not bound to choose it."

This is certainly true, but to an extent. If "find[ing] their own way" means the genocide of a minority, then we may have a moral imperative to intervene with that government. Our form of government would not be recommended, it would be enforced, that is, if we treat genocide as a moral wrong to be corrected by the international community.

This would have been the case in Somalia, where the "cultural" differences between Western Democracy and East African Tribal Civil War was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. Consequently the international community decided it needed to intervene.

This is an extreme case, but it is all too easy for us to forget, while praying at the alter of cultural respect, that in the real world major cultural differences have casualties. Real people suffer under these not-so-nuanced differences.

One of the differences between Islamic Cultures and Christian ones is that the latter has managed to divorce its religious beliefs from its political and social structure to a significantly larger degree than the former. Even moderate Islamic countries, like Dubai, still have some form of Shari'ah Judicial Law enforcing the real lives of real people in very real ways.

For 12 someodd million Saudi women, these differences can include lifelong servitude to a husband. While this cultural difference might be of little consequence to the Saudi women who happens to marry a really nice guy, who treats her right and feeds her, the not-so-nuanced cultural differneces would be of extreme consequence to the Saudi woman who is married to the egomaniacle jealous husband who rapes her and locks her up so that she doesn't have a chance to sleep with her brothers-in-laws.

She might question the "value" of her own culture vs. that of the West when she realizes that her rape case does not go anywhere in Shari'ah courts because her testimony is worth 1/2 of her husband's in court, and therefore the matter is settled on his word alone.

This is an example of one specific aspect of a culture that is morally despicable. Disagree?

Posted by: Will | February 27, 2006 11:08 AM

all your opinions have the same left slant.. why bother..your just debating yourself

Posted by: thekid | February 27, 2006 11:17 AM

"the egomaniacle jealous husband who rapes her and locks her up so that she doesn't have a chance to sleep with her brothers-in-laws"

We shouldn't do this? You treat your women like you believe correct, and we will do likewise. My brothers in law are horny fellows. I must protect my investment.

Posted by: hamid s. | February 27, 2006 12:11 PM

The point is, hamid (and I hope you are joking), is that when the "correct" way to "treat your women" is criminal, it criminalizes your culture.

Locking up women and/or raping them is criminal. It is morally wrong. If criminal behavior is the cultural norm then it's time for moral people to do something about your culture.

Posted by: Will | February 27, 2006 12:34 PM

This situation continues to show, as other matters have in the past, that there are two Americas. Why? When news first broke, most Americans expressed outrage and shock when they heard that the Dubai Government might soon be anaging American Ports in lieu of the British.

However, within the past 48 hours one side of the House seems to be trying to turn this into a political issue saying that this matter got out of hand because of the other side of the House. It appears to me that everyone in America who heard about the Dubai purchase, via the media, were all shocked.

Is it really time for our elected officals to play partisan politics again? Or on the other hand, shouldn't our elected officials, and the electorate come together and investigate this matter and determine whether it is a feasible or reasonable to allow any foreign government or organizaiton to manage our ports.

I am really so sick of American politics and those who like to play the game of politics!

Posted by: Seal of Abraham | February 27, 2006 02:21 PM

Ford tries to compare:
"Of course, by the Lefty jeremiad about only pro-war people should sacrifice, it's counter that only Lefties should fund the whole welfare state - then - those in the middle that don't care a great deal one way or the other and are silent about war or inner city parasites or prisoner rights and care would escape all sacrifice."

That's a nice try, but it doesn't truly compare the two. It merely makes a broad stroke to try to put the two in the same categories. For instance, in terms of welfare, I believe that while the program needs some work, it is in essence good and I support it. So I am willing to pay my share, volunteer at soup kitchens, and donate money and time to things such as habitat for humanity. Now, heres the other side of the spectrum. Are you willing to join the military and support the war effort with both money and action? I support the war that I don't agree with through monetary amounts (At least I assume I will be when the US people actually start paying for it) but do not actually put forth any action in support, while I pay into welfare AND volunteer for welfare programs. Can you say the same about the war effort?

If no, I'd say your argument that they're alike doesn't hold up. I'm willing to support my beliefs with more than just words Ford. You?

Posted by: Freedom | February 27, 2006 02:25 PM

I forgot to add, Ford, that the way our government works is that it decides 'democratically' what our country should and should not do, and then funds it through taxes which every citizen should pay, in theory. while I don't agree with paying for the war, I still do. I am not suggesting, nor has anyone else to my knowledge suggested (forgive me if they have as I've come into the arguement late and skimmed the comments to catch up), that only people for the war should pay for it; merely that if you want the war, you should be willing to help fight it. With your comparison, if you want the welfare program, you should be willing to work with it to help others. I'd be inclined to believe that you're more likely to find people that want the welfare program donating time than people donating time to help the war effort.

Posted by: Freedom | February 27, 2006 02:31 PM

Will -

All you are doing then is imposing your law on the Saudis, saying they are criminal for following another set of laws.

That is no different than a Saudi declaring the US and Europe and Asia full of "criminals" for disobeying Sharia law.

I am actually reluctant to ever sacrifice America lives and blow vast sums of treasure simply to interpose ourselves in a civil war. Where it threatens to spread into a wider area, threaten & disrupt allied nations - yes - like in Bosnia. Or when it threatens to push 100s of thousands, even millions of unskilled 3rd World parasites into our land from playing the "refugee get in free, live free off the taxpayers teat guarantee".

But the average civil war? Uhnn uh! Even if civilians out the yin yang are being slaughtered, there is no "moral imperative" for America and only America to be the World's hated and detested 9/11 service ---begged to do their duty to the rest of the world so large nations and small can get a free ride...then suffer as Lefties then spend the followup to intervention saying how hated and evil and screwed up America is when our intervention isn't "perfect".

Other intervenors like Canada and the UK have their Lefties going after their own troops with the usual Lefty "atrocity-smearing" meant to discredit and dishonor their own forces on the "military man is evil" mental meme the Left suffers from.

If we do intervene in the future, I think the America public has come to a point where we demand slacker nation's free ride to end and they spill both money and blood rather than have it rest all on the US and a few Western nations.

Cyambe - Nice response. I will add that besides responding to acts of war like the Cole and embassy bombings, Saddams daily firing on our pilots enforcing the No Fly zones was an act of war and was responded to by military attacks, including Clinton's extensive little mini-war called "Desert Fox", that bombed over 1,000 targets throughout Iraq in one week.

The other thing is the UN is credible only when it's Security Council resolutions mean something. Saddams defiance of some 14 Resolutions , tossing out the weapons inspectors in defiance of the UN...had much to do with his fate. Like it or not, even though we ourselves screw the UN by our knee-jerk Veto on anything Israel objects to...America does indeed wish to keep the UN credible. If all the Resolutions failed due to Saddam's flipping the UN the finger and the fear of Euroweenies....future UN Resolutions would be seen & treated as meaningless tripe from a then-failed international body going the Way of the League of Nations.

And the debate would then be about which of the UN's valuable institutions outside matters of war and peace were worth salvaging under the "UN" name, or a new International body. Proposals are out there..one restricts membership to democracies only, another "weights" national strength, influence, population factors to get away from "one nation, one vote" logic where Barbados=Brazil, Ireland=India in clout and where the world's second-largest economy, China, pays under 1% of UN dues while Japan pays 22%.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 27, 2006 03:04 PM

This article presents a lot of facts that can put to rest most of the b.s. coming from the numbskulled debaters just opposing this deal because Bush supports it:

Washington Times
February 27, 2006
Pg. 21

A Layered Approach To Cargo Security

Protective efforts begin overseas

By Michael Chertoff and John W. Snow

Since September 11, our nation has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that the cargo arriving at our ports is fully screened, passes through multiple layers of security on its journey to the United States and meets tough national and international security requirements.

Port security begins overseas, before a container is even loaded onto a ship. First, 100 percent of all cargo destined for the United States is screened using the specific manifest data our Customs and Border Protection officials receive 24 hours in advance of loading the cargo on a ship. This screening system uses an advanced set of algorithms to detect anomalies and target shipments against corporate histories, parties to the transaction, intelligence and other information.

Additionally, Customs and Border Protection inspectors stationed in more than 40 international ports -- representing some 80 percent of the container traffic bound for the United States -- conduct a thorough review of shipping and cargo manifest information, company histories and intelligencetodetermine whether the contents of a container pose a risk to our country and require additional scrutiny. Once cleared, that cargo then passes through a series of security checks while in transit, including automated, risk-based targeting, scrutiny of the vessel and crew by the Coast Guard, and in some cases, physical inspection of the cargo when it arrives at our ports, including X-ray and radiation-detection screening.

At no point during this entire process is a private company responsible for our nation's port security. Our Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection agents are always in charge of the all-important security responsibility.

In fact, companies that operate in our ports are subject to an extensive range of federal port and maritime security laws and regulations, and are required to work closely with U.S. security agencies to ensure the highest standards of port security. These are facts that cannot be changed and will not change with the purchase of a British company -- Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. -- by the Dubai Ports World, a holding company based in the United Arab Emirates that would take over certain container terminal operations and services in a number of U.S. ports.

Let us be clear: Dubai Ports World is not buying U.S. seaports and Dubai Ports World will remain subject to our Coast Guard and Customs officials. Dubai Ports World is proposing to purchase only operating interests in the ports in question -- that is, the right to operate container terminals and provide logistical services, such as unloading cargo. This is not uncommon. Many foreign companies conduct commercial operations in U.S. ports and we have similar arrangements with our foreign counterparts, including the Port of Dubai, which is a key partner in our overseas Container Security Initiative. Indeed, the Port of Dubai allows our American inspectors to check cargo before it leaves their port. In addition, local port authorities will continue to retain ownership of our ports and the employment base at these ports will not change as a result of the purchase.

Furthermore, whenever a foreign entity notifies our government of its intention to purchase a foreign firm operating in the United States, and where national security interests may be touched, a multi-agency committee called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States rigorously reviews the transaction. As participants in this process, we cannot state strongly enough that our first and foremost priority in analyzing this transaction -- and all transactions -- has been the security of this nation.

The committee includes representation of the primary national security agencies of the federal government: the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, Commerce and State, and the National Security Council staff, among others. This process allows each member of the committee to carry out its own independent analysis of the potential transaction and review any national security concerns. In the case of the Dubai Ports World purchase, as with others, the Departments of Transportation and Energy also participated in the review to provide a more thorough examination and broaden the scope and expertise of the agencies involved.

The intelligence community also provides the committee with an independent assessment of whether the foreign company poses a threat to U.S. national security and did so in this case. Based on that assessment, the committee's 12 member agencies unanimously concluded that the purchase of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. by Dubai Ports World would not pose a threat to U.S. national security.

But going even further, in this case the Department of Homeland Security negotiated a strong and unprecedented set of security and other commitments from Dubai Ports World to enhance that company's security profile and to increase our ability to monitor and enforce security beyond what the law requires. With these assurances, which go far beyond what the companies are otherwise legally obligated to do, Homeland Security and all other members of the committee agreed that national security requirements would be fully addressed and the transaction could proceed pending other regulatory hurdles.

All of us involved in this process know that protecting America from terrorist threats involves a comprehensive effort, whether taking the fight to terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, locating and capturing supporters of terror at home and abroad or protecting our borders and transportation hubs and ports. We reached approval of the Dubai Ports World transaction with all of that in mind and indeed to further that goal.

A key component of winning the war on terror is consistent and principled leadership. On this issue, the United States has a responsibility to act according to established procedures and to act without bias. As the president said on Tuesday, "it sends a terrible signal to friends around the world" if we hold an unfounded prejudice against a country that has played by the rules and acted as an ally. We and our colleagues in the administration are confident of our decision, and we believe that the facts bear out our decision.

Michael Chertoff is secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. John W. Snow is secretary of the Department of the Treasury.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | February 27, 2006 03:17 PM

Chris Ford-

"All you are doing then is imposing your law on the Saudis, saying they are criminal for following another set of laws."

You are absolutely right. I have no problem criminalizing rape and forced imprisonment in other cultures. I have no problem calling a judicial system where one person's testimony is arbitrarily 1/2 of another person's testimony, irregardless of merit, ridiculous.

"That is no different than a Saudi declaring the US and Europe and Asia full of "criminals" for disobeying Sharia law."

Wrong. The key difference is that Shari'ah Law is religiously motivated, whereas our Judicial system is not.

I am proud not to be a moral subjectivist. If social, judicial, or political institutions encourage rape then those social, judicial, and political institutions are just flat out wrong.

I did not say anything about civil wars, I was trying to make a more general claim about cultural relativism which I utterly reject. Just because I think Saudi Arabia has morally detestable practices, or that their judicial system is beneath contempt, doesn't mean I think we should put American lives at risk to fix it.

I've always assume you were not a cultural/moral relativist either, since you admit little use for PC nonsense about the value of cultures viz cultures. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Will | February 27, 2006 03:42 PM

has never been allowed to lead before...


but the president has solicited their approval and they currently have a big voting block in congress, hopefully to be moved to prison soon..

why else would the vice president of the united states host a fund raiser for Tom Delay(the GeorgeWallace look-alike) in Texas on December 5th of like two and a half months ago?

It's called pandering, when you pander, you have to treat the trash like you value their opinion....unfortunately the trash is leading the country....rich trash but nonetheless trash.


see yah.

Posted by: there are two Americas primarily because the redneck one... | February 27, 2006 03:42 PM

For the president, his administration's lenience toward the Emirates recalls the unpleasant history of Harken Energy, the loser oil exploration firm that provided him with a handsome profit when he unloaded his shares during the summer of 1990. Years earlier, Harken had been rescued from bankruptcy by timely investments of millions of dollars from the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International, also known as the "bank of crooks and criminals." Although dominated by Saudi friends of Dubya's dad, BCCI was headquartered in the Emirates, specifically in Abu Dhabi. That may seem like old history, but the first family's intimate connection with the UAE royals has continued without rupture over the past two decades.

Posted by: hello sheeple.............. | February 27, 2006 03:45 PM

Perhaps you've forgotten what this is really all about.

the looting of America, and the plundering of the citizens by the elite....


forget about getting tarbabied with cries of "left" "democrat" "republican" "airhead" "towelhead" "islamoid" "christian murderer" "moron"

how about,


why is it okay to invite Saddam Hussein to attack Kuwiat? Thank that makes us friends with his citizens....think they'll trust us in five or more years? Why should they? We're liars, proven liars....at least your presidents are....and George Jr., is really George Senior....really, young george is too young and obviously inept to be running the country, but he can go to jail if the shit hits the fan, right?


why is it OK for the Bushe dynasty and his familie(s) to cut deals that benefit him and his friends

but leave the citizens paying the bill....


referring to the other post, about 20 year history with the Arab Emirates,

WHEN IT STARTED, sort of

Bush Sr. is former head of CIA, Congressman before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 30 years on the case...

SUDDENLY
Under Bush Sr.:
it was April Gillespie, and NOT Ms Albright who went to Iraq, and with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union. He invades Kuwait, we now have an official reason to be there....

looks like we'll establish a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi.


Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the Brits.


Protecting the Kuwaiti's:

We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and stop short of Bagdhad....you know why, we're going back...

and now we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait.

we put the country of Iraq in stasis with embargoes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...


we need to intervene....we in this case is the international riche, which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the Gawdfather on this on, or at least the gawdfathers visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry Schiavo, from being unhooked.

so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..


then Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loaded with 9 BILLON DOLLARS in cash, which disappears right....ha ha ha?


and the museums were emptied of treasures right?


ha ha ha...

that's rich.


as far as conspiracy goes,


there never was a COCAINE/CIA/NORIEGA/BUSH Sr. connection right? wonder when george w. was a snorter?

the thing of it is,

Bush Senior suckered or indirectly ordered Saddam, to attacking Kuwait, so we could rescue the kuwiati's, and become military occupiers...and heroes, as well as do a set-up for the next incursion....where we're the heroes again, but no one over there believes it, it's been sold that way in the United States....by your US handlers.


this has a lot to do with International named Royalty and ROYAL-Seemingly-democratic families working together, as well as politics, as well as...


helping you to understand that it isn't all cowboy hats and honesty leading you...


Saddam was deliberately mislead into settling a border dispute with Kuwait, that included some oil well that he thought belonged to Iraq.....


did we tell Saddam Hussein the truth?


no, we wanted to go in and occupy.


it wasn't to our advantage.


the bushes intimately understand the middle eastern tribe mentality, they have it....


ps. you're not included in their tribe....


morons in charge and morons voted them in...


you want a better country quit pandering to morons.....


the point of it is, the bush family, is trying to bury some information that needs to be understood


It's really all about understanding the world that you're working with...


Having a magazine subscription salesman, Carl Rove, handling presidential breifings pretty much says it all.....


he's like a paid commercial for the administration that is going to sell you a 60 day free trial period of ass-stuffin for half price....half price mind you...


that's the point.

Posted by: | February 27, 2006 04:01 PM


it's not whether you can trust the UAE,
or the legality of the situation, or has it happened before....


what is going on is, "the sale" is inconsistent with what the administration has been spewing....


which is basically that we are at war with mad and crazy terroristas that are looking to destroy the United States.


If in fact you call the Bush Administration and current sitting congress terroristas....I'd agree with him...he knows what he's talkin about....


he's a friggin genius...

NOT


he forgot what he was trying to sell.

we are at "war"

It's about a MANUFACTURED THREAT,

that doesn't exist, BEING EXPOSED.


AGAIN:

we're supposed to be knee deep in a war on terror, that the president has "war powers" from, which means he doesn't need your approval...for what ever he wants to do including NSA Warrantless spyin'


This, is pretty simple:


Bush can't keep his story straight on his lies.

we're not at war, he's knows that there's no terrorist threat, he's the terrorist threat...he's manipulating cirmcustance to concoct a story that needs us intervening in Iraq, when what we're really doing is protecting _his_ , _HIS FAMILIES_, and his _Friends_ economic investments....


knock off the party rhetoric...it's not a Republican Democrat issue, it's a friendship amongst the elite issue coming to light.


no documents needing to track things,


that means george walker bush, and the people he represents trusts them...no matter what he's been selling _you_


that bullshit about, "no knowledge," Froomkin posts about them being warned some time in advance and wanting to rush it through without public scrutiny...


republicans/democrats ~= riche people skinning the other 97% and selling their children into slavery at Walmart...


let go of mommy and daddy caring about you, and take over your own countries government....arrest the traitors.


It's not about terrorism, or a threat we're facing, it's about being lied to in order to manipulate a situation that he created with dad's help....as everyone knows he ain't thet smaht.....take him out, put the ENTIRE BUSH family into orange jump suits and go visit their donated lands of the old plantation that they're giving back to the mind slaves...that will become part of the National Park Service, along with Unca Dick's holdings...

It's nice that you're all switching to whether there's any danger or not...and trivializing the looting of the United States as if it happens all the time...


when resources are getting scarcer, the population is increasing....

the people's share is decreased.....

more

and more....


establish a democracy, and enforce it...


arrest the plutocracy, and sell their land as they would sell yours....

you're the citizens, not them.

Posted by: see if you can bury that. | February 27, 2006 04:13 PM

PLUTOCRACY; definition of,

A system of government whereby wealth and the benefits that wealth accrues lead to a concentration of power in the hands of those with disproportionate access to financial resources.

Posted by: IN CASE you're wondering... | February 27, 2006 04:17 PM

he's supporting it, because he's in bed with them....


not with the citizenship of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA....


them he uses in the olde sense, to work his plantation...until they drop and they owe him the schtuppin that he wants when he says drop 'em...


which is what he's doin now.

Posted by: This article presents a lot of facts that can put to rest most of the b.s. coming from the numbskull | February 27, 2006 04:27 PM



otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
www.wsws.org

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2059046,00.html

MI5 rebels expose Tube bomb cover-up

David Leppard
MI5 is facing an internal revolt by officers alarmed about intelligence failures and the lack of resources to fight Islamic terrorism.

To illustrate their concern, agents have leaked more topsecret documents to The Sunday Times because they want a public inquiry into the "missed intelligence" leading up to the July attacks in London.

They believe ministers have withheld information from the public about what the security services knew about the suspects before the bombing of July 7 and the abortive attacks of July 21.

The documents include an admission by John Scarlett, head of SIS, the secret intelligence service (also known as MI6), that one of the July 21 suspects was tracked on a trip to Pakistan just months before the attempted bombings.

Until now it was not known that any of the July 21 suspects, who are awaiting trial, were familiar to the intelligence services. It has been disclosed that MI5 had placed two of the July 7 bombers under surveillance before their attack, but judged them not to be a threat.

The new documents show that MI5, which is responsible for national security, allowed the July 21 suspect to travel to Pakistan after he was detained and interviewed at a British airport. Once in Pakistan he was monitored by SIS, which gathers intelligence overseas.

MI5 then conducted what the leaked memo says was "a low-level short-term investigation" into the suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

It stopped monitoring him because it said "the Pakistani authorities assessed that he was doing nothing of significance".

Scarlett revealed details of the operation to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) last November. The committee, comprising MPs and peers picked by Tony Blair, is conducting a secret inquiry into the "lessons learnt" from the July attacks. It is due to be completed in April.

The Scarlett memo -- marked top secret -- was leaked by the dissident officers who want a public inquiry similar to that undertaken in America after the 9/11 attacks.

They believe it would highlight the need for MI5 and SIS to be given more resources to deal with Al-Qaeda. They are critical of Blair, who has ruled out an inquiry saying it would distract the security services from fighting terrorism.

The leaked memo refers to Scarlett as C -- the traditional codename for the head of SIS. It states: "On the events of July itself, and the question of whether intelligence was missed, C noted that SIS had previously been involved in an earlier investigation of one of the July 21 (suspects) in Pakistan.

"This had been at the Security Service (MI5)'s behest and should be discussed with MI5."

Another document, MI5's November 2005 memo The July Bombings and the Agencies' Response, has also been shown to The Sunday Times.

It names the suspect who was the subject of the 2004 investigation and shifts responsibility for the decision to stop monitoring him to the Pakistani intelligence authorities.

"(The suspect) had been the subject of a low-level short-term investigation concerning a visit he made to Pakistan after he was interviewed on departure from the UK," it states.

"However, the Pakistani authorities assessed that he was doing nothing of significance in a terrorist context."

The assessment echoes a decision by MI5 to halt surveillance on two of the July 7 bombers 16 months before the attacks. Both were filmed and taped by MI5 agents as they met two men allegedly plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in England.

After making what an official called "a quick assessment", MI5 concluded Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were not immediate threats. As the MI5 memo puts it: "Intelligence at the time suggested Khan's purpose was financial crime rather than terrorist activity."

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "These leaks show that the need for an independent inquiry is incontrovertible."

There is a growing consensus in Whitehall that the intelligence services will be seen to have made critical errors in failing to assess adequately the threat from at least three of the July suspects.

Scarlett conceded to the ISC that his agency had reacted too slowly. "Summing up the position before July 2005, C noted SIS were conscious of the size of the target, but equally conscious of what we did not know; we were thinly spread in North and East Africa; we were looking at new ways of increasing our reach; and we had sought funding to grow as fast as we thought feasible.

"Turning to the lessons learnt, C noted that SIS had understood the nature of the threat and that there was a great deal that we did not know. SIS had developed strategies to meet this threat.

"The attacks had shown that our strategies were correct, but needed to be implemented more extensively and more quickly," the memo noted.

Scarlett said that even before the attacks, SIS had planned to expand overseas. "C concluded by explaining how post-July SIS were speeding up implementation of the pre-July strategy." He said the agency did not want more money for staff.

The dissident officers believe the buck-passing revealed in the memos demonstrates that there should be closer co-operation between the agencies.

They support calls for a unified department of homeland security, along the lines suggested by Gordon Brown, the chancellor, this month.

Posted by: che | February 27, 2006 04:41 PM

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public". P.T.Barnum.

And all this xenophobic, ignorant, simple-minded, uninformed, racist, paranoid bullshit over a port management company further proves the point.

I cringe.

Posted by: Eric Yendall | February 27, 2006 04:49 PM

[2/27/6, 00:02] Update: The White House has released its own fact sheet regarding DPW and the UAE. The only fact on it that makes me nervous is the third one: "America's ports will be just as secure after the DP World transaction as they were before."

Notice how the Bush administration turns a blind eye to domestic terrorism when it claims that this port deal won't effect port security? If this deal goes through, all ports in the US involving DPW will become targets for domestic terrorism when they weren't before. Can anyone deny this?
So, let me get this straight: The war against international terrorism is supposedly 'The Long War' that will take generations of struggle to win, but the war against domestic terrorism was 'The Short War' that we apparently won by executing Timothy McVeigh. I don't think so.
When are these politicians going to realize that national security means more than political opportunity? It seems that they only evaluate national security by how it will benefit them, or how it will cover their incompetent asses. No wonder they were unable to prevent 9/11. Let's face facts: The one thing 9/11, the botched response to Katrina, and the Iraq war we were lied into all have in common is the incompetent Bush administration. Things have sucked for the last 5 years or so because we have a sucky president in the White House. Everybody knows that now; Only the right wing extremists feel otherwise, but they'd gladly run this country into the ground than ever deviate from their fanatical ideaologies. Come election time, the right wing is about to be marginalized, as it is clear to most of America now that the GOP has for too long been a minority party, and simply can't handle being a majority party. Now watch all the reactionaries here bitch and moan and overreact to the truth of the matter: 2005 was a bad political year for you, 2006 is going to be worse, and it will all end with the Republicans losing the House AND the Senate. Notice that those who argue against this prediction did so BEFORE Cheney's hunting mishap and Dubya's dumb stance on this port deal; If they argue the same after these two public relations nightmares then it only goes to show that they are stuck in an ostrich act denying the realities of the Bush Administration's lame duck status. I for one thought it was a maybe that the Democrats could take back the entire Congress, but now I think it's definitely 'yes' considering civil war in Iraq, Katrina, Abramoff, the hunting accident, and the port deal. And, for all the blaming the right likes to do of the left, all those scandals I mentioned have been self-inflicted by the Bush Administration and the GOP. When you all lose come November, it's because the American people have decided the GOP suffers from corrupt, incompetent leadership. It'd be interesting if any of you righties can argue against this without using talking points that are SO 2004. Seems they won't wake up to 2006 until AFTER they lose badly in the elections. Fine by me. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | February 27, 2006 04:53 PM

Will:
""That is no different than a Saudi declaring the US and Europe and Asia full of "criminals" for disobeying Sharia law."

Wrong. The key difference is that Shari'ah Law is religiously motivated, whereas our Judicial system is not."

Forgive me, but I fail to see the relevence of how or why how laws came about matters. It's fine to say that you care nothing for cultural boundaries and beliefs in discussing your own law and imposing it, but to say that it is a completely different thing than someone in Saudia Arabia doing the same to us is an argument based in the absurd. Law is law to a population, regardless of how it comes about and many people treat it as such. Mentally in your pursuit of your own law, you are no different from a jihadist who thinks he is punishing the infidels for their 'heretical' customs and beliefs. You simply use the rules and laws of your customs to denounce it and act against it, while he uses his. (Before you jump at that, I do not claim that you are as bad as a jihadist as I feel, based on my own perspectives, that your approach is the morally superior one)

I realize you are putting moral superiority into your laws. Believe me, they are doing the same.

Don't believe I support whats happening however, as I believe our laws are superior and 'right' compared to their laws. But it is only a matter of perspective and it is impossible to fully look outside of the perspectives with which you base your life around.

And before you go claiming that religion has no basis in our laws, please listen to some of Bush's explanations on his beliefs. It's rather hard to assume that God's word has nothing to do with the laws Bush has or tries to create.

Posted by: Freedom | February 27, 2006 04:54 PM

And all this xenophobic, ignorant, simple-minded, uninformed, racist, paranoid bullshit over a port management company further proves the point.
I cringe.
Posted by: Eric Yendall | Feb 27, 2006 4:49:37 PM

A lot of us are just applying common sense to the situation, Eric. I cringe at your bullshit analysis of the port deal affair. I know, I know, it's a shame the oh-so-crude American public won't listen to their sophisticated, elite betters among the political class on this matter. I for one think your mindset is a pathetic attempt to shame us into accepting this foolish port deal. If you are so damn sophisticated and understanding, Eric, than why do you label ALL opposition to this port deal as you have? What, there's no room to be against this port deal validly, and all opposition comes from the unwashed, irrational masses? Now THAT'S ignorant and simple-minded. And highly hypocritical. I also wonder why you think putting yourself on a pedestal above others on this issue is going to do anything but make you look like a pompous ass, as it did with Emily in her recent posts. Besides, complain and make all the false accusations you like... this port deal proposition is not going to survive the next 45 days.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 27, 2006 05:12 PM

From the first open discussion about forming DHS, it was strangely perplexing. Are we not universally educated in the management principle that decentralization is the most effective organization; or have computing and networking technologies put a hole in that idea?

If DHS gets any bigger in scale or more powerful, we'll need to put its Head and Vice-Head on the national ballot, just like the Presidency.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 27, 2006 05:30 PM

Freedom-

"Forgive me, but I fail to see the relevence of how or why how laws came about matters."

Because there is a substantive difference between religious dogma and reasoned conclusions. I can explain public decency laws, which are kind of similar to Shari'ah requiring a woman to wear a burka, without appealing to holy texts or the life of Mohammed. Reasoned discourse promotes very different kinds of laws than religious dogma.

Anytime you or I say "That would be wrong" you are making a substantive claim about an action. People who claim to be cultural or moral relativists frequently misunderstand what marrying yourself to that position really means. Any argument of "That is wrong" becomes nonsensical, because what is "wrong" is subject to the individual, not to any actual moral value of an action.

I am not a moral subjectivist.

"It's fine to say that you care nothing for cultural boundaries and beliefs in discussing your own law and imposing it, but to say that it is a completely different thing than someone in Saudia Arabia doing the same to us is an argument based in the absurd."

I am utterly confident that you are incorrect. If you want to compare any particular law from a Saudi perspective vs. a western one that denounces said law, I am sure I can present compelling evidence to persuade you.

One reason is that a Saudi would, by necessity, have to differ to the Qur'an when trying to justify those laws. But what possible prescriptive power would the Qur'an have over my life? I am not a believe in Allah, so why would I care what a Saudi says?

Conversely, laws against unquestioned moral wrongs, like rape, appeal to the human capacity for reason. Since both Saudis and Americans are human, this type of law has prescriptive power over anyone who at least pretends to be reasonable.

"You simply use the rules and laws of your customs to denounce it and act against it, while he uses his. (Before you jump at that, I do not claim that you are as bad as a jihadist as I feel, based on my own perspectives, that your approach is the morally superior one)"

If you are really a moral relativist, which I know you are not because you are intelligent, then what possible meaning does the statement "your approach is the morally superior one"? In a world where cultures are morally equal, how can any culture be morally superior? What does morality mean other than the cultural circumstances any particular person happens to agree with?

"I realize you are putting moral superiority into your laws. Believe me, they are doing the same."

Yes, and if they insist that it is morally superior to give a woman's testimony half the weight of a man's, I can easily evaluate their moral judgements as wrong. Just like I would claim reason superiority if they insisted that up was down, or black was white.

"Don't believe I support whats happening however, as I believe our laws are superior and 'right' compared to their laws. But it is only a matter of perspective and it is impossible to fully look outside of the perspectives with which you base your life around."

If you really believe the first half of the above paragraph, then what claim are you making about my position that is of any interest?

As to the second half, you are demonstrably wrong. People look outside of their own perspectives daily, which is why laws, social, and judicial structures change from generation to generation.

The problem with the Saudis laws and judicial structure is that it has gone largely unchanged for the past 1400 years whereas the rest of the world moved past Religious Law in the past 500 years. So if there is any group that cannot see outside its own perspective it is, historically, the Islamic world. The Christian world was strangely not nearly as chained to Dogma.

I evaluate cultures based off their merits. What is strange or controversial about that?

"And before you go claiming that religion has no basis in our laws, please listen to some of Bush's explanations on his beliefs. It's rather hard to assume that God's word has nothing to do with the laws Bush has or tries to create."

I agree that in our own country we are too constrained by religion. But I take to heart the battles we win. When it became clear, through reasoned argumentation and evidence gathering, that "Intelligent Design" was really just a shrouded attempt at passing a Religious Theory as opposed to a Scientific one, our court system ruled against it's imposition in our public schools.

Posted by: Will | February 27, 2006 06:18 PM

Will,
"Conversely, laws against unquestioned moral wrongs, like rape, appeal to the human capacity for reason. Since both Saudis and Americans are human, this type of law has prescriptive power over anyone who at least pretends to be reasonable."

You assume there is a prescribed 'human capacity' for reason or unquestioned moral wrongs. In some cultures, rape is unfortunately ignored or even permitted under some circumstances. In others, rape is only wrong as it seems damaging to 'property.' There is no 'true' guide to what people reason is right or wrong, across the board. Various cultures have participated in canabalism, incest, etc. Throughout history, man has shown that there is very little that some group of people will not allow and be able to justify in their own way.

"One reason is that a Saudi would, by necessity, have to differ to the Qur'an when trying to justify those laws. But what possible prescriptive power would the Qur'an have over my life? I am not a believe in Allah, so why would I care what a Saudi says."

Yes, and substitute Saudi for American, Qur'an for Constitution, and Allah for democracy. To many Americans, the constitution has become an almost religious document, one that is largely espoused as being a model of modern democracy. We even have proponents such as Scalia blasting those that think it can be altered or interpreted in any sense other than that of the written word. I assume that you were raised believing in democracy and the american way of life. To a Saudi, they were raised to believe in theirs. What you claim as a problem (Their religious beliefs as law which you state the rest of the world has outgrown) is quite possibly a sense of pride to them (They may feel their laws are so good that they have never had to be changed, as theirs is the law of Allah.).

And I stand by this:
"But it is only a matter of perspective and it is impossible to fully look outside of the perspectives with which you base your life around."
I think it is possible to disassociate your being partially to be able to attempt to comprehend a differing viewpoint, but completely enough to fully understand and evaluate things without a biased lens of some sort? Not likely without altering your beliefs and perspectives. Recent research has even shown that when you hear differing viewpoints, your mind starts to zone them out and retain them less easily, or even ignore them completely. This test was done regarding both democrats and republicans and found that the above mentioned problems occured when forced to listen to and consider opposite viewpoints.

Finally, in reference to the claim I am making, I am sayingthat it is impossible to claim that there is no difference between the claims you make and a Saudi making the same claims about the American way of life. I agree with you, on personal terms, about what I feel is our moral superiority. However, I would argue that our moral superiority could easily be compared to what I assume some Saudis feel towards us. To them, their laws are law. And ours are illegal, as well as heresy. To us, the same can be said. And I include heresy in our statements as many in America, especially on the liberal side, see what is written in the constituion and our way of life as an almost religious thing.

Posted by: Freedom | February 27, 2006 06:55 PM

Freedom-

"You assume there is a prescribed 'human capacity' for reason or unquestioned moral wrongs. In some cultures, rape is unfortunately ignored or even permitted under some circumstances. In others, rape is only wrong as it seems damaging to 'property.'"

And these cultures are wrong.

"There is no 'true' guide to what people reason is right or wrong, across the board. Various cultures have participated in canabalism, incest, etc. Throughout history, man has shown that there is very little that some group of people will not allow and be able to justify in their own way."

And that does not make them right.

But rape denotes an action between someone consenting and someone not consenting, and logically and reasonably people do not want to have something happen to them that they do not consent to, particularly if that action is accompanied by intense physical pain, mental anguish, and extreme shame.

Avoidance of rape victimhood is a universal among individuals but not cultures, which suggests some cultures are better at heeding the will of their constituencies than others.

"Yes, and substitute Saudi for American, Qur'an for Constitution, and Allah for democracy. To many Americans, the constitution has become an almost religious document, one that is largely espoused as being a model of modern democracy. We even have proponents such as Scalia blasting those that think it can be altered or interpreted in any sense other than that of the written word."

One difference, again, is that the constitution is deferential to reason, whereas the Qur'an is deferential to an individual who may or may not have been guided by divinity.

Another difference is that Democracy involves the participation of individuals choosing their own destiny, whereas being a member of Islam (often times incorrectly thought to be the Religion of Peace although its etymology derives from the Arabic word for Submission, IE: to Allah) means submitting to the historical interpretations of the Qur'an by an elite ruling class of Clerics who may or may not have your best interests in mind.

"(They may feel their laws are so good that they have never had to be changed, as theirs is the law of Allah.)."

No, they have never had to change because, as Edmund Burke pointed out, "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." In your case you take the step farther, you not only ignore the wrongs of Islamic anti-woman society, you are its advocate by endorsing multi-culti to a fault.

So I find it strange that, in the same post you somehow manifest the courage to condemn cultures that allow unfettered rape, yet ensure that such a moral judgement is effectually meaningless.

"This test was done regarding both democrats and republicans and found that the above mentioned problems occured when forced to listen to and consider opposite viewpoints."

And this research might be of interest to partisan Americans, but not of particular interest to Raped Women because, by definition, they are not consenting to the sex because they find unsolicited sex undesirable. Do they also just tone out the opposing viewpoint which happens to be "I deserve to have unsolicited sex with you because I am a man"?

I wouldn't call these women's reactions so much cognitive dissonance as much as it is a human universal that we do not want other people's body parts shoved inside of us without our permission.

"I agree with you, on personal terms, about what I feel is our moral superiority."

But if we take your argument to its logical conclusion, the whole idea of moral superiority is ludicrous. If morality differs culturally but not evaluatively then what does the term "superiority" even refer too?

"However, I would argue that our moral superiority could easily be compared to what I assume some Saudis feel towards us."

And...?

Posted by: Will | February 27, 2006 08:33 PM

at different levels of evolution "as if" they were equal....


they're not...


if you want to compare, compare people that can talk at the same level and agree...

"all saudi's" are not equivalent to "all americans"


there are dogmatics in both worlds....


dogmatic muslims are angered by unveiled women...


dogmatic christians have shot and killed people at abortion clinics and felt that they would go to heaven for stopping perpatrators....


there is a range of behavior.


most m.e. people have not been exposed to the full range of behavior that most americans have...


people evolve by having experiences, not by indoctrination...

when I talked to my friends from the middle east about certain things, they could not have viewpoints different than they did until they had had the experience, but they weren't being dishonest in holding women to be less than men....it was their cultural experience...


cognition is dependent upon many things, and having a cultural filter in-place, is as difficult to remove as having a life-experience filter in place...


they both color the cognition,

until the "training" is removed, the stain removed from the perceptual filter, the experience is interpreted "as-if" it were true....

a culture is a filter, it's not a personality...or a person.

Posted by: you do not compare different people.... | February 27, 2006 10:06 PM

it was against the law in the colonies to teach slaves to read a couple of hundred years ago....


what kind of people would think like that?

a certain class of people that are used to controling others...

some of them are taught by handing-down these cultural tricks-of-the-trade of leading....from an aristocratic place..

Posted by: what kind of people keep slaves from learning to read? | February 27, 2006 10:10 PM

Ford Wrote,

"Of course, by the Lefty jeremiad about only pro-war people should sacrifice, it's counter that only Lefties should fund the whole welfare state - then - those in the middle that don't care a great deal one way or the other and are silent about war or inner city parasites or prisoner rights and care would escape all sacrifice."

My taxes helped the poor and I fought the war on poverty in person today. Now Ford, by your own quote, get your chickenhawk butt over to Iraq and fight like man. Put up or shut up!

Posted by: Jamal | February 27, 2006 10:47 PM

way to go, thanks for volunteering...

I know my gas will cost less, because you care...buy!


oh, er bye!!!


and may gawd bless ewe...

Posted by: send Ford to Iraq!!!!!!!! | February 28, 2006 12:04 AM

Better yet, send Chris Ford down to Central America where the actual leftists are. I wonder how long he'd last giving one of his lectures there. Down there, I hear he's referred to as 'El Fupido'.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 28, 2006 12:22 AM

Hello Will,
The on-topic has actually been beaten pretty much to death I think. I still have some loose ends pointed out by Chris to research a little further but by and large I think I get most of it now. I'm kind of happy you're putting this subject in play. Here we go...
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"Other nations, other civilizations, must find their own way to their own political systems. It is not our place or job to do it for them or to complain of their choices in different circumstances. We may recommend ours in good will, but they are not bound to choose it."

This is certainly true, but to an extent. If "find[ing] their own way" means the genocide of a minority, then we may have a moral imperative to intervene with that government. Our form of government would not be recommended, it would be enforced, that is, if we treat genocide as a moral wrong to be corrected by the international community.
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I'll grant you the condition of "genocide", which is all too often arguable by itself, and take up "moral imperative". I know you distinguish yourself from "moral relativism" and lay claim to "moral absolutism". Truthfully, I don't quite know what to make of these terms or exactly what they mean. Maybe you could explain. It does seem to me that you begin with a moral judgment, namely that it is immoral to effect genocide. To come to this conclusion you must have some basis, some foundation of thought, for distinguishing the moral from the immoral. What is yours? The Christian tradition, the Jewish tradition, the Moslem tradition, the Buddhist tradition, the Animist tradition, the Enlightenment, your gut reaction, your unique reasoning, International Law, the Constitution, Human Rights, God's will, what? Then you apply the word "imperative". That we "may" have a moral imperative suggests that sometimes we do and sometimes we don't, i.e. that we sometimes have a moral obligation to intervene in another nations immoral behavior and sometimes we do not have a moral obligation to so intervene in immoral behavior. What do you look to in order to decide what immoral behavior warrants our intervention and what does not? Is it a matter of classifying immoral behavior into interventionist and noninterventionist classes; based on what? Is it a matter of relative power; i.e. we have the power to intervene or we do not? Is it a matter of treasure; can we afford it. Is it a matter of affinity; like "save the whales" but "who gives a shit about ugly sharks"?

Moving on to the remedy. Having intervened in the genocide, what would lead you to think that our form of government is such a proper remedy? Are you going seriously going to suggest that our constitution is a guarantee against genocide? Think about it Will. We were a democracy the whole time we slaughtered the Indians by the thousands, and we really did. To deny it is like denying the Holocaust. We were a democracy in which it was quite legal to own another human being, for our first 80 years we maintained that practice. Women couldn't vote. We found our own way Will. No one came in and "forced" it on us. We are still finding it. Look at all the nations that have freely elected women as Head of State. Philippines, India, England, Israel, Chile, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc., etc. We have not. Does this make these states more moral than we?

As I used the word "we" in what I wrote, I was speaking for we as a nation. I did not pretend to speak for the International Community, indeed it is difficult to ascertain with any certainty who does speak for the International Community, particularly when enforcement of will is the issue at hand. Further, regardless of whether the International Community thinks intervention is required, we have a sovereign decision to make whether we will commit our military forces to that cause; we are by no means obligated to do that.

Finally, I would draw your attention to another issue, the death penalty. I don't know where you stand on this, but I do know where I stand and where most of the "civilized" world stands, i.e. on opposite poles. I have no problem, moral or otherwise, with the penalty itself. The process is an entirely different matter. I would require a conviction beyond all doubt (not just a reasonable doubt) to impose it. I would also require a higher standard of representation by the defense to impose it. I simply find the idea of putting an innocent man to death, no matter how black or ugly, intolerable. But to most civilized western societies, the death penalty itself is obviously and plainly immoral. So is Guantanamo for that matter. I daresay, you could reasonably argue that the International Community does in fact consider the death penalty to be immoral. So tell me, have they a moral imperative to intervene with our government and force us to give up this barbaric practice? How would this sit with you?

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One of the differences between Islamic Cultures and Christian ones is that the latter has managed to divorce its religious beliefs from its political and social structure to a significantly larger degree than the former. Even moderate Islamic countries, like Dubai, still have some form of Shari'ah Judicial Law enforcing the real lives of real people in very real ways.
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Yes it has, but to what purpose? The driving purpose was freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Many of the ancestors of the people who wrote our Constitution fled here to practice their religion having been persecuted for doing that by the State in their homelands. This is why religion is an individual right that the government is precluded from abridging through any law. This is why the government may not establish any religion. This arrangement was made in response to their shared unique history, a history they were determined not to have repeated here. To those of you who would still assert that this is a "Christian Nation"; it is NOT, it is a nation largely peopled by Christians, and that does NOT a Christian Nation make.

Most Muslim countries do not have that history. In reality, most Arab Muslim countries have lived under Shari'ah Judicial law for centuries, a history just as deep if not deeper than our own English Common Law. You may find it strange, but they do not. In fact, one of its merits in their eyes is that it is NOT subject to the whims of politicians. In fact, our own form of law is not even dominant in the Americas, where there are more countries operating under the Code Napoleon form of law than under our Common Law heritage.

If you are a Muslim, there is really nothing wrong with Shari'ah Law. It is fair within the personal Muslim framework for which it was designed, which is why it has survived for those centuries. What many Muslim countries do is simply add secular law to deal with secular things like business contracts, agencies, companies, etc. In certain respects this is more sensible and stable that forcing everything into purely secular law. Look at the mess we have with abortion, even contraception (Plan B), prayer in schools, stem cells, Intelligent Design, all religious issues trying to find their way into force of law.

You seem especially incensed at their attitude towards women, as you perceive it to be. But Will, you don't have to go to Saudi Arabia to find that and take some morally imperative action to deal with it. Just go to Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Idaho and Montana. There are offshoots of Mormons, who are just not willing to give up their polygamous religious lifestyle. Its been going on here since the Mormons first trekked to Utah so they could practice their religion as they saw fit. See, even with our founder's very best efforts, they were not entirely successful in protecting each individuals right to practice his or her religion as he or she saw fit. There are other practices to take moral issue with. How about Christian Science and its attitude towards medicine (think of the children). How about Mennonites and their isolationist fundamentalist ways (think of the kids). And lets not forget about state sponsored infanticide (abortion) while we are at it.

You are on very slippery ground here Will. Personally, if find very very few morals to be imperative, especially when dealing beyond our own political domain. I have no problem with ceding some authority to render certain specific moral judgments to the International Community and the authority to enforce them. Genocide is one of them. But I recoil from the notion that we as a nation are obligated to act on our own in such a circumstance, particularly when it occurs far from our immediate neighborhood. I have no quarrel with individuals taking action out of moral outrage. A lot of American's died in the Spanish Civil war. More than a few American's died in the service of her Majesty in England before we joined the Second World War as a nation. If you wish to go to Darfur, more power to you, but should the nation send its armed forces? This is very much a horse of a different color and there are many good reasons why we shouldn't.

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She might question the "value" of her own culture vs. that of the West when she realizes that her rape case does not go anywhere in Shari'ah courts because her testimony is worth 1/2 of her husband's in court, and therefore the matter is settled on his word alone.
This is an example of one specific aspect of a culture that is morally despicable. Disagree?
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Yes, I do disagree. It really wasn't so long ago, certainly within my lifetime, that the notion of a husband "raping" his wife would have been laughed out of court in this country. We are still trying to adjust to the idea that a gorgeous 26 year old teacher can rape a 16 year old boy. My immediate thought was, "boy did I miss out". I just don't know. I mean we have all these shrinks seriously talking about how damaged these boys are by such an experience and how cruel it is, blah, blah, blah. They could be right I suppose, but that is certainly not how I experienced my teenage years or most of my male friends whose primary objective in life was to get some wherever and whenever they could. I'm just kind of reluctant to throw that term "morally despicable" around with quite such abandon. As you use it, our nation has been "morally despicable" for most of its history, and still is to all those who ascribe to the "Culture of Life".

I really would be interested to know what you base your moral structure on Will.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 28, 2006 12:56 AM

Chris, thanks for your detailed response. It contains a lot to think about and to respond to. Its hard to know where to start but I guess I'll first comment on this statement:

Chris: "The notion of "clubbing the crap out of a nation" is not to do it, but to let that nation know we are perfectly willing to if pushed too far or "losses" necessitate not just diplomacy, a law enforcement effort, or a "police action" - but full scale war."

I'm actually glad to hear you say this. To me it indicates that you acknowledge a preference for persuasion (using a pretty tough negotiation style) . My question is: When is full scale war called for? I say when you can link an attack to a foreign government. Harboring terrorists that commit an attack qualifies as a link - e.g. the Taliban after 9/11 not giving up Bin Laden. Lets change the scenario a bit to where a foreign government is ostensibly cooperating with us such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

Chris: "And what has happened with Pakistan is some very "chilling" Americans in uniform and 1,000 dollar suits got together with their Paki counterparts after 9/11 and the complicity of Pakistan in WMD proliferation was proven and reminded the Pakis what was the next step. Deterrance is all about having the ability to flatten a country and recognize that, like with how we would have nuked countless 99.9% innocent millions of Soviets or now Chinese and NORKs if nuclear-attacked, without hesitation. In our quiver of defense measures the notion of sure deterrance.
Sometimes, even with all the PhDs involved, all the Ivy League diplomats permeated with "nuance", and all the 100s of billions spent on defense down to a very simplistic concept, DK. "Fuck with us, and we will fuck with you far worse, your innocents damned with the rest."

So Pakistan saw the light and their central government is "cooperating".

The problem is that this kind of deterrence works well when we are dealing with countries, but it starts to break down when we are dealing with the likes of Al Qaeda who don't care about a particular country. Their allegiance is to a cause, not a country. They are not elected, they have no obligations, and their power is not based on governing structures or militaries for that matter. Their "country" existed, as you allude to, back in the 8th century. It was the Islamic caliphate that stretched from Spain, across North Africa, across the middle east, and into India, and Pakistan. Any destruction we rain down upon them only glorifies and justifies their cause, which as I understand it, is to reestablish the caliphate in modern times, returning the Muslim world back to its pure form (I suppose that means their version of pure) uncorrupted by western influences. Call me cynical, but I suspect that Bin Laden is a lot more interested in gathering power to himself than he is in reestablishing the caliphate. The whole caliphate thing is his vehicle for doing that. It also serves as great inspiration for suicide bombers. Twisting Pakistan's arm gets them to comply with our wishes as best as they can, but they don't have the level of centralized control over their country that facilitates the success we desire. There is also the question of just how committed they are to the actual goal, even as they seem to cooperate. If there is another attack on our soil - say along the lines of the subway bombs in London - are we justified in flattening their country because they haven't been able to deliver Bin Laden yet, even though they say they are cooperating and can point to cooperative activities they have conducted?


Chris: But imagine being a radical Muslim in a country highly dependent on foreign aid, live-sustaining commodities imported from elsewhere, with a romantic notion of killing infidels and returning in doing so to the pure 8th century life. Then finding yourself there because your whole transportation, electric generation & distribution system, water supply system and dams, communications system, food system, and any military assets of note, plus all major private & governmental financial systems are destroyed, along with any value to currency. America now has that ability with precision-bombing...

Sure we have that ability, but how should be apply it? I'm not against military action. It has to be a tool we use in this ideological conflict. I'm just concerned that we apply our military power in a sensible way. One that will target true enemies as closely as possible, and minimize our footprint on Islamic societies. In other words we should go after terrorist cells, but we should avoid indiscriminate bombings, invasions, and occupations. Easier said than done, you may say. Agreed , I would reply, but maybe there are a few things we could try.


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Chris: You see, DK, there is the diplomatic approach, there is the nation-building approach which has not gone well in costing us over 150 billion extra in Iraq and over 13,000 casualties, and there is the "example nation" - Carthage approach. You wouldn't need to help the all radical Muslims find their way back to the 8th Century, one "example nation" might suffice. The Romans were actually quite proud of Carthage and spent a lot of effort having leaders of other tributary nations transported there and given the "tour" on what could happen if "Death to Rome" rallies happened. Not quite a perfect analogy because we are not Empire, the Arabs are not tributory nations, but even if it was a case of State terrorism responding to low-intensity Carthaginian terrorism, it worked and Rome settled that threat with finality and deterred others for centuries. And, more recently, we ensured every Japanese and German schoolkid was taught about atrocities and the consequences in war carnage German and Japanese wars of aggression had caused - before we turned the keys over.

So what nation would we use as the "example nation"? If any land would have been ripe as an example nation ,it would have been Afganistan. The obvious perpetrators of 9/11 were holed up there and a defiant and tyrannical government supported them. Of course there was the northern alliance and others there that wanted a chance to make a better life for Afganistan. Now they are getting that chance. Whether it works out for them or not remains to be seen. Yes, I'm glad to see they're getting that chance. The America I believe in doesn't destroy indiscriminately to make an example. I think the rest of the world is well aware of our power . As far as Germany and Japan, that carnage took place as the result of defeating organized armies that were still active and fighting against us after years of war. In Afganistan and Iraq, the organized, uniformed militaries were defeated years ago and all that is left now are guerilla-style insurgents, former Taliban and Al Qaeda sympathizers in Afganistan, former Republican guards and Baathists in Iraq all blended into sections of population that view us with suspicion. Perhaps you think Iran would make a tidy example? I suppose they might qualify if that entire nation turns out to be as radical as their President's rhetoric would have us believe, but I somehow doubt it.

Enough. You've heard my objections to your viewpoints, at least the way I've interpreted them. Now allow me to present mine.

1) We have to accept that our overwhelming military superiority force our enemies into tactics of guerilla warfare and terrorism on a regular basis. Battles between our armies and their armies are nothing more than a preliminary skirmish any more. Celebrating victories over an enemy military has proven to be quite premature.
2) The conflict we face knows no political boundaries. What good is it to go in and occupy a country to defeat terrorists there, when they simply melt away and turn up in other countries to continue planning and conducting operations for their cause. I realize you say in so doing we whack more than what get away, but I'm not convinced of that. Many of the terrorists being whacked in the Sunni triangle of Iraq are actually Iraqi insurgents, along with some foreign fighters, but I believe that across the middle east there is a greater level of sympathy for the terrorist groups than what existed prior to the Iraq invasion, and quite likely a greater number of young men willing to be trained and join the struggle.
3) As in any ideological struggle, the real battle is one of influence, and there are many ways to influence. Fear, as you point out is one way. I would point out, however, that while fear produces quick short term results, it tends to cause compliance rather than commitment, and pressure must be maintained in order to sustain the compliance.
4) Another way to influence is to show benefits. To find mutual interests and develop a plan to cooperate in attaining those mutual interests. This approach requires communication, credibility, and some level of trust (not necessarily complete trust, but a level of trust required for each party to believe in the other's willingness to live up to their part in a specific bargain)
5) The radical fundamentalist supported terrorists such as Al Qaeda that don't have associations with country will not respond to our influence in any way. They are fundamentally opposed to our presence in the world. Part of the reason for this is that the hatred they foment toward us is a primary ingredient for their survival and relevance . Polarization gives them power. Setting up us as an enemy and raising all sorts of reasons why we are their enemy gives purpose to their cause and attracts others to that cause.
6) Other terrorists groups that are more affiliated with national interests and political power are more likely to be influenced by identification of interests that can be met. They are still difficult to deal with due to their unpredictability, reputation for terrorist tactics, and grudges - both ones that they hold against others, and ones others hold against them.
7) There are various groups within Muslim societies that can be categorized as follows (I'm borrowing from Cayembe here - I'm not sure I'm remembering it all perfectly, but I think I'm getting the gist - hope you don't mind Cayembe): 1) well-educated moderates that see the value of freedom and democracy and desire it, 2) moderates that are by nature are non-violent, but are not particularly interested with western ideals. This is a large and I believe an important group. They have varying opinions on major middle eastern issues such as the existence of Isreal, secular vs. religious based government, the rightness or wrongness of terrorist organizations, the evilness of western influences on middle eastern culture. They could be from a variety of economic backgrounds, but many are poor or have very little. 3) Conservative Muslims that believe in a religion based government and are typically hostile to western ideals - they include those that approve of the fight carried on by terrorist organizations 4) Conservative Muslims that are comfortable with secular government - they may not approve so much of the fundamentalist terrorists, but are typically hostile to western ideals, 5) Radical fundamentalist/terrorists - those that are terrorists or their direct supporters.
8) There is some fluidity between groups 2, and the fringes of groups 3 and 4.
9) There is little to no fluidity with group 1 or group 5
10) As I have already stated, a strong element to this conflict is the struggle to win the hearts and minds of people across the world, especially in the middle east.
11) In order for the U.S. to win the struggle for the hearts and minds of people across the world we must know ourselves and be true to ourselves. We must acknowledge our partisan differences on issues, but must reconcile on our shared American ideals and values. In my opinion America stands for freedom, democracy based on separation of powers, each power having checks on the others. We stand for human rights and equal opportunities for all. We place value on ingenuity, hard work, exploration, and entrepreneurial spirit. We also value the rule of law.
12) We have to stick by these values and ideals even under the toughest of circumstances. Even when they seem inconvenient. America must not engage in torture or inhumane and debasing practices of its prisoners. Unfortunately another major problem with our credibility right now was basing an invasion and occupation of a country on false intelligence.
13) It is understandable if after the initial 9/11 attack many war powers were usurped by the Bush Administration, but in so doing they should follow the example of Lincoln in the Civil War and be transparent about it. Go before Congress after a reasonable amount of time and explain the actions that were taken, why, and ask for approval. This does not mean that the specifics of any secret or confidential program have to be given away.
14) Numbers 12 and 13 speak to the need for credibility if we are to win the hearts and minds of people in this ideological struggle.
15) I have at other times posted ideas that greater active support of the views of moderate muslims is needed through the Bush Administration actively seeking out respected Muslim advisors and reaching out to engage Muslims in conferences that discuss middle eastern issues, especially centered around obstacles to promoting greater freedom, human rights, and democracy in the middle east. This speaks to the communication we need to win the hearts and minds of people in this ideological struggle.
16) We need to focus our military aspects of this struggle on the terrorists (group 5) as much as possible and minimize impacts to civilians (groups 1, 2 , 3, and 4). To do this we need much better and more reliable human intelligence than we currently have. Building up our own capabilities is I'm sure under way, and I'm sure will take many years to take hold. In the meantime we should try partnering as much and as effectively as possible with middle eastern countries that share some of our concerns and are in a position to assist in the seek and destroy missions. We should point out our common interests with Mushariff and with the Saudi rulers that the religious fundamentalist terrorists (Al Qaeda types) are their enemies as much as ours. We could propose developing some special joint military units for hunting down and killing/capturing terrorists and their supporters within their countries. The units could be composed of soldiers from both countries. Promising recruits from each country that could come together at the beginning of the unit formation and train together in both countries. I'm talking about forming units that would develop esprit de corps and strong unit bonds. With success, the unit pride might spread to contribute to building of good will between nations. The benefit would be units with people having excellent language and local/custom knowledge skills as well as contacts. I can see there would be command and control issues - but maybe we could offer to provide the command and control and use the units for very specific missions related to hunting down bin Laden and similar types of terrorists and disrupting terrorist plots. I suppose there are already similar efforts underway. There may already be CIA advisors in Pakistan working with Pakistan units in the hunt for these terrorist cell. As these types of cooperative efforts continue and our human intelligence improves we should base the war on terror on numerous small low profile units like these that can track terrorist cells on an ongoing basis and be in position to respond to specific threats that we become aware of at a moments notice. The more countries that we can get cooperating in such a program, the more areas we will have covered, not through occupation, but through quick response teams that partner with host countries. I'm sure that the U.S. could do a lot to provide incentive to the countries that agree to partner in that way.
17) Meanwhile focus on spurring economic development and education opportunities in countries we identify as high risk for having population segments that would support fundamentalist terrorists. The spread of education and improved economy/infrastructure/quality of life will tend to have a negative effect on the spread of terrorist doctrine.
18) In order to defend ourselves against potential attacks we need to do a better job of securing our points of entry into this country. This includes securing ports through increased security at both point of origin and point of destination. It also means doing something to better monitor our borders.

There's probably other points I could add to my list, but I'm getting too tired right now to think of any more. Creative use of propaganda comes to mind, but nothing specific right now.

Chris, you might think this is a "leftie" outline for winning the War of Terror, but I don't consider myself a leftie or liberal. I am basically a moderate. All I am trying to do is to figure out a common sense way to use our resources most effectively and influence people to our way of thinking or if not to at least accept us and not think of us as the western devils. All this while we effectively take out terrorist cells and protect ourselves from threats.

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Chris: I'm pretty honest about PC rubbish that that I think lets problems intrinsic to a culture fester uncorrected. I consider Islamic civilization inferior to Western Civ. I thought the Native American culture was seriously debased by alchohol, NA's do have a genetic vulnerability to alchohol, and support reservations and NA tribal lands being dry - no matter what the civil libertarians say. That we saw the consequences in NOLA of a parasitic underclass dependent on goverment handouts that not only caused the pathologies that caused the steep decline in NOLA before Katrina, but in an emergency, both they and the government they gave rise to were too inept to cope without more competent people picking them up. And I don't think tens of thousands of low-skill, low-IQ, rude Federal drones manning TSA airport checkpoints looking for dread toenail clippers is much of a defense against the 100,000 domestic targets the high IQ terrorist military scouts, planners, and combat operatives the radical Islamists have - anymore than having another 80,000 drones searching cargo containers matter much.
It may be racist to challenge cherished Lefty PC, moral equivalency, and multi-culti notions - but that time is long overdue. Europe bit deep and hard on the "diversity salad" of PC, non-judgementalism, and love of multi-culti..
Now they are gagging on the maggots they found mixed in with the exotic fruits and veggies.

I don't go in for the PC movement either. I think it is an academic ivory tower attempt at putting artificial rules on a very basic and common sense sort of thing - etiquette. Its basic etiquette to treat people with respect. Projecting degrading images onto an entire race or ethnic group based on a few or even many experiences is simply racist talk. It was racist talk before the PC movement was even born. I work for a City Public Works department. I deal with the division that collects trash. My experiences with unionized government workers (predominantly African-American) is not in keeping with your characterization. They are for the most part dedicated, hard working people that on a daily basis deal with a host of problems in getting a very difficult task completed. They deal with extreme weather, serious safety issues including toxic chemicals, rats, used needles and other bio-waste, not to mention unsanitary conditions, constant equipment breakdowns, and scheduling challenges, especially around holidays. Through wisdom, experience, ingenuity, and sometimes a little luck they manage to, on a daily basis, get all their tasks completed, usually with good cheer, courtesy, and professionalism. I could also talk a little bit about the Katrina issues you brought up, but I think I've written enough for now and my brain is tired so I'll save it for another post on another day.

Posted by: DK | February 28, 2006 04:10 AM

New York Times
A Port in the Storm Over Dubai

By STEPHEN E. FLYNN and JAMES M. LOY

Published: February 28, 2006

THE political firestorm surrounding the takeover of five American container terminals by Dubai Ports World, a United Arab Emirates company, is a political distraction, but in many ways a welcome one. Americans are finally taking port security seriously.


Forum: National Security
Ports are the on- and offramps to global markets, and they belong to a worldwide system operated by many different private and public entities. Since the United States cannot own and control all of that system, we must work with our trade partners and foreign companies to ensure its security. A major step in that direction would be to construct a comprehensive global container inspection system that scans the contents of every single container destined for America's waterfront before it leaves a port -- rather than scanning just the tiny percentage we do now.
This is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. Since January 2005, every container entering the truck gates of two of the world's busiest container terminals, in Hong Kong, has passed through scanning and radiation detection devices. Images of the containers' contents are then stored on computers so that they can be scrutinized by American or other customs authorities almost in real time. Customs inspectors can then issue orders not to load a container that worries them.
The Department of Homeland Security has greeted this private-sector initiative with only tepid interest. But the Dubai deal provides an opportunity to adopt a system like the one in Hong Kong globally. Washington should embrace Dubai Ports World's offer to provide additional guarantees to protect the five American terminals it wants to run. The company should agree to install scanning and radiation detection equipment at the entry gates of its 41 terminals in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North America and South America within the next two years.
By making this commitment, the company could address head-on the anxiety of American lawmakers, governors and port city mayors that is fueling the uproar. The 45-day review period that has recently been agreed upon provides the breathing room to work out the details. Congress and the White House should appropriate the necessary funds to allay the concerns of the severely strained Customs and Border Protection agency, which, burdened by old and frail information systems, may worry that it can't tap the revolutionary potential of such a comprehensive inspection approach.
Hutchison Port Holdings, a Hong Kong-based company that is the world's largest container terminal operator, would probably join Dubai Ports World in putting Hong Kong-style inspection systems in place within its 42 ports. Hutchison's chief executive, John Meredith, is an outspoken advocate for improving container security and has championed the Hong Kong pilot program, which runs in one of its terminals.
Hutchison Port Holdings along with PSA Singapore Terminals, Dubai Ports World and Denmark's APM Terminals handle nearly eight out of every 10 containers destined for the United States. If they agreed to impose a common security fee of roughly $20 per container, similar to what passengers are now used to paying when they purchase airline tickets, they could recover the cost of installing and operating this system worldwide. This, in turn, would furnish a powerful deterrent for terrorists who might be tempted to convert the ubiquitous cargo container into a poor man's missile.
There is already a bipartisan bill that the White House and Congress could embrace to advance this effort. The GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security bill, co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, provides incentives for American importers to accept the modest fees associated with a global container inspection system. The bill would also establish minimum security standards and encourages the tracking and monitoring of containers throughout the supply chain.
Moreover, it would create joint operations centers within American ports to ensure that, should there be a terrorist incident or a heightened level of threat, the ports will respond in a coordinated, measured way that will allow the flow of commerce to resume when appropriate.
A global regime for container security will require oversight. Congress should require that the security plans developed by importers be independently audited. It should also provide the Department of Homeland Security with adequate Customs and Coast Guard inspectors to audit these auditors. Today Customs has only 80 inspectors to monitor the compliance of the 5,800 importers who have vowed to secure their goods as they travel from factories to ship terminals. To assess worldwide compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, the Coast Guard has just 20 inspectors -- roughly the size of the average passenger screening team at an airport security checkpoint.
Congress and the White House should step back from the brink of political fratricide over the Dubai deal. Certainly it is necessary and appropriate to closely examine any transaction that involves a foreign government having an ownership interest in critical United States assets. But the 45-day security review will provide a chance to work through those issues.
At the end of the day, America's port security challenge is not about who is in charge of our waterfront. The real issue is that we are relying on commercial companies largely to police themselves. Both Congress and the White House should embrace a framework of "trust but verify," in President Ronald Reagan's phrase, based on real standards and real oversight. When it comes to the flow of goods around the planet, we need to know what's in the box.

Posted by: Jamal | February 28, 2006 10:47 AM

Cayambe-

You ask a myriad of relevant questions that I couldn't respond to with volumes let alone in this medium which hardly lends itself to exhaustiveness.

My original claim was that moral relativism is counterintuitive. That makes me a "moral objectivist" but, as you so succinctly point out, without qualification the term "moral objectivist" is as arbitrary as following Shari'ah Law. I do have guidelines, and I'll try and address some of them in your post. Obviously some of my beliefs are not necessarily grounded in strong reason, since I am as human as any Saudi. But I will offer a few guidelines that seem to transend cultural boundaries because they appeal to human universals.

"It does seem to me that you begin with a moral judgment, namely that it is immoral to effect genocide. To come to this conclusion you must have some basis, some foundation of thought, for distinguishing the moral from the immoral. What is yours?"

Autonomy would be one guiding principle that sems unquestionable across cultural boundaries. When we discuss actions like Genocide, or Rape there is an implied victim who is not consenting to the action. Cultures that kill themselves are not genocided upon, they commit suicide. People who consent to sex are not raped, they are seduced.

That means there is a logical form to this action. No person ever consents to Rape, no culture ever consents to Genocide. Therefore, all instances of the two effect the autonomy of the victims in a way they would rather avoid. And it also means that the perpetrators of these actions are always making exceptions of themselves when doing so, because they too could never consent to rape or genocide.

Now here is where our evaluation of Autonomy as a moral principle differs from that of Shari'ah Law. You may challenge that principle in a reasoned way. If you present compelling arguments I could be swayed by them. If I am "dogmatic" in my belief in Autonomy as a universal human value, then you can expose me as such. I would very much enjoy that discussion.

"What do you look to in order to decide what immoral behavior warrants our intervention and what does not?"

This is a much more complicated question than "Is moral relativism intellectually bankrupt." I think in my post I made a historical claim about the International Community's involvement in Somalia, not about my own judgement.

From a nation's perspective that intervention is going to be influenced more by self-interest then by an objective moral compass. If self-interested moves also have an appealing morality to them, then that's great too. If by killing the rapist I prevent a rape, that's great, but I might have been killing the rapist because he owed me five dollars (and we would discuss the value of intentions behind actions vs. the results of those actions when evaluating the morality of them)

Somalia seemed an interesting case because the international community was abhorred by hundreds of thousands of deaths and made a decision to intervene. Chris Ford and others might be better able to explain the self-interest of the United Nations in that cause, so I could be totally wrong.

Let's start smaller, though. If I have accepted (and I eagerly anticipate your response) autonomy as a universal value, I would have a moral imperative to defend autonomy in certain instances. I could build moral principles from that one value that are logically consistent. If I notice a child drowning and I can swim, then respect for his autonomy would drive me, morally, to jump in the water and save that person. Failure to do so would suggest a lack of respect for autonomy, which would be inconsistent since if it were me in the pool drowning I would hope that others would save me.

"Is it a matter of classifying immoral behavior into interventionist and noninterventionist classes; based on what? Is it a matter of relative power; i.e. we have the power to intervene or we do not? Is it a matter of treasure; can we afford it. Is it a matter of affinity; like "save the whales" but "who gives a shit about ugly sharks"?"

This is largely lumped into another issue. Ought always implies could, so when we make moral evaluations of someone's actions we assume that they could have acted otherwise. No one holds you, Cayambe, morally responsible for Katrina the Hurricane because you were powerless to prevent it. But if you walked by a drowning child and ignored their please for help I could pass moral judgement on you.

We couldn't hold Somalia morally responsible for the suffering all over the world because they lack things like "relative power", perhaps because of a lack of "treasure", to "intervene" in other country's affairs. However, the United States has the "relative power" and "treasure" to "intervene".

This does not mean that the US should always intervene, or even that it should ever intervene, it just means that if we were to have a discussion about which nations have a "moral imperative" to do anything we assume that those countries have the power to do so.

"Moving on to the remedy. Having intervened in the genocide, what would lead you to think that our form of government is such a proper remedy? Are you going seriously going to suggest that our constitution is a guarantee against genocide?"

No, I do not think I made this claim. I think it is demonstrably false, since our constitution was written by slave owners, that our constitution is perfect. I compare it favorably to the Qur'an as a political document or legal agreement between the governed and the governing.

Unfortunately in the real world we often times have to choose between the lesser of two evils. The constitution takes great pains to prevent tyrannies: tyranny by the executive, tyranny by the majority, tyranny of the law, so on and so forth. Since no human enjoys being "tyrannized" against, this seems like a favorable aspect of the Constitution vs. that of the tenents of Islam which is, literally, the Religion of "Submission". (<-NOT PEACE: Look it up!)

"Philippines, India, England, Israel, Chile, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc., etc. We have not. Does this make these states more moral than we?"

Maybe, did I say the United States has grand moral authority over the rest of the world? It's certainly possible that other states are more moral than us. Why would I try and deny that? Wasn't my central claim that the US is more moral than, say, Saudi Arabia? Wouldn't it at least imply the possibility that some other state is more moral than us?

"As I used the word "we" in what I wrote, I was speaking for we as a nation. I did not pretend to speak for the International Community, indeed it is difficult to ascertain with any certainty who does speak for the International Community, particularly when enforcement of will is the issue at hand. Further, regardless of whether the International Community thinks intervention is required, we have a sovereign decision to make whether we will commit our military forces to that cause; we are by no means obligated to do that."

We have no disagreement on this.

"The process is an entirely different matter. I would require a conviction beyond all doubt (not just a reasonable doubt) to impose it. I would also require a higher standard of representation by the defense to impose it. I simply find the idea of putting an innocent man to death, no matter how black or ugly, intolerable. But to most civilized western societies, the death penalty itself is obviously and plainly immoral. So is Guantanamo for that matter. I daresay, you could reasonably argue that the International Community does in fact consider the death penalty to be immoral. So tell me, have they a moral imperative to intervene with our government and force us to give up this barbaric practice? How would this sit with you?"

This is excellent, you are presenting reasoned arguments about the Death Penalty. This is a key difference between being engaged with a Democratic State governed by a Constitution and being in an Islamic State governed by the particular interpretations of an elite class of Islamic Clerics.

I do not want to semantically get into the death penalty. I like the principle you've introduced, absolute certainty vs. reasonable doubt. I think it's probably too cumbersome for any effective legal system. But we could debate that. I do not think this is the time or place for that debate, nor do I even have a strong stance on the death penalty, but I'll engage that argument with you privately. If you care to, email me at Will7263@yahoo.com.

More importantly though, if it a compelling enough argument was made to reasonable people that the death penalty was immoral, and if the international community had the ability to do something about the United States legislation, then yes they would have a moral imperative to do something about it. As it stands, the international community has not reached a consensus on the matter nor do they really have the ability to do anything about the laws in the United States. Though some countries do condemn our use of the death penalty, which might be all action that a "moral imperative" demands.

I will address the rest of your post later.

Posted by: Will | February 28, 2006 10:50 AM

Cayambe-

Arg. A lot of what I just wrote was erased when my computer froze. Very frustrating.

"Most Muslim countries do not have that history. In reality, most Arab Muslim countries have lived under Shari'ah Judicial law for centuries, a history just as deep if not deeper than our own English Common Law."

The first part is incorrect. Most Muslim countries do have a history of religious persecution. In fact, many Muslim countries excercise religious persecution today, like Saudi Arabia. It is illegal, punishable by death, for Saudis to convert to other religions. There are loads of inconsistent and ridiculous laws, like that it is illegal for women to marry non-Muslims but Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women. These are hard to defend, logically, because they are inconsistent.

The difference between Islamic culture and Western ones is not a historical detachment from religious persecution, it's the conspicuous lack of religious freedom.

If faith in Allah is not enough to persuade Ahmed that Islam is the way, the lash will work just as well.

"In certain respects this is more sensible and stable that forcing everything into purely secular law. Look at the mess we have with abortion, even contraception (Plan B), prayer in schools, stem cells, Intelligent Design, all religious issues trying to find their way into force of law."

I disagree that their approach is more sensible and I also disagree with your evaluation of the domestic scenario. In the United States religious freedom is protected explicitly. Although religion invades secular life, it must do so by making non-religious arguments. In the cases where these arguments are utterly uncompelling, like Intelligent Design, our secular court system rules against religion.

Pro-life advocates must at least make secular arguments. They think abortion is murder.

When these arguments are explicitly religious they are rejected. In Saudi Arabia, only arguments that are explicitly religious are accepted. That is tyranny by religion, and no one consents to "tyranny".

"But Will, you don't have to go to Saudi Arabia to find that and take some morally imperative action to deal with it. Just go to Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Idaho and Montana. There are offshoots of Mormons, who are just not willing to give up their polygamous religious lifestyle. Its been going on here since the Mormons first trekked to Utah so they could practice their religion as they saw fit. See, even with our founder's very best efforts, they were not entirely successful in protecting each individuals right to practice his or her religion as he or she saw fit."

I was waiting for this, because it is troubling. There is an ongoing debate about how best to deal with Religious sects when their norms and values violate either social taboos or enacted legislation.

Our response to Mormon polygamy is appeasment. Because polygamy violates a non-life threatening law, we deem it ok, in the inerests of religious freedom, to allow it here and there. We make a legislative exception because of their religion. This has more to do with our rabid protection of religious expression than it does with objective morality or reason, probably, but I don't want to weigh in one way or the other.

"How about Christian Science and its attitude towards medicine (think of the children). How about Mennonites and their isolationist fundamentalist ways (think of the kids). And lets not forget about state sponsored infanticide (abortion) while we are at it."

When one's religious freedom terrifically conflicts with morality, we make a value judgement. Should we allow religious groups to watch their children die because they reject the tried and true methods of death-prevention that medicine provides? This is an issue that requires much debate, but it is framed differently here than in Saudi Arabia. Here we have a secular framework that tries to incorporate as many religious freedoms as is reasonably possible. In Saudi Arabia they have a religious framework that actively prevents any other religious freedoms from creeping in.

On a personal level, I value religious freedom only so far as religions run in accordance with reasonably accepted moral truths (perhaps I take for granted things like rape and murder, though I would love to hear your arguments in favor of them). Watching a child drown, to me, is morally wrong. If I can argue effectively through analogy that watching a child drown is like refusing to give them life saving medications, then we might have to sacrifice certain religions to reason. Sorry Mennonites.

"If you wish to go to Darfur, more power to you, but should the nation send its armed forces? This is very much a horse of a different color and there are many good reasons why we shouldn't."

I don't think we disagree on this point.

I want you think about, though, what your entire concept of "reasons" means. Are those reasons biblical truths? Are they religious in nature?

It has been argued by me that there is a difference between a Religious Truth and a Reasoned Truth. I happen to think morality can exist in the 2nd realm, but maybe I'm taking too much for granted.

My weak claim is that moral relativism is intellectually bankrupt because I think morality is rooted in reason and if morality differs culturally but not evaluatively then it has drastic consequences for the concept of "reason". You seem like a person who appreciates a well reasoned argument as much as the next, Cayambe, so I hope you appreciate those consequences.

"I'm just kind of reluctant to throw that term "morally despicable" around with quite such abandon. As you use it, our nation has been "morally despicable" for most of its history, and still is to all those who ascribe to the "Culture of Life"."

Hey, I hear you. I certainly wouldn't have felt very damaged if that teacher had seduced me in High School.

Let me clarify what I find morally despicable about the state of Women's testimony in Saudi Arabia in hopes that my moral condemnation is unduly hazardous.

A person's testimony in court, even in Shari'ah courts, is supposed to offer information about an event. Courts, even Shari'ah ones, weigh that as "evidence" that a crime was/was not committed and rule based on that.

The importance of a particular person's testimony should then seem to be their relationship with the crime allegedly committed. Their gender seems to be an irrational gauge of their capacity for explaining their relationship to an alleged crime because their gender is irrelevant.

If Shari'ah courts or the Islamic world would present a compelling case (which I don't think exists) that women's testimony is demonstrably only half as accurate as that of men's, I would be more inclined to hear what they had to say. Instead, a woman's testimony is 1/2 of a man's arbitrarily, because some unverifiable interpretation of an unverifiable religious text says so (apparently).

Call me a stickler for reason, but that doesn't make a damn bit of sense. For that, I condemn that particular bit of Shari'ah jurisprudence morally despicable.

Posted by: Will | February 28, 2006 11:42 AM

Will,
Please let me clarify, as I believe you and I are not on the same page. I am arguing that it is fine to pass judgement on other cultures and attempt to alter those cultures in an effort to make the world a better place. However, as my comments first arose from, I still argue that this is no different from a Saudi doing the same to us, based on perspectives etc. We take the moral highground, and I am sure they do the same.
You state:
"No, they have never had to change because, as Edmund Burke pointed out, "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." In your case you take the step farther, you not only ignore the wrongs of Islamic anti-woman society, you are its advocate by endorsing multi-culti to a fault.

So I find it strange that, in the same post you somehow manifest the courage to condemn cultures that allow unfettered rape, yet ensure that such a moral judgement is effectually meaningless"

First, I do not advocate this behavior. I condemn it and endorse groups that actively try to alter treatment and culture, through what I percieve to be legal means on the global scale. I simply point out that what you consider right is not always across the board as far as humanity goes.

Secondly, I see nothing strange in condemning cultures while realizing it is in effect, meaningless. To an extent. This is how it always is, even within subgroups of America. Even in this discussion board, you can see the right vs left themes and see that many of these people do the exact same thing to each other that you have done to to Saudi's. It is almost entirely meaningless to simply condemn another group for behaving differently. If they feel it is right, your condemnations will only feel right to those with likeminded beliefs.

In effect, your condemnation is meaningless to almost anyone in position of power in that area because you do not speak the same language as them. When I use the term language, I speak not of words, but of the basis for ideas and perspectives which are necessary to actually argue on the same page. And to effect true change, you must change the way of thinking, which cannot occur when you approach it from a completely different direction than that which the general population will be thinking. You can enforce your own law into those in another country, but that does not stop people from rebelling, as the cases in Iraq with women having acid thrown on them for following our laws of voting.

Finally, at an incultural level, your quote from Burke has no revelence as within the culture, the norm 'good' described what you describe as bad. Remember this particular discussion arose from the statement "That is no different than a Saudi declaring the US and Europe and Asia full of "criminals" for disobeying Sharia law," and your defense that it was not the same. You interpret this as an outsider who puts his own views and thoughts into the person he is describing. That does not change the fact that the emotions and beliefs of rightness behind the individual thoughts are most likely the same. To a Saudi, we may very well be immoral and wrong.

Finally, you state in response to my comment:
"You assume there is a prescribed 'human capacity' for reason or unquestioned moral wrongs. In some cultures, rape is unfortunately ignored or even permitted under some circumstances. In others, rape is only wrong as it seems damaging to 'property.'"

And these cultures are wrong."

Yes, to you and I they are. To themselves? No, they are not. The very reason I made this comment was to point out that, no Will, humanity does not have a set of basic rules that we all adhere to, individually or culturally. People are ultimately different and we all judge based on our own beliefs. This does not change the fact that we are judged in term in the same ways.

Posted by: Freedom | February 28, 2006 02:32 PM

Freedom-

"However, as my comments first arose from, I still argue that this is no different from a Saudi doing the same to us, based on perspectives etc. We take the moral highground, and I am sure they do the same."

Where this "moral highground" exists is relevant. If the "moral highground" is founded in reason then it has prescriptive power over all reasonable people. If the "moral highground" is in Islamic Religious texts, then it only has prescriptive power for Muslims.

I understand the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims. The former has a dogmatic belief about Islam, the latter does not. This does not speak at all to the particular instances of Shari'ah law that are unreasonable or illogical.

Take this self-defeating bit of Islamic jurisprudence: Why is it wrong for a Woman to marry a non-Muslim and not for a man to marry a non-Muslim? Is the double standard between men and women rooted in demonstrable differences between men and women? Or is it rooted in unverifiable scripture, which isn't by any particular necessity rational or sensible?

If the Islamic world wants to engage the global community in a debate about women it is welcome to do so. "Allah said so" is not a compelling reason to anyone but those who believe in unverifiable religious texts.

"I simply point out that what you consider right is not always across the board as far as humanity goes."

Let's stick to a few universals. No human ever consents to rape (by definition). No human ever consents to tyranny (by definition). Rapes and tyrannies always produce victims.

Therefore any culture that encourages rape and tyranny directly or indirectly victimizes people, and I evaluate the moral inferiority of a culture based on, among many other things, it's propensity to victimize real human beings.

In one Islamic culture, Saudi Arabia, that women's testimony is worth 1/2 that of men's, and that women are demeaned by countless ridiculous and inconsistent double standard laws applying to women but not men, encourages rapes. It at least prevents legal recourse for rape victims, which makes the prospect all the jucier for the perpetrators.

More directly, Islamic countries excercise religious tyranny over their constituencies by outlawing the practice or "prosletyzing" of any non-Muslim religions.

"It is almost entirely meaningless to simply condemn another group for behaving differently. If they feel it is right, your condemnations will only feel right to those with likeminded beliefs."

If I have merely condemned Islamic laws I apologize. I feel very confident in my ability to condemn, pursue, and prosecute Islamic laws as logically untenable, unreasonable, and senseless. And imoral. If there is any particular Islamic practice that you want to defend without merely saying "But that's what they believe!" then have at it.

Your reluctance in some cases to take Islam's side personally, or in other cases you explicitly admitting that you agree with me on Islamic jurisprudence, suggests that you "get" why these laws or these practices aren't just "culturally different" so much as they are "indefensible" and "culturally inferior".

"In effect, your condemnation is meaningless to almost anyone in position of power in that area because you do not speak the same language as them."

This is largely true, but I do speak the cultural language of America and I trade in its political/social currency daily. So if I decide that the Saudi Arabian form of government victimizes 12 million women who I have no ill will for, and my government requests my favorable disposition towards Saudi Arabia for political reasons, I respond vocally.

I do not think I am helpless to affect change, either. In this forum I do my best to educate people about Islamic law because I think it makes a difference when people know about it. I wasn't born with the knowledge that women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia, or that a 16 year old girl can be hanged in Iran because she killed a would-be rapist. And if more people are party to that information they may decide to take up the banner of reform with me.

More fundamentally to this current debate, asking me to accept the "morality as cultural difference" world-view, is like asking me to set aside reason. I am reluctant to do this. I also think people who apologize for Saudi Arabia's treatment of women fail to recognize that their, best case scenario apathy worst case scenario acceptance, of different cultures ignores real human victim/suffering element that suffers in silence.

"You can enforce your own law into those in another country, but that does not stop people from rebelling, as the cases in Iraq with women having acid thrown on them for following our laws of voting."

Women are not getting acid thrown in their face for following "our laws of voting" for two reasons:

1) Laws of voting are not specific to a country. Either your citizens elect their leaders or they don't. You can choose certain kinds of democratic governments, like parliamentary or representative or direct participation or whatever. But involving people in voting doesn't mean you are following "American voting laws" it just means you are allowing people to vote.
2) The practice of using children (because they are more impressionable to an Islamic cleric) to throw acid in the face of women has nothing to do with the vote, it has to do with some uppity women's reluctance to don a Burka in accordance with Shari'ah law. Nevermind that it is (currently) perfectly legal for women to refuse their Abayas in Iraq. In Saudi Arabia, the women don't even get the chance to challenge the acid-in-face-persuasion, since strict Shari'ah law explicitly prohibits a women from being viewed in public without traditional Islamic covering.

"You interpret this as an outsider who puts his own views and thoughts into the person he is describing."

I try to interpret laws based on their relationship with provable facts and consistent lines of reasoning. If that makes me an "outsider" to the Islamic jurisprudential system, then that is proof that the Islamic jurisprudential system has little in common with reason or fact.

"To a Saudi, we may very well be immoral and wrong."

Of course, because unverifiable interpretations of unverifiable holy scriptures said so. The difference between my defense of the equal treatment of men and women in courtrooms is that it will depend on my ability to relate the strength of their testimony independently of their genders, whereas my counterpart in Saudi will ultimately have to defer to Islamic Scripture.

"People are ultimately different and we all judge based on our own beliefs. This does not change the fact that we are judged in term in the same ways."

I respectfully disagree. But I guess that is just me practicing my own set of beliefs. Have a nice day.

Posted by: Will | February 28, 2006 03:37 PM

Will,
Sorry, but this post won't be addressing everything, as I have a deadline shortly =P. I will try to readdress the full post tonight, though it seems unlikely I'll be near a computer this evening.

First, this comment,
"Where this "moral highground" exists is relevant. If the "moral highground" is founded in reason then it has prescriptive power over all reasonable people. If the "moral highground" is in Islamic Religious texts, then it only has prescriptive power for Muslims"
has no real relevence to the discussion at large. The discussion was not started based on how or why the comparison can be made between you and a Saudi denouncing each other based on what you percieve to be morally wrong. The discussion was started by the argument that regardless of the reasons behind the basis for each sentiment, both are valid towards the individuals feelings at the subject at large. Ultimately, you're the same as you choose the moral highground and cast judgement based solely on the views that you put most stock in, whether it be religion, democracy, or what your fortune cookie told you last night In terms of the individual or culture, each is equally valid. The fact that you discredit the others based on the reasoning matters not. He may do the same to you for the exact same reasoning.

Second,
"Let's stick to a few universals. No human ever consents to rape (by definition). No human ever consents to tyranny (by definition). Rapes and tyrannies always produce victims."
You speak of the individual when prior, you were speaking of the group:
"Conversely, laws against unquestioned moral wrongs, like rape, appeal to the human capacity for reason. Since both Saudis and Americans are human, this type of law has prescriptive power over anyone who at least pretends to be reasonable"
Forgive me if this was not the intent. However, how are cultures and societies formed? By the choices of the individuals that join them and support them. Cultural rules and allowances still apply in the particular culture at large.

Sorry I can't get more in depth, but I have a meeting to attend. I will try to address this in more depth later.

Posted by: Freedom | February 28, 2006 04:25 PM

Chris Ford,

I posted a response to you in the previous topic. If you so choose, take a look then give me your thoughts.

Posted by: DK | February 28, 2006 05:06 PM

Chris,
==========================================
I am actually reluctant to ever sacrifice America lives and blow vast sums of treasure simply to interpose ourselves in a civil war. Where it threatens to spread into a wider area, threaten & disrupt allied nations - yes - like in Bosnia. Or when it threatens to push 100s of thousands, even millions of unskilled 3rd World parasites into our land from playing the "refugee get in free, live free off the taxpayers teat guarantee".
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I'm probably even more reluctant than thee. It takes an overwhelmingly compelling National Interest at stake to get me to the point of intervention. I never got there on Bosnia and I would just note that the threat to the wider area of our allies in Europe was never great enough to get them off of their damn asses. When it comes to the 3rd world, we are as it were, "hoisted on our own petard of compassion".

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If we do intervene in the future, I think the America public has come to a point where we demand slacker nation's free ride to end and they spill both money and blood rather than have it rest all on the US and a few Western nations.
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Perhaps, I'm not so confident as thee. Case in point...Darfur. This is being sold as genocide in progress. Actually, it is a little more complicated than that. It has its roots in the Black Christian rebellion in the South against the Arab Muslim Government in the North, a civil war in fact. Guess where the loyalty of the Black villagers lies. Shades of Viet Nam; dry up the swamp and the alligators have nowhere to hide. Terrorism serves many purposes doesn't it? I'm waiting for Bush to fold this one into his "War on Terror" to see if that makes the WOT more palatable to ErrinF and transforms him into a hero in her eyes. As usual, when it comes to war, civilians are collateral damage.

==========================================
Nice response. I will add that besides responding to acts of war like the Cole and embassy bombings, Saddams daily firing on our pilots enforcing the No Fly zones was an act of war and was responded to by military attacks, including Clinton's extensive little mini-war called "Desert Fox", that bombed over 1,000 targets throughout Iraq in one week.
==========================================

My problem with Clinton was his anemic responses, to include "Desert Fox". As you know by now, I take a dim view of acting on suspicions of or potential threats; on the other hand, when confronted by an actual aggressive act, when actually attacked, I take an equally dim view of a "measured" response. The time for "regime change" in Iraq was when Saddam's plot to kill George the First on his visit to Kuwait was uncovered. This one required no international permission, no coalition building, just a two or three armored infantry divisions, supporting brigades, and lots of airplanes. Democracy? Who cares, just destroy the regime and let them sort out their aftermath on their own. It's all about deterrence. The "Don't tread on me" approach to security. This depends on credibility and credibility depends on demonstration. The same with the embassy bombings and the Cole. Screw these stupid missile attacks. Half the time we hit the wrong target anyway, because the coordinates provided defined a target that shouldn't have been a target. We should be better prepared to put 10,000 fully armed boots on the ground just about anywhere on the globe with full air cover to snatch anyone stupid enough to do something like that. Then kick the bastard out of the plane at 15000 feet over a pigsty on the way back to boot.

I do place a premium on being right. We must not tolerate mistakes. We do need a much better intelligence service than we have. Kicking the wrong guy out of the plane is not only insufferable to our own values, it is counterproductive to the political purpose of it. The sad truth is that the absence of WMD in Iraq makes us look like an ass in the eyes of the world, and rightly so.

==========================================
The other thing is the UN is credible only when it's Security Council resolutions mean something. Saddams defiance of some 14 Resolutions , tossing out the weapons inspectors in defiance of the UN...had much to do with his fate. Like it or not, even though we ourselves screw the UN by our knee-jerk Veto on anything Israel objects to...America does indeed wish to keep the UN credible. If all the Resolutions failed due to Saddam's flipping the UN the finger and the fear of Euroweenies....future UN Resolutions would be seen & treated as meaningless tripe from a then-failed international body going the Way of the League of Nations.
==========================================

I've got to chuckle a bit at this one Chris :o) You're as reluctant as I to cede any real authority to the UN. Fact is, Israel has been more defiant in fact of UN resolutions than Iraq was in fact. I point out the uncomfortable fact that our post war findings are that Iraq had in fact substantively complied with SC resolutions. Israel has not. Iraq's defiance was in fact rhetorical, couched in undiplomatic terms. Israel's is factual, couched in ever so diplomatic terms.

But in terms of your argument here, that by invading Iraq we somehow lend credibility to UN resolutions, it's pretty weak given that the SC itself refused to endorse our action, indeed, friend Kofi Annan termed it "illegal". The only credibility that was gained here was the credibility of our armed forces to make very short work of opposing armed forces. On the other hand, our credibility as a military occupier has suffered. I applaud the first, and argue we should never even attempt the latter. I suppose there could be circumstances I would except with regard to "occupation", but they don't present themselves today. Perhaps if Canada seeks to recover former British territories in New York or something like that. They do have all those tar sands.

===========================================
And the debate would then be about which of the UN's valuable institutions outside matters of war and peace were worth salvaging under the "UN" name, or a new International body. Proposals are out there..one restricts membership to democracies only, another "weights" national strength, influence, population factors to get away from "one nation, one vote" logic where Barbados=Brazil, Ireland=India in clout and where the world's second-largest economy, China, pays under 1% of UN dues while Japan pays 22%.
===========================================

This is actually an interesting issue. I've been spending a lot of thought on how the Security Council and other UN institutions might actually be restructured. The world has actually changed quite a bit since the original structure was ratified and our own Constitution was pre-ceded by the Articles of Confederation so it's a perfectly acceptable idea to me that we might revisit this structure having the benefit of some hindsight. But another day...I'm still thinking about it.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 28, 2006 05:08 PM

Will,
I hope you won't mind if I take you up in pieces. Lets take this one, and assume the crime is rape. The crime itself is important to the argument I will make.
===============================================
Let me clarify what I find morally despicable about the state of Women's testimony in Saudi Arabia in hopes that my moral condemnation is unduly hazardous.

A person's testimony in court, even in Shari'ah courts, is supposed to offer information about an event. Courts, even Shari'ah ones, weigh that as "evidence" that a crime was/was not committed and rule based on that.

The importance of a particular person's testimony should then seem to be their relationship with the crime allegedly committed. Their gender seems to be an irrational gauge of their capacity for explaining their relationship to an alleged crime because their gender is irrelevant.

If Shari'ah courts or the Islamic world would present a compelling case (which I don't think exists) that women's testimony is demonstrably only half as accurate as that of men's, I would be more inclined to hear what they had to say. Instead, a woman's testimony is 1/2 of a man's arbitrarily, because some unverifiable interpretation of an unverifiable religious text says so (apparently).

Call me a stickler for reason, but that doesn't make a damn bit of sense. For that, I condemn that particular bit of Shari'ah jurisprudence morally despicable.
===============================================

The truth of the matter is that the victim witness's gender is critical to their capacity for "explaining their relationship to an alleged crime" and is entirely relevant, at least to the form of rape we would all agree is real bona fide rape, i.e. some male sunofabitch forces a woman to subject herself to the insertion of one of his body parts. First, you have to deal with the possibility that this is a false charge born of ill motives developed in a prior relationship. When was the last time you heard an adult male making either a charge or a false charge of rape by an adult female? It is females who do this. Second, a raped woman is a traumatized woman and like it or not, is not necessarily a very credible witness. One of the astonishing and disturbing facts to come out of post-conviction DNA testing, is the number of poor bastards falsely convicted of rape who were positively identified as the perpetrator by the victim in sworn testimony, most of these stranger on stranger rapes. It is not a question of conscious ill-will on the part of the victim. It's the way a traumatized brain works. Indeed, some women who have had to confront the knowledge that they were wrong, and acknowledge that, still see that same person in their minds eye as the one who did it to them, all while knowing full well that they did not. Eyewitness testimony is not in fact all that reliable and there are ample studies that show this. It is particularly unreliable when the witness was in great fear at the time of the event.

When I have been called to jury duty, I bring my thoughts on these things to bear on the witnesses I hear, the weight I give their testimony, and the reasoning I follow in coming to my conviction one way or the other. The circumstances of each case are quite different, have been quite different in my experience, and the weight I give to each witness depends very much not just on the gender of the witness, but their manner, their relationships with others, with the crime, with what circumstances I as a juror are permitted to hear, and finally my own unique reasoning.

I can tell you this much, were I to be presented as a juror, as the only evidence of rape, the testimony of the victim to include the identification of the defendant as the man who did it, I would have difficulty getting beyond a reasonable doubt, and the more traumatized she was, the more difficulty I would have. Once more we have the conflict between the heart and the brain. I'm a terrible person because my brain usually wins right?

Now I get where I do without the necessity of appealing to religion. I get there by using my own peculiar reasoning, with which you might even agree. It does reflect my gender. I'm not persuaded that women would so easily agree with me on this matter, reflecting their gender. I cannot escape the influence of my gender nor they theirs; something of which I've never been able to convince my wife. I daresay the Sharia reflects the male gender, as the Bible seems to. I've always thought it would be fascinating to see what kind of religion women might come up with were they to get themselves into a position to establish one instead of just trying to mold a male one to accommodate them.

The point of this Will, is to illustrate the frailty and arbitrariness of "reasoning". Nothing is quite so self-evident as we might like. Reason is itself nothing but an abstraction in our heads, just as our number system, language, Newton's Law of Gravity, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Pi, algebra, Boolean Logic, and the latest rage in physics, String Theory, are. God is no more and no less than another abstraction we create in our heads, in our imagination. To the extent that some of our abstractions model elements or aspects of nature as we observe it, they can be extremely useful. But should all of us expire, and our abstractions with us, nature will go on, the Cosmos will not end....yet.

With this kind of mindset, I am hard pressed to see inherent inferiority or superiority between abstractions. I'm happy enough to simply choose from among them those that I can comprehend and usefully apply to the world around me as I see it and feel it, recognizing that we are not just reasoning beings but emotional ones as well.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 28, 2006 07:38 PM

"First, you have to deal with the possibility that this is a false charge born of ill motives developed in a prior relationship. When was the last time you heard an adult male making either a charge or a false charge of rape by an adult female? It is females who do this."

That females happen to represent the vast majority of rape victims does not mean that accusations are always false or that there is even anything special about gender in this case. Essentially you are saying that "The gender is important because women are far more likely to make false accusations of rape than men". Well of course, because only believable victims can lie convincingly about a crime committed against them.

This is not gender specific, it is specific to the victim. In all cases we consider who benefits from false testimony most and weigh them as such. Some testimony is evaluated as stronger than others, but not by gender. If an impartial third party witnesses the rape occur, their testimony is given more weight than either the rapist or the victim. This seems consistent with reasonable principles of jurisprudence aimed at disposing of reasonable doubt.

"Second, a raped woman is a traumatized woman and like it or not, is not necessarily a very credible witness."

This is not gender specific. Men are traumatized by crimes as well. Your claim is not that women are traumatized after rape, but that people are. That rape victims happen to overwhelmingly be females is circumstancial.

"One of the astonishing and disturbing facts to come out of post-conviction DNA testing, is the number of poor bastards falsely convicted of rape who were positively identified as the perpetrator by the victim in sworn testimony, most of these stranger on stranger rapes."

This is evidence that needs to be weighed against the victims testimony. The victims testimony is weaker because of this fact, not because of the lack of a penis. Make sure you weed out the relevant information from the irrelevant.

Now, you seem hung up on Rape and you offer compelling reasons why the victim is not necessarily the most reliable source (which is probably factually false, as I believe most rapes occur amongst non-strangers whereas the victim's relationship with the perpetrator is of importance). I am willing to weigh your facts as I would hope a fair court would.

Now we move to the more important matter, is the victim's testimony worth half that of the perpetrators? Half that of any particular opposite sex preson? What reasonable methodology should we employ to determine the specific weight of a victim's testimony?

These are questions left unanswered in Islamic law. As a matter of accepted scripture they are virtually beyond debate. Even the debate that occurs exists within a framework of already established scripture.

Not that we need to limit the discussion to rape. Women's testimony is always worth half that of a man's in Shari'ah courts. Irregardless of the person's relation with the alleged crime, the man's word wins out over the woman's.

"The circumstances of each case are quite different, have been quite different in my experience, and the weight I give to each witness depends very much not just on the gender of the witness, but their manner, their relationships with others, with the crime, with what circumstances I as a juror are permitted to hear, and finally my own unique reasoning."

It's absurd to think that someone's tits or lack thereof would make them less credible of a witness. I'll accept the "traumatized victim" theory but not that it only applies to women or that it only applies to rape. Do you think women are more likely to give false testimony if they have no relationship to the people involved in the crime? Are you suggesting that women are more unreliable then men in general, or only as applies to rape victimhood?

I would hope you would take into account other evidence, as that is a reasonable approach. An impartial third party would be more convincing than either party involved, since the third party has nothing to gain from lieing under oath whereas the other parties are staked to the verdict.

In Shari'ah courts, these kinds of evaluations are frequently ignored because of institutional bias. That women's testimony is arbitrarily set at 1/2 that of men's is one instance of this. It isn't at all clear that anything the prophet Mohammed said or did is relevant to any particular rape that occurs in Saudi Arabia this year, yet for whatever reason what Mohammed says clearly defines how a certain group's testimony is interpreted.

Keep in mind this does not merely apply to the victim. If a female aquaintence of the victim, say a friend or daughter or sister, witnesses the crime, her testimony is also worth 1/2 that of any particular man. In fact, even a total stranger who has no attachment to the victim whatsoever instantly loses 1/2 their testimony if they fail to produce a penis at the trial.

"I can tell you this much, were I to be presented as a juror, as the only evidence of rape, the testimony of the victim to include the identification of the defendant as the man who did it, I would have difficulty getting beyond a reasonable doubt, and the more traumatized she was, the more difficulty I would have. Once more we have the conflict between the heart and the brain. I'm a terrible person because my brain usually wins right?"

Not at all, you have presented very reasonable standards for measuring the weight of testimony and how jurisprudentially compelling it may or may not be.

My entire position is that courts should follow guidelines that can be agreed upon by reasonable people without resorting to unverifiable scripture that was written over 1,000 years before the current crime allegedly occurred.

"I get there by using my own peculiar reasoning, with which you might even agree. It does reflect my gender. I'm not persuaded that women would so easily agree with me on this matter, reflecting their gender. I cannot escape the influence of my gender nor they theirs; something of which I've never been able to convince my wife."

The difference between your inherent bias as a male and institutional bias in a Shari'ah court is that reason constrains the former whereas it is at odds with the latter.

I don't even believe many women would argue that you've made totally unreasonable claims. If what you have said is incorrect, women and men alike would have to attack your argument from reason even after you've admitted a bias. You being gender-biased doesn't make you wrong by necessity.

Whereas the "reasoning" for Shari'ah Laws are that some unverifiable interpretation of unverifiable religious texts says so. Who does this compel, exactly? What verifiable relation does Mohammed have to the Supreme Court case of Marshall vs. Marshall? Does this relationship necessarily hinge on the Prophets unverifiable relation with Allah? If so, why should we treat unrestrained unverifiable testimony as "evidence"? What implications does this have for the concept of "evidence" if we do?

"The point of this Will, is to illustrate the frailty and arbitrariness of "reasoning"."

Au contraire Cayambe, you give yourself far too little credit! If you have done anything it is to cement that reasoning is the *only* means of determining someone's guilt. You've presented well reasoned argument against a particular set of individual's testimony that is convincing in certain regards. You do not defer to any scripture that circularly refers to itself to establish authority.

Bravo to you, sir.

Posted by: Will | February 28, 2006 08:16 PM

Cayambe-

"With this kind of mindset, I am hard pressed to see inherent inferiority or superiority between abstractions. I'm happy enough to simply choose from among them those that I can comprehend and usefully apply to the world around me as I see it and feel it, recognizing that we are not just reasoning beings but emotional ones as well."

I disagree. You do make evaluations about particular abstractions in that you choose one from among many. Unless you are saying that this choice is totally random, that you have stumbled on "reason" as a guiding principle over "Religious Texts", by blind luck. Is that what you are saying, Cayambe?

I'm not sure of the relevance of the emotional appeal. Perhaps you could explain?

Posted by: Will | February 28, 2006 08:20 PM

Will,
=======================================
I disagree. You do make evaluations about particular abstractions in that you choose one from among many. Unless you are saying that this choice is totally random, that you have stumbled on "reason" as a guiding principle over "Religious Texts", by blind luck. Is that what you are saying, Cayambe?
=======================================

Not random at all. My guiding principle in making such choices from among many is what works for me. When it comes to understanding the natural world around me I am guided to those abstract models that appear to mimic or model specific aspects of observable nature. Those which bear repeated testing gain increased weight until they don't. I am mindful that Newton's equations were once beyond any doubt, until Einstein established otherwise. Religious texts are another matter. Actually, I have much respect for the social wisdom contained within them. Indeed, I would even say that religion serves a perfectly respectable human need. Unfortunately, or fortunately (blind luck or blind misfortune depending on your point of view), I was simply not made aware of it until I accidently discovered it from a waitress while eating breakfast one Sunday morning by myself in a hotel at age 6. I had a really difficult time figuring out what in hell she was talking about. It was frankly incomprehensible to me and the more she explained the more ridiculous it seemed. With respect to Deities of any kind I have just never been able to get beyond the sense that it is silly, I just can't fathom someone actually believing this nonsense. But billions have and do. I just can't comprehend it myself. I can comprehend the benefits of such a belief. It provides the internal stability of certainty, fills the void of what we don't know, provides confidence, dispels fear, provides a social fabric, common goals, organizational structure, generational continuity, education, and communal discipline. In this sense it works, some flavors better than others, and I fully recognize that. I just don't seem to have the capacity to get beyond my sense of incredulity that I must first believe in such a nonsensical thing as God and/or spirits, whose manifestation I have simply never experienced, never sensed in any way.

Reason in my book has the benefit of usually working. But it is no panacea and I am always suspicious of it, and not without reason. It is a fact that I have reasoned myself into doing stupid things. It is a very corruptible process, whose corruption is not necessarily obvious either, which leads to the following:
"I'm not sure of the relevance of the emotional appeal. Perhaps you could explain?"

It is actually relatively rare for someone to reason from the facts. The far more common practice is to make a judgment and then find a reasoned path to that judgment. Emotion tends to guide our reasoning, not the other way around. You can see it in the dialogue over the port issue. An MSM opinion poll today, "Should DPW manage 6 of our ports?", Yes=23% No=77%. The factual question would be "Should DPW manage some terminals in 6 of our ports?" You would get a different result because it would invoke a different emotional response. The media who framed the poll know this. They framed it incorrectly because the result of this framing makes a better and more compelling story, which gets more eyeballs which gets more dollars. We have reasoned our way into the Patriot Act, into NSA unwarranted surveillance. No Will, I do not accept that reason per se has more intrinsic merit than a religious text. I take each case one by one as they come.

I think there is no singular better guide to human affairs than "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Posted by: Cayambe | March 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Cayembe/Chris Ford

Cayembe: Further, if we remove our presence we remove the burr under the saddle and the horse has no reason for further disaffection.

That will certainly remove A burr from under the saddle, but is that all there is that is motivating the most hard core of the terrorists? We had far less of a presence in the middle east at the time of 9/11. They were finding excuses to attack us then as well. Excuses given at the time were the presence of U.S. troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, still stationed there since the Gulf War. Do you remember when I posed the question in an earlier topic - What is the definitive reason for the hatred of the U.S? Out of all the reasons that we hear through different sources which one is the foundation of U.S. hatred in the middle east?. I agreed with your answer - If I'm not mistaken you said our support for Israel was the biggie. Now, even if we removed all our troops from the middle east, some of the hatred would cool off, but I think we could still expect to be a target for terrorists. New excuses would be the decadence of our western culture and the negative influence of it on Islam. Always in the background would be our friendship with Israel.

Cayembe: On the other hand, if they choose to fight us here, they are the strangers in a strange land (as we are in Iraq), one that is not so easy for them to get into or for them to swim in once here.
I agree with Chris about what to do "when other options run out". Where we probably depart is in the meaning of "options run out". I require a violation that demands actual self-defense, specifically disallowing "pre-emptive stuff". Nor would I countenance the use of nuclear weapons unless they had been used against us. On the other hand, as examples, I would have no qualms responding to either the Cole, Khobar Towers, or the African Embassies with overwhelming conventional forces once the perpetrators were located, wherever they were or are. The proper response to an act of war is annihilation, as specific as possible, but annihilation in any case. On that, I am sure Chris and I are in agreement. It does work, and the more brutal and swift it is, the better it works.

Who would you attack and annihiliate? Yeman? Saudi Arabia? Kenya and Tanzania? Don't get me wrong - I certainly support going after the bastards, but the language you are using (annihiliate with conventional forces) seems more apt for attacking armies in a World War than for tracking down and killing scattered terrorists and those that support them. I've read Chris's arguments for total war and being as viscious as the enemy and more as the only proper way to fight a war to win. I see his point, but I still struggle with the application of it in this conflict, not because I want to be nice to the poor misguided terrorists, but because too many innocent people will suffer and are suffering terribly. Chris's argument is that if we don't make the innocents suffer, our enemies will and because of that the innocents will say they are our friends, but will support our enemies to evade the suffering our enemies will inflict on them if they don't. He uses examples from the total war of World War II to support his point. His arguments are compelling in a grim way, but I can't quite buy into them. There's something amiss and I can't quite articulate it yet. I will think about it more and respond in full to him at a later date.

Cayembe: I take a different quote than ErrinF from General Washington's Farewell:
"Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it."
...as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it. The words are worth repeating.
"The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes."
Washington would be appalled at the notion of recommending our form of government at the point of a gun. We are envisioned as providing an example worthy of applause and affection. I hear less and less applause, much less affection, as the years go by. How about you? Nor was the good General unaware of our unique blessings, the same religion, manners, habits and political principles; without which this constitution would have undoubtedly taken a different shape. Amazingly, it has thus far accommodated wave upon wave of diversity and we are no less American for that. Europe has been far less successful in the matter of integration and assimilation, not that we did so well with our blacks. Perhaps because unlike others, they did not come by choice.
Other nations, other civilizations, must find their own way to their own political systems. It is not our place or job to do it for them or to complain of their choices in different circumstances. We may recommend ours in good will, but they are not bound to choose it.

Thank you for using this excerpt and for your thoughtful commentary on it. I couldn't agree more. Its been a while since I read Washington's farewell address. I've known of the themes in it for some time, but its easy to forget its eloquence and the images it evokes. They were Washington's ideas, the results of his legendary judgment and hard won experience, but Hamilton gets credit for the language. If you read "Founding Brothers" by Joseph Ellis, he has a great chapter on Washington's farewell address. By the way - you were dead on correct in your post to ErrinF regarding the partisanship theme. I'm not quite sure what her exaggerated reaction was all about.
=======================================
Cayembe: I always think you are entitled to your opinion, and often enough I can agree with it, if not the manner of its expression. I don't think that Islamic civilization is inferior to Western civilization, indeed I have to wonder what the term "inferior" really means in this context. As a young boy I once went down to the market and bought a shrunken head from an Indian who was selling that and other things like cute ocelot cubs. That was back in the days when they were genuine and not faked using pigskin the way they are now. The following year he took me on a trip back to his home village in the Amazon for a couple of weeks, whole trip took 4 weeks, mostly by river. Most of the villagers had never seen a white guy before so I found out what it was like to be a celebrity. Oddly enough, these were a very happy people, quite gracious and hospitable, and quite comfortable in their primitive surroundings. In terms of their social life I thought they were rather superior to what we had at home. In terms of the bed and the bugs I thought it left a lot to be desired. In their isolation, they were pretty damn happy with what they had, happier it seemed to me than we more civilized folk. So I think civilizations are just different and the measure of their worth can really only be assessed from within them. It does not seem to me necessary for there to be a war between civilizations here so long as each civilization does not seek to impose itself on the other. More than a few missionaries lost their heads discovering that in the Amazon basin. (Mine was not a missionary, just an unlucky fellow from another Indian tribe :o)

Now that's a cool story.

Posted by: DK | March 1, 2006 12:18 AM

Cayambe-

"When it comes to understanding the natural world around me I am guided to those abstract models that appear to mimic or model specific aspects of observable nature. Those which bear repeated testing gain increased weight until they don't. I am mindful that Newton's equations were once beyond any doubt, until Einstein established otherwise."

It looks to me like you do see the "inherent superiority" of basing your beliefs on observable and testable data. Either that or you choose to believe something you find intellectually inferior, in which case you are still making a judgement of the "inherent" value of a particular world view.

I am not criticizing your world view, which happens to be identical to mine. I just think it is disingenuous when people exhaustively repeat "I don't want to make judgements about other people's belief systems, I just choose the one that works for me." That choice has an implicit judgement in it.

"Religious texts are another matter. Actually, I have much respect for the social wisdom contained within them."

They are another matter because they are not based on observable or testable data. Religious texts are by necessity unverifiable because they attempt to answer questions that (currently) reason or science or "Verifiable data" cannot answer.

I am not at all sure why you can maintain that "Religious texts" contain "social wisdom" without making a judgement of those texts. Do you value the social wisdom of Greek Mythology equal to that of Christianity? What about those that believe in Flying Spaghetti monsters, do you find social wisdom in their texts as well?

Popular religions, and the texts they are based on, must by necessity carry a certain amount of acceptable social wisdom in them because religious texts that go against our nature as social animals would tend to be self-defeating. The popularity of Christianity, that in the past 2,000 years has grown to make up the largest religion touching nearly 2 billion people worldwide, is likely because the lessons in the new testament of forgiveness and redemption and salvation speaks to something inherently social and upbeat in humans.

Similarily, it would be foolish to ignore that over a billion people find social wisdom in the Qur'an. Perhaps it too has social wisdom (or the political institutions that spread and protect Islam are effective).

But when you or I laud the "social wisdom" of a particular religious text, aren't we making a judgement about something?

"Reason in my book has the benefit of usually working. But it is no panacea and I am always suspicious of it, and not without reason. It is a fact that I have reasoned myself into doing stupid things."

But at least it is a process whereas the premise of action/belief has some relationship with the conclusion. It is not some cosmic coincedence that reasoning people solve all the important problems while non-reasoning ones do not. And I'm not talking about philosophical or spiritual questions, I'm talking about the kind that generate penicillan.

"It is actually relatively rare for someone to reason from the facts. The far more common practice is to make a judgment and then find a reasoned path to that judgment."

Even this backwards reasoning is preferrable to suspending reason in favor of religious creed because emotional judgements are *at least* constrained by reason in the above case. You can't find a "reasoned path" to an emotional judgement that is blatantly unreasonable.

"No Will, I do not accept that reason per se has more intrinsic merit than a religious text. I take each case one by one as they come."

Cayambe, how do you evaluate each case though? Maybe it's time you explain what intellectual mechanism you use besides reason to evaluate the "intrinsic merit" of a reason-based claim and a religious one? If it is emotion, then what system of categorization do you have to separate the better choices from the worse ones?

"I think there is no singular better guide to human affairs than "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"."

Why? I'm not disagreeing, I'm just mystified that you sit here and make evaluative judgements, from reason, about particular religious claims and yet insist that any attempt by me at doing so is untenable.

I have made a very weak claim that I think you understand. There seems to be a difference between claims like 2+2=4 and God told Jesus who told someone else who wrote down something that Pat Robertson decided meant God didn't want you to masturbate.

Posted by: Will | March 1, 2006 10:33 AM

I was enraged when I first heard this on the news. I really can't believe people are so naive. The fact that we have other foreign companies at other ports should not be the reason for adding to their numbers. I'm simply amazed that we are even considered a world power.

I don't need to write a thesis to simply say that we need to stop playing politics with the people of this nation lives. We need to stop making decisions based on what turns a profit. We only need to look back in history to learn some valuable lessons.

Posted by: tp | March 2, 2006 02:40 PM

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