Thursday, February 23, 2006

President Dub'ya or Should I Say President Dubai

I have always known that President Bush is in office to serve his own interests, not that of the people and this latest debacle is a prime example. Against the backing of his party, both in the senate and the house, against the governors of the states that are affected, and against 72% of the population of this country, Bush has agreed to give control of critical parts of our port infrastructure to Dubai Ports (DP) World, which is owned by the ruling family of United Arab Emirates. When Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) called Bush politically tone-deaf, it was the understatement of the year.

First let me state that this isn't about racism, it is about national security and the defense of our nation. Had I known that any foreign country such as Great Britain or China controlled portions of our ports like they do now, I would have been just as adamantly against them too. Our ports are the last controlled point of entry into any major city in America and where the large majority of our imports arrive. It has always been a weakness in our age of heightened security post 9/11 and now instead of making it stronger, Bush wants to outsource it to a country known to harbor terrorists, two of which attacked American assets on American soil and the same country through which most of the money to finance the 9/11 terrorist strike was funneled?

What possible reason would Bush conceivably want to do this? Well much like Halliburton contracts or former Judges and Stewards Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association turned FEMA director Michael Brown, it appears to be another good-old-boy inside job. As it turns out, the U.S. Maritime Administrator David Sanborn, who would oversea port operations and be directly responsible for everything from infrastructure to training security was hired by the George Bush a month ago from his former job working for DP World, the same United Arab Emirates company purchasing infrastructure in six of our ports. If that weren't enough of a conflict of interest, U.S Treasury Secretary John Snow, who heads the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) used to be the chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its international port operations to DP World in 2004 for $1.15 billion. John Snow directly signed off on the $6.8 billion contract service transfer to DP World.

All this is troubling for me but not as troubling as knowing that our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was not consulted and in fact, wasn't even aware of the entire affair until last weekend. I believe that Donald Rumsfeld should at least have been consulting since the United Arab Emirates is a country with troubling ties to international terrorism. It is particular troubling that DP World would also take over a major contract extension involving the U.S. Department of Defense to managing the movement of military equipment for the U.S. Army through the ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christie, Texas, bringing the total of affected ports to eight rather than six.

George Bush said, "they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully... they ought to listen to what I have to say to this," yet when questioned he said he himself only learned of the deal approved by his own administration recently. Besides, promises of thorough investigation into subjects like weapons of mass destruction don't really add to his believability when he says things like this. Other Middle East miscalculations such as the war in Iraq, the failure to recognize Hamas was going to win the Palestinian elections, the radical Islamists in Saudi Arabia and the atrocities being committed in Darfur further discredit Bush's right to be trusted when it comes to Middle East policies.

So back to my original point that President Bush is serving his own interests. Despite his own party turning against him, despite the governors and mayors of the states and cities affected turning against him, despite the overwhelming majority of the citizens of this country who are against this sale, the only thing Bush does in response to proposed legislation to stop this sale is say, "I'll deal with it with a veto." Self-serving indeed!

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