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What’s It All About?

Further loading and onloading on the ports deal. Plus what's this about Bush-anointed McCain? And much more.

2.28.06

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TO TRUST ARABY
Re: Brandon Crocker's Self-Appointed Clowns:

Do you honestly think if the White House had gone directly to Congress and laid out all the facts, Democrats and Republicans wouldn't have made fools of themselves? The people inside the beltway do not care whether it is right or constitutional. The only thing that will stop this is to kick the bastards out of office. Republicans too. My dog is more mature than most of this Congress. And the dog is loyal and won't stab me in the back.
-- Joe Limbaugh

Trying to be as logical and objective as possible, I have to start by asking the question "Is there a significant number of Muslims who hate us, Israel, and all infidels, and does their hate run so deep as to do anything to inflict their wrath on us?"

If the answer is yes, then question number two is whether or not you can recognize the difference between a hateful or a peaceful Muslim? I think not!

Who runs security is not the question. After all, the planes that flew into the Twin Towers were American planes from airports guarded by Americans, and operated by Americans. The only question is access. Does this open the door to more access than we should feel comfortable with. Would this UAE company get the right to write their own temporary visas? A common practice for a foreign business in the U.S.

Last question: How comfortable would you feel letting a Mideastern Arab baby-sitting your children?
-- Wayne E. Greenough
Hampstead, North Carolina

A lot of people, perhaps including Brandon Crocker, just don't seem to understand what is happening here. The Dubai Ports World deal is not a political problem but a failure of leadership. This isn't about what Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid thinks, nor about what John McCain or Peter King thinks, nor about what the New York Times or CBS thinks.

Dubya needs to bring the mass of the American people along with him on the War on Terror, and he cannot appear to look as though he isn't treating it seriously. The blogosphere is important and Rush Limbaugh has some weight, but even more important is the impression made upon the average American. The guy or gal who doesn't watch Fox News, doesn't listen to talk radio, reads only the front page, sports, fashion, and the funnies, and who takes his or her political stance more from Jay Leno than George Will -- these are ultimately going to determine whether G.W. Bush successfully handles the Axis of Evil.

We are in a guns and butter type of war, far different from WW II, and we seem to be coasting in Lyndon Johnson mode rather than demanding sacrifice from all Americans. In other words, Bush no longer seems fervent about the importance of this conflict, and therefore neither will the citizenry. The signs of his lack of focus are legion, from his spending huge sums on questionable domestic programs to his hesitation to take down Syria, a major supporter of the Iraq insurgency and our weakest potential target. And on top of that, he now appears to be inviting the fox to guard the henhouse.

It doesn't matter whether his casual attitude is genuine. It matters not at all whether DPW will do as good (or even better) a job than O&P. It would not matter if port security were somehow improved, nor if the UAE were to give the Pope a medal and welcome in Christian missionaries. The only thing that matters now is that our leader appears to be consorting with the enemy. And when it comes to leadership, appearances count.

Bush needs to decide -- or have decided for him -- whether it is more important for his goals to gain the phantasmagorical friendship of the UAE or to retain the iron-clad faith of the average American. That's what this port deal is about.
-- Richard Donley
New Lyme, Ohio

Kudos to Mr. Crocker for finally putting the Dubai Ports imbroglio into its proper perspective. I have been amazed this past week watching the MSM, political pundits of all stripes and the Washington pols loudly and publicly demonstrate their profound ignorance about a deal none of them desire to understand. I am cautiously supportive of this deal but have been frustrated in my attempts to obtain necessary facts and details from the so-called guardians of the public's right to know, the MSM. It has taken the combined information gleaned from the "new media's" many websites to get what I consider to be a minimal baseline of understanding. The MSM have been completely derelict in their obligation to provide details and context and have taken to their comfortable modus operandi of easy and lazy politically biased commentary and judgment. It's no longer necessary for citizens to be sufficiently informed so long as we are spoon fed the anti-Bush talking points. Once again, the MSM is happy to engage in gab sessions rather than put shoe leather to the pavement and gather facts.

Congress has been equally appalling in its failure to perform basic due diligence. This entire deal (secret process and all) comes about through a protocol created by congressional legislation. One would think that members would have a minimal working knowledge of this process, given the fact that it is routinely used, at least some 65 times during the past year alone. But no, certain members can't wait to rush to an open microphone for their all important face time on national television to express their distain over a process of their own creation. I've no problem with a delay in order to obtain more information, I'm just sickened by the way the MSM and the pols, with an eye towards their respective agendas, have turned this entire process into a circus. As Mr. Crocker opines, our institutions are failing us. We deserve better than this.
-- A. DiPentima

I am aware that Dubai Ports will be in charge of running six American ports due to the P & O sale. However, Dubai is in violation of the U.S. laws concerning the boycotting of Israel by requesting information on country of origin produce and manufacture.

This compliance of the Arab boycott should disqualify them from running American ports. They should be forced to pay daily fines to the U.S. government in direct proportion to their daily profit as long as they are in compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel, just as U.S. companies are fined for following Arab boycott measures. Then let the deal go through.

The "fine" revenues will be good source for U.S. government funds. If DP refuses to pay the fines then the U.S. government will have the right to revoke the deal without penalty and let another company bid for the rights.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

When a voice of reason speaks it would be nice if everyone listened -- thank you Brandon Crocker for an intelligent piece regarding the port's deal. While I would prefer American companies operating all aspects of business at our ports and American ships carrying goods to and from the U.S. I recognize that this is probably a pipe dream considering our government's preference for regulating and taxing business as opposed to encouraging their success. So if what I would prefer is unlikely? I would at least like an ally (not an enemy like communist China) to be involved in our ports' operations (ownership is still in U.S. hands). While the UAE is in reality a new ally they have been a very good one since 9/11. The pre-9/11 arguments against the UAE are as invalid as continued Democrat pre-9/11 thinking regarding national security. We need to look at today's facts and not yesterday's old news. Remember, prior to 9/11 most Americans considered France a "good" ally.

The UAE has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. The country's deep-water ports and dry-dock facilities are large enough to handle our aircraft carriers and Trident nuclear submarines. Two of its ports, including the DP World-administered Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, host more U.S. naval visits than any other facility outside the United States. The country also hosts major air bases for U.S. refueling and surveillance flights. Additionally, the central bank officials have strengthened anti-money-laundering and terror-financing laws and have greatly increased oversight of their financial system. The UAE is also the only country in the Middle East that allows U.S. customs inspectors to check cargo headed to America.

For those critical of DPW operating terminals at America's ports what is your alternative or solution? Who will do the job if Congress will not provide incentives for American companies to do it? Where are the demands that we monitor high risk flight passengers into and around the U.S.? Where are the calls to tighten up on issuing visa's to persons from "dangerous" countries or regions of the world? Where is the legislation to deport hate mongering clerics, professors and extremists? Why are those critical of monitoring terrorist phone calls in the U.S. so up in arms about this deal? I don't discount the real concerns of some, but I am skeptical of the posturing in Congress. If the members of Congress are serious about national security then they'll discover who in their midst routinely leaks classified documents to the press and demand their prosecution, they will demand that members of the press who illegally print classified documents are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, they will stop using America's effort in Iraq as a political football or hammer to advance their own political power and finally they will stop talking about impeachment of a President whose number 1 "crime" (as opposed to his predecessor) is protecting this country and its people for its enemies.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Republicans are trying to distance themselves from a lame duck and Democrats are looking for an issue but they want the American people to forget everything they've said in the past (e.g. there is no need for a war on terror since it must be this president who is the criminal). These people are simply goofy (both the republicans who are caught up in the tsunami -- as Rush calls it -- and the Democrats who hate this president and will at all costs to their party). I just hope it costs the Democrats a lot.
-- Stu Margrey
Denton, Maryland

Isn't it magic to see Hillary and Schumer to become so concerned with security. They voted down a bill in 2004 that would have put 2000 more guards on the border. They want wiretaps stopped and yet it helped save the Brooklyn Bridge. Are they no longer working for the people of N.Y. or has some one moved the bridge? Bush and his people are doing a fine job against terror groups but who do we have out there protecting America from the Democrats?
-- Clifford Gerald
Satellite Beach, Florida

ANTI-McCAIN CONSERVATIVES
Re: The Prowler's Bush Republicans for McCain:

I was surprised to read that Bush Republicans (with lots of money) are for McCain. I am a Bush supporter who would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances. If the 2008 contest for president is between McCain and Hillary (whom I loathe) I will just cast my votes down the ballot for Senate, etc. McCain has been a back-stabbing, petty, "snake-in-the grass" for a number of years towards George W. Bush. I have taken it personally, even if President Bush has always taken the "high road."
-- Kathy Ridlon
Dallas, Texas

If the Prowler is right and McCain is collecting contributions from Bush supporters, woe is me.... Oh, well I won't have to worry about voting in '08 if the choice comes to Hillary and McCain.
-- JK

I wonder if Americans remember the phrase "McCain-Feingold"? Wasn't this "straight talker" going to solve the big money in politics issue? Look where he's running. And how many 527s will be formed to expose his hypocrisy?

John McCain may consider himself a straight talker but this man is nothing but a double-speakin' political hack. How many more rights will have to be given up if he is elected the next president?

Besides, does he really think that the MSM will treat him as wonderfully if he is pitted against Hillary? He may be the darling of the MSM when he's trashing his own party but he is nothing but another Republican to the propaganda machine of the Democratic Party.
-- Stu Margrey
Denton, Maryland

TRUST WHO?
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Operation Desert Shhhhh:

I find it extremely annoying that President Bush (whom I voted for and think highly of) always asks us to "trust" him on important issues that look like a rose but smell like an onion, a.k.a. Supreme court nominees (Harriet Miers) or UAE control of our ports to name a couple of recent examples.

It is not that I don't trust him, I realize that there may be things going on behind the scene that we do not know about, but it just doesn't sit well. Ronald Reagan himself said, "Trust, but verify." He was speaking of the USSR at the time but the intent is clear. We do trust you, but that doesn't mean we don't want an explanation when we smell something fishy. And we also don't like to be called bigots to boot.

We are fighting a war, whether the Bush administration or any other so-called government will admit it or not, against Islamic extremists, and perhaps even "moderates." No one wants to admit that there is a two-ton elephant in the living room, but the American people aren't that naïve. We know who we are fighting. And to give our ports over to a country right smack in the middle of it, (whether or not they are truly honorable or not) is akin to letting East Germany have control of our ports during the Cold War. For God's sake, you are asking us to trust a country that doesn't recognize Israel and has well established links to the bad guys, even if they are fighting to overcome them.

When Muslims around the world stop rioting over inane cartoons (offensive as they might be) and start protesting (not rioting) over the truly offensive; beheadings committed in the name of God, suicide bombings, "honor" killings of one's own daughter, planes full of innocent people, flying into buildings full of innocent people, all in the name of God (I could go on and on) then, perhaps then, trust can start to be built. Until then, that is a hard pill to swallow, even if GWB is providing a spoon full of sugar. That he doesn't realize this is disturbing.

And in defense of GWB, the Democrats are even worse. They ask us to trust the government when it comes to big social programs like Medicare, social security, welfare, education, etc, but when it comes to military or foreign affairs -- don't trust them!! (Unless they are in charge, of course).

GWB is asking the American people to take a bite of gristle that we are just not ready to chew yet, and he better realize that soon, or he will risk losing the war; because the Democrats will be put back into power.
-- Mark Bruni
Los Angeles, California

There's always been power in having and controlling information, so the current administration's closed lips isn't anything new. Too, it's not unusual for lips to get tighter when criticisms get more outlandish, constant and provocative, is it? It would be novel, however, if, at some point, those we elect would reciprocate our trust in them by treating us as adults, rather than children. But, then, have we exhibited reasonable responses with what we've ever learned?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

PANGS OF CONSCIENCE
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's The Literary Counter-Reformation:

As a practicing Catholic for my entire life I found myself faced with a serious contradiction some years ago. I was a registered Democrat who no longer believed in most of what the Democratic Party now stands for. This meant compromising my own beliefs, or leaving the party. I view the Church's Magisterium in much the same manner as I view the Democratic Party's platform. I am impressed by the Traditional Church's steadfast position on abortion. In an era when many religious denominations have temporized their beliefs that run counter to the hedonistic secularism of today, the Roman Catholic Church has been a beacon of morality and responsibility. The Kennedy assurance that the Pope would not be involved in making American law was an important reassurance to the non-Catholic public that Kennedy would be a SECULAR president. However, implicit in his assurance was the reciprocal that American law would not be involved in making Roman Catholic dogma. We are told in the bible that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. It should be obvious to any Catholic legislator that helping to pass laws that foster abortion on demand, and, if fact, spread the frequency of abortion in this country is an act in direct contradiction to the Catholic faith.

In short, the Church is not telling these legislators how to vote; however, their consciences should be shouting in their ears that they cannot remain Catholics in good standing while supporting and furthering acts that directly contradict the Catholic faith. Their document of mental and moral contortion notwithstanding, I think that these legislators know this, and no amount of specious verbiage is going to relieve them of the decision that they must make.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

Regarding Mark Gauvreau Judge's essay: Minor point: it is Charles Davis, not David.

Major point: it is excessive to assert or imply that all dissenters hate Jesus Christ. Recall that St. Thomas Aquinas said that in the choice between conscience and church authority, one must choose conscience; and he would not say that all who dissent hate Jesus Christ. In addition, he would praise them for following their conscience.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

THE REAL ENDANGERED
Re: David Hogberg's Shoot It or Lose It:

Aren't landowners a species worth saving?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

OUR OWN WISEGUYS
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Dubai Wiseguys:

I appreciate your article and its discussion of organized crime and terrorist links in the UAE. It is well done and timely to the discussion of our ports deal with Dubai.

However, are you being fair and holding the UAE to a higher standard than even the United States? For years our Border Patrol has had a "catch and release" policy for all illegal immigrants other than Mexicans. They are stopped, given a piece of paper directing them to appear in an immigration court in the future, and then released. Over 90 percent of them never show up for court and are thus free to roam and use the United States as they see fit. As they are illegal aliens, 100 percent of them are criminals, and some are hardened criminals and terrorists. And, depending upon who you believe the Border Patrol only stops 1 in 3 to 1 in 7 of the illegal immigrants pouring into our country. With 1 million stops last year that means 2 to 6 million illegal immigrants got through our border.

An open ports anything goes policy in the United States is consistent and supportive of our current open borders/mass amnesty policies in the United States. And that unholy alliance of Kennedy-McCain-Bush are about to demolish the House immigration enforcement bill (H.R. 4437), increase legal immigration, grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the United States, and thereby drastically increase the flow of illegal immigrants looking for their amnesty and citizenship.

So, the only significance I see to the ports deal is that it would drastically increase the tonnage of smuggled goods. After all, only 5 percent (1 in 20!) containers entering our ports are inspected. Even the pro-illegal immigration Administration and its Border Patrol do better than 1 in 20.

-- LomaAlta

The Dubai Wiseguys seem to be qualified to run Gitmo.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

MATCH YOUR CITATION AND...
Re: Bill Lannon's letter ("Tytler Too") in Reader Mail's War's Regress and Barron Thomas's So When Do We Sell the Air Force?:

I'm sure Mr. Lannon let out a resounding "d'oh!" yesterday as soon as he hit the send button. A man born in 1747 (Tytler), had he still been alive, would have been 102-103 years old in 1850 (Bastiat's The Law), not a terrible two. If it matters, Frederic Bastiat was 11 when Tytler died in 1813.

The subsequent section of the Tytler assertion has always interested me: "During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage."

Where on the back end of that scale do you suppose we are now?

The fall of the American republic and the lights going out on European civilization as it collapses before the Mohammedans are the two things I regret that I may yet see in my lifetime.

Meanwhile, barkeep, I'll have another. It's Shrove Tuesday.
-- Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

I note that I made a stupid mistake when I remarked on Tytler's (1748-1813) youth in relation to Bastiat's writing of The Law in 1850. Obviously Tytler was 102 not two years old. I apologize for my earlier confusion, but I hope providing the text of Tytler's statement partially redeems me.
-- Bill Lannon
Rockland, Maine

Mr. Thomas might consider a little research of his own before quoting quotes. His cavalier "...a wise ancient Greek said those that do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them," was in truth a statement by Spanish-born American philosopher George Santayana, 1863-1952, as part of his seminal work The Life of Reason. The oft repeated quote is found in the first essay entitled "Reason in Common Sense," and states "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Just so we keep all this stuff accurate.
-- Chuck Livingston
Fort Worth, Texas

THE VIETNAM ANALOGY
Re: Jed Babbin's Have We Lost in Iraq?:

Does one bombing of one mosque mean we have lost in Iraq?

No.

Does the fact that you don't agree with President Bush's leadership in this war mean he's not leading?

Again, no.

Jed Babbin seems to be suddenly and frantically searching for a context for this admittedly bad news. But to answer a question he raises in his defeatist article, I remember the President clearly stating that we were at war with evil, bloodthirsty fanatics who were bent on our destruction. I remember him saying this would be a very different and a very long war. I remember him saying we would have to be resilient and patient to see this war through to the final victory. And, when it comes, victory won't need a press-release-style definition.

Jed, what else does the President have to "define" for you to get comfortable with joining in the defense of America and Western values against those who would destroy them?
-- Rick Reigle

Finally, a Vietnam analogy that may stand. I have noticed that the media would like to spin the destruction of the Samarra mosque into the same kind of U.S. "defeat" that they spun the Tet Offensive into. The Civil War That Wasn't infuriates our Walter Cronkite wanna-bes. We may expect them to be back, again and again until they succeed (or until the "Everybody was always for the Iraq War" revisionists to write the history of our times).
-- Craig A. Zimmerman
Dulles, Virginia

Jed Babbin replies:
Mr. Zimmerman: That analogy has always been with us. But we need to stay above it. The troubles we face are all susceptible of being overcome if we're smart and tough.

Mr. Reigle: Defeatist? Anyone who knows me or has read my columns for the past five or six years (or longer) would know that I'm anything but. And the issue isn't the Samarra bombing that brings me to this point. I've been saying, for nearly a year, that the president hasn't been doing the job of wartime leadership. He needs to be doing what Churchill, FDR and Lincoln did before him. What is victory? The president has said only that victory is to end tyranny and establish democracy. Which puts the control of the endgame to those terrorist states -- and radical Islamists -- who won't and will never accept the idea of democracy. Victory means disposing of the threat, and that means ending the regimes in Syria, Iran and other nations. And ending the Saudis' support for terrorism.

This is, at its base, an ideological war. We have been fighting the war with bullets and bombs. We need to fight that war, too, but we have to engage the radical Islamists as we engaged the Soviets. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, understands this. He has said, again and again, that the information war is as important as the kinetic war. In this, he understands this war much better than the president.

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