Monday, February 20, 2006

Port Bow

Secretary of Homeland Security and Tuner-in-chief, Michael Chertoff, the man who so magnificently handled the Hurricane Katrina emergency, is now assuring America that his department's review of the United Arab Emirates company, Dubai Ports World, is sound and that no one, no one, ought to be worried that a company from a country with known ties to terrorism will now be charged with the operations of six major ports in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security is well-oiled machine and nothing bad will happen with them overseeing things.

One cannot help but wonder what is wrong with these people. There have been many things written lately that the Bush administration and it supporters are actually a bunch of unhinged sociopaths. And the outsourcing of ports operations -- including security -- to DPW is certainly another indication that these people just don't have any common sense at all. At least, it appears that way and it may appear that way quite purposefully.

Driving into New York on Friday, I was scanning the am dial in search of ever-present and highly amusing right wing talk radio and found Savage Nation. Sweet! Savage is always good for a howl or two and often times many, many more. However, that night, he was bemoaning the callous Republicans for outsourcing port security to an Arab company, a move that certainly struck him as ridiculous as it appears to less crazed individuals. Many of his callers, fans, whatever they call themselves, were perplexed as to how Savage could be against this; the attitude apparently being that if the Bush administration was doing it, it must be good. This despite the fact that there is little evidence that anything the Bush administration has done has ever been good.

Nonetheless, to Savage callers, Democrats were "crumb-bums," which was, as far as was discernable, the entire argument for awarding the port operations contract to a company from a country that is known to have actively supported terrorism. This is the unassailable logic of many Bush supporters.

Anyway, Chertoff sought to alleviate concerns surrounding the deal by telling America that
certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to make sure we address the national security concerns.
Chertoff further said that such conditions and/or requirements were classified and so the details must remain secret but presumably at least one of those conditions is that the company not hire terrorists intent on blowing up US ports. Given the way Chertoff runs things at the DHS, however, that may have been something that was overlooked when finalising the deal.

Despite the fact that the move is "unbelievably tone deaf politically," as Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has said, Chertoff defends the contract by claiming that just because DPW is sponsored by a country that played a role in the 9/11 attacks, they should not be excluded "automatically." This from the man who ordered the automatic round-up and detention of hundreds of Muslims during the immediate aftermath of 9/11 precisely because they were from Arab countries.

Of course, there is a difference. DPW is a multi-billion dollar corporation and, therefore, should not have to suffer the indignity of American discrimination.


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