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Ear to the Ground

Alternative Perspectives on the Port Deal

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Posted on Feb 22, 2006
bush_ports
From CBS News

With both Republicans and Democrats attacking the White House over its proposed port deal with the United Arab Emirates, it’s worth noting that many people feel that the issue of port ownership is either irrelevant to national security (in the New York Times), symptomatic of xenophobic rage (Andrew Sullivan) or just plain opportunistic politics (Think Progress).

Excerpts:

New York Times: WASHINGTON, Feb. 22—In the political collision between the White House and Congress over the $6.8 billion deal that would give a Dubai company management of six American ports, most experts seem to agree on only one major point: The gaping holes in security at American ports have little to do with the nationality of who is running them.

The deal would transfer the leases for ports in New York, Baltimore and Miami, among others, from a British-owned company to one controlled by the government of Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. But the security of the ports is still the responsibility of Coast Guard and Customs officials. Foreign management of American ports is nothing new, as the role already played by companies from China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and trading partners in Europe attests.

Andrew Sullivan: If people are worried about the ports, they need to scrutinize the Coast Guard and the administration’s own DHS. Much of the rest is xenophobic nonsense. Leave that crap to Lou Dobbs.

Think Progress: This issue has little, if anything, to do with national security and far more to do with politics. Xenophobic conservatives have found allies with liberals on this issue because liberals are a) looking for any opening to criticize Bush on national security; and, b) think they can do that by outflanking Bush to the right on this issue and therefore sound “tougher” and “stronger.” The blogosphere, being somewhat insulated from political pressures, should have a more thorough discussion of this issue.

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By R. A. Earl, February 24, 2006 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t agree more with GuitarsandMore #4257.

“I think it is safe to say that the Middle East and the West are very different cultures.”

Not only different but INCOMPATIBLE. I was going to say “oil and water” or “Hatfields & McCoys” but those analogies are too mild…

...they think KILLING is quite OK (under certain circumstances in the name of Allah) just so long as it isn’t one Muslim killing another;

...they think LYING is justified, not between Muslims, but OK to mislead and lie to non-Muslims about anything, including what Islam commands them to do; (eg it’s OK to PRETEND to be friends with non-Muslims while figuring some way to either convert them to Islam or, failing that, to either collect the “poll tax” or, preferably, “kill the infidels.”) Comforting to know that any Muslim friends you might have are under instructions from their religion to just play along with you until the opportune moment arises for “action.”

...they (devout male followers of the Koran) don’t seem to have any qualms about “bedding” female children… Muhammad apparently married one child when she was age 6, but refrained from penetrating her until she was 9. Now, perhaps not many Muslims actually practise this these days, but the point is THE RULE IS STILL ON THE BOOKS THAT THIS IS OK WITH ALLAH.

...they (males) still consider women as chattel to do with as they please. Divorce is a simple matter. He says “I divorce you.” And that’s that. Another wrinkle I think is a hoot… 1-3 day “trial” marriages are available on a moment’s notice… very handy when he wants to do the horizontal samba tonight but be single again in the morning! Sure gets neatly around the prohibition of that “no sex until marriage” speed bump, eh?

There’s just too many incompatibilies between the Islamic and Judeo/Christian philosophies and cultures for there ever to be an entirely trusting and peaceful coexistence.

What Muslims do to and between themselves according to their religion is THEIR BUSINESS. But when they make it their business to interfere with MY way of life, it now becomes MY BUSINESS.

Until a few things get revised in Islam I think any non-Muslim is a complete FOOL to think that religions are all pretty much benign, “feel good” associations amongst like-minded souls, and there’s no threat from any of them. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

Only Islam teaches followers that ALL non-believers are infidels and that, under certain circumstances, it’s justified to KILL… not only “justified” but anyone who GETS killed while killing in the name of Allah, gets a direct pass to PARADISE with an unlimited number of VIRGINS available to him (I don’t know what awaits Muslim females who kill). It’s enough to keep one awake at night!

(I’m no scholar of Islam… so if I’ve made any errors here, please correct me. My source is Robert Spencers’s book, “A Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Regenery Publications, Aug 2005)

Just to keep on topic… I would advise ANY non-Muslim, whether private individual or government official, to become familiar with Islamic teachings and rules and regulations NOW. Insulting a devout Muslim is a very easy thing to do… their entire lives revolve around serving Allah and Islam and Muhammad… and “joking” about any of it is simply not tolerated. As you’ve seen on TV beheading infidels is still COMMON PRACTISE, and if you’re not a Muslim, you’re an infidel.

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By GuitarsandMore, February 23, 2006 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, the West seems to be very good at one thing at least, we have a knack for infuriating the Islamic people without even trying.  Take the cartoons, for example, who knew that poking fun at their religion would result in the East rioting in the street with violent protests?  So that being the case, what else don’t we know about the Islamic culture?  I would suspect plenty.  Without passing any value judgements on anyone I think it is safe to say that the Middle East and the West are very different cultures.

One possible scenario is that we give them the ports and then someone says something that infuriates the Islamic people again and they declare another holy war on us.  Only this time they are within striking distance and they decide not to control their tempers.  They already have our ports and can shut them down in a heart beat. Why would we want to be so vulnerable?  I can think of no good reason.  Why would we want to bring the conflicts home to our own backyard?

I say let the drama be played out in the Middle East.

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By SK, February 23, 2006 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Similar arguments have been made in other industries: “we cannot allow telecommunications to be foreign-owned”, “we cannot allow semiconductor industry to be foreign owned”, etc. In reality, the country of registration of a company that owns a port (or a phone company, or a micro-chip plant) has little to do with national security. I bet what is going on is that non-middle-Eastern bidders for the ports are trying to get away with a lower bid by using political influence on the administration.

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By qat, February 23, 2006 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://thinkprogress.org/2006/02/20/uae-military-equipment/
“A major part of the story, however, has been mostly overlooked. The company, Dubai Ports World, would also control the movement of military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through two other ports.”
I don’t know about you but I surely don’t want our military’s supplies and weapons being controlled by a mid-eastern interest, let alone one of their GOVERNMENTS!!!!!!
Something about our own security comes to mind, dear!

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By R. A. Earl, February 23, 2006 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pardon my naivete, but why doesn’t the USA just manage its own ports?

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By Allison Stewart, February 23, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!!!!

The UAE port deal is WRONG and EVERY AMERICAN - DEMOCRAT-REPUBLICAN-MAN-WOMAN-WHITE-BLACK-RICH-POOR-SMART-STUPID should all agree!

This deal should have been shrugged off - not signed off by President Bush and his oil hungry administration.

SCARY SCARY SCARY times my friends -

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