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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reflection on the ports issue

I have to admit that I had a knee jerk reaction when I heard that a UAE company was buying the British company that was overseeing port operations (NOT security!). I read James Lileks and his concerns. And I agree with Glenn Reynolds that the real issue isn't port security that's run by at least six American agencies. The real issue is that GWB and the admin have no clue as to how the perception and politics on this project would run with the American public. GWB and others in the White House bungled this one badly. Harriet Miers writ large.
That being said, the UAE is run by moderate Arabs, Muslims. They and other moderates in the region are just as concerned about the radicals as we are. The radicals as just as likely to kill their brother Muslims as they are Europeans or Americans. That's why they're called radicals.
Plus, we've received a lot of below the radar help from the UAE and others.
As much as it pains me to phrase it this way, why would we disrupt that incredibly valuable help in the heart of the radicals base just because these people are Arabs? The security at the ports is abysmal to begin with. And the ownership by a UAE company may help as the UAE is not hampered by union idiocy and the need to be "sensitive" to workers concerns. In this case a government run by moderate Muslims may very well be a huge plus.
And the ongoing help we'll receive from other moderate Arab countries will pay huge benefits that we will probably never see.
So, I'm still going to bash Bush on his horrible mishandling of the politics on the port issue, but as cooler heads prevail...
And isn't it interesting that the lefties scream on this issue because the holding company is Arab, yet doing statistical profiling (NOT racial profiling) at airports is just wrong?
A foot on the dock, the other on the boat.


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