Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hard a'Port

Now that Cheney's hunting "accident" has fallen off the front pages, the Bush administration finds itself caught up in a new furor. It's not the Mora memo, as it really should be, but the decision to allow major seaports on the eastern seaboard and the gulf coast to be administered by Dubai Ports World, a state-run company from the United Arab Emirates. That was Arab, in case you weren't paying attention.

Here's Bush beating back his loud and bipartisan critics:
I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company.
It could be the bad shellfish I ate, but I think this feeling of vertigo might just be what it feels like to actually agree with the president. I understand that Congress feels like they weren't consulted (now you're pissed about that?), but so much of the opposition to the UAE smacks of bigotry. What kind of message does this send to the Arab world? We want to help you rid your societies of terrorism, but when it really comes down to it, we think you might all be terrorists. We'll buy your oil, though. It's particularly unpleasant to watch Congressional Democrats jumping on the anti-Arab bandwagon and waving the 9/11 flag to score political points.

It'll be interesting to see how this thing plays out. I'm a little suspicious of the administration's tenacity on this, seeing as how they don't exactly have a spotless record on the Arabs-are-our-brothers front. Bush's threat to veto a bill to block the transfer of the ports, which would be the first veto of his entire presidency, makes me wonder if there's more to this deal than meets the eye. Of course, Bush could just be standing on principle, here.

Here comes that vertigo again.
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