Democrats and Republicans both know how to appeal
to the great mass of ignorant Americans. Bigotry is always a winner
for politicians. It keeps them from having to do their jobs, and
aids in covering their wrong doing.
The group that it is now most acceptable to hate and
fear are Arabs. All Arabs have been depicted as terrorists, and
the word terrorist is now exclusively connected with Arabs. It therefore
follows that no Middle Easterner should have anything to do with
security at an American seaport.
When right wing icon Ann Coulter uses terms like "raghead"
at conservative gatherings, she gets applause. Of course this demonization
presents a problem when the powerful are cutting deals with wealthy,
well connected "ragheads."
No one actually admits to anti-Arab bigotry. Ever
since the announcement that the former British Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company would be taken over by Dubai Ports World,
a business run by the United Arab Emirates, howls of outrage have
been nearly unanimous and unanimously phony.
politics being what it is, very few are upset for the right reason.
Does it really matter that major American ports are now protected
by an Arab country? We are told that the UAE is a terrorist haven,
that some of the 9/11 hijackers spent time there and that it is
al-Qaeda’s banking address. The arguments are unconvincing. Some
of the hijackers spent time in Germany. Has the United States stopped
doing deals with Germany? If al-Qaeda cash came through Dubai
that is because it is an international center of money laundering
and war profiteering. If anything Dubai is right up Bush’s alley.
Are any of the Democrats pointing fingers at Bush
really concerned about the cronyism and the business as usual corruption
that proceeded the port deal? Treasury Secretary John Snow was formerly
the CEO of the railroad company, CSX. After Snow left CSX for Washington,
the company sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports
World for more than a billion dollars. Yet another extraordinarily
profitable coincidence for the Bush team.
Like every other mover and shaker on the hot seat,
Snow now claims complete ignorance about the deal that made him
and his friends a fortune. "I learned of this transaction probably
the same way members of the Senate did, by reading about it in the
newspapers," said Snow.
The White House had no qualms about using the Snow
method. When the heat became unbearable for them they said the president
knew nothing about the port security deal. The reaction was inevitable.
Bush got away with being labeled a moron and in the process got
away with corruption and criminality, again.
While Governors and Senators file suit to make America
safe from Dubai, they say nothing about the corruption that has
stolen American tax dollars for Halliburton and Bechtel to pretend
to rebuild Iraq and New Orleans. Little has been said about the
corruption from Dubai that proceeded the port deal.
It seems the United Arab Emirates are very, very generous
indeed. On September 21, 2005 the UAE gave the United States government
$100 milllion to aid in hurricane Katrina recovery. The State Department
claims that two thirds of the donation was sent to FEMA to aid 100,000
families and the remainder was given to the Education Department
to rebuild schools.
A few weeks later, Dubai Ports World approached U.S.
officials about buying London Peninsular. A State
Department spokesman tried to assure the skeptical amongst us.
"There was no connection between the two events." We are
told to believe that the UAE gave the feds $100 million and within
three weeks requests purchase of the port security firm, yet the
two events are not related.
The blatant bribery could be justifiable if it actually
meant something. Why are hurricane Katrina evacuees still living
in hotels if millions of dollars were donated to assist them? Are
schools in New Orleans being rebuilt in secret or is $100 million
lying around somewhere unspent?
Obviously neither scenario has taken place. No one
is helping the exiled people of New Orleans and the cash is long
gone. Port security has changed hands because of bribery and the
president and his cabinet all claim to know nothing. This deal seems
to have magically made itself a reality.
While Democrats express phony outrage about port security,
Osama bin Laden issues warning after warning. He says he won’t be
taken alive and he continues to demand that the U.S. get out of
Iraq and Afghanistan. While politicians fight for air time to denounce
the port deal, al-Qaeda is in all likelihood making good on bin
Laden’s threat to conduct another attack on American soil. History
will probably show that port security hysteria wasted precious time
that could have been used to save lives.
If the next attack is anything like 9/11 there will
be no investigation in Congress, no investigative journalism. Bush
will get credit for being strong on defense when terrorism happens
on his watch. His buddies from Dubai or Dallas will be sitting pretty
and he can smirk and relax as he watches another Republican inaugural
in January 2009. Democrats will look on and take solace that they
spoke up when Arabs became cronies too.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears
weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is
a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached via
e-Mail at [email protected].
You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at freedomrider.blogspot.com.