March 01, 2006
Blankley Feels Slighted
Tony Blankley is peeved people like me took him to task for his seemingly knee-jerk opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal:
In the last few days, several free market and other conservative commentators -- along with various U.S. governmental spokesmen -- have taken to labeling those of us with reservations concerning the Dubai Ports World (DPW) deal as nativist, racist or Islamophobic. With 70 percent of the public in opposition to the port deal, this is as searing a criticism of American tolerance as ever has been hurled from America's cultural or political opponents over the years. No Soviet propagandist or third-world revolutionary has more stingingly libeled the American people.
I'm now a "commerce is king" libeler who doesn't give a damn about national security. All I wanted was some substansive information as to why DPW shouldn't be running six U.S. ports. I expected more from commentators and webloggers who are normally smarter than that. The best I've found against DPW is that the United Arab Emirates still upholds the Arab boycott of Israel, (Though I wonder how much it's ignored practically.) and that's not a national security issue as one dealing with the United States' relationship with Israel.
As for that 70% of public opinion, I've noticed the weaker one's argument the more likely they turn to public opinion. Public opinion in and of itself means nothing. That a large number of the American people have concerns about DPW doesn't mean the company is a national security threat.
Blankley goes on:
Particularly galling was the air of supposed Olympian understanding projected by these name callers -- columnists, spokesmen, cable hosts, etc. In fact, most of them had never previously demonstrated any familiarity with port security issues. Indeed the government spokesmen seemed to be speaking almost phonetically off the talking point pieces of paper they had been handed before stepping in front of the camera.
When DPW opponents scream about a national security threat and the most they can offer is Sep. 11 terrorist money went through United Arab Emirates banks we become quite skeptical of the screamers.
Blankley himself only informs us that a port management company works "with the Coast Guard, Customs and local law enforcement in trying to secure the full import process (which starts at foreign ports and continues on board ship, through the terminal and includes local law enforcement -- with management an active agent of that strived-for seamless process)." We'll have to buy his book to get the details.
One should also be concerned about Islamophobia since the only conservatives who chastised Ann Coulter for calling Muslims "ragheads" were webloggers. I haven't read Blankley condemning Coulter for her hateful, misguided words.
Near the end Blankley writes,
It is in the highest interest of free international trade -- as well as national security-- that the ports be made as secure as possible. And to that end, the ownership of port management firms is only a small part of the reforms and improvements that are so vitally needed.
On this we agree, but that means offering evidence not knee-jerk "Arabs are bad" thinking.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is peeved too.del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | Spurl | Yahoo MyWeb