I’ve been struggling with what to think about the whole Dubai Ports World deal. On the one hand, I do think there is probably not a substantial change in our security risk as a result of this change of management. But that’s only because port security couldn’t get much worse than it already is. On the other hand, it seems damn peculiar that we’d hand over any such operations to a company owned by a country with stronger and more tangible ties to 9/11 than the one we choose to invade. But then the UAE and the Saudis’ have been our pals for a long time regardless of all the money they also pump (indirectly) into terrorist groups. As a minimum, this is yet another situation where we are really funding both sides of the war we are currently fighting. But relative to direct oil dollars, this is a drop in the bucket.
But much like the Cheney shooting, the administration’s handling of the event is more suspicious than the event itself. Bush admitted he was completely unaware of the deal prior to it surfacing in the news. And then he turns around and promises to veto any legislation designed to stop it. Why? Why is something he claims to not have a personal awareness of, much less interest in, suddenly something he’s willing to go to the wall over? Is there really a web of secret deals here that this is a part of? Or is this simply a control issue and Bush can’t bear the notion that Congress should actually have a say in the matter?
Is the press making too much of this? Maybe. But again, I think the press and the public are reacting to how it’s being handled. If the president had said that he was unaware of the deal, but was going to investigate, I think that would have been received much differently. It’s all about disclosure. If it looks like you’re hiding something, it’s only natural to suspect you’re up to no good. And it sure looks like someone is up to something here.