Dubai Ports World Vote

I have to say the vote to scuttle the DP World Port deal is rather disappointing. The Republicans seem bound and determined to get rid of every ally the U.S. has. Michelle Malkin, as usual, quotes things that don’t apply just to DP World, but then uses them as justification for scuttling the DP World deal. While I’ve been reluctant to give credence to the claims that Malkin is a racist, things like this only make it harder.

– “Huge quantities of cargo move through our ports every day, much of it of uncertain character and provenance, nearly all of it inadequately monitored. Matters can only be made worse if port management personnel include one or more individuals who might conspire to bring in dangerous containers, or simply look the other way when they arrive.”–Frank Gaffney’s testimony.

This applies to any and all companies, foreign and domestic that run our ports. Why isn’t there any legislation to get rid of Cosco running a terminal in Long Beach and Oakland? Why is APL, a company owned by the government of Singapore and a region that is home to Jemaah Islamiyah–i.e. the company could very easily be infiltrated by an al Qaeda affiliate, still allowed to operate terminals? Since there is little or no outrage over these things, the conclusion that DP World is an Arab company owned by and Arab government is the primary reason for the outrage. This is the very definition of bigotry.

House Republicans continue to get overwhelmingly negative feedback from their constituents about the deal. The message is clear: Bush is blowing it. Will all the brilliant GOP political strategists–the ones who are always telling us the American people know best and that the Republican Party is most in tune with ordinary citizens–now reprimand House GOP members for taking the electorate’s pulse and reacting to bona fide national security concerns?

This kind of thinking I find particularly repugnant. Not only is it a form of logical fallacy (argument by popularity) it can be used to justify quite a few disgusting policies. For example, many people during WWII felt that running concentration camps for U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestory was just fine (as does Michelle Malkin) and now most people look back on that episode as a dark stain on the country’s reputation. In short, what Michelle Malkin is saying is that politicians should not have principles and should be ruled solely by public opinion…funny I thought she found that kind of thing bad when Clinton did it.

And where the heck were these Congressmen (especially the Republicans), Michelle Malkin, et. al. when in 2002 $2.145 billion in military equipment was sold to the U.A.E.? This equipment included,

  • Five refurbished E-2C Hawkeye 2000 early-warning aircraft with radars.
  • Upgrade of 30 AH-64A Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64D version.
  • 32 AN/APG-78 AH-64D Longbow Fire Control Radars,
  • 32 spare engines,
  • 32 night vision sensors,
  • 240 AGM-114L3 Hellfire missiles,
  • 49 AGM-114M3 Hellfire blast fragmentation anti-armor missiles,
  • 90 299 Hellfire missile launchers.
  • 237 Sea Sparrow ship-to-air missiles.

If letting DP World run some terminals is the same as flinging open our ports to terrorist, isn’t the above arms sale the same as arming these terrorist? Note this is all post 9/11 and all of this was under the watch of Republicans.

And in 2005 the U.S. allowed a deal from 2000 where the U.A.E. took possession of 80 F-16s.

Just one year after Israel, the United Arab Emirates this week took delivery of the most advanced F-16 ever produced. The first batch of US-built 80 F-16 “Block 60” fighters landed at an official, but quiet ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

Neither the US nor the UAE announced the delivery. But reports from AFP as well as the UAE’s Khaleej Times said the event took place on Tuesday and was attended by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan. They did not specify the number of planes received.

The UAE is paying $6.4 billion for the 80 jets, produced by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

These F-16s are more advanced than the newest Israeli F-16 I “Block 50+” and even any US F-16 model. It is one of the few weapon systems in the hands of an Arab state qualitatively superior to that in the Israeli arsenal.

Why if the U.A.E. is practically an enemy? Where was Michelle Malkin, and what where the Republicans on the Armed Services Committee doing? Why didn’t they scuttle this deal? Granted the deal was done in 2000, but hey this is a post 9/11 world now, so why not kill the deal? Why give a nation that supports terrorism such armaments that could be used against the U.S. forces in the region? And why are their pending deliveries of cruise missiles to the U.A.E.? These people are our enemies, but here are giving them weapons, right?

Update: You know, even after this issue fades from view and everybody forgets about it, nothing really will be done to enhance port security. My guess is that foreign companies (state owned and otherwise) will continue to run terminals, and things like this will not be addressed.

Update II: At lunch today I was listening to Sean Hannity. He kept going on and on about how the U.A.E. supported Hamas. Not a good thing to be sure, but then I thought, “Hey, what about all those Irish-Americans out there that sent money to the IRA?” I wonder what Sean Hannity thought about that. Maybe we shouldn’t even have an American company running our own ports.

FILED UNDER: Congress, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. NoZe says:

    You’re absolutely right…this is racist demagoguery at its worst and I’m disappointed in both the Republicans and my own Democrats in the House for engaging in it…the spirit of the “Know-Nothings” lives on! The president is right, at least on this issue!

  2. LJD says:

    Nice to know that while our conressmen botch homeland security, accept gobs of money for their pork pet projects, and alienate badly needed allies in the GWOT, their only concern seems to be posturing for an upcoming election.

  3. David C says:

    This is pretty shameful. I’m especially embarrassed to see that, while my party’s congressmen are eagerly lining up to board the demagoguery train, one of the few “voices of sanity” is the Democrat representative of my district, the generally loathsome Jim Moran.

  4. Bachbone says:

    Anyone who thinks only “the other side of the aisle” is capable of demagoguery is too easily deceived. Most members of both parties are there for just one thing: to get re-elected. Fear of not getting that rules all else. On this ports issue, Republicans are more worried about getting re-elected than supporting Bush, and Democrats are more interested in being able to bash Republicans for being “weak on security” than in the nation’s security!

    Only when they think something can be blamed totally on the other party do they go after each other fist and nail. How often have they made backroom “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” deals for pork projects? McCain and Feingold cooperated to deny criticism of themselves and their brethren. Bush could have vetoed it, but didn’t.

    Both parties smell up the country. Which stinks worse just depends which side you are on in a particular issue.

  5. Ed says:

    When it comes to the security of this country and the absolutely clear knowledge that any mid Easterner will side with a Muslim over the US playing the race card against Michele is clearly WRONG.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Really Ed? First off it isn’t racism, but the bigotry card. Muslims are (at least the Middle Eastern ones) are white.

    Here is an idea. Using Ed LogicTM lets deport all people of Filipino ancestory. After all, any Filipino will side with Filipinos. And since there are Muslim Filipinos no Filipino can be trusted. So buh-bye Michelle Malkin and her little kids too. See how “fun” it is to use this kind of horrendous logic.

  7. Herb says:


    Give me a website where I can see who voted against this deal in the House App. Comm.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Herb according to this story at CNN the only two to vote against the amendment were

    Rep. Jim Moran
    Rep. Jim Kolbe.

    You can find the list of the entire committee here.

  9. John Burgess says:

    I was bitterly amused to see Rep. King of NY all over the media demagoguing over the ports deal. This the the King who just couldn’t get enough of the IRA and Sinn Fein, who was all buddy-buddy with Gerry Adams. I am not aware of any action taken by him to try to limit the collection of funds for NORAID, by honest-to-god ‘mericans of Irish extraction all over his district.

    I suppose there’s some good in being reminded that Americans can, indeed, be bigots, stampeded by stump-thumpers, and/or simply not paying attention. But I’d really rather think better of my fellow citizens.

  10. floyd says:

    steve, with due respect i think you might benefit from a little skepticism aimed at BOTH sides of the aisle of federal politics. the structure alone makes it nearly impossible for any federal politician to do the right thing instead of the party thing.on this issue though; if these people are a threat to our security, then why do we let them service our naval vessels in the mid-east?

  11. Steve Verdon says:


    I am aware that both sides have their hands dirty on this one. But when the President stood up for principles and did the right thing, his party turned on him and humiliated him. In a second term that is really bad in that it could weaken him to the point where he has very little ability to get things done. The Republicans may have cut off their nose to spite their face. And while I am not a big fan of the Presidents, this strikes me as a bad move in more than one way.

  12. floyd says:

    steve; maybe we should just summons people for congress duty instead of elections, could we do worse? how about just have an honest to goodness auction[the money going to the U S treasury]? or a draft lottery? or make a rule that they can’t leave office with more than ten times the net worth of their district average. this is all tongue in cheek, but really i guess it is true that wanting the job makes you unqualified.