Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Port Deal

Republicans and democrats alike are in an uproar over the acquisition of some big city ports by Dubai Ports World which is owned by the United Arab Emirates. In fact, it seems that the only people in favor of this transaction are President Bush and some in his administration.

The uproar of course is entirely understandable. It just does not sound good when you hear we are letting a Middle Eastern country takeover several of our ports of entry. It does not matter that it is the UAE who has been an ally in the War on Terror. Opponents were quick to point out that the UAE's lax security allowed the 9/11 conspirators to use their banking systems to help fund the attacks.

Republican and democrat lawmakers have finally found common ground. The Republicans who have been preaching about being vigilant with national security had the same "what were you thinking?" reaction that citizens had when they heard the news. The democrats perceiving a crack in the republican monopoly on national security are seizing this opportunity to show that they are concerned about the issue. In reality neither side, including the President apparently, knew a whole lot about the situation before it was made public. Due to the political atmosphere of this election year and because no matter how you say it this deal just sounds bad, both parties have felt compelled to voice strong objections.

Officials in Bush's Administration are without a doubt to blame for this public relations fiasco. Whoever it was that decided this issue was not worthy of Presidential review before it was finalized should be fired, immediately. How could this person and others involved in this not forsee what the public reaction would be without all of the facts presented? Without a doubt there was a quick knee jerk reaction from both sides of aisle when this was made public but how could you blame them. Not trying to beat a dead horse but take a minute and say it in your head, the United Arab Emirates is taking over several major U.S. ports of entry. Sounds absolutely insane doesn't it?

In accordance with Newton's laws of action and reaction, Middle Eastern and American Arabs are now upset at what they see as racism. This point of view is also somewhat understandable. Although, until all of these countries do more to reign in their radical elements this type of xenophobia will continue.

We have learned a lot since the port deal was initially made public. The most important fact is that Americans will still be in charge of security at the ports. There are also other ports that are run by companies owned by foreign countries most notably one owned by China. There is also the fact that the UAE has been a cooperating ally in the War on Terror. On one hand we tell them that if they do not join us in the War then they are our enemy and on the other we show them that even if they join us they are still looked at with suspicion of being an enemy. So what is the reward for cooperating with the U.S.?

This has certainly blossomed into a major political debate that is not good for the President and consequently is not good for republicans. It is also not good for relations with Middle Eastern countries that we have desperately been trying to strengthen friendly ties with. After learning that we would still be in charge of security and that the UAE has stated that they will adhere to whatever security requirements made by us I am not as worried as I was in the beginning. However, I agree with Sen. Bill Frist this deal should be put on hold for more extensive review. I also hope that this will lead us to encouraging United States owned companies to retake ownership of all of our ports. Besides, in reality if Jimmy Carter is for this deal just how good could it possibly be?

Political Hack of the Week

Just getting back in the swing of things after an involuntary layoff from blogging. Right out of the gate with this week's Political Hack is none other than that man that just refuses to go away, Jimmy Carter. Even though nobody really takes him seriously anymore he refuses to fade away into obscurity.

Carter wins this award for his inexplicable defense of the terrorist group Hamas that recently dominated the Palestinian elections. Recently in an opinion piece he argued that the United States and Israel should not punish the Palestinian people for democratically electing Hamas. He stands by this position even though Hamas is a notorious terrorist organization that refuses to moderate their position in regards to the destruction of Israel.

Carter's position is that funding Hamas in good faith will go further towards convincing them to moderate than cutting off funding. Yeah, right. Once again a liberal refuses to see the reality of the situation. Funding the Palestinians while Hamas is in control is absolutely insane.

It is great that the Palestinians had what appears to be a free and fair democratic election. The right to vote for whomever one desires is a great power and with great power comes great responsibility. The Palestinians have, and should have the right to elect whomever they desire but they must now face the consequences of their choice. In the end it is Hamas' refusal to moderate that will punish the Palestinians not the refusal of the international community to provide funding to a group of terrorists.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quote of the Week

"It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."

Sir Winston Churchill

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Posting Frequency

As is the case from time to time other work related priorities have taken over and have limited my ability to post as often as I would like. Until I figure out a way to get paid for blogging, this will happen every now and then. To my regular readers have no fear better days are on the horizon. Hopefully, very soon Political Hack of the Week will be back along with all of the other usual amateur punditry. Have patience and continue to check back for updated posts.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Quote of the Week

“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.”

General George S. Patton

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Islamic Tolerance

When given the chance Muslims all over the Middle East continue to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, love, and tolerance.

Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam's revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on Saturday — the most violent in days of furious protests by Muslims in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. Protesters smashed the windows of the German cultural center and threw stones at the European Commission building, police said.

Iraqis rallying by the hundreds demanded an apology from the European Union, and the leader of the Palestinian group Hamas called the cartoons "an unforgivable insult" that merited punishment by death.

Pakistan summoned the envoys of nine Western countries in protest, and even Europeans took to the streets in Denmark and Britain to voice their anger.

At the heart of the protest: 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first published in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted in European media in the past week. One depicted the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. The paper said it had asked cartoonists to draw the pictures because the media was practicing self-censorship when it came to Muslim issues.

The drawings have touched a raw nerve in part because Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

I for one, am glad to see that this newspaper decided to abandon the current politically correct modus operandi as it concerns Muslims and the religion of Islam. I do not however, necessarily agree with the way in which they went about abandoning their "self-imposed censorship". I would be very much offended if the tables were turned and the cartoon was depicting a negative view of my religion. Be that as it may, the fact that this paper published this cartoon as well as the defense of the freedom of press by most European leaders in the midst of this outrage is encouraging. Hopefully these events are a signal that Europeans are starting to see the light as it relates to Islamic fundamentalism.

At the very least it once again puts Islamic fundamentalism into the global spotlight. This was an opportunity for Muslims everywhere to peacefully denounce this offensive depiction and try to change the world view of the violent nature of the religion but instead they chose to perpetuate that view by threatening violence, kidnappings, and by burning embassies.

The Muslim world needs to come to the realization that non-Muslims are not bound by Islamic Law. With the exception of those weak few that seek appeasement, we will not surrender to or become prisoners of their Islamic fundamentalism. Non-Muslim countries should become united in the quest to impress upon the Muslim world that they can either become tolerant of others or suffer serious consequences.