"What's black and white and read all over?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Posted 5:48 PM by

Any port in a political storm?

We've got a new friend in Pennsylvania and he just happens to come from an Islamic state.Feigned outrage over the sale of a series of privately-owned U.S. commercial sea ports to the United Arab Emirates seems so disingenuous that even bipartisan support for banning the sale - the first cross-party moves since 9/11 - can't stop it.

At a time when some Congressmen face increasing scrutiny from the Jack Abrahamoff case, the Hurricane Katrina disaster and countless other scandals, this must have seemed like a golden opportunity to shift the public debate away.

For instance, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who came under fire this week for getting a $500,000 loan from a campaign contributor to buy a vacation home, couldn't resist sending me an e-mail on the subject.

"I can not sit by while the safety and security we have fought so hard for is sacrificed, and right here in our state at the Port of Philadelphia," Santorum's message said. "Please join me in fighting for the safety of these critical entry ports to our nation."

There's only one catch.

Those ports were already owned by a foreign power - a British company. Their sale to "a nation that was implicated in the events of 9/11" and Santorum's "concern" smacks of racism because the potential buyers just happen to believe in Islam.

We didn't stop doing business with Saudi Arabia after 9/11 and weren't 18 of the 19 terrorists from there? Nor do we check more than 5 percent of the cargo coming into any U.S. ports for contraband, let alone weapons of mass destruction.

And isn't the UAE an ally of ours in the war on terror?

These politics of obfuscation are so blatant that in a rare act of courage, President George W. Bush has come out in favor of the sale and said he would veto any attempt to block it.

How bad do things have to get for me to actually agree with Dubya?

Besides, even if those ports remained in British control, do you really want to trust your security to a country that managed to lose a world-spanning empire in less than 50 years?
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