George Bush's Secret Weapon
George Bush has a secret weapon. No, I’m not talking about Dick Cheney or Karl Rove – they may indeed be human WMDs, but they’re some of the few tricks the Bush administration hasn’t tried to keep secret. No, what I’m talking about is the fact that we continue to underestimate him. Mr. Bush may appear to be the stupidest man ever elected president, but he’s clever enough to use this perception to his advantage. It’s particularly useful when Bush wants to distract Congress and the American people from what's actually happening to our country.
The recent tussle over the Dubai ports deal is a great example. No doubt port security is a disaster in this country. Few containers are inspected, review of documentation is poor, and there is no plan to improve this situation. However, there is no real reason to suspect that security would have been impacted negatively under DP World’s management. The same agencies would still be responsible for security and DP World would be under the scrutiny that all port management companies face (which, of course, is too little.)
The United Arab Emirates is a ridiculously wealthy nation with billions of dollars invested in the US economy. Their interest in owning ports is financial, not ideological. In fact, one could argue that because they would be operating under a microscope, DP World would be more likely to enforce security measures than the current port operators. They want to protect their profit.
The need some feel to limit investments because the UAE is an Arab nation is motivated not by facts, but by the same fear mongering that controls our foreign policy, prevents effective immigration reform, and allows the administration to destroy cilvil liberties and ignore the Constitution. George Bush, master of distraction. [I’ve heard he can magically pull quarters out of Dick Cheney’s ear and fold balloon animals too.]
While Congress, the media, and Americans at their dinner tables were worrying about the frightening prospect of “the evil Arabs” taking over our ports, the real issues of security have been ignored (we've also forgotten about Jack Abramoff and the guy that Cheney shot in the head.) Now that DP World has pulled out of the deal, life will move on and everyone will forget about port security again. Hooray, we think we’re safe again.
So, why don’t the Democrats in Congress see through Bush’s trickery and slight-of-hand? Perhaps some really can’t figure it out, which would mean they are even dimmer than Bush. Because that thought will keep me up at night, hopefully there’s another reason.
Ah, yes, Democrats are desperately afraid of appearing weak on national security, so they grasp at straws like the DP Ports deal to create the illusion of being tough on terrorism. It’s the same reason so many Democrats voted in favor horrific legislation like the original and new-and-un-improved-Patriot-Act. It’s even more frightening when you consider that this same fear of appearing soft on terrorism caused John Kerry and others to vote in favor of a war to which they were clearly opposed. Let's get a backbone, folks.
Wait a minute, this second argument isn’t going to make me sleep any better at night either. Perhaps the only solution is a revolution within the Democratic Party, and enough Ambien to sleep until 2008.
My, that’s one big powerful weapon you have Mr. Bush.