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 Day 19

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Who's the Dummy?

Bush’s Port Deal

by MEG BANNERJI

Bush’s efforts to allow a United Arab Emirates firm to run U.S. ports serves two larger purposes. First of all, it helps his friends. Two members of Bush’s administration have dealings with both the companies that recently merged into DP World, the Arab-owned port authority we’ve been hearing so much about.

DP World, by the way, is only a year old, the result of a Bush-fostered merger that made it the world’s sixth largest port operator. Sound farfetched? Not at all. David Sanborn, whom Bush named head of U.S. Maritime Administration less than a month ago, runs DP World’s European and Latin American operations. And in January of last year, DP World acquired an international terminal business known as CSX, a company chaired by John Snow, who resigned just in time to become Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury and head a federal panel that helped seal the merger.

What about the wisdom of having a company owned by a nation with ties to 9/11 hijackers in charge of U.S. ports? Does that seem smart? The UAE is an enthusiastic host to the pro-Bin Laden TV station Al-Arabyia, which regards the Taliban as the proper government of Afghanistan. What about entrusting the UAE with the most vulnerable aspect of our port security, namely the loading, shipping, discharging and terminalizing of containers? Is that smart? Is he not aware of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations regarding port security?

Yes, he’s aware, but he’s more aware of the great American tragedy that secured his second term as president. We might not remember how many times 9/11 was invoked at the 2004 Republican Convention, but you can bet he does. After all, without 9/11, Bush could never have secured the oil supply of Iraq and the pipelines of Afghanistan for his friends. They were counting on him to deliver the goods, and that he did, not only by convincing Americans to die-for-oil, but by doing what he’s doing this very minute, which is offering America’s ports as a profitable plum to his consolidation-hungry cronies.

So who’s the dummy? Not Bush, because even the down-side of the port deal looks good from where he’s sitting. The inevitable bad port security makes another 9/11 quite likely, and if that happened, he could invade Iran, further quell dissent in this country, and secure a Republican regime in America 2008. People always support the Prez during wartime. Of course, if there’s another 9/11, people will die. But today, Americans are already dying by the dozens in Iraq and Afghanistan, and everyone except Cindy Sheehan just yawns. Looks like he’s getting away with his wars scott free.

So, yes, Bush is being VERY smart. We’re the dummies.

MEG BANNERJI can be reached at: meg_bannerji@yahoo.co.in