Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Even when the Bushniks slip up, they wind up winning—in this case by diverting attention from the actual screw-up(s)


Probably it's just me, but when an issue gets the kind of public attention that the Dubai-owned company's port-administration contract is suddenly getting, I tend to suspect that it must be a fake issue. After all, it's hardly ever possible to whip up such frothing over real issues.

The bogosity meter ought in particular to be reading off the dial when we find ourselves listening to Reagan hacks like Frank Gaffney Jr.

"How would you feel," intones Mr. Gaffney, "if in the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government had decided to contract out airport security to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country where most of the operational planning and financing of the attacks occurred?"

From what I understand—and Matt Brzezinski, who actually does know about national security issues, confirmed this to Rachel Maddow this morning on her Air America Radio show—the chump literally doesn't know what he's talking about. Port security was and remains the responsibility of the government. That has absolutely nothing to do with the business operation of the ports, which is what the P&O contract covers.

The real issue is that the government, which has the responsibility for port security, has done essentially nothing about it. Of course nobody, and certainly none of the people flapping their gums about the P&O deal, gives a flying fuck about the real issue. So the net result will be that—surprise, surprise!—the Bushniks win again. Attention is diverted from the real scandal.

This adds another jewel to the crown of the Bush administration's near-total success in avoiding substantive discussion of any actual national-security issues since 9/11.

• To what extent are U.S. ports truly vulnerable to terrorist or other threats?

• What can we do to deal with those threats?

These questions have nothing to do with the P&O contract, so naturally the right-wing loons are only too happy to pile on the port-administration question, thereby guaranteeing that not a productive word will be uttered that might lead to discussion of the actual issues.

Meaning that there will be not the slightest pressure ever to take steps to make our ports safer. At least, not until there has been an "incident." And then the issues will likely be dealt with with the usual evasion and incompetence.

Now, I am happy to concede that there is another issue involved in the P&O contract: more Bush cronyism. There's certainly no harm talking about that. This hardly seems the most egregious instance, though, and I don't see that there's much chance of engaging the public in it if the case of "Heckuva Job" Brownie couldn't do it. I sure don't see that the right-wing loonies piling onto the crusade are at all concerned about it.

Maybe somebody can figure out how to make the cronyism issue finally stick. I don't think so. (Can you imagine what Karl Rove would do with even a whisper of an issue of Democratic cronyism?) I'd love to see it, though.


At 9:38 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Today AOL is reporting that Bush "didn't know anything" about the whole deal!! It looks like fearless leader is being backed away from this catastrophic political blunder. (AOL also has a poll attached and last time I looked 95% of respondants opposed Buh's plans for selling off the ports to his pals in the Dubai monarchy.)

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this a gift from this administration to the GOPers running for office? It will go through, but it will make them look tough on terrorism by questioning it?

I don't know. I get cynical after repeated instances of "narrowly escaped" accountability.

The other thing that occurred to me is that maybe the staff and appointees are out of control since no one is in charge?

Whatever else, is going on here, this is an uncharacteristic rift. Enough so that it causes me to be very suspicious.


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