Wednesday, February 22, 2006

# Posted 8:20 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BUSH RIGHT. BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS WRONG. WEIRD, HUH? We're talking here about the President's decision to let a state-owned company from the United Arab Emirates manage some of America's largest ports. Both Republicans and Democrats, pols and bloggers have decided to bash the administration for its supposedly stupid decision.

To their credit, some of the only ones who got this story right were brand-name MSM journalists. Without hesitation, the WaPo editorial board denounced all of the false accusations that the administratio had decided to "outsource" homeland security.

The bottom line is that the Coast Guard is still responsible for security. In addition, the administration thoroughly vetted the company that will take over management responsibilities. And on top of that, the UAE is one of our better allies in the war on terror and a long-time host of American military installations in the Middle East.

For a sample of the hot air being blown around on this subject, you can take a look at Chris Matthews' interviews last night with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

But what I find a lot more interesting than how wrong our elected officials were is how wrong so many bloggers got this story, a point made very effectively by Jim Geraghty of NRO, who slams Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, Kos and others.

But now Glenn admits he was wrong and has decided, along with Geraghty, to blame "Big Media" for starting all of the confusion. First of all, Glenn deserves credit for keeping an open-mind, which he has done on numerous issues. But I think it's hard to pin this one on the media. After all, it is not as if Glenn and Michelle usually believe what they read in the NYT.

Speaker of which, a NYT editorial this morning declared the port sale to be unsound on the grounds that the UAE's "record in the war on terror is mixed." No evidence on that point is presented, nor does the Times address the WaPo's main point that the US will still have ultimate authority over security issues.

But at least the NYT editorial is clearly labeled as opinion. In contrast, the Times' front-page story on the sale editorialized below the fold that:
Dubai's record is hardly unblemished. Two of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks came from the United Arab Emirates and laundered some of their money through its banking system.
Well, the UK's record isn't "unblemished" either, given its citizens' record of bombing the Underground and joining the Taliban, but everyone knows that Parliament had nothing to do with that.

Not that the Times can be expected to understand such a nuanced point. An article posted today on its website (and presumably in tomorrow's paper) once again editorializes that
Dubai's record is hardly unblemished. Two of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks came from the United Arab Emirates and laundered some of their money through its banking system.
Can't the Times at least come up with a new adjective? How about 'flawless'? Or 'unmarred'? Or 'unsullied', 'untarnished', 'spotless' or 'immaculate'? I demand variety in my reckless journalism!
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Dan Drezner has an excellent post on this.

My view of the bipartisan nature of the overreaction: when the stupid party and the evil party agree, we usually get something that is stupid and evil.
David: Thanks for the solid roundup.

Jim: Love that aphorism. Mind if I use it? (Who am I kidding? Of course I'll use it. I may even take credit.)
Why aren't you and other people worried that a member of an Al Queida cell in the US who has been in the US for a long time under cover (or many members!) who happens to be a (distant )relative of somebody in the management of the Dubai Port Authority (who doesn't know he is a jihadist) use his connections to get a job at the port which would give him an opportunity to plant explosives in shipping containers. We know in the real world many people takes advantage of family connections to get jobs. Are you confident that current security will find all those guys?
ignatius - of course, use it...I'm pretty sure I stole it from a friend...and who knows where he got it.
If the Al Queda cell is already in the US, how does the presence of the Dubai Port Authority provide any additional assistance to Al Queda? Remember, the Dubai Port Authority's job is to unload cargo in the US. If the bomb is already here, the Port Authority adds nothing to the equation.
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