Shame on Congress

I have my differences with President Bush, but there is one issue about which we agree: UAE. Congress’ unwillingness to accept a United Arab Emirates company’s taking oversight of some U.S. ports brought to a close on Wednesday a visible disagreement between the President and his Republican allies on the Hill. American flags around the Capitol building should be lowered in shame.

The ruckus started about a month ago when the UAE company bested a rival to buyout London-based P&O, which had a contract for six U.S. ports. The UEA company, Dubai Ports World, will walk away from the U.S. ports deal, following a stunning 62-2 House Appropriations Committee blocking vote. Democrats, lead by Sen. Hillary Clinton, had made big noise against the deal—and she’s supposed to be a presidential candidate in 2008

Earlier today, restating a position taken soon after the Dubai-Bristish company merger announcement, the President said: “In order to win the war on terror, we’ve got to strengthen our relationships and friendships with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East”, according to CNN.

More troublesome is the message sent overseas, and it’s one that extremists could exploit: That America sees all Arabs or all people from the Middle East as enemies. I call it presuming guilt by association. It’s bad form on the part of politicians.

C`mon, this president is so gung-ho, get-the-terrorists, he signed a secret order for spying on Americans and has secret courts imprisoning people. If there was any risk here, he would be first to say so. The President rightly recognizes the greater danger is doing exactly what Congress has done: Rally against DP World oversight of some U.S. ports.

The vote stinks of politicking, of politicians doing what they are best known for: Looking out for their interests first. It’s unfair to generalize about all politicians, but there is little need to look further than the 62 voting against the deal. I’m not being cynical. It’s election year 2006, and the campaign already is on. This ill-fated vote is just the start of more shenanigans to come.

My question for so-called liberals supporting Sen. Clinton and other opponents of the DP World deal: Aren’t you philosophically opposed to racism? Then why vote for politicians that support racism?