March 1, 2006
By Tony Blankley
In the last few days, several free market and other conservative
commentators -- along with various U.S. governmental spokesmen --
have taken to labeling those of us with reservations concerning
the Dubai Ports World (DPW) deal as nativist, racist or Islamophobic.
With 70 percent of the public in opposition to the port deal, this
is as searing a criticism of American tolerance as ever has been
hurled from America's cultural or political opponents over the years.
No Soviet propagandist or third-world revolutionary has more stingingly
libeled the American people.
this rampant Islamophobia reaches to the highest level of the
U.S. Coast Guard, which, before they apparently were bureaucratically
brought to heel in early January, asserted in then-secret documents
that "there are many intelligence gaps concerning the potential
for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations"
… [That] "the breadth of the intelligence gaps also
infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential
unknown vulnerabilities ... [including operations, personnel and
galling was the air of supposed Olympian understanding projected
by these name callers -- columnists, spokesmen, cable hosts, etc.
In fact, most of them had never previously demonstrated any familiarity
with port security issues. Indeed the government spokesmen seemed
to be speaking almost phonetically off the talking point pieces
of paper they had been handed before stepping in front of the
Not by chance,
some months ago -- well before the Dubai port issue had emerged
-- I had had extended conversations with senior executives of
an American port management company. They had explained the close
inter-working of the management team with the Coast Guard, Customs
and local law enforcement in trying to secure the full import
process (which starts at foreign ports and continues on board
ship, through the terminal and includes local law enforcement
-- with management an active agent of that strived-for seamless
that and other research I had carried out last year for my book,
I understood that merely repeating the mantra that "security
is exclusively run by the Coast Guard, Customs and Homeland Security"
-- as we heard late last week -- was somewhere between an incomplete
and a deceptive statement. But for those with a limited knowledge
of the topic and other policy axes to grind, once they were fed
the mantra, it was a short step to the nativist, Islamophobic
Islamophobia is a repulsive mentality -- suggestive of old-fashioned
hate of others. But, as Denmark's leading Islamic scholar, Jacob
Skovgaard-Petersen, explained in 2004, there is a different and
growing phobia, which he named "Islamistphobia." This
is not an atavistic hatred of another man's skin or faith or last
name, but is instead the fear of the ideas and conduct of radical
the radical ideology has reached is, of course, not accurately
knowable. But the phenomenon cannot in reason and security be
ignored. Consider the analysis of professor Maleiha Malik of King's
College London, a jurist who specializes in U.K. and E.U anti-discrimination
law -- and who is of self-described "Muslim allegiance."
at an Oxford University Symposium in 2004: "There are legitimate
security concerns, which have to be acknowledged in any reasonable
debate on the post-September 11 situation. It has to be recognized
that the state, the United States, and the European Union member
states will have to undertake heavier policing of the Muslim community
similar to the heavier policing of the Irish community during
the period of attacks by the IRA in the U.K." ("The
West's Last Chance," pages 90-91, Regnery Press, 2005, Washington,
observation by a leading British Muslim anti-discrimination scholar
is at the crux of the public concern. But for those of us who
are not Muslim to talk about this sensitive matter is to expose
ourselves to false and sometimes malicious charges by people who
are either too stupid to comprehend current reality or too cowed
by the politically correctness police to speak their minds.
those who place a premium on commerce over security, consider
this: If a terrible device is brought into this country through
a port -- any port -- port traffic will inevitably be closed down
for a while, just as air traffic was closed down after Sept. 11.
The magnitude of that economic contraction would dwarf the post-Sept.
It is in
the highest interest of free international trade -- as well as
national security-- that the ports be made as secure as possible.
And to that end, the ownership of port management firms is only
a small part of the reforms and improvements that are so vitally
port security is finally being publicly debated, it is time to
consider drastic improvements across the board.
2006 Creators Syndicate