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Call It What It Is .....Islamophobia

This whole brouhaha surrounding the Bush administration’s green-light to a United Arab Emirates company slated to manage six major U.S. ports has nothing to do with protecting homeland security. Allow me to give it its proper name: Islamophobia.

This UAE company-Dubai Ports World—is just a commercial administrator. They are not in charge of security. That responsibility remains tight in the hands of our U.S. Coast Guard and Customs Officials. Moreover, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, (a multi-agency panel which includes seasoned representatives from the departments of Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security) has looked it over and has vetted the deal.

None of the Administration’s eager critics has furnished a scintilla of evidence showing the Administration hasn't done its due diligence. Add it all up, and I think what you’ve got here is a bi-partisan pack of protectionist politicians. Throw in some xenophobic anti-Arab feeling and you get our current state of affairs.

An amusing component of this flare-up is the dovish Democrat crowd’s sudden call to arms. Aren’t many of these vocal critics the same folks who opposed the Patriot Act? The same posturing chorus who attacked Bush and opposed NSA surveillance of al Qaeda phone calls? The same folks who want immediate withdrawal from Iraq? Why this sudden about face? This is utter nonsense.

The UAE is an American ally in an unsettled Mideast—and an important ally at that. They are exactly the kind of Arab country we need in our war effort and our ongoing, critical mission in the region—not unlike our friend Jordan. (In fact, the UAE is a lot better than Egypt and Saudi Arabia.) As the WSJ pointed out today:

“Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative, which seeks to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. UAE leaders are as much an al Qaeda target as Tony Blair.”

Could Bush have done a better job in handling all of this? Sure. The President made some clear political marketing mistakes. He should have opened up the black-box of executive review and shared it with members of Congress.

But in the end, America ought to honor its word. We have a duty to keep our promise and we should treat our neighbors fairly. There is no room for prejudice or bigotry here. And so far, no one has proven that executive branch security vetting is flawed.

Make no mistake about it. What is going on right now on television news channels, newspapers and the Internet is simple. It is called Islamophobia.

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