Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Conversation Piece

(An imaginary conversation with President Bush)

Bush, to a conference of the National Newspaper Association March 10, 2006:

"Dubai services more of our military, military ships, than any country in the world."

Us: We're glad you brought that up! We have a few bones to pick about that, too.

Don't get us wrong. We're totally on board with the idea that Ed's Shop & Tank, conveniently located on a street corner near us, is too small and not so conveniently located to the overseas ports where our military ships need to be refueled & restocked and that, until the inevitable launch of a Wal-Mart one-stop-Naval-shopping flotilla capable of servicing, refueling and restocking entire fleets, we have no choice but to rely on companies located in the areas our ships are making port.

We don't like that a foreign government, friend, foe or neutral is privy to so much sensitive information about our Naval fleet. We don't like that U.A.E.'s purchase of Inchcape Shipping Services from a private British firm was allowed to go through silently and with, as far as we can ascertain, no scrutiny, just as you'd hoped the Dubai ports deal would go through.

But, you still haven't figured out what it is that we don't like about the Dubai ports deal, have you?

  • We don't like that our national security is being treated like a mundane commodity to be traded on the international market. We don't see our national security as a head of hog or a bushel of corn and we're deeply concerned that you do seem to see it that way.
  • We don't like that you whipped our nation into a years-long "America First, terrorists lurking in every shadow, don't trust any country that isn't a democracy -- especially if it's in the middle east, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11!" frenzy only to turn around and pay a foreign, middle eastern government that isn't a democracy and was home to two of the 9/11 hijackers to take over such an important part of our national security AND to take any jobs that go along with providing that security.
  • We don't like that supporting the U.A.E., instead of supporting the U.S.A. is the one and only thing you've been willing to buck Congress over, in the entirety of your Presidency.

Bush: "I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East,"

Us: We'd love to believe that, we really would. But that's not the tune you were humming about broader messages sent to our friends and allies around the world when you took us to war in Iraq. You told us, then, that what our allies think about us isn't as important to you as our interests and security. We believed you meant that. We still believe you meant that. So, we suspect that what you're really concerned about is that the trade talks that were supposed to take place between the U.S. and the U.A.E., this week, have been postponed in the wake of the Dubai ports deal collapse.

Now, let's see, what tradeable commodity was likely to be discussed at these talks? Was it our national security? No, those talks are what got these talks postponed. Was it the export of goods manufactured in the good old U.S. of A? Couldn't be that -- we've already exported our manufacturing industry. It was oil, wasn't it, Mr. Bush? The "drug" you made such a point of telling us we're addicted to (and you were right -- we are.) You're worried that our strong, patriotic, bi-partisan objections to the ceding of our national security to a foreign government might have ticked off our drug dealer, aren't you? If that's what is really behind this, you can give it to us straight -- we're a strong people, we can take it. Give us a chance.

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