Monday, February 27, 2006
The UAE Ports Debate Continues
...and I'm content, for the moment, to continue to sit on the sidelines. People far better informed than me have weighed in on both sides of the issue, leading me to continue to think that there's more than meets the eye here.
I'll say this, though. At least this whole imbroglio has had one positive result for the country -- it's caused the Democrats to finally get serious about national security. After months -- no, make that years -- of denying that we even were at war, or that we should be at war, or that we should act as though we're at war, prominent Democrats are attacking the President from the right, on the issue of national security.
Welcome aboard, folks. I hope you stay awhile; this war won't be over for some time.
UPDATE: A number of servicemen and servicewomen have spoken up about their own experiences in the UAE (in Dubai specifically). Smash has weighed in, on the subject of enjoying cold beer and hot barbecued pork ribs while in port. I've seen other reports of servicemen enjoying Corona beer in Dubai -- bottled in Israel, with most of the label still printed in Hebrew!
As I said, I think there's more here than meets the eye. It's still possible that President Bush and his administration, in a display of unprecedented political tone-deafness, simply didn't see the problem with rubber-stamping a deal that would benefit a putative ally such as the UAE. But I don't believe it. Nor do I think that he'd threaten, more than once, to use his first-ever Presidential veto without a damn good reason. (Would he do so because he stands to benefit, personally, from the deal? Oh, please. He left Iraq's oil alone, but can't resist this? I don't buy that either.)
There's still a piece or two missing from the puzzle. We could be seeing the unfolding of Bush's most ambitious rope-a-dope campaign yet; he certainly has been known to give his opponents a little ammunition, just so that he can watch them shoot themselves in the foot with it.
(He's also made serious miscalculations; remember Harriet Miers? But please note also that he did wind up with two new conservative Supreme Court justices, including a Chief Justice, which is what he wanted. Did he get that in the face of the Miers debacle, or because of it? You'll have to ask him.)