Bush’s backing for Arab port deal forces GOP to ally with Democrats

Tue, 02/28/2006 - 5:01pm
By: Letters to the ...

George W Bush’s approval ratings have been hovering around 40 percent, give or take a few points. That’s roughly half of what they were just after Sept. 11, 2001.

Apparently, not a lot of people think that he’s equal to the task. I have been one of the last holdouts to support him. But I may be losing my resolve.

His recent defense of the port deal — placing six major U.S. ports under the control of a UAE-owned company — has provoked a wide bipartisan move to block the deal, and has even managed to cull stiff criticism from so staunch a conservative as Cal Thomas.

Frankly, I’m with Cal. What on earth is the man thinking?

Our ports are already perhaps our greatest vulnerability, as thousands of containers arrive daily from foreign ports and receive only a modicum of inspection.

Ninety-six percent of UAE nationals are Sunni Muslim, and a great many share with the Taliban an adherence to the hardline Wahhabi sect.

To turn over control of the ports to a company, whose employees (like several of the 911 terrorists) will largely hail from the UAE is a little like turning over the officiation of our military funerals to Fred Phelps and his anti-U.S., hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church.

Dumb, George. Really dumb.

Now it seems that the Bush administration is proposing to sell off public lands to private developers in order to glean funds for a program that faces its demise given the current beleaguered budget. A national total of 300,000 national forest acres is in jeopardy, given this proposal. The Bush administration hopes to make some $800 million to make up for a current budget deficit.

There are conceivable circumstances in which the only way for a family to avoid financial ruin is to sell off, say, that heirloom rocker that has been in the family for generations. But for anyone who rightly values such things, it should be the absolute last resort.

National lands always seem to be the FIRST thing to come to this president’s mind. It’s sort of like selling the rocker to cover one’s beer tab.

Here in Georgia more than 4,500 acres of the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests stand to be lost if the President and his administration have their way. One need not be a “tree-hugging dirt worshiper” to resent this proposal. Such public lands belong to all of us, and to future generations. (See http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2006/releases/02/secure-rural-schools.shtml)

Michael Moore failed to convince me with his “Fahrenheit 911” that George W. Bush is an idiot. Nor have Ted Kennedy or Jimmy Carter or John Kerry managed to persuade. But George W. Bush is beginning to to put together a pretty compelling case.

Mark D. Linville
Fayetteville, Ga.

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