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.
Apparently, 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 foreign influence.]"
Particularly 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 camera.
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 process) .
Based on 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 charge.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.