President Bush is having another "Harriet Miers Moment" in his determination to push ahead with the Dubai Ports World (DPW) decision despite considerable conservative opposition.
Once again, under criticism from conservatives, the President digs in, threatening to use the only veto of his administration to make sure the management of six major U.S. ports is turned over to a corporation fronting for the Dubai government.
Harriet Miers, in case anyone may have forgotten, was the Texas attorney that Gov. George W. Bush appointed to serve as a Texas Lottery commissioner at a time when the lottery was immersed in a major bribery scandal involving GTECH, the company operating the lottery. At the heart of that scandal was Ben Barnes, the former Texas lieutenant governor who has repeatedly claimed responsibility for exercising political influence to get Bush preferentially entered into the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
As that melodrama played out, the FBI began questioning New York resident Larry Littwin, the former executive director of the Texas Lottery Commission who Miers fired when he threatened to seriously investigate the web of alleged bribery corruption surrounding various Texas politicians that Littwin believed ultimately involved George W. Bush and Karl Rove.
Finally, the wire services confirmed Internet reporting that Littwin was likely to be called to give testimony under oath in the Miers confirmation hearings. The next day, Miers withdrew her nomination. Why? Littwin was preparing to charge under oath that Bush and Miers were at the center of a cover-up whose purpose was to keep the lid on Bush’s Texas Air National Guard lies.
Now, with the DPW decision, Bush has call yet another artillery strike on his own position, this time challenging the major pillar of his administration, our confidence in his ability to win the War on Terror.
Administration supporters argue we will insult Muslims if we deny Dubai the port opportunity, an argument Jimmy Carter thinks makes sense. Someone should remind Karl Rove that the Republican conservative base did not work overtime to re-elect Bush so he could start sounding like Jimmy Carter on key issues such as port security, our public relations posture toward Arabs and our energy policy. Or, maybe the Dubai decision is just another indication of the mental state that allows Bush to think that wood chips and switch grass are the solution to America’s growing dependence on foreign oil.
How can anyone seriously argue that Dubai is our best Islamic ally in the War on Terror? Dubai has put up a "Welcome Here" sign for the billions of dollars the millionaire mullahs and their cronies have stolen from the Iranian people. Dubai has served as a financial center and country of transit for al Qaeda terrorists, including the hijackers who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11. Dubai was one of the few countries in the Middle East to openly endorse the Taliban in Afghanistan. A group known as the Dubai Action Committee for the Support of the Intifada has worked with Islamic charitable organizations to funnel funds from the United States to Hamas. The list goes on.
With Americans legitimately worried that an Improvised Nuclear Device will be shipped into the U.S. through a port city, this is no time to allow Dubai to get anywhere near learning every detail of how U.S. port security operates. Maybe the answer is that the same geniuses in the White House who vetted Miers also vetted Dubai Ports World.
After Harry Reid’s connections to Jack Abramoff were disclosed, even the Democrats are probably glad to have the "culture of corruption" attacks taken off the front page. Who could have imagined a better strategy than the Dubai decision to allow even Hillary Clinton to posture as a hawk in her determination to protect New York’s ports?
Yes, Vice President Cheney shot a lawyer in a hunting accident. But does Bush have to display once again his tendency to shoot himself in the foot, first over Miers, now over Dubai?