Monday, February 27, 2006

Drat! Unintended Consequences, Again

'Toon by F. T. Rea

In defending his administration’s deal to out-source the running of six American sea ports President George Bush tells us we have nothing to fear. Bush asserts that currently the United Arab Emirates, which owns Dubai Ports World, is an important ally in the War on Terror.

To prosecute that so-called war on a tactic, used by many groups in many lands, the president also told us Iraq -- not Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 infamy -- had to be invaded right away, if not sooner.

First the invasion of Iraq was over weapons of mass destruction. Finding none, then the mission shifted to establishing democracy in the region and nation-building. Unfortunately, now the result of Iraq’s national election doesn’t seem to have pleased the Bush administration, or a lot of Iraqis. Now the country, and I use the word “country” loosely, seems to be in the throes of a civil war.

Speaking of democracy, the results of democracy in Palestine that empowered Hamas last month obviously don’t suit Bush either. So, let's get this straight: The UAE is ruled by a royal family, as are some of America’s other important allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Capitalism is thriving in those Western-leaning kingdoms, democracy is another matter.

So, how much are we really trying to foster “democracy” in the region? That’s hard to say.

Now let’s consider the way the invasion of Iraq was sold to the American people. Remember, dear reader, not everybody was all that much in favor of it. Bush said it was a direct and necessary response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Voices protesting that move, on the grounds that Iraq had no connection to 9/11, were drowned out by an aggressive Bush propaganda campaign that deliberately blurred the distinctions between one group of dangerous Arabs and another.

Gangsters? Religious fanatics? Tribal strongmen? They’re all the same thing, they all "hate freedom." We are fighting a global war on terror, we were told. Yes, the selling of the war policy blurred many distinctions in order to drum up jingoistic support for what has proven since to have been a costly mistake in American foreign policy.

Now I believe it did something else, too. That deluge of bluster and disinformation made a lot of Americans afraid to trust a company wholly owned by Arab princes; a company based in what is said to be one of the most free-wheeling, opportunistic outposts in that dangerous part of the world.

Presidential advisor Karl Rove will probably never admit it, but I bet he already suspects it’s true: A good part of the fear and outrage at the thought of Dubai running the ports in New York and New Orleans comes as a byproduct of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, which employed a strategy designed to stir up fear of, and anger at, a vague Arab menace that might be anywhere.

The ports deal with UAE is about money. We’re trying to buy friends. Still, good deal or bad, it's been handled so poorly by the Bush administration that it's almost baffling.

What were they thinking? Well, I say their mistake stemmed from overlooking the unintended consequences of their own brainwashing campaign, a strategy that said there’s no difference between one bad Arab and the next -- Osama or Saddam, what’s the difference?

Now the poor brainwashed masses are asking, Dubai or Baghdad, what’s the difference?


The Richmond Democrat said...

Oh hell yeah.

Anonymous said...

I can respect that fact about selling our six major ports to the UAE; however we did not invade Iraq to foster "democarcy." There were a few reaons for the invasion of Iraq such as: liberating the country, removing a powerful dictator, and also disarm weapons of mass destruction. Maybe we did not find the weapons of mass destruction, since they relocated the weapons to another country. Now the Iraq has new government leaders, Saddam Hussein's regime is currently all over. Saddam Hussein was captured and is on trial in Iraq. All of these items are reasons for going to war, but soreading democracy was not a reason for starting the war.

jmm70 said...

Sorry but I did not mean hit the anonymous tag.