Getting the Incentives Right with Port Safety

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Thomas Knapp has some interesting thoughts on why the Dubai Ports World deal is good for American security. To sum up: the deal puts the incentives to do a good job in the right place, since the United Arab Emirates will have a lot more to lose in failing than an American firm would, and the more incentive the UAE has to see America's continued safety as good for their financial health and future, the better for us–and them.

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  1. Would someone please explain why this port deal is automatically bad for security? I am not saying that it isn?t a bad security risk. I have yet, however, to see any reason why it is. It seems that the opponents are operating under three assumptions. First, all Arab countries are the same (UAE is the same threat that Saudi Arabia is). Second, all Arab companies are a direct extension of their government. Third, all Arab governments are a threat to U.S. security. The opponents might as well be honest and just say that they are all ragheads and you can?t trust any of them. I would argue that all three of those assumptions are blatantly false and without specific evidence regarding this company and this deal and this company in particular the opponents are just engaging in racial stereotyping of the worst sort.

  2. blah blah racist blah blah blah raghead blah blah blah.

    The answers are laid out in the previous thread. Not that you actually care.

  3. Useful commentary as well from Kevin Drum here, not that, apparently, anybody is about to move from their entrenched positions lest they be embarrassed.

  4. Second, all Arab companies are a direct extension of their government.

    Actually, DP World is government owned, so it kind of is an extension of the UAE.

  5. I have no problem with possible security issues surrounding this deal being looked into further, but…

    God fucking forbid it was Bush who said we can’t sell simply because these people are Arabs. Imagine the outcry. See, Bush is a racist! See, Bush thinks all Arabs are terrorists!
    But if Hillary proposes the law, that’s ok right? Why? The port system is like a plantation, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

  6. I do care Joe. The UAE is one the most liberal countries in the middle east and has been steadfast ally of the US for over 30 years. Why is this company so bad for security? Security is basically the purview of the Coast Guard anyway. Most of the people who are shooting their mouths off about this know nothing about how a port is actually run. Running a port is complicated business. You don’t just hire anyone off of the street. The same people will be working there tommorow as today regardless of who owns the port.

    The contract used to belong to the British. Considering the U.K?s complete unwillingness to shut down radical Imams and its near fanatical commitment to multiculturalism, I am not so sure that I believe that jihadists could more easily penetrate a company from the UAE than one from Britain. Unconstrained by political correctness and more aware of the radicals in their midst, the UAE company might do a better job at security than a British company concerned about its public image.

  7. If you cared to know what the actual concerns about this are, you would have read what people wrote about the issue, instead of fantasizing about other people’s racism because it was convenient.

    Not even when I belonged to the Progressive Student Union in college did I see charges of racism thrown around with such irresponsible glee as among the conservatarians who frequent Hit and Run.

    Tell us how Ted Kennedy hates Catholics again, John.

  8. Jesus, can we can the racist/raghead straw man for once? Two or three of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Emiratis (I’ve seen Ahmad al Haznawi identified as both a Saudi and an Emirati). This alone makes the UAE more than just a random Arab country. That doesn’t mean the objections from the Congress are not hysterical or protectionist, but you make a good enough case by pointing out that they haven’t shown any evidence that it’s a security risk. Do you have to start foaming at the mouth in your opening argument?

    In fact, I’m going to update the he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it rule: Whoever is the first person to introduce a racial slur into a conversation, no matter what the context, is the racist.

  9. Maybe it’s fine. If so, Bush should not mind actually following the procedures required for reviewing such a transaction involving a foreign government-owned company.

    As for the UAE, apparently members of its ruling family were meeting personally with UBL as recently as 1999. That gives me pause.

  10. Tim,

    The July bombers in London were British, does that make the British company unacceptable? The fact that some of the 9-11 highjackers were UAE is irrelevant. Do you know anything about the UE? Its elections in 05? Its history of cooperation with the United States in fighting terrorism? Shouldn’t that count for something or is the fact that two people out of a country of several million turned out to be terrorists outweigh all of that? Is that the best you can do for why this contract is bad? Where are all of these great arguments against it? I have listened to Congress and all I hear is protectionism and nativism. If you are such an expert on the subject, enlighten us on why the contract is so bad.

  11. Just so I’ve got this straight:

    Saddam Hussein and OBL: BFF.

    The people who went hawking with OBL in Afghanistan in 1999 and OBL: no connection at all.

    And if you disagree, you’re a racist. And probably an antisemite, too.

  12. John,

    You misread Tim. He didn’t say there are lots of good arguments against the contract. He said YOU make a good case for it without having to resort to charges of racism. And I agree. Said charges are baseless and only serve to discredit your position.

  13. …what, like is someone not monitoring the internet at the grouphome?

  14. Joe,

    Is is your position that no Arab should be allowed to own a port in this country? What exactly do you think is going to happen? They are going to fire all of the people who work there now and replace them with jihadists and I guess kick the Coast Guard out of all the ports? How exactly does owning the port get you around the other protections that are in place? I stand by my original statement that maybe it is a bad deal for security, but no one has bothered to say why. All the arguments boil down to you can’t trust anyone from the UAE. This company is owned by the UAE government and is therefore somehow supporting terrorism and can’t be trusted to run a port. What other facts are there? You can deny the truth all you want, but that is just stereotyping plain and simple.

  15. I didn’t say the contract was bad. As always, you’re arguing with yourself.

  16. In the other thread, Chicago Tom posted a link to the bipartisan letter some members of Congress sent to the Treasury Department protesting the deal. The main points:

    The UAE was one of three countries in the world (along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

    The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components from Pakistan to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

    According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

    After 9/11, the same Treasury Department that likes this port deal reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

  17. “Lybia” = “Libya.” But y’all knew that already.

  18. The UAE was one of three countries in the world (along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

    So what? I don’t think recognizing the Taliban, while not admirable, makes you a terrorist supporting country.

    The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components from Pakistan to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

    Was the UAE government involved in these transfers or did the transfers occur clandestinely? How many other countries have served as transfer points? What does this have to do with their port company? What is the argument here, is it that we should never do business with the UAE or is it that there is something about this port company that will compromise security?

    According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

    It was also transferred using the US banking system and probably the German one as well. What does this have to do with anything?

    After 9/11, the same Treasury Department that likes this port deal reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

    Is this a banking issue? Is there a UAE side of the story? The very same people who use this fact against the UAE would no doubt in the next breath argue against the US strong arming other countries in pursuit of terrorists. Again, how does all of this relate to the port deal? Is UAE so bad that we just should not be trading with them? If so, why not make that argument rather than just singling out this one deal? Does anyone here know anything about how port security works and how the owners of a port could bypass that security? This whole thing is about the level of a Tom Clancy book.

  19. This assumes money is more important to them than the dictates of the Koran (kill the infidels). Considering our rewards for Osama go unanswered, I’m not quite sure maximizing profits is their driving force.

  20. Again, how does all of this relate to the port deal?

    John,

    Whether or not the issues listed should give one cause for concern or not is a valid debate to have. In fact some people on various threads have actually engaged in a bit of debate on the subject. But in this particular context, I believe Jennifer re-posted the points to discredit your typically stupid comment :

    the opponents are just engaging in racial stereotyping of the worst sort.

    You may not think those issues are a big deal. Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong. But those issues make it pretty obvious that the concern about this deal is not about race or religion no matter how hard you try to make it so.

  21. ChicagoTom,

    Until someone gives me a concrete reason why this port company is any more likely to be vaunerable to terrorism than a Western one, I don’t see how this is about anything but automatically assuming that an Arab company can’t be trusted. Security is up to the Coast Guard, Customs and port authorities not the port owners. Maybe we should give it to an American company just to be protectionist. If it is going to a foreign company, I don’t see why the mere fact that that company is from the UAE versus Germany or Britian is relevent.

  22. I’m just amused by how posters have taken some rather surprising positions on this.

    Then again, maybe these positions aren’t so surprising, depending on what you think the relevant questions are.

  23. If it is going to a foreign company, I don’t see why the mere fact that that company is from the UAE versus Germany or Britian is relevent.

    The company is not merely “from” the UAE; it is owned by the government.

    I don’t see how this is about anything but automatically assuming that an Arab company can’t be trusted

    Seriously, John, has it ever occurred to you that people who disagree with you might have legitimate reasons for doing so, or do you prefer to assume that we’re all bigots?

  24. I don’t see any ethnic prejudice here–we have a legitimate reason to be concerned about dealings with Middle Eastern nations. I don’t oppose being cautious or building in some extra safeguards, but I think there’s no huge threat posed here, either. We quite calmly allowed China to take over “control” of ports connected to the Panama Canal. That’s an order of magnitude more dangerous to the U.S. as far as strategic threats are concerned, so it makes me think that there’s something less to this “control” than meets the eye.

    Anyway, the fact that an Arab nation is involved in this is relevant, but whether it really matters in the end seems unlikely. Unless I’m wrong. Then we all die.

    Jennifer, I like it when you go all southern on us. Y’all, indeed 🙂

  25. Was the UAE government involved in these transfers or did the transfers occur clandestinely? How many other countries have served as transfer points? What does this have to do with their port company?

    If they can’t keep nukes and other nasty things out of their own ports, why do you suppose they’ll do better with ours?

    Is this a banking issue? Is there a UAE side of the story?

    The issue is, the same government that was reluctant to help us track Bin Laden is now going to play a role in our port system.

    [money for al-Qaeda] was also transferred using the US banking system and probably the German one as well. What does this have to do with anything?

    The US and German banks helped track down this money after the fact; the UAE banks did not.

  26. thoreau,

    Yeah, we’re in Bizarro World for sure. American papers fear the First Amendment, conservatives love the Arabs, dogs and cats live together–chaos.

  27. If they can’t keep nukes and other nasty things out of their own ports, why do you suppose they’ll do better with ours?

    If they’re such horribly inefficient port operators, why does our Navy dock at their ports overseas?

  28. PL-

    I’m waiting for Jacob Sullum to start wearing a “Just Say No” button.

  29. “Considering our rewards for Osama go unanswered, I’m not quite sure maximizing profits is their driving force.”

    Its not the same thing. The guys who own the Company very likely have huge estates in Aspen and the South of France ie they probably have no need to claim the reward. They may have “hawked with OBL” back when such things were the rage – Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam, remember – but things are different now. Any mishap will point directly back at them.

  30. I really recommend people read the Washington Monthly link I posted above. Not just for the entry itself, but there are a lot of useful and relevant comments, too.

  31. If they’re such horribly inefficient port operators, why does our Navy dock at their ports overseas?

    necessity ? How many middle east countries are opening their ports to our navy? How many options do we have ?

  32. And for the Beatles to become the favorite band of the Reason staff. Who, of course, hate even the idea of punk rock.

  33. PL:

    “Yeah, we’re in Bizarro World for sure. American papers fear the First Amendment, conservatives love the Arabs, dogs and cats live together–chaos.”

    Sometimes, I just wish I had a “choose your own adventure” button, where I could rewind, and see where another path might have taken us. Just imagine what everyone would be saying right now if Bush had come out against the deal. I’m not saying that relatively anti-partisan folks like Jennifer would be talking differently, but, really, you have to wonder what position dems and reps would be taking right now had Bush swung the other way. Ahhh, so funny to watch the sheep scramble when their leader goes a different way than they expected. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  34. http://www.cfr.org/publication/9918/uae_purchase_of_american_port_facilities.html

    This council on foreign relations link gives a pretty good rundown of the issues relating to the deal. While there are a lot of issues relating to port security, none of them seem to be connected with who owns the port.

  35. I think our relations with Saudi Arabia pre- and post-9/11 pretty much show Knapp’s thesis to be absurd.

  36. Evan,

    If Bush came out against the deal with no justification, I would say he was just pandering and wasting his time on irrelevent but sexy sounding issues. Of course generally the rightwing is up in arms about this deal. Bush is taking a lot of flack for it on the blogsphere, which I don’t think reflects well on them. I think the flack Bush is taking on this and on the Myers nomination puts lie to the whole Bushbot thing. I am still undecided about it. I just don’t know enough about ports and how they operate to say for sure. I am still unpersuaded by the arguments against it that I have heard so far.

  37. This shit should have been vetoed from the word go on public perception grounds alone.

    The Republicans have really shot their hunting partner in the face with this one.

  38. The Republicans have really shot their hunting partner in the face with this one.

    While I agree with everything Pro Libertate has said in both threads on this issue, my vote goes to mediageek for best one-liner.

  39. Thank you, jf. The check is in the mail.

    No one has commented yet on the curious similarity between “Dubya” and “Dubai”. Coincidence? I think not. Please discuss amongst yourselves.

  40. John–

    There is a procedure prescribed by law for reviewing deals of this kind that has not been followed. Do you have a problem with the law being complied with, or are we in “the President don’t need no stinking laws” territory yet again. As for concrete reasonse apart from racism, I think the fact that members of the ruling family were such buddies with UBL that they traveled to the middle of fucking nowhere to party with him two years prior to 911 is a fairly concrete reason to at least take a closer look.

  41. The Bush administration signed off on the February 13 sale of P&O to DP World only after unanimous approval by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, a twelve-member, interagency body that evaluates the security implications of such transactions. Calls from lawmakers to reconsider the approval have come after the thirty-day period to raise objections had expired.

    http://www.cfr.org/publication/9918/uae_purchase_of_american_port_facilities.html#2

    Jeff,

    In light of the CFR quote above, I don’t see how it is true that Bush didn’t follow the law on this one. There is so much sloppy language being thrown around concerning this issue. Yes, the deal does deserve scutiny as any deal does, but it looks to me like it did recieve that scrutiny. More importantly, scutiny to reveal what? The UAE is not getting territory or any say in security. They are getting ownership in a port. The Coast Guard and Customs are still responsible for security.

  42. All of your arguments have been trumped by the sage reasoning and capital letters presented by NC Rep. Sue Myrick.

  43. Just imagine what everyone would be saying right now if Bush had come out against the deal.

    Let’s see… since Bush had nothing to say for 3 or 4 days after the deal was revealed to the public, I think many people’s minds were already made up by then.

    Anyway, security issues aside, I have big problems with autocratic governments buying up stuff in the US. The emirs have enriched themselves with oil, then tourism, now port operations & who knows what else. Meanwhile, they continue to run their unfree, undemocratic city-state with an iron fist.

  44. John,

    Unconstrained by political correctness and more aware of the radicals in their midst, the UAE company might do a better job at security than a British company concerned about its public image.

    This is the only problem I have with what you are saying. DPW had the most money, but being government-owned it’s a fair criticism to level that they have they most money NOT because they are the best company at servicing their customers but that they have a few tax-supported (coercive) ways of getting money some of their competitors don’t have.

    But I’m the only one saying so, everyone else is bitching about the security angle. Socialized security is about as effective as socialized medicine. And I assume socialized port operations would be just as bad.

  45. I wouldn’t say there was a racist angle to this, but there sure is a protectionist angle. I would be willing to bet that the UAE is a non-Union company.

    Unless the UAE company is going to fire every worker on the docks and replace them all with young Pakistani or Palestinian males, I don’t think this is a security issue at all. The workers will still be American, the security will still be American, even the managers will still be American.

    The only issue here is the colossal political stupidity of the Bush Administration. Karl Rove should have seen this one coming a mile away.

    Or maybe, this was part of his grand plan all along….

  46. I have a co-worker who hates George W. Bush passionately. My opinion of the man doesn’t go much beyond thinking he’s another in a long line of crappy presidents. The other day she was railing about the UAE port deal and I, not seeing what the big deal was, asked her why this was a bad idea, aside from the obvious political squirm factor involved. Her first response was along the lines of “It just is”. When pressed, the best she could do was grumble about Bush’s incompetence and how he’ll fuck this up, too. I told her those arguments are no worse than the objections coming out of Washington. My favorite is Hillary’s contention that we can’t trust our ports to foreigners, never mind the British had been running things for who knows how long. She must have meant brown-skinned foreigners.

  47. Would it help the discussion if we quit referring to this as a sale? I keep seeing the UAE referred to as “owning our ports” after this transaction is complete. The US is not selling anything. A company that various port authorities’s had contracted with to administrate certain ports has sold that contract to another company. If I understand correctly, they will be doing mostly paperwork. They will be responsible for scheduling berth time, sending invoices, maintaining the facility and keeping the lights turned on. The DHS will still be looking for bombs with whatever effectiveness they have now. The Coast Guard will still be doing its normal fine job of keeping drugs out of the country. Customs will still attempt to make a fake Gucci purses hard to get. I don’t expect anything to change.

  48. In light of the CFR quote above, I don’t see how it is true that Bush didn’t follow the law on this one. There is so much sloppy language being thrown around concerning this issue…

    Technically, the administration should have initiated a second proceeding subsequent to the initial 30 day reveiw persuant to 50 USC 2170, which requires additional review for transactions with state owned business (DPW qualifies here) which could affect national security. I agree the effect on national security is debatable, but the word “could” casts a wide net here. This whole second review could be seen as a procedural formality, but to be clear: the time for objections is not over inasmuch as an additional 45 days is required by statute. Moreover, the absense of this second review presents a colorable legal issue.

  49. Excuse me, I misspoke. The first company has been bought rather than the contract being sold.

  50. I think that the UAE should take over the contract from P&O and replace every dock worker with lower cost workers from New Guinea. I mean, if it is a matter of national security, then thanks to McVeigh and Nicols we obviously can’t trust Americans to work the security angle can we? So we have to look for a cost effective, non-terrorist nation and either New Guinea or Kiribati are prime candidates.

  51. Russ2000,

    Maybe we shouldn’t be selling or contracting with state owned entities for the reasons you state. It makes a lot of sense to tell state owned entities to screw off in hopes of getting governments to privatize. That does not relate to security though. As violent K points out and the CFR link points out as well, who runs the port doesn’t seem to have much effect on security.

  52. Chris8,

    Maybe the comment period should be extended. That is procedural not substantive though. I am still waiting for someone to explain why this contract is a risk to national security.

  53. In addition to my legal comments above, I would argue that it’s very easy for a port managing company to evade official U.S. security measures. At present, our ports are exceptionally unprotected. As a de facto matter, we must rely on informal security measures taken by private individuals, including longshoreman, port managers, etc. That’s all fine and good if we’re dealing with private, profit maximizing companies, who I fully expect to be more efficient than government run security. But we’re not dealing with a private company. We’re dealing with a foreign sovereign — an entity with much more on its agenda than profit maximiziation. What’s on the UAE’s agenda? I honestly don’t know, but it’s worth asking the question (for more than a mere 30 days).

    Finally, I don’t find the “but the longshoreman and managers are American” argument persuasive. DWP is 100% owned by the UAE, and every manager could be replaced at the drop of a hat. Moreover, it only takes a few bad managers and workers to create a security breach.

    In the end, a reasonable person could go either way on this one. However, I don’t think a reasonable person would ram this deal through with a veto and a fiat against further debate and review, particularly as the statute requires additional review.

  54. Oh, I also find the “why does no one cry about the British?” argument unpersuasive. The owners of the previous British management (and also comparable foreign port managers) never met with bin Laden or pandered to the Taliban. While the UAE meetings with UBL and the Taliban were prior to 2001, they were after the first Twin Tower bombings, a bin Laden fatwa, military bombings, etc. In 1999, UBL was a well established terrorist, and the effective owners of DWP were shootin’ the shit with him in Taliban-run Afghanistan — one of the most repressive regimes to have ever graced the planet.

  55. Seriously, John, has it ever occurred to you that people who disagree with you might have legitimate reasons for doing so

    I’m not sure what “legitimate” means to any of y’all. I would settle for a logically-constructed argument by the opposition to the sale.

    First, you’ll have to work on your premises and definitions. The port ownership doesn’t change, only the ownership of the one of the companies managing operations. Once you learn the terms, you might be better served by avoiding guilt-by-association, ad hominems, poisoning the well, and all the other fallacies promenaded to discourage this transaction.

    Good luck. I have a genuine desire to hear a rational voice.

    Bonus points for citing the Constitutional provision empowering Congress to interfere. (Remember, these are not Federal docks)

  56. Bonus points for citing the Constitutional provision empowering Congress to interfere. (Remember, these are not Federal docks)

    You must be joking — we’re talking about the regulation of ports. This is plain vanilla Interstate Commerce Clause, even to an ICC originalist.

  57. ChrisS: How does this proposition alter any commerce with foreign nations? And how would one interfere with it and stay within the bounds of Sec. 9, not showing preference to any State’s ports? (I mean USA State, not foreign state)

  58. Is Billary the angel sitting on Dubya’s shoulder to give him a moral compass?
    Bear with me. I’m speaking metaphorically. Even Big Bill couldn’t hoist Hillary up there.

    My first thought, when I heard Billary taking the lead against this port deal was that it would bite her in her ample, alabaster ass.

    I should have known, with Bill and his feeling the pain, pulse and cigar of the hoi polloi, as an advisor, that Billary is now the “top” of Dubya, and the most powerful woman in the woild!

  59. ChrisS: How does this proposition alter any commerce with foreign nations? And how would one interfere with it and stay within the bounds of Sec. 9, not showing preference to any State’s ports? (I mean USA State, not foreign state)

    Though the ICC is abused to the extreme, I really don’t see how you can argue that regulating the control and management of international ports is not “regulat[ing] commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states.” Are you really asking me how port management affects interstate commerce? Are you asking me how a potential security breach (the concern animating this debate) in a major port would affect interstate/foreign commerce? Are you genuinely asking me how the management of a U.S. port by a foreign sovereign could affect interstate/foreign commerce? As far as the preference clause, reviewing an acquisition of a port management company doesn’t bestow a preference “by Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another.” That clause is aimed at unequal tariffs and taxes — why would it apply here?

    I appreciate argument for the sake of argument, but the constitutional power of Congress here is way beyond question, particularly given the state of modern ICC law.

  60. ChrisS: My angle is to start from limited powers and see what is possible, rather than start from desired outcome and assume all necessary power. My Constitutional question was only a bonus, hopefully to inspire some thought about which regs are in question and which powers are in use.

    To favour one foreign interest over another requires, I think, some examination of why they are different under the law. There may be a case to require all operators to be US (like there is a case for the Jones Act), but such a rule would likely have enormous hidden costs.

    The potential security breach is one of the points where opponents seem to have few facts. Hutchison Whampoa, arguably a PRC pawn, may represent a greater risk, since they’re not the Arabs we’re paying attention to. Or, what of the threat of an Algerian landing in a shipload of cement controlled by Lafarge (a private French company)? I’m not making an argument here. I’ve got enough info to find holes in the arguments I’ve seen.

  61. Having done some travelling in Middle East, I haven taken notice that the label on just about every commodity there has “Dubai, UAE” written on it, as far East as Bangladesh. It is no wonder a UAE company would be well qualified manage a shipping port anywhere. The UAE seems to be the most commercially successful Arab country, and with much of its success not dependent on oil.

    The wide streets of Dubia are sparsely filled with traffic, still I have never seen as many luxury, American-made cars anywhere else.

    The US will send the wrong message to

  62. fart, … the UAE and neighboring countries that want to embrace commerce like the UAE has by not letting them make deals this deal.

  63. This same company already administers ports across the globe that deliver cargo to the US. If there is a security risk, wouldn’t it be at the port of origin of the shipment? Assuming DP World is compromised, wouldn’t the risk be greatest at ports we have no control of? I have to think it is already easier to put something nasty on a ship bound for the US than it is to move it from the destination port to where you want to deploy it. If someone sticks a nuke in a container from any of the countries we trade with and ships it to the Port of New York / New Jersey are we not already screwed? Regardless of how far inland they move it? Our security needs to start at the point of origin.

  64. Evan,

    I’m not saying that relatively anti-partisan folks like Jennifer would be talking differently…

    Ha ha ha. Jennifer is one of the most rabidly partisan people on this board; she even gives joe a good run for his money.

    thoreau,

    That’s what happens when you think exclusively inside the box, as is your practice.

    jk,

    Dubai has long been an important port for Indian ocean traffic; indeed, long before the Portugese showed up to take advantage of some of that traffic.

    ______________________________________________

    You know, it would help if some of you people actually understood how ports and port operations work in the U.S. before you start pontificating on this subject. It doesn’t matter who owns the company that runs the port security operations, since they aren’t the organization which will be the real decisionmaker involved in hiring, training, etc. of longshoremen, etc.; its the union which will be the real decisionmaker.

  65. Incentives? Oh I got your incentives.

    Hide some boxes in some of the containers going through the ports. Inside those boxes place fake nuclear and bio-weapons traces. Ones that trigger the detectors used for inspecting the containers. Place them using a random number generating program (this is how quality control in industrial manufacturing works, it’s statistically unbeatable).

    Offer a 10,000 dollar reward to port security people who find these test objects.

    Study which objects are intercepted and which ones get through, rinse, repeat..adjust security procedures accordingly. Eventually the security experts involved will know more about smuggling than any terrorists do.

    War on terror won. Nothing incentivises like a 10,000 dollar prize lurking amongst the containers somewhere.

    Repeat for airline security. Forget about giving Bush special powers to save US from terror.

  66. Oh, wow. I actually thought the comment by amazingdrx at February 23, 2006 04:02 A made a geat deal of sense! I was nodding in agreement as I read through it.

    I’m high, aren’t I? Really high. Brown-acid high.

    Don’t eat the meatloaf in the cafeteria!

  67. Yes, Once you learn the terms, you might be better served by avoiding guilt-by-association, ad hominems, poisoning the well, and all the other fallacies promenaded to discourage this transaction.

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