During my semi-annual visit to the gym (I do try to get there more often, really), I was watching the execrable Lou Dobbs show. Dobbs was so apoplectic over the Dubai ports deal that he looked like he was about to burst a vein. During his One Hour Hate of all things non-American, Dobbs conducted a lovefest (ah, interview) with an even more loathsome nativist, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) who is vowing to stop the infiltration of our ports by evil foreigners.
The Washington Post reports this delicious exchange between Hunter and the conservative Heritage Foundation's James Carafano at Congressional hearing yesterday.
At yesterday's House hearing, a pair of experts tried to redirect the lawmakers' fury. "This commercial transaction will not qualitatively affect the overall state of global and American maritime transportation security," testified Stephen Flynn of the Council on Foreign Relations. While condemning overall port security, he called the current battle "a political food fight."
The Heritage Foundation's James Carafano cautioned: "I don't find any compelling security concerns here."
Hunter was incredulous. "How can you possibly say that you didn't see in this particular case, in this particular deal, a security problem?" he demanded, calling the United Arab Emirates "accommodators" who "accommodate people that come to them with large amounts of cash."
Carafano pointed out that most shipping operations are foreign-owned anyway.
"Let me stop you at that," Hunter said, again calling the UAE greedy. "Are you sure you can say, from a security standpoint, that the ownership is irrelevant?"
Carafano could. "The system is really ownership-irrelevant," he replied.
Hunter interrupted again, but Carafano was unmoved. "You don't need to buy a $7 billion company to penetrate maritime security," he said. "The Mafia doesn't buy FedEx to smuggle."