Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Scarier than the port deal

Commentary by Pat Murphy


Pat Murphy

As something to lie awake and fret about, the controversial deal with Dubai Ports World should be way down on the anxiety list. With only 7 percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports being inspected now, how much worse could our lack of security get?

Nope, this flap is mostly politics and not worth the national fury.

Some worthier alternative fears about our country:

· NewYork University professor Nouriel Roubini writes that "in a matter of a few years foreigners may end up owning most of the U.S. capital stocks: ports, factories, corporations, land, real estate and even our national parks. By 2013, U.S. foreign liabilities will be as high as 75 percent of GDP. So, let us stop whining about the dangers of unfriendly foreigners owning our firms and assets and get used to it."

· Of all Iraq war detainees held by the CIA and U.S. troops, 98 have died, many allegedly murdered. Only 12 low-level Americans have been punished. As retired Army Brig. Gen. David Irvine writes in response to a Human Rights First report on the deaths, the alleged murders "are the consequence of a shocking breakdown of command discipline on the part of the Army's Officer Corps. What is unquestionably broken is the fundamental principle of command accountability and that starts at the very top."

· Bush presidency policies must really be awful when the likes of Francis Fukuyama, one of U.S. conservatism's intellectual giants, concludes a 4,000-word treatise in The New York Times by writing, "Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support," while the godfather of reborn Republican conservative politics, William F. Buckley, writes in his magazine, National Review, that President Bush must make an "acknowledgment of defeat" in Iraq.

· Does Federal Judge David Trager presage what's in store for U.S. justice? Because the CIA claimed privileged secrets, Judge Trager rejected the damage suit of a Canadian citizen of Syrian-descent whom the CIA kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and maimed, then released because -- oops! -- he was kidnapped in error. Judge Trager was spooked by the spooks.

· For years, lobbyist-swindler-briber Jack Abramoff roamed the halls of Congress and visited the White House, performing magic for clients who paid him tens of millions of dollars to engineer legislation. Gradually, he and those he corrupted are being exposed. But what does it say of the democracy we want to export and those who govern that Abramoff was such a criminal influence in the seat of U.S. government for so long and with the knowledge of so many?

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