During the first few days after the news broke about the Bush Administration's foolish and potentially dangerous decision granting approval for six of our ports to be transferred to a Dubai-owned company, Republican Senators and Congresspeople seemed more than willing to try and pass a law overturning the sale.
It was also interesting to see the confusion on the part of the fright-wing talk show hosts. I am talking about Rush, Sean et. al. These are the individuals who constantly praise every single action the Bush Administration takes in the "war on terror," while at the same time haranguing Arab nations for either supporting terrorism outright or refusing to cooperate with our efforts to combat it.
For a couple of days there, it sounded like Congressional Republicans were ready to revolt, and the conservative talk-show hosts were confused about what message to get out.
To borrow Valley Girl speak, "as if."
But no more. After a day of empty Administration statements that yes, we researched this carefully, and no, the United Arab Emirates (of which Dubai is a part) is really our friend, all the Bush supporters are starting to fall back in line.
A couple of days ago, we were hearing that Congressional Republicans would support legislation overturning the sale. Now, the party line seems to have modified to one which would allow the sale but re-examine the approval process.
Just today, Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee - and one of the deal's most severe critics earlier this week- said the conditions are evidence the administration was concerned about security. "There is a very serious question as to why the records are not going to be maintained on American soil subject to American jurisdiction," King said.
Doesn't sound like someone who wants to take on the Administration.
Even Senate Armed Services Committee chair John Warner is falling into line. While expressing reservations today about the UAE's past actions, he emphasized UAE's cooperation in the war on terrorism, noting that it allows a large number of port calls by U.S. military and commercial ships and that it had made its airfields available to the U.S. military.
And the talk show hosts have gotten their talking points and are falling into line.
Now it has become apparent that the message from the White House is getting thru: "we really, really researched this deal, everything will be OK. This deal must go thru. You can question us about it afterwards, but we'll keep repeating the same message: "we are fighting a war against terror, and as part of that war, we really, really researched this matter very thoroughly before we gave our OK."
Plainly, the White House is now looking at post-transfer hearings as a way to spin the realization that this Administration is so committed to the "war on terror," they really do their research.
But re-examine the approval process after the horse has left the barn? Or the bomb has left Dubai, and is headed to one of our ports?