Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 26, 2006

A failure to explain faith in port deal

Although the deal for Dubai Ports World to acquire control of some operations at U.S. ports may be postponed, the Bush administration's threat to veto any law blocking U.S. approval of the deal clearly tells us something critical about the administration's view of the role of the public in the definition of national security policy ("Port delay offered," Feb. 24).

While the administration did an effective job convincing Americans that Iraq posed a threat to their security before the war, it has utterly failed to explain, even to members of its own party, why this port deal does not pose a threat.

It is likely that many Americans and their representatives in Congress have come to believe that the Iraq war now poses a grave threat to American security and interests. But with Iraq now near civil war, there is little that they can do on that front.

This heightened insecurity on Iraq can only add to concerns about port security.

And the administration has only itself to blame for this misguided effort as it cannot mobilize the public with images of a "mushroom cloud" and then simply tell the public just "trust us."

Waleed Hazbun

Baltimore

The writer is a professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University.

Will Bush ever learn to share information?

I'll leave it to better intellects than mine to determine whether it's a bad move or business as usual to put operating control of several American ports in the hands of a company from the United Arab Emirates.

My question is: When will the president decide to share information with Congress or, God forbid, the American people ("For Bush, a backlash over ports," Feb. 23)?

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist didn't know about the deal in advance. House Speaker Dennis Hastert didn't know, and the mayors of the cities where the ports are certainly didn't know.

This is a public relations disaster and another major foul-up.

Is this administration grossly incompetent or just dumb?

Carole Fisher

Ellicott City

No reason to distrust Arab port company

I am dismayed by the outcry over the agreement with Dubai Ports World, a company from the United Arab Emirates, to run several U.S. ports ("Bigotry seen in opposition to deal," Feb. 23).

The chief argument behind the opposition is based merely on stereotypes. It goes something like this: A few of the 9/11 conspirators came from the UAE. Therefore, all people from the UAE, and the corporations they control, are likely to be terrorists.

What nonsense. By the same twisted logic, we should also ban firms based in upstate New York from participating in homeland security. After all, Timothy McVeigh, the infamous Oklahoma City bomber, was born and raised there.

The UAE is a country of 2.5 million people. In such a large population, there will naturally be a few bad apples.

But that's no reason to discriminate against the entire country and its people.

David Chipkin

Odenton

Fighting censorship could boost profits

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all deserve a share of the blame for kowtowing to China's demands for online censorship. But criticizing these companies for selling their souls misses the larger point - that Beijing shouldn't be censoring anyone ("Beijing's collaborators," editorial, Feb. 19).

It wouldn't be easy, but by working toward a free and democratic China and standing up for the very principles of freedom of information that made them multibillion-dollar companies to begin with, Google and its ilk would stand to make even larger profits.

Pin-chang Tsai

Silver Spring

Aiding Palestinians only helps enemies

So now the Palestinians have, in effect, a little Iran run by Hamas, one of the most violent and well-organized terrorist organizations in the world ("Making the best of Hamas' victory," Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 19).

In the past, few paid attention to Hamas because it murdered only Israelis. Now it has become a clear and present danger to the United States and other Western countries.

The 9/11 attacks were the first act in this clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and demonstrated that we are all vulnerable. The terrorist creed is anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The intensity of the riots around the world over the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad clearly demonstrates that this hostility to the West comes from mainstream Islam - not just the fanatical fringe.

The Islamic world has always been united against Israel. Now it is united against the West.

The Palestinians voted the courage of their convictions. For that they deserve respect. They have always known where they stood and what they wanted - the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state.

Now they have adopted a new stance. They have become an enemy of the United States, and we are squarely in their sights.

At this point, providing the Palestinians with any form of support or funding is the equivalent of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Gary J. Kaplowitz

Pikesville

Photo of her fall insults Olympian

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