Monday, February 20, 2006

The Sum of Our Fears

Ever read the Tom Clancy book Debt of Honor? In it, at the very end, an angry Japanese airline pilot (I’ll leave it to you to read the book and find out why Japanese) flies his 747 passenger jet into the Capitol in Washington, D.C. as the President gives an address to a Joint Session of Congress. Hundreds die, including the President. This book was published in 1994. Seven years before two passenger jets were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one that crashed in a Pennsylvania field that was either bound for the White House or, get this, the Capitol.

Hmm. Fiction became, in a way, reality with the terrorist atrocities of 9/11/01.

Onto a different subject: Ever see the movie version of the book The Sum of All Fears? I’d spell out the book version, but the movie version follows the same general story, as adaptations usually do (with varying levels of faithfulness to the original storyline). The movie starts out with an Israeli jet getting shot down over Syria during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 (the book starts out the same way). This jet was armed with a nuclear bomb.

Flash forward almost thirty years: You have a Syrian peasant discovering the bomb, who not really knowing what it is sells it to a South African neo-Nazi allied with other neo-Nazis in Europe. Their plan is to detonate a nuclear bomb in the United States, leave it unknown as to who the actual culprit is, have the U.S. assume that the bomb came from Russia and thus force a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russian Federation. Stated more simply, their goal is get the two biggest nuke players in the world to do what Hitler wanted them to do…fight each other to exhaustion so that he could pick up the spoils.

Well, the Bad Guys manage to get the fissile material from the bomb, smuggle it out (how they accomplish this I don’t exactly get, and by this I mean transferring the bomb remains out of Syria into Israel) via the Port of Haifa, Israel. It is used to make a new bomb at a hidden camp in Ukraine - disguised as a snack machine – and then shipped overseas. With the help of one man on the inside, an employee at the Port of Baltimore, upon arrival in the U.S. it is transferred to a stadium where a football game is to be played with the President of the United States in attendance.

Bye bye stadium, thousands of spectators, much of the Baltimore city center and very nearly both the President of the United States and Ben Affleck too.

That’s a movie.

This is real life: An Arab company, Dubai Ports World, owned by the government of a country – the United Arab Emirates – that served as both a financial and operational base for the bastards who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks has been approved by His Excellency President George W. Bush as well as the Director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, to take over port operations at six locations in the Union: New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia and New York City.

Handing over any operations at any port, big or small, to Muslim Arabs in this day and age is akin to Superman gifting Lex Luthor a vast, vast supply of kryptonite and just standing there afterwards watching the clouds. It’s just stupid. What’s even dumber is the attempt to justify such a decision: because the previous company – British – was bought out by Dubai Ports World it’s okay, and oh yeah: "We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint.” This from the head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Remind me again why the DHS was created in the first place? My memory could be wrong on this, but I thought one of the mandates of the DHS was protecting the borders of our Republic and making it harder for terrorists to attack us. Not easier. Is the motto of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security now "Let's just erase any of the minimal progress that was made since 2001"?

The creators of Independence Day in 1996 and Armageddon in 1998 were unable to contemplate the possibility that even powerful alien death rays or direct hits by meteors could bring down the Twin Towers. Then along came 9/11 and less than twenty Arab hijackers armed with box cutters took over four passenger jets and used two of them to, indirectly, shatter a Hollywood myth about the strength of those towers on live TV.

Do we really want to hand over any U.S. port operations to a Muslim Arab company? In 2006? With riots around the world over cartoons, embassies burned to the ground in the Arab world, and the majority of Islamic terrorists trying to kill us being...well...Muslim Arabs?

The Sum of All Fears may be just a book and movie, but the fact remains that if one man or just a few sympathizers can somehow facilitate the smuggling of a dirty bomb or, God-forbid, a fully-operational nuclear device into the United States via any vulnerable port – and a port owned and operated by an Arab company in our current world climate unfortunately fits the bill, and I don’t mean to sound intolerant – then we face the prospect of , once again, a novel’s story and Hollywood thrills translating into a newspaper stories and real-life kills…possibly in the thousands or millions.

You know, many years before The Sum of All Fears became a movie, it also like Debt of Honor was a book written by Tom Clancy. And while in the movie version the terrorists were neo-Nazis, in the novel they were Muslims.

Hmmm. Hmmmmmmmm...

By handing over port operations to an Arab company - tied to an Arab country that in one way or another provided the Muslim terrorists who carried out 9/11 with comfortable shelter - at this point in our history, do we really want to help increase the chances that a fictional Tom Clancy story involving a terrorist attack on America will become in any way, shape or form an unfortunate and tragic reality once again?

I think not. I certainly hope not.

Then why, Dubya? Why, if you claim to be committed to protecting America, would you approve and want to go through with something like this?

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