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What part of “Protect America!” do President Bush and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., not understand? Our borders are already under siege and now this duo is working overtime to make U.S. ports even more vulnerable than they already are.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Dubai Ports World – out of the goodness of its corporate heart, supposedly – was going to “give up” its management stake in U.S. port operations. According to a statement Warner read to his colleagues – who were just about to lower the boom on this lunacy – Dubai Ports World Chief Operating Officer Edward H. Bilkey suddenly changed his tune:

Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship, DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operation of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity.

Just who does Bush think he’s fooling with this cute, last-minute shell game? A vote was about to take place that he clearly didn’t want to have happen and, miraculously, DPW withdrew. Why not just let the vote run its course since DPW is now willing to give up managing the ports?

If this was merely about the president saving face, he could simply have said he decided to listen to the wisdom of America’s citizens and he would win bonus points for showing he listened and cared. But that isn’t what happened.

So why this sudden flurry of activity?

I’ll tell you why. Because it’s an attempt to con the American people. The timing just outright stinks. And there are many different ways DPW could conceivably later regain control after all the noise dies down.

The devil is, of course, in the details. For example, MarketWatch suggests DPW might only sell some of their U.S. port assets:

Dubai Ports World has decided to sell operations at some [my emphasis] U.S. ports to a domestic entity in a bid to end a political firestorm, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner said on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.

“Some”? Which ones? How many? As far as I am concerned, if they have control of even one U.S. port, it is too many.

Another consideration is just who they would transfer their assets to and what DPW’s relationship would be with the new “entity.” Another Arab company based in the United States? A U.S. subsidiary?

And what, exactly, does “transfer” mean? A temporary change in custody? A revocable sale based on clever legal maneuvering? A legitimate sale with plans to later quietly regain control by buying up the purchaser’s stock? A swap of their port assets in exchange for stock in the company purchasing the assets?

But what is most disturbing about all of this is why the president of the United States is pushing this so hard – and being so sneaky in the process. Joseph Farah has already pointed out that Bush has a much better option if he is truly sincere about protecting America. Why isn’t the president taking advantage of such a simple, effective solution?

Don’t buy this Snow job, folks. Tell your representatives to kill this deal dead before Bush puts all of us at further risk of glowing in the dark.

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