When it comes to securing our nation's borders and ports of entry, America will never be truly safe until we start following the lead of the Israelis and use racial profiling. Up until now we as a government have been much more concerned with appearances and with being politically correct. That was never more abundantly clear than Tuesday evening on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
In a discussion of the raging controversy in Washington over the Busheviks' decision to approve the sale of six major U.S. port operations to a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates, Matthews' guests were Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D). All three blasted the decision on the grounds that no foreign government should be allowed to own and operate our ports. Despite repeated goading from Matthews as to whether they'd have a problem with an Arab company controlling the ports, all said they'd be ok with that provide certain precautionary measures and safeguards were met. Not one of them would admit to it being an Arab issue per se. And herein lies the simple truth about America's homeland security effort. It's based on bullshit.
Each of the politicians Matthews interviewed knows deep down exactly what this problem is, but they're too afraid to speak the truth for fear of being branded a racist and perhaps losing a few votes from their Arab constituents. Yet it's utterly contradicting and hypocritical to lash out at Bush for allowing an Arab country to own the ports but then say it'd be just dandy for an Arab company to do so. In fact, I would think we're actually quite safer having a legitimate government watch over the ports than a company controlled, financed and/or influenced by god-knows-who in the Middle East. But that's besides the point.
It wasn't until Matthews brought on outspoken Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, a moderate Republican, that someone finally spoke the truth:
"You've been waiting so far into the program for someone to say we should not empower Arabs to control our ports. Well, I'm your man. We shouldn't do that," he told Matthews. "We're talking about a government here that would recognize the Taliban but wouldn't recognize Israel. Period. End of story."
Not only has the UAE backed Afghanistan's repressive Taliban regime, it's funded Hamas, is known as a pit stop for drug traffickers on the way to the West, and it was home to two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. A model for U.S. port security? Hardly.
Matthews: "So you're making this an ethnic issue? You're making this an ethnic thing?"
Smerconish: "Chris, it is an ethic thing. For goodness sakes, go back and look at the mugshots of those nineteen guys. Why do we have to be embarrassed to say we're at war with radical Islam, and there are common denominators--race, gender, religion, ethnicity--and guess what, they are the last people we're gonna put in charge of our ports."
Give the guy credit for speaking what is the obvious. And the U.S. government should start listening and learning how to truly defend itself. The Israelis don't care how they look. Israel doesn't care about who it offends. It is at war, and it has identified its enemy, and the country will do whatever it takes to keep its citizens and its borders safe and secure. And it is not wasteful or gratuitous in its defense of its people.
"Let's stop spending all this time with the blue-haired old lady with the aluminum walker when she's going through the airport," Smerconish continued. "We know who the enemy is. Let's acknowledge it."
When challenged by Matthews over whether profiling therefore eliminated the chances of any Arab entity from doing business in the U.S., Smerconish said "I've eliminated any chance for an Arab to control American ports in the aftermath of September 11. Don't trust Arabs...to protect what are the doorways to our country. Now I'm sorry if that sounds alarming to some, but this administration has avoided this subject since 9/11. They should be profiling at airports, that means we all get scrutiny, some more than others, and it also means we close the porous borders, and it also means we don't entrust control of our ports to people who potentially are our enemy."
I'm sorry, but this guy is dead on. It's time our politicians start speaking the truth as well.