Several events have gotten me riled these past few days. To begin with, I'm flabbergasted by Fmr. President Jimmy Carter's comments about Israel cutting off financial aid/payments to the Palestinians now that the terrorist organization Hamas is running the show. Israel has stopping the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money, branding the Palestinian government a "terrorist authority."
Speaking Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room" with host Wolf Blitzer, Carter said: "My concern is that in order to try, on behalf of the United States and Israel, to punish Hamas, we'll actually going to be punishing the Palestinian people who are already living in deprivation. And it's going to turn the Palestinian people even more against the West and against Israel, against us and make Hamas seem to be, you know, their only friend. So this will strengthen Hamas and weaken the Palestinian people. I think it's a counterproductive ploy to try to punish Hamas."
One question, Mr. Carter: would you ever in a million years go on CNN and suggest that the United States should continue sending funds to Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country that would be run by Al Qaeda? Until you walk in the Israelis' shoes, which have for twenty years stepped over the blood of innocent Israeli children brutally spilled at the hands of Hamas, your comments will be considered misguided, naive and highly insensitive.
My next beef is with the Bush administration's brilliant idea to authorize the sale of operations at six major U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates. Yes, you read that correctly. A state-owned UAE company will be in charge of ensuring Americans' security at ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. The ports were previously controlled by London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which was bought last week by the Dubai Ports World. The Bushies claim they've properly vetted the deal and have required strict adherence to several security conditions and measures.
But the decision has caused an uproar in Washington, attracting criticism from leading Republicans like Sen. Lindsay Graham (SC), who said the decision to give the UAE control of the port operations was "unbelievably tone deaf".
I ask, how on earth can the UAE weed out the honest laborers from the suicide bombers who might infiltrate the company, pose as workers and enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of wreaking havoc? (the UAE, mind you, was home to two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers). Until this question is answered without a shadow of a doubt, this was surely a bone-headed decision indeed.
Lastly, this brings us to the decision by Paul Hackett to drop out of the Senate race in Ohio. Not because this war veteran lost his courage to wage battle, but because the namby-pamby Democratic leadership--including Sen. Chuck Schumer(NY) and Sen. Harry Reid (NV)--pushed him to do so to make way for Congressman Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, to take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent. According to Hackett they pressured his key supporters to stop aiding his candidacy. It came down to two things: money and balls. Brown has about $2.5-million in his campaign war chest, about ten times that of Hackett. Hackett, you'll recall, came within a nose hair of winning the House seat last year in his race against Jean Schmidt (yes, the "Murtha's a coward" Jean Schmidt) in the 2nd district, the most heavily Republican district in the state. The Dem's were also concerned with Hackett's outspokenness over the war, Bush and the right-wing in general.
Finally, we get a guy who speaks the truth and has a clear message. Someone who speaks without reservation and is not an apologist like Reid. New blood that can fight the battle with the GOP the way it needs to be fought, not operate business as usual. We need more candidates like Hackett, not less. And when push came to shove, the Dem's lost their balls and went the conventional route. Hackett was railroaded by his own party. It's one thing to get your ass kicked by the other side. It's another when it's by one of your own. Let's hope candidates like Paul Hackett remain motivated to stay in politics and help lead the battle. We all know the current Democratic leadership couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag.