Featured Column
Week of 2.27.2006
Selling America!
          San Francisco International airport was moderately crowded. The lines were not too long. The security people were doing their jobs. Passengers were required to empty their pockets, remove heavy belt buckles, remove their shoes and jackets and place their carry- on luggage in plastic containers which would roll their way through the x-ray machine. The whole process is a pain for passengers. On the other side of the inspection machinery the passengers are leaning on tables, putting their shoes on, tucking in their shirts, adjusting their dresses and gathering their luggage.
          Billions of dollars are being spent on security across America in hopes of preventing another 9/11 attack. President Bush has repeated over and over that America is at war. He’s been unremitting in his reminders of the dangers we face from terrorists. We’ve spent billions of dollars in recent years on homeland security and on the war in Iraq and we will spend billions more before the dangers pass.
          Iraq speeds towards civil war as Iran threatens to attack Americans and Israel.
          Some time ago a collection of businessmen from the United Arab Emirates approached members of the Bush administration and officers of P & O Lines and made an offer to purchase the rights to six of America’s largest Ports of Entry.
          As soon as the news got out that the American government was moving ahead on selling these vulnerable ports to a foreign power everyone began denying knowledge of the transaction. Then we hear that the office of Homeland Security raised their hand at a meeting concerning the possible sale and objected on the grounds that having a foreign power operating six of our largest Ports of Entry could endanger Homeland Security. Then, a few days later, we hear the same head of Homeland Security saying, “Oh, heck, it’s okay, we can live with foreigners operating our vulnerable ports.” Something or somebody must have changed his mind about the dangers.
         The President, upon watching the television news programs reporting that the word was out about the sale of our ports said, “Huh, I didn’t know anything about this stuff.”
          The Democrats in Congress quickly seeing the opportunity of nailing the administration, shaved, combed their hair, put on a new white shirts and flocked to the nearest television camera and expounded on the dangers of selling off American’s largest Ports of Entry.
          Here we are, making our citizens wanting to board a jet in America get frisked, stripped and x-rayed before they’re allowed to set foot on an airplane and for some reason (of which we have not been told) we are willing to have a foreign power own the major Ports of Entry to our country.
           Would we allow a foreign country to operate the security gates at our airports? I doubt it. Would we sell the rights to guard the White House or the halls of Congress to a Middle Eastern country. Nope. Would the President or Congress allow anyone but Americans to guard Fort Knox, or the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument or the Central Intelligence Agency or President Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas?
          Michael Brown, formerly of FEMA, was canned because he didn’t do enough, fast enough to save Louisiana and Mississippi. Michael Chertoff, head of our department of Homeland Security should be yelling his head off trying to revoke any progress on the sale of our ports.
          It’s difficult to believe that the President of the United States didn’t know about the proposed sale of the Ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia to a foreign power. It’s difficult to believe that the President, the involved state’s governors and mayors weren’t advised or asked for advice about the thought of selling their ports to the government of the United Arab Emirates – the men from Abu Dhabi.
          It may even be hard to believe that one or all of them did, indeed, know about the sale, and attempted to keep it from the American people. One way or another something stinks.
          Every child, adult, old woman in a wheelchair, every nun, every priest, every pilot is a suspect before they board their flight. Every nail file, bobby pin, Swiss Army Knife and fork is removed from passengers to insure the flight’s safe take off and landing and yet we consider selling the rights to operate our ports to a government in the midst of the earth’s most volatile area.
          Are we that poor? Do we need money that badly? Is our President really considering handing the keys to the control of our harbors to thousands of men hired by a foreign country, where cells of al Qaeda exist in strength. Does the President consider giving our Ports of Entry to the men of Abu Dhabi to show how little animosity we feel about the attacks of 9/11? Does he believe that by giving our Ports to Arab interests we have forgiven the attacks - the murders of Americans here and around the world? Does the President really believe that by selling our Ports of Entry to the government of the United Arab Emirates the terrorists around the world will lay down their arms and say, “No more bombs, no more shooting. The Americans have given us their Ports. Let’s be good guys.”
          I would think, rather, that the moment the sale of our Ports was completed terrorists in the Middle East and around the world would be wringing their hands and making plans to fill cargo containers destined to be unloaded in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.
          I’d gladly trade our Department of Homeland Security for a Department of Common Sense and Brains!
Keep America American
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger