Friday, February 24, 2006

Focus on the Real Threats

A couple interesting columns in The New York Times today. Thomas Friedman makes the same exact point Mr. Fellow and I made here on the ports issue and confirms that this company is merely in charge of overseeing the "coming and going of ships, making sure they are properly loaded and offloaded in the most cost-effective manner." (I'd link, but it's pay-only.) For security we still have the Coast Guard, for inspections we have the Customs Service, and the cargo itself will only be handled by U.S. longshoremen when in the six affected ports. Friedman worries that the anit-Arab outcry has some uncomfortable echoes of McCarthyism 50 years ago, and I agree. Let's keep our eye on the ball here and not get lost in symbolism.

Paul Krugman, meanwhile, makes the predictable blind anti-Bush arguments that have cheapened every debate for liberals over the last five years (and have made his columns, which I usually enjoy, much more irritating). Without any evidence, he says the administration's background check on this company was cursory at best, and then launches into the regular declamations of Bush as a cheat and liar. He does make some good points about Bush reaping here what he has sown since Sept. 11, 2001 -- suspicion of all Arab countries -- but they're unfortunately lost in his reflexive liberal rhetoric. Either stick to economics, Mr. Krugman, or tone it down because I really do enjoy reading your columns when you're on.


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