Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

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Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IF IN DOUBT, BAIL OUT

International trade is good, and keeping allies smiling is likewise great, but neither benefit trumps commonsense - which apparently isn’t so common.

It’s common sense not to contract with the government of Mexico to guard America’s southern from illegal immigration, and common sense not to outsource to foxes to guard our chickens and – “same same” – not common sense to outsource major ports (or any American ports for that matter) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Homeland security is critical to the public safety of all Americans, and the survival of the United States as a nation. That’s more important than other issues: money, political party, world popularity, whatever.

Granted, the UAE is among the “better” nations in the volatile Middle East, but that’s akin to saying Iran is better than Syria – or vice versa - but UAE is better than both. Well now. The problem with the UAE controlling ports has nothing to do with the Arabic race, but a lot to do with most of this dangerous corner of the globe being homeland to extremism exemplified by al-Qaeda and religious “nutsos.” Currently the UAE is classified an “ally” of the United States in the War on Terror. Will it remain so? I’m not in favor of gambling.

Specifically, putting the UAE in charge of ports creates too many opportunities for the bad guys to cultivate UAE company insiders, thereby gaining intelligence on how to defeat security measures and launch a well-planned terrorist harbor attack. Too many terrorist connections have a UAE link. Some 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as their financial and operational base. Some say the UAE has been used as a transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

If – God forbid –a terrorist attack occurred in one the UAE operated American harbors, what access to UAE records would American investigators have? Could the non-USA based employees be interrogated by the FBI? Probably not.

Critics also note that some of the 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as an operational and financial base. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya. This is scary stuff.

The proposed agreement with the UAE has to do with ports back east, not in Alaska. But the principle is the same, wherever the port. If it can happen somewhere else in the United States, it could happen in Alaska.

I support my president, but he’s not infallable and that’s the case here. We live in a global society, but it’s not always a sane society. When I went to Air Force flying school, my instructor told me, “If in doubt, bail out.” I think that applies here.

1 Comments:

Blogger Randy Laws said...

I'm afraid I can't go along with you this time Bob. Unlike most of the "experts" in this debate, I have been to the UAE several times in the Navy and I can tell you they are a friend compared to the other states in the area. They have absolutely no interest in messing around with our national security. Besides, even the most simple intelligence agency in Africa could find out as much about U.S. port security as could a company running a U.S. Port facility. Dock workers would still be American, and foreign workers would still have to go through the visa process. We would be no less secure with a UAE-based company running the ports than we would be with the any multi-national business. This is simply cheap posturing by the Democrats, seeking to grasp on to some slim sound bite. Don't fall for it. Instead, listen to the experts who know the area the best and have been there. I suggest reading what the current and former commanders of the U.S. Central Command have to say about this issue. You will find that, to a man, they support the UAE and the port deal, because they know the particulars of the area. Having spent 22 months in Central Command as a Staff Officer, I can tell you that the UAE, for all its flaws, is a good friend and ally. You don't simply turn them away to simply give your party more pull in the next election. The world is bigger than that.

9:19 PM  

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