Political posturing …

The ARIZONA DAILY STAR reports that Congressman Jim Kolbe, one of two congressional members who voted against blocking the Dubai port deal, said that the Appropriations Committee action was more about political posturing than national security. “It’s diversionary. It diverts our attention from the real issue. The real issue critical to port security is not who manages the ports, but the lack of inspections of the shipping containers that arrive at the ports. Only about 1 percent of containers are inspected,” he said.

The vote to deny Dubai the contract is “of absolutely no relevance to security. They have no control over security. They’re like the person in the control tower at an airport. It has nothing to do with security,” Kolbe repeated. He said he tried to convince his colleagues on that point, but “you can see how persuasive I was.”

In a year when most members are running for re-election, public reaction has been turned against the DPW so that congressional repudiation can appear to be a reflection of the public sentiment. Kolbe, however, can afford to be more forthright because he had already announced that he will not be seeking re-election this fall.

His statements make it obvious, however, that our elected politicians really do know what the score is on this issue, and that in this election year their strategy is to “confuse us with facts”. The most important fact, of course … and the one that is sure to inflame passions … is that a foreign nation is “taking over” six of our ports where a very, very small percentage of incoming containers are being scrutinized by our security systems. Congressman Kolbe knows political posturing when he sees it, but politicians know that the general public doesn’t.

Wouldn’t it be great if, after this fall’s re-elections, these same congressional members continued to dwell upon that very, very small percentage? And wouldn’t it be great if their “Hooray for me” could become a “Hooray for America”? Now that we’ve seen how effective their posturing can be, it wouldn’t take much effort on their parts to direct the public’s attention to the one sure way of assuring national security. Unlike the expensive and ineffective steps taken since 9-11, the cure-all is affordable and logical, and the side effects would be most welcome. We’re speaking, of course, about our patented shipboard storage and retrieval system. Now more than ever, officials should be assessing this system and the multiple benefits that will be generated. Here are a few of them:
• Revitalization of our shipbuilding industry.
• Thousands of shipyard employment opportunities.
• Revitalization of our underutilized seaports.
• Thousands of container terminal employment opportunities.
• Development of freight villages and outlying commercial centers.
• Cost savings in the transportation of imported goods.
• Reduced need for massive dredging projects.
• Reduced air pollution and an improved quality of life.
• And let’s not forget the 100 % rate of inspection for containers … way, way out to sea.