Bush veto threat on bill that would stop port sale to UAE company

Posted by: ST on February 21, 2006 at 4:03 pm

Via Reuters:

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that a deal for a state-owned Dubai company to manage major U.S. ports should go forward and will not jeopardize U.S. security.

Bush told reporters traveling back to Washington with him from Colorado that he would veto legislation to stop the deal from going through.

“After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,” Bush said. He added that if the U.S. Congress passed a law to stop the deal, “I’ll deal with it with a veto.”


Bush called reports at about 2.30 aboard Air Force One to issue a very strong defense of port deal… MORE… He said he would veto any legislation to hold up deal and warned the United States was sending ‘mixed signals’ by going after a company from the Middle East when nothing was said when a British company was in charge… Lawmakers, he said, must ‘step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard.’ Bush was very forceful when he delivered the statement… ‘I don’t view it as a political fight,’ Bush said.

Looks like there might be a showdown on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday PM Update: John McIntyre at the Real Clear Politics bloghas up a must read post on this that touches on the issue of profiling:

The Financial Times has a well balanced and thoughtful editorial on the uproar over the deal on the U.S. ports and the UAE. I don’t agree with their conclusions, but if you want a more balanced understanding of this proposed transaction it is worth the two minutes to read it. This issue is more complicated than the cheap political demagoguery we have seen, especially from Democrats now preening about how tough they are on national security – and particularly from those who resist any profiling of young Arab men, but now somehow “know” this UAE company is a security threat. Isn’t this a degree of profiling?

I ask those politicians who want to “profile” this company why can’t we profile young Arab males. What’s the difference? It seems pretty common sense that if Arab companies should probably not be allowed to be contracted to run the operations at U.S. ports given the current environment, then young men from those same Arab countries should probably receive a higher level of scrutiny as well.

Hat tip to AJ Strata.

Other bloggers who are urging calm and/or are taking a second look at this deal: The Glittering Eye, Blogs For Bush, Homeland Security Watch, Junkyard Blog, Will Collier at Vodkapundit, Squiggler, California Conservative, Expose the Left, Lorie Byrd at Polipundit

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  • Leaning Straight Up trackbacked with Now I know it's a bad idea...
  • Amy Proctor trackbacked with Nabbing Terrorists and Opening the Ports
  • The Bodie Specter trackbacked with Port Deals For Dummies
  • All Things Beautiful trackbacked with The Sum Of All Fears
  • Iowa Voice trackbacked with Further Thoughts On The Port Deal
  • 54 Responses to “Bush veto threat on bill that would stop port sale to UAE company”


    1. Baklava says:

      Whew. This is a big one. One thing is for sure, Bush is got some guts!

      I don’t think this’ll resonate with most Americans unless the UAE as a country is explained in earnest by most news outlets.

      This will probably have negative implications for Bush’s ratings and not be a party line issue so will not hurt either Repubicans or Democrats.

    2. GBA says:

      The fix is in!

      Can you say private equity fund?

    3. steve says:

      bush seems to picking all the wrong fights lately. Then lame-ducks do stupid things because they have nothing to lose. Problem for him is that nobody cares what he thinks any longer. Peace

    4. mynewsbot says:

      Lets outsource our government

    5. ArizonaTeach says:

      That’s why you’re such a model of restraint about talking about Bush then, Steve?
      Mike Piazza.

    6. karl says:

      If Bush wants this to pass, and there are no real negatives to it as he suggests, then instead of figjhting words, he ought to be addressing the concerns with diclosure and information.

      on the Tony Snow show they dismissed it as reactionary, and while I think that may be overly simplistic, I also thing the reaction is hysterical on the face.

      So open up people, and lets discuss what is really going on here.

      If, as I heard today, the ports remain the property of the states, and the security remains with the Coast Guard and the TSA, then all we are talking about is adminstrative control and operations.

      I do imagine the unions are concerned about maintaining their positions there as well.

      So what would the good and bad here be? I have too many questions remaining to form an opinion yet.

    7. sanity says:

      Still of mixed emotions on it.

      Rush is for it.
      Hannity is against it.

      Most the public seems to be up in arms about it.

      Democrats that are very weak in protection of the US, is suddenly getting a boost and playing it out for political reasons to make themselves look good.

      Bush is firm on his position and doesn’t look to be willing to change his mind.

      But there is also the factor that just because it is an Arab owned company does not mean we should lump all Arabs in to the same category for Terrorists.

      From the the bit I have read, I would say I am against it also.

      If anything seeing Carter for this makes me wonder about how good it is for the US.

    8. Pat says:

      Bill Frist picked up the gauntlet just a few minutes ago on the radio. He told his host that, if the president were to veto legislation that would block this deal, an override of that veto is possible.

    9. – Why do I have the feeling that somehow theres something missing here that everyone is overlooking, and it will turn out to be another brilliant Rovian rope-a-dope that the left, once agian, will get sucked in and trounced. Bush must be acting from info not available to everyone else. Either that or hes getting terrible advice. In the mean time the left, emulating their fearless granade launcher expert LurchKerry, is now screaming for profiling, whereas before they were screeching against it.

      – Bang **==

    10. steve says:

      Two things. First, the Left will trade the seaports for ownwership of Mecca. Second, there is $8.9 billion in dollars involved here. Peace

    11. Jim M says:

      After listening to Rush on the way home he made sense this British company has been operating our ports and a company from UAE is buying the British out plane and simple. After thinking about this he’s right the long shore men (Americans) will remain the same the only change will be at the top of the company. Our Customs Agents will still be responsible for checking all the imports into this country and the Coast Guard can board any ship entering our waters. It is the same as a privet company leasing an Airport from a City Government and running it for profit the Security (TSA) would remain the same the company would just run the day to day operation. The security would sill be on the Port Authority and the Federal Government as it was before the sale to the UAE company. Anything that enters our waters and our ports (Ships as well as Airplanes) are subject to our laws and our Customs Agents inspections period.

    12. I don’t think even Bush is bull headed enough to push through something like this on just a money-pit boondoggle. Theres got to be more to it than that. The Rep Congressman have been demuring on his support lately, seeing him as a lame duck, which isn’t all that unusual because they’re facing re-elections of their own. Maybe he has something up his sleeve to use to whip them back in line. I just don’t think this is as simple as it looks. If I were a Republican Senator right now I’d be trying very hard to read between the lines.

      – Bang **==

    13. Baklava says:

      Real Clear Politics has got some good questions. And I say again. Profiling never took someone’s business away, it only served to scrutinize people more effectively. Not elderly Polish grandma’s but people who looked like the 19 hijackers. It’s being smart and using your security dollar for wisely. It’s not taking their business away from them.

      I am against the deal but I remain consistent. Democrats do NOT remain consistent. Also, isn’t the focus on UAE a diversion from the real war on terror. Is OBL in UAE?

    14. stackja says:

      Will UAE take the ports away or leave them where they are? Where they are they can be watched. What is the problem?

    15. kevin says:

      The UAE recognized the Taliban when they were in power, but still doesn’t recognize Israel. That’s not my kind of ally.

    16. LCVRWC says:

      At first I was heartened by the Dems being against this (as am I). At first I though they were finally beginning to figure out who the enemy really is.

      Then I realized they’re so against anything the President does that he could open a window on a sunny day and the the Dems would say he was contributing to global warming.

    17. tommy in nyc says:

      :)>- kevin just made a very good point. Well at least that’s what this leftie thinks…………………we’re not all moonbats you know

    18. PCD says:

      I need to make a couple of points here. 1. Name a US Port run by a US company.

      2. In the evolving Democrat Cut and Run plan for Iraq in which they propose to move our troops outside of Iraq, but close enough to move in when needed isn’t the UAE one of those close enough places? If it is safe and secure enough to station our troops in the UAE, why can’t a UAE company run our ports?

    19. steve says:

      The sale of the ports situation is just another example of cosmic irony. bush is being laid low by the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle Group is running the sale on behalf of Dubai Ports World. You all remember the Carlyle Group, they are controlled by Bush the Elder. This is another example of the Bushie’s selling out America, for the quick buck. Peace Peace

    20. sanity says:

      Yeah and Haliburton.
      Evil Haliburton.

      Hold on a second, didn’t Shumer say he wouldn’t mind Haliburton taking over this time?

      I thought they were evil Haliburton?
      I smell Waffles.

    21. I smell Lib-bats chewing on their own toes….

      – Bang **==

    22. Jim M says:

      Steve loosen your headband I think it’s too tight! I have read a few articles this morning (Not Left Leaning OP/Ed’s) and I can not find any mention of the “Carlyle Group”. Look out Steve the Black Helicopters are on there way! I have read both pros and cons on the UAE company Dubai Ports World running the day to day operation of our ports and have listened to Rush, Hannity and Boortz. What really makes me against this at this point is that Jimmy Carter is for it that is what makes me wonder about this deal. But then again even a blind pig will find a truffle every now and then. Could Jimmy Carter be right for once in his political life? I still know that even though the management of the ports may change the security is still in the hands of Homeland Security, The Coast Guard, US Customs and the Port Police. There is a difference between Port Security and Port Ownership!

    23. – Sooooo…. lets see. Since Halliburton is one of the few, if not the only American firm, with the resources to run the ports, I take it then you are for that now, would that be right Steve?

      – In less than three days the left has done a full 180 on profiling, over which they loudly condemed the Right for racisim, and now thats ok, and the much hated “eviiiillll” Haliburton is suddenly acceptable.

      – The Liberal Lefty Komrads change positions faster than Zaa Zaa changed husbands. They started as just a car wreck, now they’ve evolved to a clown car.

      – Bang **==

    24. sanity says:

      The wind changed Bang, so thier position changed with it.

      Democrat Headquarters now located at the Waffle House.

    25. Jim M says:


      I believe that Lady Bird Johnson does or did own the controlling interests in Halliburton wasn’t her husband a big Democrat I think he was to one behind “The War on Poverty”!

    26. Well sanity, Jim, PCD, Bak, ST, and any of the other regular good Conservative Americans that REALLY love their country, and will protect it, and support it under any circumatsnaces, you’all have to remember we’re just “uncaring”, “insensitive”, “un-nuanced” people. Funny thing is the majority of Amercans don’t seem to share that attitude with our “progressive” opposition. Lets just hope for the sake of our children, and our country, it stays that way. I know how to speak Francias’, that doesn’t mean I want to live in their type of Zombie Socialism. Fact is THEY don’t want to now that they understand the individual choices they’ve lost. Goooooo Condi/Guilliani!!!

      – Bang **==

    27. sanity says:

      She is a principle stockholder Jim, you are correct.

      Haliburton has AWAYS been owned by the Johnson family as majority share holders…. that is JOHNSON as in President Lyndon Baynes Johnson. His wife, Lady Bird, is the major share holder of Hailburton.

      By the way, Haliburton was a favorite contractor by the DoD during the Clinton years also. Strange I didn’t hear this much whining from the Left durin gteh Clinton years and Haliburton? Why is that?

      Lady Bird was a major stock holder of Brown &Root which was bought out by and became Haliburton in which Lady Bird held major interest to this day in. It was a medium size construction company in Texas. They got all of the contracts to build all of the bases, roads, and airports in Vietnam. Not mentioning that Houston Control (exact duplicate of cape canavarel sp.), was built by B&R and ordered by Johnson. It soon became the largest construction company in the USA.

      In 1962, Brown & Root sold out to Halliburton, a booming oil-well construction-and-services firm, and in the following years the conglomerate grew spectacularly. According to Dan Briody, who has written a book on the subject, Brown & Root was part of a consortium of four companies that built about eighty-five per cent of the infrastructure needed by the Army during the Vietnam War. At the height of the resistance to the war, Brown & Root became a target of protesters, and soldiers in Vietnam derided it as Burn & Loot.

      Brown & Root: Johnson’s Primary Financial Supporter

      Throughout Lyndon Johnson’s career, Brown & Root was his biggest financial supporter. Today the company is a huge defense contractor. It was founded by Herman Brown in the 1920s. The son of a Belton, Texas shopkeeper, Herman’s career had a humble beginning. But Alvin Wirtz and Lyndon Johnson helped Brown & Root acquire huge defense contracts from President Roosevelt in the late 1930s. The company prospered a great deal after America’s entry into World War II. Brown & Root returned the favor by giving Johnson virtually any financial help he requested.

      Brown & Root continued to grow as the primary contractor for building military bases. When Johnson got America into the Vietnam War, Brown & Root made a fortune constructing military bases in Southeast Asia. They built the Tan Son Nhut Air Base and reportedly built many of the infamous tiger cages used to brutalize and torture suspected enemies of the Saigon regime.60 Tiger Cages were cells constructed below ground with just enough room to fit one person. Prisoners were put in these as punishment for various infractions of the rules.

      As of this writing (2002) Brown & Root is owned by the Halliburton Company, a prestigious defense contractor based in Dallas, Texas. Until July 25, 2000, Vice-President Dick Cheney was CEO and chairman of the board of the Halliburton Company. The following is a profile of the Halliburton Company from Yahoo.com stock quotes:


      Halliburton Company provides services and equipment to energy, industrial and governmental customers. The Company operates in two business segments: Energy Services Group and Engineering and Construction Group. The Energy Services Group provides a range of discrete services and products to customers for the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. The segment serves independent, integrated and national oil companies. The Engineering and Construction Group segment, consisting of Kellogg Brown & Root and Brown & Root Services, provides a range of services to energy and industrial customers and government entities worldwide. Halliburton operates in 120 countries.


      Halliburton Company provides a variety of services, equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction to energy, industrial and govermental customers. For the nine months ended 9/30/01, revenues rose 13% to $9.87 billion. Net income from continuing operations before account. Change increased 96% to $410 million. Revenues reflect higher rig counts and increased prices. Earnings also reflect increased utilization of equipment and personnel.

      In addition, the Navy Department was quietly informed by the White House that Lyndon Johnson was to be consulted—and advice taken—on the awarding of Navy contracts in Texas.

      Consequently, Brown & Root began obtaining coveted Navy Department contracts. The Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was awarded to Brown & Root without competitive bidding. Instead it was awarded on a “negotiated basis.” Because the contract was so big, Brown & Root was directed by the Roosevelt administration to share the profits with another contractor, Kaiser.


    28. Jim M says:

      Thanks Bang you are right I served proudly and would do it again if called upon. Yes we are “Insensitive” but the truth is insensitive. The left thinks this country is great because of its Government they have totally lost the fact that this country is great because of its people. “The People” doesn’t mean the “Soap opera watching group” that even three of the New Orleans city counsel members even said they don’t want back. They said if you’re willing to work come back if you are not stay away unfortunately other cities are stuck with these leaches (Democrats all). I just hope the Republican Party gets back to there roots of cutting taxes and shrinking Government.


    29. Jim M says:

      Thanks Sanity for the conformation, Neil Boortz had talked about this same thing a day or two ago. I wonder if any Democrats have received any campaign contributions from Lady Bird would that be considered money from Halliburton? Could you imagine the scandal if you replaced LBJ with G. W. Bush and Vietnam with Iraq the Democrats would be screaming IMPEACHMENT at the top of their lungs! History is a great thing is it?

    30. solitaire says:

      Last I looked, Frist is not a Democrat.
      What is all this “Democrat” stuff? Everyone I talk to, and most are Republican, don’t like this deal. I don’t think it’s going to go down the way Bush wants it to, and if the Democrats are credited with “the resistance”, that will only be the Republican PR mistake.

    31. – Yes well lets see how it all comes out, once the political posturing, and partisan blather from both sides of the asile, along the leftwing press “get Bush” efforts, get swept away by the usual “facts” that always seem to leave the opposition standing with egg on its face. We’er already starting to hear that special non-partisan security committees had fully reviewed this transaction for several months before it was passed on. Now some of those same people are suddenly “against” it for purely political reasons. Where were all these voices then. Like I said, I think this will turn out differently than a lot of people think. We shall see. In the mean time I don’t hear any on the left explaining how and why they suddenly decided racial profiling has become not only acceptable, but “crucial”. The silence is deafening. *snort*

      – Bang **==

    32. solitaire says:

      If it is a UAE State run company, and the UAE Royal Family runs the state, and the UAE royal family has close ties to Bin Laden, why is it “racial profiling”? Interesting way to put it.
      But whatever.

    33. – I, and others, have explained to “true” position of the Emirates in the WOT, both in terms of security, hands down the best in the world, and their help to America in tracking down and nailing many of the terrorists. I’m sorry if you missed the memo. Since they have/are helping us in the WOT, have agreed to, and met, all the same security requiremens we hold EVERY other country too when they want to do business with us, refusing them that opportunity simply because they’re a muslim/arab country is simple bald-faced racial profiling, which if I recall not too long ago, when the Right called for that at our own airports and ports of entry we were roundly chastised and accused of racisim. Which is it? I think Liberals want it both ways, more left hipocracy….

    34. Baklava says:

      After hearing a longshoreman union worker on the Rush show today and seeing Union politics in CA, I doubt the deal will make it.

      Neither UAE folks nor Bush folks I think understand the politics of these folks.

      I’m hoping that Bush is asking Dubai Ports World to pull out of this purchase deal as a favor and I’m hping DPW is willing to do so.

    35. – Bak, unless something new turns up that takes this out of the political arena, it will probably be axed. Which is the right thing to do, simply because of the genral situation. But I don’t want to hear any more yammering from the left about profiling being racsist when we’re simply trying to protect Americans when they travel. Thats idiotic and partisan motivated. Only a complete chuckle head would be against defensive measures against our enemies, and suddenly it looks like the left has discovered that dirty little “truth”. Of course we’re coming up on election time, so in their feckless way, the left is suddenly “tough” on terrorism, thinking the electorate is going to immediately forget all the ways the Liberals have tried to stifle the Presidents WOT efforts. Yeh. That could happen.

      – Bang **==

    36. Baklava says:

      Bang said, “I don’t want to hear any more yammering from the left about profiling being racsist

      Oh. You’ll hear about it…. One thing the left is apt to do is call names and not engage in a civil debate.

    37. PCD says:


      The left may be posing as tough on terrorism, but they are soft on the troops rights to free speech. The Democrats do not want the truth broadcast and are trying to make an example in Minnesota by demanding that ads featuring soldiers and families of the fallen in Iraq not be shown. The Democrats claim they are lies. How low will Democrats go?

    38. tommy in nyc says:

      :-w While it’s always a good idea to have positive business relations with members of the Arab street to have them in charge of port security is a pretty dumb idea. This is Bi-partisan folks. I don’t got a problem with the wiretap B.S. so let’s cancel this deal:)>- and let’s just all move along…….I’m not a freaking moonbat.

    39. – Well PCD, everytime you think you’ve seen them hit bottom they raise the bar of partisanship/intolorance another notch. Apparently theres no limit too the anti-Americanism with the “ends justifies the means” bunch.

      – As to the port issue, as I’ve mentioned before, if this whole kerfluffle gets the Administration off its butt, and really doing something about port security, then it will have had a positive effect overall.

      – Bang **==

    40. PCD says:


      Not just the ports, but airports and borders, too. But I already went through this rant over on the “If you could be any President” thread.

    41. Baklava says:

      Tommy wrote, “to have them in charge of port security is a pretty dumb idea.

      Where is your evidence Tommy (you get it wrong every time) that they will be in charge of port security?

      Tommy wrote, “I’m not a freaking moonbat.

      I’ve never said that about ya. But you do tend to get the facts wrong.

    42. Baklava says:

      CBS News Story

      It should help you Tommy.

    43. Baklava says:

      In it is the following:
      Thirty per cent of the countries port terminals are operated by companies that are, um, unAmerican.

      At the port of Los Angeles, 80 per cent of the terminals are operated by foreign companies. Chinese companies operate more than half the terminals.

    44. – Bak. If you don’t stop countering all the obfuscation and mis-speaks, (yes I’m being kind by characterizing them in that manner), you’re going to be forever branded as a insensitive “facts” obssesive, lacking in the neccessary “nuanced” thinking of the Komrads… *chuckle*

      – Bang **==

    45. steve says:

      Let’s stay focused on The Carlyle Group and how the Bushies are picking our pockets. Peace

    46. Steve. We’re discussing rejection of a company purely on racial bigotry. Try to keep up. BTW you never mentioned whether you’re down with Halliburton taking over the port management.

      – Bang **==

    47. Lorica says:

      LOL I find it so very funny that Steve is telling the rest of us to stay focused. How many times a day is Steve lacking in focus or clarity for that matter. That or this is an extreme MeMeMe post. You decide. – Lorica =))