Thursday, March 09, 2006

Iron Maiden Can Teach Us a Lot About How I Really Don't Give a Shit About This Port Deal

No storm or heavy weather
Will rock the boat - you’ll see. -- Iron Maiden

They're not going to hit the ports.

And even if they did, who'd notice? Have you ever seen a commercial seaport?

But that wouldn't stop a bunch of demagogues -followed by a bunch of other nitwits who see an election coming - who wouldn't know a stevedore from a davit if either one hit them over the head with a loose bollard from crying wolf at a foghorn-like volume. So the UAE is buying a British company whose assets include rights to administer (and get income from) some sea ports. This basically means that they will tell container ships which pier to dock at, provide facilities for loading and unloading containers, and collect checks from freight companies.

That's it.

The coast guard will still be walking around the ships with Geiger counters, and will still have access to the manifests. (As if a manifest would read "2 containers - medical equipment; 1 container - nuclear bomb.")

But it doesn't matter. Because, face it, seaports are lousy targets. You have acres and acres of concrete and heavy equipment and very few people. If you detonate a conventional explosive in a port, the most damage you can do is maybe sink a ship or two hauling containers filled with crappy plastic Happy Meal toys from Taiwan. If they detonated a nuke, they'd be seriously reducing the spectacularity and deadliness of an attack than if they were to say put it in the back of a U haul and drive it right up to Yankee Stadium during the playoffs (and here I will pause to allow Red Sox fans to complete their fantasies).

No there are many other ways to deliver a nuke so that the scuzzballs can put it exactly where they want it for maximum impact. We've got a porous border to the south, we've got Cuban refugees that can make it here in a converted Chevy Nova and several inner tubes, and we've got people who have dug tunnels across our northern border to smuggle drugs.

Why the hell bother with a glacially slow, unreliable and low impact target when there are so many other easier and cheaper alternatives available?

But it's a moot point, since control of a port terminal has nothing to do with security. Not that you'd ever know that from all these people who've become instant experts.

UPDATE: And now the issue is even mooter, if that's possible (and if that's even a word).

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