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February 27, 2006

Another Look at the Port Debate

I'm glad there is a postponement on the UAE-owned company takeover of managing six major US ports. I admit I was one of the ones who thought the administration must be off their rockers when I first heard of this. However, as time goes on, I wonder if we all weren't a bit hasty in our jump to criticize. After all, Dubai Ports World will not be handling security, and will be continuing to employ the same US unions who currently work at the ports now.

However, can anyone blame us? Considering the UAE's spotty record on terrorism, rational thinkers had every right to question the deal. Now, let's take a look at a similar hypothetical situation:

The US decides to sell control of our border posts on the US/Mexican border to a Mexican company. We will still provide security (you know, the guys with guns), but the actual day-to-day running of the border posts will be overseen by this Mexican company. That is to say, the Mexican company and its employees will be in charge of checking authorization of people wishing to cross over from Mexico to the US.

What's wrong with this picture? Would you have absolute trust in a Mexican company to make sure illegal Mexican immigrants don't come streaming over the border? I know I sure wouldn't.

And that's why many of us are skeptical of DP World managing our ports. Can we trust that they will have our best interests at heart? If it's a foolproof, ironclad plan, then I'm glad. But I want to hear about it. The biggest gaffe President Bush could have made in this situation was to simply say "trust me." It's not him I don't trust, it's a company owned by a country that recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government in Afghanistan before 9/11.

The UAE is considered to be one of our (few) allies in the Middle East. There is an argument being made that by allowing this port deal to go through, it will strengthen our ties. If a postponement of the deal allows proof of this to see the light of day, then I'm all for it.

Let's hope Congress doesn't squander this opportunity to make good.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Homeland Security
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