Surprisingly, in this era of fractious partisan politics, there is massive opposition to this deal coming from both sides of the political playing field inside the United States. All conscientious Americans are able to see through this move and understand what a ridiculous affront to national security allowing another country to run our ports is. There are many reasons to oppose this deal. Two of the 9/11 hijackers are allegedly linked to the UAE, terrorists have been bankrolled by the UAE government as well as established banking centers within the country. The UAE royal family has alleged ties to both al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden himself. The company to which our government plans to sell control of these ports is not just an independent foreign company (which I personally believe would be bad enough), but a state-owned foreign company. This difference is also extremely important.
There is another problem that has received less attention thus far. In addition to its sponsorship of terrorism, the UAE allows a variety of human rights violations to thrive inside its borders: human rights violations have been noted by Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and the US State Department. These include the illegal retention of the passports of expatriate employees (to prevent them from leaving jobs before their employment contracts end), blue collar labor abuse, widespread worker discrimination based on race, sex, age and nationality, use of child slaves as jockeys in camel racing, and a thriving illegal sex industry (including but not limited to children).
It is reasonable to question our government's wish to engage in dealings with the UAE, especially considering the Bush administration's claims that we invaded Iraq (and to some extent, Afghanistan) in order to liberate its people from a leader guilty of a number of human rights violations. We are at war with the nation of Iraq while our government continues to deal financially with other human rights violators such as the United Arab Emirates. We occupy Iraq while we continue friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of the vast majority of the 9/11 hijackers and Osama bin Laden himself. Our government is setting the stage for war with Iran while we ignore the real problems of the world.
Currently, alleged terrorist and 9/11 conspirator Zacharias Moussaoui is accused of having money funneled to him through over twenty banks inside the United Arab Emirates. Simultaneously, the United States government is cheerleading UAE control of six of our seaports, which are already underfunded and understaffed in terms of security. Roughly 5% of crates coming through US seaports are physically checked by port security. About 6% of all crates coming into the United States from abroad are currently scanned for radiation (in efforts to detect "dirty bombs" and other weaponry and prevent attacks within the US). Our port security is already sadly lacking, and we are taking care of everything ourselves.
Give me a break.
This is so insane, even Bill O'Reilly is jumping off the BushCo bandwagon.
To break it down in a way that a ten-year old could understand, here it is: it is incredibly irresponsible for the United States government to allow a foreign company to control ports that serve as trade routes in and out of our country. It is irresponsible to grant contracts (and jobs) to a foreign company instead of choosing a qualified American company (i.e., NOT Halliburton). The Bush administration is putting our national security at risk by brokering this deal, and if it goes through, our tax dollars will go to support employees of a foreign company instead of American workers.
That's just insane, period.