Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ports Deal Opposition Doesn't Have to Be About Race

I initially chalked people's rabid opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal up to racism, but there is a lot more to it than that. According to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), hardly a consistent administration basher, and a number of senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle, this deal is unsafe because of which Arabs we're talking about.

Dubai Ports World is at least partially owned by the United Arab Emarates, which supported al-Qaida and recognized Afghanistan's brutal Taliban government before Sept. 11. UAE has been an ally in the War on Terror since 9/11, providing the United States air fields from which to launch offensives in Afghanistan and Iraq, but with that kind of history, it's tough to trust them. Michael Chertoff originally claimed that the deal had been vetted thoroughly (I wrongly criticized Paul Krugman for saying otherwise in his column Friday), but it turns out the deal was not investigated at all. Basically, the administration put New York City port operations in the hands of people who supported the killers of more than 2,000 people who worked right next to the port.

Sure, a huge percentage of our ports are run by foreign companies, including some from threatening countries like China, but none of their governments openly supported terrorism so recently in their history. For some, this may be about racism. But I've been turned around by cold, hard facts about this company's owners that should give anyone interested in protecting the homeland pause.


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