Port sale opposition shows Bush is weak

After about five and a half years, President Bush has finally figured out what a veto is, and he is even threatening to use it.

A $6.8 billion deal to sell control of eight ports in the United States to a company based in the United Arab Emirates is causing controversy in Washington. While senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle disagree with the sale, Bush has taken a hardline stance in favor of the U.A.E.

The Washington Post reported Bush didn’t even know about the sale until the outrage in Congress surfaced. He simply relied on the opinions of his cabinet members to form his perspective. For an issue the president barely even knew about, he has been very vocal about his position.

With an overwhelming amount of Congress in opposition to the issue, even if Bush does use the veto, it will likely be overturned. This will only add to the lame duck status that marks his second term as president. But it will be entertaining to hear what kind of excuses Bush can come up with to defend his decision to utilize his veto power.

This appears to be a desperate attempt by Bush to create another bond between the United States and the Middle East. If our nation is really going to stop our “addiction to oil,” there will be nothing left to maintain U.S.-Middle East relations. If a handful of U.S. ports are owned by an Arab country, the U.A.E. will have an invested interest in U.S. foreign policy in other predominantly Muslim nations.

Senators like Majority Leader Bill Frist and Hilary Rodham Clinton should be standing up against the sale of these ports. But the reasoning behind their stance is not very persuasive. Just because some of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from the U.A.E. does not mean that people from the country should not own businesses in the United States.

According to The New York Times, members of Congress are claiming that allowing a Middle Eastern country to control ports will be jeopardizing port security. So this is what it takes for Congress to remember that U.S. ports are not very secure? Port security should be a priority, but it has not been an issue at the top of the Department of Homeland Security’s agenda.

These ports should be domestically owned, not because the U.A.E. has a few suspected terrorists within its borders, but because the United States needs to take port security and operation into its own hands. If these ports are truly an issue of national security, then the United States should be operating them and performing regular inspections.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.