Um, didn't I mention a few weeks back about how Saudi Arabia used a flotilla of supertankers to scoop up the oil from a (somewhat) secret massive offshore spill back in the 1990s. People are still asking where is that level of response, including Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson:
The issue isn't what Obama is feeling, it's what he's doing. Why haven't skimmers been brought in from around the world to scoop up more of the oil? Why isn't the defense of the coastline being run like a military campaign, with failure not an option? Why is the answer to every question essentially the same -- "We've repeatedly asked BP to get that done" -- when we're dealing with a crisis that has to be seen as an urgent matter of national security and the public welfare?
It's not like that outside help isn't available. It is:
The Post reported Monday that the administration has received offers of assistance from 17 nations. Sweden has volunteered to send three ships that can each collect about 15,000 gallons of oil an hour. Norway has offered to send nearly a third of its oil-spill response equipment. Japan has offered to send some boom, which authorities on the scene complain is in short supply.
The Swedes, the Norwegians, the Japanese and most of the other would-be Samaritans are still waiting to hear from the U.S. government or BP. Last week, according to The Post, the administration did ask the European Union to help with any specialized equipment it might have. But meanwhile, oil has penetrated the marshes of southern Louisiana and is lapping onto the beaches of Alabama and Florida. The main spill is spreading, and hurricane season is upon us.
That's pretty lame, if true. I know some on the right are claiming that this has something to do with the unions -- maybe at one point, but I think it's more a combo of incompetance and the notion that America is too proud to beg. Except that it's not begging when the world offers you help for a crisis that's too big for any one nation -- even the United States -- to handle alone.
Hopefully President Obama will address this tonight. He can't swim down there and stop the oil, but he can do this, and then he (and Congress, of course) can pass a recovery package for the Gulf, and then he can work toward that energy policy that will,, among other things, stop the spewing of oil and other pollutants from Louisiana to the Great Salt Lake to right here in Pennsylvania.