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Cyril E. Vetter

Cyril E. Vetter

Posted: June 10, 2010 09:13 PM

The 'Waterboarding' of America

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It is day 51 of the national torture our country is being subjected to at the hands of a private company, British Petroleum, whose negligence or criminally irresponsible behavior has caused the greatest environmental catastrophe in history and for which there is no end in sight.

And still there has been no appropriate national response. I wrote a month ago that the BP spill has serious national security implications. Had Al-Qaeda blown up a supertanker or sabotaged the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the national response would have been more intense by order of magnitude.

There is still no national incident command center of the kind called for by voices as diverse and reflective as Gen. Colin Powell and David Gergen.

There is still no massive oil tanker "suck and salvage" operation of the kind argued for by John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil from experience with a similar size spill. There is still no marshalling of the resources and assets of other stakeholders in the Gulf, Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and companies with a track record of safely operating offshore and possessed of the knowledge base and physical resources to manage this disaster.

There is still no application of Naval and other military assets to assist an undermanned and under equipped Coast Guard in fighting this massive chemical weapons "attack" to use the words of Admiral Thad Allen.

There is still no removal of BP, the perpetrator of this calamity, from the management of the response, a situation eerily evocative of asking criminals to arrest themselves.

There is still a tepid response from a national government facing potential countrywide crippling economic impact and dislocation.

There is still no end to the daily gut wrenching video and photographs of shore birds, estuaries, fisheries, marshes, wetlands, livelihoods and cultures and in fact the entire Gulf of Mexico, a unique and incredibly valuable part of our national patrimony being destroyed before our very eyes.

And still, it is not too late to ramp up in order of magnitude the response to this disaster. Implement these reasoned and viable recommendations and do it now!

I've never been "waterboarded" and don't want to be, but the daily grinding misery of watching the disaster in the Gulf unfold must be its psychic equivalent. And not just to me but to every citizen of these United States.