Web Letters | The Nation

Obama's to blame too

I have been shocked and frustrated from the start of this disaster that the focus has been on the wrong area. The focus should have been on plugging the damn hole, as Obama would say. In order to do that, the emphasis should have been on bringing in all of the leading scientists, engineers and oil company experts from all over the world. There should have been no talk whatsoever about blame. Was it really necessary to have all the quacking ducks in Congress holding "hearings" about who's to blame, when they don't even know what they're talking about? When the gusher is still gushing?

The insipid blame-game that has been going on makes me furious! It does not take a rocket scientist to see that BP is to blame. Was it really necessary to waste time and energy painfully elaborating the obvious?

Obama has also been seriously at fault. First, before the crisis he told us all oh-so-confidently that offshore oil drilling was perfectly safe with the wonderful new technology available. John McCain's words, actually. As a Floridian, living in a state that has long banned offshore oil drilling (that helps a bunch now!), I thought that was a rather shocking statement for an someone who is supposed to be a conservationist.

I have also been shocked at Obama's astounding lack of leadership on bringing together experts to solve this problem. He has behaved like a 10-year-old child who just wants to say "It's all your fault" to nasty horrible BP. Obama doesn't seem to give a damn about the Gulf and about the Gulf states. I'm seriously beginning to believe that he is "punishing" the Southeast for not particularly supporting him in the election. I think that the guy is a 100 percent Chicago politician scammer. I can't understand what anybody sees in that phony.

I never thought that I'd say it, but yes, I wish that Bush were still president. At least Bush would do something, instead of sitting around giving stupid speeches. I still find it impossible to believe that nothing can be done about this oil disaster. I think that Obama is dragging his heels on it and just thinking about how he can exploit it for one his dumb political agenda points. He is rapidly earning a place as the worst president in American history!

Jack W. Orf

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Jun 11 2010 - 10:25am

We can stop the oil leak!

It seems pretty simple (or almost) to me to stop the oil leak. Why don't we "float" a 10" thick piece of steel 1/2 the size of a football field on top of the oil leak? I realize that there is a pipe sticking out, we can't salvage that anyway, so just smash it with the weight of steel and cover the damn hole for good! After all, we were once a country who prided ourself in our steel industry, why can't we solve this problem with a bit of American know-how in an industry we were once proud of? Or are we going to continue to allow BP to run things, so they can get as much of their oil back, at the risk forever ruining our environment? At the very least, Mr. President, put that company in receivership and throw the bums out!

Jean Malloy

South Portland, ME

Jun 8 2010 - 2:18pm

The Oil Catastrophe

Mr. Klare has it upside down and backwards. The disastrous failure in the gulf is a direct result of a complete debacle with a 460-ton valve. It had four different means to shut off flow, and all failed. The horror was compounded by the decision to remove expensive drilling mud as a blockage and replace it with cheap seawater in order to complete the well. This was homicidal carelessness, after a reported pressure test failed. (This may be not true; conflicting, poorly documented events, must be sorted out.)

The fundamental root cause of the failure apparently aligns with the same breakdown in safety at Three Mile Island, Bhopal and Chernobyl and in the Challenger "accident." These man-made "accidents" occur because some authority "took off his engineering hat and put on his manager hat." This manager roasted his workers alive. He violated basic safety tenets: valves are always checked prior to putting them in service; you never ignore a failed test; you always have a certain back-up plan.

Our energy policy must be defined by reality. If valves always work one mile deep, we do one thing; if not, we must use sailing ships. If valves do not work, planes cannot fly and car brakes will fail. Our suicidal energy policy is defined by ignorant lawyers and regulators, not knowledgeable technical people. The recently canned government regulatory boss was an environmental lawyer, ignorant of the oil drilling industry. The tracks records of the SEC regulating Bernie Madoff, the NRC at Three Mile Island and the Corps of Engineers at the New Orleans levees reveal a pattern. Regulators overview disasters; they have a poor record of preventing them.

Access to oil fields such as ANWR must consider valves. I would listen to one valve engineer over a thousand politicians, regulators and pundits.

R. L. Hails Sr., PE

May 30 2010 - 2:47pm

Triple Bleeding

It was widely pointed out in 2008 that Obama had never run a government or even any agency, and we now have seen that lack come back to bite him and all of us. We have three different uncontrolled bleedings going on, as seen by most citizens. 1: Millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf from poorly planned drilling. 2: Millions of illegals from the poorly policed border. 3: Trillions of dollars from poorly designed Obamcare. There are also a dozen lesser wounded, like the Sestak sideshow. We are now bleeding quite swiftly from all the above, and the damage is compounding, especially in the political dimension, with the Democrats looking terminally clueless.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, Pa..

May 29 2010 - 3:00am

Sandbags would stop it

The most effective way to manage liquid spills, of which we have many in this region, is through sandbagging. One cannot inhibit liquid spilling or flooding with other liquids—even if they are relatively viscous. On the other hand, one cannot manage such spills with solids, such as cement. This is because "solid" walls have unsound seams. Sandbags are fairly solid but pliable and therefore adapt their seams to one another to create a relatively solid wall. Relevant to the "spillage" in question, it cannot be managed by fluid coverings. No "cement" blocks or fluid cements could be effective, for they would either not "set" or they would leak at their seams. Sandbags of sufficient size would be lowered over the leaking site, one after another, until the leakage is stopped. It would not matter how many bags are necessary, because the site is relatively small. This solution is so obvious, that one can only speculate that those managing this spill are either stupid, or they are not interested in stopping the leakage, for reason of their hope to continue to mine the site. Such a solution would contain the leakage with a consistent placement of sandbags, at most in several days.

David Sandvik, MD

Seattle, WA

May 25 2010 - 11:16pm