Obama offers oil rig families hope, but nothing will change

Rusty Weiss Editor, The Mental Recession
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“We’d been had.”

Three words that families of the eleven people killed in the Gulf oil rig explosion should bear in mind following this week’s meeting with the President.

Three ringing words from a member of a group of USS Cole and 9/11 victims’ families that had met with Obama last year regarding his desire to close Guantanamo.

Debra Burlingame revealed in a Wall Street Journal column her sense that the President had deceived those families. They were deceived into thinking he was sincere about “swift and certain” action.

John Clodfelter, whose son was killed in the Cole bombing, revealed much about the President’s ability to convince people of his intentions in this statement to the New York Times: “The way he talks to you, you can’t help but believe in him.”

In three short months after that statement, the administration reneged on their promise of justice by:

  • Releasing Binyam Mohamed, a man who has admitted to training in al Qaeda camps and had planned multiple attacks on American high-rise apartment buildings.
  • Cleared an additional 30 highly trained graduates of al Qaeda and Taliban camps for release, including Uyghur detainees that had trained in an Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) camp in Tora Bora. The ETIM is a group that had threatened attacks on the ’08 Olympics in Beijing, and previously had killed dozens in a series of bus bombings in the mid- 90’s.
  • Agreed to a plea bargain with Ali Saleh al-Marri, a man sent to conduct cyanide bomb attacks on U.S. soil by one Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Burlingame surmised that, “Given all the developments since our meeting with the President, it is now evident that his words bore no relation to his intended actions….” The American people are slowly figuring out that those words are the very definition of the Obama mantra of “Hope and Change.” It may have been promised, but it was never intended.

Like the previous meeting, relatives of those killed in the oil disaster will likely offer the President the proverbial benefit of the doubt, a kindness he may not deserve. While it is true that the oil disaster is an all-together different beast, there are signs that the administration cannot be trusted to deliver what they will most certainly promise. In a discussion regarding the pending meeting, Robert Gibbs said of the victims, “They are certainly not forgotten.”

What has been forgotten however, and would likely be a comforting notion for these families, is the need to demonstrate leadership in crisis, leadership that has clearly been lacking. Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, is the same man that dismissed the serious nature of the disaster, saying three days after the explosion, “I don’t honestly think it opens up a whole new series of questions, because, you know, in all honesty I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last.”

Meanwhile, it took weeks of unmitigated incompetence before the President decided to demand daily reports from BP on their efforts to contain the spill. Whatever the motivation, the White House had to be dragged to an understanding that this was indeed a crisis situation.

Further indicators that accountability is not a priority involve the President’s support for unlimited liability for oil companies, a plan that would not apply retroactively to BP. After all, why would the President want to punish one of the biggest oil company donors to his 2008 presidential campaign? He wouldn’t.

And while Obama may not continue an administrative history of handing out safety awards to those responsible for the oil rig explosion, as the Department of the Interior did on two separate occasions, any punishment in the near future should not be anticipated.

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has a notorious reputation for reacting slowly and inadequately to crises, including the Christmas Day bombing attempt, and the Fort Hood attack (a response which started with a two-minute “shout out” to audience members), to start.

While Gibbs would like the families of those killed in this tragedy to believe that they have not been forgotten, and that actions will be ‘swift and certain’, families of the aforementioned USS Cole and 9/11 attacks know all too well how a plan for justice can be quickly abandoned.

The American people will never forget those who died, but our leaders have shown in the past that they will. Will Obama be any different, or will those that have already suffered indescribable misery be saying the same thing a few months from now?

“We’d been had.”

Rusty is a political writer for NewsBusters.org, and has appeared in the American Thinker, the Daily Caller, and FoxNews.com. He welcomes feedback at rustyweiss@verizon.net. Please visit Rusty’s Facebook fan page, Combat the Mental Recession.