Obama: No Political Cojones In Dealing With BP And Israel

The deep water BP oil spill is making the headlines on the White House web site. Yesterday on the White House blog the headline was “A Full and Vigorous Accounting of the Events”. It is a catchy headline, but it is deceiving and once again misguided. The response of the Obama administration in the last 45 days has not been “vigorous” but limp, and what is urgently needed is not an “accounting of the events” but instead to stop the leaking well.

On June 1, President Obama announced the creation that a bipartisan BP oil spill Commission headed by former Senator Bob Graham and former EPA administrator Bill Reilly. President Obama underscored the importance of the investigation and said that “the commission would have his full support to follow the facts wherever they may lead-without fear or favor”. The President also stressed his administration commitment to stop the leak and to clean up the oil spill: “We are continuing our efforts on all fronts to contain the damage from this disaster”.

But unfortunately for the Gulf Coast, and may be for the President reelection bid of 2012, BP has failed to come up with any viable solution to stop the leak, and the Obama administration has failed to take charge of the situation and  the source of the problem: Forcing BP out of the way and taking charge of solving the problem by fixing the leak.

Yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder, after a visit to the region, announced that both a criminal and civil law suit would be filled against BP. It is all fine, but yet this doesn’t solve the problem just like the bipartisan commission. Once again it is like putting the carriage before the horse or calling a lawyer instead of a plumber when you have a massive water leak at your house.

As far as the situation created by the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla the reaction of the Obama administration doesn’t qualify as “vigorous” either, but instead as cautious and weak by allowing the state of Israel to keep playing the part of the bully of the Middle-East and seriously damaging diplomatic relations with Turkey, a key ally and NATO member.

On May 31, the day of the attack, the President had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The President said he understood the PM’s decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today’s events. He also expressed “deep regrets at the loss of life”. According to the call readout, provided by the White House, President Obama stressed “the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning’s tragic events as soon as possible”. Yet despite the administration claims to still be actively working on a peaceful solution in the Middle-East, President Obama has failed on all fronts for one reason: His lack of political will to put real pressure on Israel and the Netanyahu administration on the issue of the Gaza blockage and the expansion of the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories of the West Bank.

On June 1, President Obama had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. In a readout of the call provided by the White House, the President affirmed the US position in support of a “credible, impartial and transparent investigation of the facts surrounding the tragedy”. The President stressed “the importance of finding better way to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza without undermining Israel’s security”.

Once again the president is missing the boat with his middle of the road statement. The only way to stop Israel’s war crimes to continue in Gaza is to force the Jewish state to end the blockage by threatening to cut off all financial and military aids generously provided by the United States.


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