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In a Way, the Oil Spill IS Like 9/11

June 15, 2010

On June 13, President Obama stated that “there were ‘echoes’ between the Gulf of Mexico disaster and the Al Qaeda suicide attacks which killed 2,995 people,” subsequently, families of the 9/11 victims – especially British families, who felt Obama was deliberately impugning Britain’s reputation, voiced their outrage.

But in a way, he IS right.  There is a very fundamental way that the two incidents are alike – they both are being used to justify political action that previously would have been considered unconscionable. 

9/11 brought us the Patriot act, wiretapping without the need of a court order, spying on U.S. Citizens, imprisonment without trial or access to legal counsel and even waterboarding prisoners.

The BP oil spill threatens to “shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.” It brought us a six month moratorium on offshore drilling (by Americans, at least) that further hurts Louisiana.  It also threatens to reverse Obama’s previous decision to open new areas along our coast to offshore drilling.  There is also a specific threat to pass an ex post facto law increasing BP’s liability limit.  Further impacts on energy and environmental policy are hazy, but as the president predicts, they will be affected. 

While Obama may not have wanted to suggest that his reaction to the oil spill may mimic the liberties Bush took in the wake of 9/11, that may be the most accurate comparison between the two events to make.

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