George Graham

It’s Unfair to Blame Obama for the Gulf Disaster

If you blame President Obama for the catastrophe in the Gulf, you might as well blame him for those land mines left over in Thailand and Cambodia.

That oil rig explosion that precipitated the worst spill in history was the inevitable result of policies pursued by past administrations. Not only the Bush-Cheney gang but other U.S. administrations going back as far as the eye can see.

To Obama, the BP blow out was as much of a shock as the explosion of a World War II shell that an old uncle had brought back as a souvenir. He had no idea.

OK. Maybe he should’ve. And maybe you would’ve known better.

But with all he had going on – health care reform and the teetering economy to name just two – he was looking the other way. Yes, the guy is human.

As Donald Rumsfeld noted, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns, and – to Obama – it was an unknown unknown that the oil industry has figured out how to drill far beneath the sea but hasn’t a clue about handling a blow out like the one in the Gulf. I mean who would’ve thought anyone could be so irresponsible?

The president’s major flaw is an absence of cynicism in a cynical world. He has a respect for “experts” that borders on reverence. And he believes in the myth of unbiased scientific expertise. I guess he didn’t get around to reading those stories about scientists who vouch for studies they had nothing to do with in exchange for loads of drug company money.

So when scientists assured him that Big Oil had developed technology making offshore drilling as safe as a stroll in the park, he figured maybe he should let them go ahead and drill, baby, drill. There’s an election coming up in November and a global warming bill struggling to get through Congress. Why not offer an olive branch to the political right?

It was his belief in bipartisanship that let him down.

So he was booby-trapped. And we can only hope it was a learning experience. As George W. famously said, “fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice shame on … how does that go again?”

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for