Mr. President, if our shores were being attacked, you would not rely on profiteers and mercenaries to defend us. You would appoint our best General to lead the defense, and you would support him with our best troops. You would not "supervise" private companies and "approve" their decisions. You would appoint one person with authority to make all decisions, and that person would have undivided loyalty to you as President.
Well, our shores are under attack. By the worst man-made environmental catastrophe in history. Eleven people have died, untold thousands are losing their livelihoods, and the damage may haunt us for generations.
The first thing you must do is appoint a battle-tested General and call up the troops. Call the oil companies and tell them that you are drafting all of their top scientists and engineers. You want them in the gulf tomorrow morning. They will no longer report to the oil companies. Until this catastrophe ends, the scientists and engineers will report solely to a chain of command headed by General Petraeus who will be advised by Energy Secretary Chu.
They will not work only on plugging the blowout. They will also do everything possible to protect the people of this nation from the devastating effects of the blowout -- even if that means doing things that will increase BP's costs or reduce its future profits.
General Petraeus knows how to organize and lead people. He knows how to get things done. He will not be distracted by falling stock prices, profit and loss statements, or corporate lawyers advising on potential future liabilities. He will not increase the number of people cleaning the beach when the press is around, and then send them home without finishing the job when the press follows you back to Chicago or the White House. With General Petraeus in charge, you (and the American people) will be confidant that everything is being done with the sole objective of protecting our nation and its people.
Mr. President, you have said that we need the oil industry's superior expertise in deepwater oil drilling. That may be the case. But this is not about expertise. This is about leadership. It is not enough for you to "supervise" or "approve" everything that BP does.
We know from experience what happens when war profiteers and mercenaries like Halliburton and Blackwater make decisions subject to the "supervision" and "approval" of the US government. The profiteers make billions and the national interest is not well served.
You must relieve BP and all of its corporate officers from any authority to develop strategies or make decisions. They can provide technical support. They can serve as advisors. They can make suggestions. But you must have one person, and one person only, who is directly responsible for developing strategies and making decisions. And that person must have no loyalty other than his loyalty to you as President and to the People of the United States of America.
Mr. President, you promised us change. You promised us that we would no longer rely on war profiteers and mercenaries to defend this nation. We need you to keep that promise. Please put our best battle-tested General in charge of the situation and tell everyone else that they are reporting to him effective immediately.