Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
June 15, 2010

An Assault on our Shores

Has the “War on Terror” simply been expanded to include the “War on Error?”

On the one hand, it’s encouraging to see Obama — the Commander-in-Chief — deploying the National Guard for domestic and humanitarian purposes.  As he cited in his speech at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, guardsman and the base are serving in multiple ways in responding to the crisis.

On the other hand, it’s troubling to see the President militarize the oil spill.  After telling an assembly of troops that “within weeks, some of you may find yourselves serving on a carrier deck in the Arabian Sea or working a busy flight line in Afghanistan,” Obama couches the spill as “an assault on our shores.”    As marginalized as the Afghan and Iraq engagements are in the U.S. mind, using the troops as a backdrop for an assault on BP reinforces the message that these wars we happen to be fighting really don’t deserve singular attention.

Finally, as the crisis drags on, what I’d really hate to see is Obama — like Bush did the last two years of his tenure — turning more to military audiences for some love.

  • bystander

    The natural progression of things? When the only tool you have is a hammer…

    I about fell out of my chair when Colin Powell was credited with a statement on This Week about involving the military.

    The military brings organization, it brings control. it brings assets. Whether it’s the right distinction of assets that you need right now, I don’t know. But certainly I’m sure my colleagues in the pentagon are looking at it and what you want is somebody who is in the military now, not somebody who used to be in the military. Somebody who is controlling troops now.

    Assets? My thought was, I’m sure the spill will sit up and collect itself after a couple of drone strikes. Doubtless the military is all of the things for which Powell would credit it. But, what assets exactly does the Pentagon have for dealing with the Gulf oil spill?

    I’d be cautious, t’were I Obama, about linking the War on Terror with a War on Error, particularly, since the War on Terror is without an end in sight. He ain’t playing to his strength with that one.

    As for looking for love in military audiences… where else in Louisiana, Alabama, or Florida can Obama deliver a speech in which he talks about the oil spill where he’s not in danger of hecklers, hard questions, or outright boos?

    • peter Hollander

      Furthering what Bystander said, we really seem to only have one modus operandi for dealing with any problem presented to us, as a country, that is… go to War With It: Drugs, Terror, Saddam, the Taliban, Wall Street, The Axis of Evil, Illegal Immigrants. The whole economy is based on these levels of retaliatory excess. It’s the only way to hide the graft and subsidies.

      On a less frivolous note, as others have pointed out, just wait until a couple hurricanes make the oil spill airborne, and the troops, armed, or otherwise, are scraping the oil slick off the sides of inland buildings. Then we’re really going to have a problem.

    • jope

      peter that’s a scary thought…

      I have no qualms with Obama bringing the National Guard in to help the clean up…any help is good help at the moment.

    • yg

      jope, gulf locals are complaining now about not being hired to aid in the clean up. enlisting the national guard is going to deprive even more jobs for locals.

      another thing, when is the our commander-in-chief going to flex his muscles and tell BP to stop blocking workers from using respirators? does obama think being president is merely a ceremonial role?

  • yg

    all these displays of power are a joke. this president is too weak to stop BP from poisoning people and the wildlife. the EPA has been unmasked as a toothless sham of an agency, unable to safeguard and protect people’s health. how many species are we going to lose because obama is too frightened to challenge the plutocracy?

Refresh Archives

Random Notes