Jack Lynch, who lost his firefighter son on 9/11, said to "compare an environmental accident, if that's what you call it, to a premeditated terrorist attack is ridiculous." He added: "Politicians have no sense of reality."
Sally Regenhard, a vocal leader of the 9/11 families, had a much more measured response. She sees some common ground between BP and 9/11, such as "no plans for emergency preparedness, coordination of response."
Presidential critics saw his 9/11-BP pair-up as raw meat. Fox News contributor Cal Thomas ripped the president for tying the "BP affair" with the "murder of 3,000 Americans in a deliberate act by a group of Islamic fanatics." To Thomas, the Obama has revealed "his impotence and just how out of touch he is with this and another issue of profound importance to the public."
Sorry, Cal. It's not what the president said.
The memory of 9/11 remains raw in the minds of those who lost friends and loved ones. The horror of 9/11, in fact, remains seared in the minds of all New Yorkers. It was that memory that Obama referred to.
The president did not directly link 9/11 with BP. He told Politico's Roger Simon the BP disaster "echoes 9/11." As 9/11 influenced U.S. policy — including a justified attack on Afghanistan and unjustified invasion of Iraq — BP's disaster will impact U.S. environmental and energy policies for years to come.
That impact has had an almost immediate effect on the president, who recently was promoting offshore drilling as a safe and reliable source of U.S. energy. That was a unneeded sop to the Republicans who would never have voted for Obama's energy bill.
The president, of late, has shown some backbone. Offshore drilling is now on the back burner. A reinvigorated Obama, who is primed to "take on" BP CEO Tony Hayward, talked up green energy today. Touring the Gulf, the President said the U.S. must "embrace a new future," one geared to alternative energy. He noted "risks inherent in drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth."
Reliance on fossil fuels means the U.S. is dependent on sending "billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month - including many in dangerous and unstable regions," he said.
The Pentagon calls Afghanistan, the "Saudi Arabia of Lithium." How’s that for a rallying cry? We've gone from chasing Osama to creating a mining infrastructure for stone aged Afghanistan so China can help itself to needed minerals.
While 9/11 clearly demonstrated the threat that terrorism posed to U.S. security, the president believes our "continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security." Obama believes the U.S. cannot delay development of alternative energy.
The proof of that is floating, buried in the Gulf or washed up on beaches.