General Question

Cruiser's avatar

After 70 days the White House accepts international help for the oil spill. Is this too little too late?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) June 29th, 2010

The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement—Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn’t indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.

Is this too little too late? Why did this take so long? Is there more to the story and is House doing all that it needs to move this forward to a proper conclusion??

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44 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It is too little but it’s not too late.

ragingloli's avatar

If he did it any earlier, his opponents (you probably included) would have accused him of showing weakness to your enemies and allies. And you know it is true.

Seek's avatar

It’s certainly not too late! Get their arses in that water and clean up my gulf!

marinelife's avatar

Every little bit helps, and it is not too late.

AmWiser's avatar

The question is, at what price is all this costing us? British Patroleum should be responsible for all cost and pay US for pain and suffering.

laureth's avatar

This article from, seems pertinent, as does this research from MediaMatters.

skfinkel's avatar

Wonderful that we can accept help from others, and not feel like we have to do everything alone. And obviously, we can use all the help that we can get.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Laureth’s answer shows that the US has been welcoming and receiving foreign assistance with the clean-up for quite some time.

Right-wing disinformation has intentionally failed to acknowledge this in order to have false talking points. Nothing new there!

wilma's avatar

It might be too little, I think it has been too long, but I hope it’s not too late.
I’m glad that we are getting help and I hope that things improve before too long.

Qingu's avatar

Why are factually inaccurate questions allowed on this website?

Iclamae's avatar

@Qingu Perhaps he did not know that it was factually incorrect. These are common problems when news organizations give false information. Which is why @laureth ‘s comment was so helpful.

Qingu's avatar

I feel like if a question is based on a premise that turns out to be completely false, the person who asked that question should have the integrity to remove it themselves.

Look at how many people responded believing that Obama really did turn down foreign aid. It’s completely misleading.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Help can only be accepted when it is offered, and even then, it needs to be strategically planned out, which takes time. Think of it like an orchestra. People don’t just walk out on stage and do an exceptional job. It takes the right instruments, skill, and leadership.

Qingu's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, but help was accepted. You answered on the assumption that the question wasn’t a lie.

Iclamae's avatar

I like how @laureth ‘s article points out the “In one instance, the offering country’s export laws prohibited delivery of the assistance”. I think the aid won’t be too late. It would have been nice to have earlier but there’s never any guarantee we’ll get foreign aid to begin with. And I do like that the government is being careful about the aid it accepts. Some of it will charge us and it had better be helpful.

EDIT: Also, considering all the other stuff going on in the world right now with natural disasters, I’m surprised we’re getting any aid.

Iclamae's avatar

Guys, please don’t get angry and try to stay on topic. @Qingu ‘s responses were inappropriate.

Cruiser's avatar

@ragingloli I respect your POV’s but up to this point I perceive BO has been preserving US workers first dibs on any available jobs that would be available to do this job anyway possible before foreign workers get a paycheck! No real weakness other than bending to the pressure of the US labor vote!

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, so how does your “perception” mesh with the fact that Obama actually did let foreign aid help out with the spill?

Seaofclouds's avatar

As @laureth pointed out in her links, we’ve already had help from other countries. Accepting additional help is a good thing. I don’t think it’s too little nor too late considering we have been accepting help already. I think the type of help needs to change and instead of just focusing on cleaning up, we need more help figuring out how to cap it off.

john65pennington's avatar

I believe this assistance is being offered to BP, not the U.S. Government. the Feds hands are tied with a law Congress passed in 1989 with the spillage of the Exxon Valdez. out of that incident, Congress passed a law that makes the oil companie(s) 100% responsible for all liabilities associated with their oil spill. if the United States offered assistance, then the Feds would be violating their own law. i believe this is the reason the Feds have not interferred with BPs attempt at stopping the oil flow. i also believe this law does not forbid outsiders from assisting the responsible oil company.

Qingu's avatar

@john65pennington, that’s great. Can you show that your beliefs are remotely based in reality? They certainly don’t appear to be.

Iclamae's avatar

@john65pennington Actually, @laureth ‘s article said the US is also reviewing responses to foreign aid as well. There are sources listed at the bottom of the article, if you want to look further into them. We just have to be more careful since we may not be able to afford some of the aid offered.

john65pennington's avatar

qinqu, i left out a word that may correct your question. this law does NOT forbid outside oil companies from assisting BP.

Iclamae's avatar

@john65pennington Can you link your source on that law? Now I’m curious since we clearly are accepting aid. (Which is wise since BP’s tripping over itself… and robots)

Qingu's avatar

The Coast Guard is currently assisting the cleanup, @john65pennington. What you said makes no sense. Can you please link to a source that says the U.S. government forbid itself to help oil companies clean up their spills?

Pandora's avatar

I don’t know if its too little. Every bit counts but it is a little late to the party. I think when a country F’s up as much as we did we can’t afford to be picky about help. After all. The ocean belongs to the whole planet. Not just a country. We needed to swallow our pride a long time ago.

Qingu's avatar

@Pandora… Obama did accept foreign aid. See laureth’s post. The question is BS.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu My perception is that he allowed for foreign aid but outside the 3 mile distance off shore. Perhaps a technicality in the perception here. But to wait 70 days to allow the international flotilla inside that 3 mile boundary is what is under scrutiny here. From what I can glean from reports is that the Democratic “White House” was protecting their Democratic labor voting base by making sure they had first dibs on all the jobs. This has caused a IMO criminal neglect and delay in getting all available resources where they are needed 70 days after they were needed! How does this mesh with your perception?

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, cite a source. Link to these “reports” you’re talking about.

You have zero credibility at this point, and if you had any integrity you’d either rephrase your question or take it down. Instead you’re just blithely repeating some slightly altered version of your fiction. Have you no decency, sir?

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I am disappointed in how quickly you are to characterize someones credibility without doing your own research…pretty nervy in my book! No lost love for sure. Anyway here you go, enjoy your day.

Cruiser's avatar

Just for the record here is the story on Yahoo I referenced. I am not making this stuff up @Qingu and I usually respect most of your opinions as you are a smart guy but your exception to this post of mine gives me an uncomfortable feeling in that you seemingly approve and are even defending how Obama is handling this spill!?? HS had this been Bush people would be rioting in the streets!!

Qingu's avatar

Okay. The article doesn’t support anything you said in this thread.

Can you quote the part of the article you think is relevant to what you’ve said? Where does it say that we have not accepted international aid until now?

Cruiser's avatar

“We are still receiving reports of foreign-flagged vessels being turned away or their offers of assistance hanging in limbo. That should not be the case,” Sen. George LeMieux® of Florida wrote to President Obama Friday. “There is a breakdown of communication and it is critically important the situation get fixed and we see an armada of skimmers at work.”

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, I have no problems in the general handling of the spill. I wish he was more pro-active about weeding out corruption and enforcing regulation before it happened. I think many conservatives are trying to nitpick because they figure Bush took a lot of heat for his handling of Katrina, so “maybe we should do the same thing to Obama.”

Neither of your articles support the statement of fact you made in the question title. If you’re going to criticize his handling, it should be based on fact.

As for “reports of foreign-flagged vessels being turned away,” I’m not sure what your point is. Some vessels turned away is not the same as “we’ve been turning away all vessels until just now.” There are reasons why we would turn away foreign ships. laureth’s articles explain them.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I aquiece in that my question appears misleading in that I should have been specific to the foreign aid to date being limited outside the US 3 mile boundary.

Here is some curious reading about early offers of foreign aid from the Netherlands the US refused 3 days after the spill started. IMHO the archaic EPA rules as well as the Jones Act restrictions in place should have been repealed the minute this spill was clearly out of control and that was obvious very early on. These new allowances that were granted this week 70 days after is as I suggested IMO too little too late. I accept your POV and that is why I asked this to get a broader perspective as to what Jellies here think of this mess including you sir! Thanks for yours and @laureth as always.

Qingu's avatar

What is your source for the 3-mile boundary?

Your first article (an opinion piece, actually) brings up interesting questions, but there are two sides to the story—the Dutch vessels did not remove water in a way consistent with our environmental regulations. I don’t know enough about the marine environment to know if those regulations are too strict; perhaps they were.

However, the author of that article isn’t exactly a shining example of intelligence or unbiased reporting; he’s the author of a global warming skepticism book.

I am not sure why you keep mentioning the Jones Act. Have we actually turned any vessels away because of the Jones act? The fact-check article says we have not.

Edit: the article quotes an official complaining about how the Dutch could have helped complete the berms faster to protect the marshlands. But then, most scientists think constructing the berms is ineffective and a waste of time and resources. So… why exactly should we care that the government didn’t let them waste their time and resources?

Qingu's avatar

Also, @Cruiser, you’ve admitted your question title is misleading. Why don’t you change it?

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I don’t see that I can edit it and frankly don’t really care to if I could! I feel comfortable with the posts that have addressed this question and feel free to add to this all you want!

Iclamae's avatar

As Laureth’s article pointed out, not all of the foreign aid is going to be useful. Many other countries charge us for the aid they offer, may be offering things we don’t need (like another warehouse of hair), and may not be able to get the aid to us within the next couple of months.

While a list of what’s be offered and what’s being rejected would be a nice transparent thing to give the public, I’m not entirely surprised we haven’t seen it. The countries in question may not want it known what they’re offering us for diplomatic reasons. (“I thought you weren’t their friend!” “Why didn’t you send us that kind of help during our hurricane/volcano/flood?!”)

Also, laureth’s article gave a link to information about what the Jones Act is and how it is not affecting this oil spill. Here is another link. At the moment, the people in the gulf aren’t suffering from lack of food or provisions, just money. So there’s no need for foreign ships to come in and sell any provisions to them. It has nothing to do with giving the US skimmers and such.

Cruiser's avatar

Final note here…my question asks this…“Is this too little too late? Why did this take so long? Is there more to the story and is House doing all that it needs to move this forward to a proper conclusion??” I think everyone’s responses here addresses these questions quite approriately. Thank you all…except @Qingumeet me on the playground after school sir! :D

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ItsAHabit's avatar

The long delay was because maritime unions, which had provided heavy political contributions, opposed the use of non-union foreign workers. In short, the long delay was all about politics (political pay-back).

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