Should Obama Send in the Troops to Handle the BP Disaster?


Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday called on President Obama to send in the troops on the Gulf oil spill. Nelson had suggested as much to reporters in the Capitol last week. Now that the top-kill effort failed (and the newest plan hit a snag Wednesday morning), Nelson says he wants Obama to put some military force behind the effort.

“While the Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard both are involved, it is my belief that the broader assets and command and control capability of the Department of Defense could better translate your directives into prompt, effective action,” Nelson wrote to Obama.

Nelson didn’t outline exactly what he thinks the military should do, just that he believes their presence would provide assurance that the federal government is handling the situation.

“I believe such an approach would help protect people’s livelihoods, as well as our coastlines, wetlands, and fisheries from the damages of this oil spill. Certainly no one thinks the problem in the Gulf is going to be solved in a few days,” he continued. “But Americans need to feel that their government is taking an all hands on deck response.”

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.