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"BP's Chief Executive says We're 'Absolutely Responsible'...well sort of

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Dave Lefcourt
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BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward said on Monday that his company was "absolutely responsible"[1] for its deep water well gushing thousands of barrels of oil daily into the Gulf of Mexico."[2] Well sort of as he issued a qualifier saying, "This is not our accident, but it's our responsibility" as he named "Transocean Ltd." as the company "this operated the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank on April 20, triggering the spill. BP leased the rig and had contracted with "Transocean" to drill the well."[3] I'm glad he cleared that up because this writer had some sleepless nights worrying and wondering was it just BP or some sub contractor BP hired that was really responsible. Sorry for the sarcasm, but this is so typical of this age.

Taking full responsibility, without implicating or implying that "others are really to blame", is apparently what you do today. "It's really someone else's fault; sure we'll clean it up but it really wasn't us, it was these "other guys.'"

Well "Tony", that's not "really" how it works. See when you're the general contractor, you're the responsible party. Nobody cares whether the guys on the rig wore shirts that said "BP" or "Transocean Ltd." It's your job whether you've pawned off the actual work of drilling or done it yourself.

But hey, avoiding full responsibility and taking the "hit" is the name of the game today so Hayward's attempted "mea culpa" is no a surprise or unusual.

Look at the wars "we" are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq. That "we" includes thousands of "private contractors" (mercenaries) like "Blackwater" (now called "Xe") that are hired and paid for by the Defense Department to perform duties augmenting the actual fighting men and women soldiers and marines. When "incidents" occur (as they inevitably do) particularly involving the killing of innocents and involving our "mercenaries", the Pentagon makes sure our main stream media report the killings (and the blame) as the "contractors responsibility", not the army or the marines (as if the Pentagon is harmless and has no role in hiring and paying these "mercenaries" who are doing the Pentagon's bidding). This reporting of these "incidents" by "our" mercenaries has been so effective that the majority of the American people have no knowledge (care or interest?) that these mercenaries (private contractors) number almost double the number of our "actual" military in uniform particularly now in Afghanistan (and clandestinely in Pakistan). So blame at the feet of the Pentagon? What blame?

We've seen lately with Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve when questioned about his culpability in bringing about the financial meltdown said, he was "30%" wrong in his decisions but "70"% correct in his decisions. Don't blame him.

Most recently we've seen it with Goldman Sachs and Chairman, Lloyd Blankfein's denials that we're "innocent of all charges" (the civil suit against Goldman brought by the SEC and soon to be criminal suit brought by the Justice Department).

There once existed the idea that "integrity" consisted of admitting to and taking actual responsibility for ones actions and suffering the consequences was the basis for having "integrity". That time seems as quaint as the "minuet", the formal dance popular in colonial America.

Now we're sophisticated, worldly and advanced where personal "integrity" and the taking of responsibility and accepting consequences for our actions is almost as extinct as the dinosaurs.

[1] "BP: It's "absolutely' our job to halt leak", by Ashley Powers, Louis Sahagun and Jim Tankersley, "The Baltimore Sun", May 4, 2010.

[2] See footnote #1

[3] See footnote #1

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