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Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré: ‘Act like it’s World War III,’ ‘find this oil and kill it.’

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"Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré: ‘Act like it’s World War III,’ ‘find this oil and kill it.’"

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Nearly two months after oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP’s spill continues to cause environmental and economic devastation to the region. On CNN this afternoon, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré — who was widely praised after he stepped in to command Joint Task Force Katrina in 2005 in the wake of FEMA director Michael Brown’s disastrous failures — called for an aggressive, military-centered response to the current disaster:

HONORE: We need to act like it’s World War III. You know, when we did the world wars, everything was mobilized. Nothing was left on the table. All branches of the military should be there working for Admiral [Thad] Allen, apply manpower as well as advanced command and control to find this oil and kill it.

Q: I mean, you’re treating this like it is a battle.

HONORE: Absolutely, and to the, for the people of the Gulf, this is their life, and it would be just like an enemy force invading the Gulf, taking over our shoreline. We’ve got to treat this like a war if we gonna get the effects we want, as opposed to an environmental spill.

Watch it:

When Honoré appeared on CNN on April 29, just 9 days after the initial explosion, he said President Obama needed to declare the spill a national disaster, so that the federal government could “give Governor Jindal and the parish presidents what they need as opposed to going through this bureaucratic process and going to BP and saying, mother, may I?” The Center for American Progress has called for the federal government to take over the effort to clean up the Gulf and mobilize the resources of the Armed Forces. Leaving BP in charge, as Honore says, is “like getting mugged and having the burglar determine what your compensation is.”

William Tomasko

Transcript:

HONORE: We need to act like it’s World War III. You know, when we did the world wars, everything was mobilized. Nothing was left on the table. All branches of the military should be there working for Admiral Allen, apply manpower as well as advanced command and control to find this oil and kill it.

Q: I mean, you’re treating this like it is a battle.

HONORE: Absolutely, and to the, for the people of the Gulf, this is their life, and it would be just like an enemy force invading the Gulf, taking over our shoreline. We’ve got to treat this like a war if we gonna get the effects we want, as opposed to an environmental spill.

Q: One of the things you’re saying is there’s an inherent problem with having BP responsible for the clean-up, right?

HONORE: Absolutely, it’s like getting mugged and having the burglar determine what your compensation is. The government needs to determine that.

Q: What is the first thing you would do immediately, within an hour, to change the way this clean-up has occured, in line with what–

HONORE: I would go on the offense. I would go on the attack. We’ve been playing defense for too long, waitng for the oil to come to the shoreline. I would mobilize Northern Command, that’s U.S. Northern Command out of Colorado, I would tell them to send men and equipment from the Army, Navy, and Air Force to get command and control in that Gulf so Admiral Allen has the command and control to find the oil. …

Q: You said that you would consider taking troops who are currently in Iraq or Afghanistan and bringing them here because–

HONORE: Whatever it takes.

Q: Should Americans be as worried about what is going on in the Gulf with the oil as they are with the situation in Iraq in Afghanistan?

HONORE: I think we should, as well as equal to what we’re concerned with about terrorism.

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