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'Nil, Baby, Nil'

5:49 PM, Jul 29, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In an appropriately titled piece ("Nil, Baby, Nil"), Commentary's Abe Greenwald notices that observers of the oil spoil in the Gulf of Mexico are beginning to think that it might not be that bad after all. Greenwald quotes the New York Times as reporting yesterday, "The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster."

'Nil, Baby, Nil'

And how is it according to Time? "[S]o far — while it's important to acknowledge that the long-term potential danger is simply unknowable for an underwater event that took place just three months ago — it does not seem to be inflicting severe environmental damage."

The real tragedy, though, according to Greenwald, is the moral failure of the "enviro-catastrophists." 

 In 1991, Saddam Hussein dumped 8 million barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf. Two years later, an international team of scientists determined that there was little if any evidence of environmental damage to show for it. The BP spill, by comparison, put an estimated 5 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not, and should not, be surprising to learn that the area’s wildlife is already testing clean and fishing restrictions are steadily being lifted.

The Saddam comparison raises an additional thought. If BP’s accidental spill had the left-wing enviro-catastrophists calling for Tony Hayward’s head and for a million-man protest to bring down the global denialist superstructure, why did Saddam’s intentional and more egregious act of geological sabotage (which was the least of his heinous crimes) elicit nothing of the sort? After all, when the time came depose that polluter, the left got its street marches -- in favor of leaving him be. But then, no one should look for moral direction from a movement that cares more about the potential damage done to seaweed than the actual deaths of human beings.

“This should be a rocket-boost for the environmental movement, a time to finally put to rest the notion that environmentalists are misguided alarmists,” wrote Daou, the misguided alarmist, back in May. Now, with the half-summer of self-righteousness behind us, the environmentalists will begin composing their own narratives of denial. Thomas Friedman and others are cautioning that the real danger lies in what we cannot detect, see, or test for. This is faith inverted and misapplied -- believing in the existence of unseen matter and calling it science. Let’s do as the great drilling proponent Sarah Palin advises and refudiate it.

Whole piece here.

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