Paul Greenberg

Happily, the FBI says he's talking freely nevertheless, something his confederates in Pakistan or any in this country really didn't need to know. Maybe it's the administration that ought to stop talking so freely.

As for the oil spill creeping ashore like some monster from the deep in a sci-fi movie, word that Janet Napolitano and crew are on the case may not be much of a comfort to shrimpers along the coast and all the other folks who depend on those invaluable and now highly vulnerable wetlands. (Not to mention the endangered wildlife.) The secretary's record, and her instinctive impulse to cover her back, do not inspire great confidence.

Memo to The Hon. Janet Napolitano: Concentrate on the job at hand, not the politics of it. Do it well and the politicking will take care of itself. As usual, action speaks louder than words. So, alas, does inaction.

No doubt politicos and pundits on all sides are ready to make political grist of this fast approaching disaster in the Gulf, just as they did after Katrina hit. It may be too much to hope they'll resist any such temptation.

We've already had one president tarred for everything and anything that contributed to the national catastrophe called Katrina -- hurricane winds, flood waters, the incompetence of municipal and state officials, and/or the Corps of Engineers' shoddy construction of New Orleans' levees. One suspects George W. Bush caught a lot of that flack mainly for being George W. Bush, not that he didn't add to Katrina's damage.

Let's hope we don't have another president assigned all the blame for a national disaster, this time for BP's oil spill/geyser. And if we do, could the finger pointing please wait till the dimensions of this developing disaster and just how it occurred become clearer? For now there's too much work to be done to waste time on political gamesmanship.

Barack Obama will surely emerge from this latest crisis largely undamaged (unlike a lot of folks along the Gulf Coast) if he'll just avoid saying anything like, "Janet, you're doin' a heckuva job!"

Ms. Napolitano will probably come out of this fine, too, and go on to even bigger and worse failures. Astute observers long have noted that Washington is the only place in the country where one can fall upwards. Note the ever more successful, ever more onward-and-upward career of one Joe Biden.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.