“Where Has Integrity Gone?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, June 11 2010

If you look up integrity in a Webster dictionary, you will find a varied definition; “Unimpaired moral principals, honesty, soundness.” And also, “The quality of being whole or undivided.”

Doubting that definition, I looked at the index page of my New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language. It bore a copyright of 1975, 1976 and was published by Delair Publishing Co. of N.Y., N.Y.

The definition was what I had expected it to be but — by considering today’s standards, I thought I should look it up in another source. The definition I found on the web page titled, “Your Dictionary.com was: 1. The quality or state of being complete, unbroken condition, wholeness, entirety. 2. The quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition; soundness. 3. The quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty and sincerity. The definition went on to say, “When someone is said to be a person of integrity, this generally means that he/she is considered to have a strong moral character. Integrity is thought by many to be one of the most important virtues a person can possess.

Although I found the definitions I expected, I did not find any that fit today’s standards. As I see it, integrity barely exists in the world we are living in.

If you wonder why I have that opinion, watch a few news broadcasts. As I write this column, it’s Sunday and I’m watching “Meet the Press” with host David Gregory as efforts continue to stem the flow of oil on the Gulf’s bottom. The CEO and managing director of BP have both changed their answers to questions repeatedly, in fact, too many times to keep a count. Although everyone claims BP is “In Charge,” they profess to not know what is happening or what will happen in the future.

They deny events occurred saying reports were wrong even though the public was watching events take place. Do they not know when the cameras are rolling? Not unlike findings regarding the Minerals Management Service, where proof is piling up that little or no integrity existed in that group. A whole lineup of government officials are swearing (and soon under oath we hope) they knew nothing about the operations of Minerals Management Service. This in spite of the fact it has now been declared and proven many members of that agency were pampered (that was the word used) by oil industry leaders.

As I watched David Gregory interview the BP executive a very pointed question he asked, and asked again; do you think BP CEO Tony Hayward (who according to reports received a 41 percent increase in pay in 2009) should be fired? This question was asked of a man who works under Hayward. You can guess his answer — it made the Hayward sound like a choir boy.

The program continued as Gregory put the president’s EPA director Lisa Jackson, who is responsible for all environmental decisions made, on the hot seat. He very bluntly asked, “How could this disaster have happened?” First she explained the Mineral Management Agency no longer exists. (Perhaps someone stayed behind long enough to shred all their documents). That was not the answer Gregory was after, it sounded rehearsed, made on behalf of her boss — the President. She continued to fumble along telling the country we are now facing the worst environmental disaster in history.

Finally they ran out of time for her to continue begging off.

Both people interviewed were asked serious questions that the American public want answered. They not only side-stepped answering, but changed up the questions. Does this not demonstrate a lack of integrity? Since the disaster most of BP’s answers given by their “spokespersons” have lacked integrity. Statements like; “We are prepared to try a different approach to stop or control the oil flow if the Top Fill process fails.” That was untrue and proven so by the fact they announced when the Top Fill effort was abandoned, “It will take four to seven days to get the equipment set up for our next effort.” Does that sound like they were prepared?

I’m so amazed by the continuous use of excuses given, the worst being – “nothing like this has ever happened before.” Obviously, not only has it never happened, no study was ever made to determine what to do if it did happen. Did someone just think it was not possible? And if so — who were they? All of them certainly lacked integrity.

If BP know about the problem 11 months ago as reports state, why wasn’t something done? Was this not the worst case of lack of integrity? There really is no reason to wonder why our world is in such a mess, see the definition of Integrity!


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