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In Gulf oil spill 'war,' cleanup foot soldiers threaten mutiny

Claims problems and mixed messages from the Gulf oil spill unified command structure has local leaders from Pensacola to Plaquemines Parish fuming as the Gulf comes under what some call a 'tarball attack.'

Coast Guard Capt. Mary Austin, Incident Commander for Louisiana, speaks to residents at an open house for information and assistance with the BP claims process, in Lafitte, La. on Tuesday.

Gerald Herbert/AP

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Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, President Obama's pointman on the Gulf oil spill, has called the effort to contain the runaway Macondo well and keep its crude release off beaches and out of marshes "an insidious war."

But if the framing of the Deepwater Horizon accident and its aftermath has morphed from disaster rhetoric to war imagery, local officials say the shared BP and Washington response has suffered from a lack of situational awareness, racking up a long list of battlefield mistakes that is hampering efforts to keep tens of millions of gallons of gooey crude from coming ashore in the kind of "tarball attack" that hit Pensacola Beach Wednesday.

"You've got a militia sitting in this room," Gulf County commissioner Bill Williams told Coast Guard and BP officials in a combative meeting on Wednesday. "They can either be with you or against you."

IN PICTURES - Staff shots: Response to the oil spill on the Gulf Coast


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