Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bush Gutted Orleans Flood Protection

Former Clinton Advisor (Sidney Blumenthal): "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

Der Spiegel (German magazine, English article) has a very comprehensive and interesting article on the background behind New Orleans flood/hurricane protection programs, and how the Bush administration apparantly gutted them over recent years.
In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze.
Perhaps it is simply too early for American media to be discussing this angle of the story...but I doubt that the kind of issues brought up in this article will ever be seriously discussed in media or among the general population. (All someone has to do is say - now isn't the time to talk about the decisions of the past, we have today to worry about. And somehow that answer is allowed - indefinately!)

Past government action/inaction rarely sees consequence or questioning. American media is really good about forgetting the history behind anything (unless you can find some new dramatic or sensentational video). If it didn't happen 5-seconds's just not news. And if has to do with history...well, that story is just too hard to tell. Now, let's get back to this new video of a building fire and a dramatic car chase.

In any case, I found the article very informative and covering topics that will hopefully reach the surface before the nation moves on to the next big story.

Here is a Yahoo! News story along the same lines:
Bush administration funding cuts forced federal engineers to delay improvements on the levees, floodgates and pumping stations that failed to protect New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters, agency documents showed on Thursday.

...Since 2001, the Army Corps has requested $496 million for that project but the Bush administration only budgeted $166 million, according to figures provided by the office of Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu [$250 million was ultimately approved]


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