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As a member of the reality-based community, I was equally appalled about the Bush quote about the levees.  To think that no one foresaw the levees breaking is simply ignorant and uninformed.  But it was clear that the White House was trying to play the know-one-knew card again.

The problem is, that everyone knew.  And the media knows that everyone knew.  And if these Reuter/AP Headlines are any indication, they won't let them off the hook for this disastrous lack of foresight:

Budget cuts delayed New Orleans flood control work

White House Backpedals on Flood Control

Excerpts and links in the extended.

First, the policy:

Budget cuts delayed New Orleans flood control work

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

The former head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that handles the infrastructure of the nation's waterways, said the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded over the years.

"Levees would have been higher, levees would have been bigger, there would have been other pumps put in," said Mike Parker, a former Mississippi congressman who headed the engineering agency from 2001 to 2002.

"I'm not saying it would have been totally alleviated but it would have been less than the damage that we have got now."

And the spin:

White House Backpedals on Flood Control

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -The White House scrambled Thursday to defend itself against criticism that it has consistently proposed cutting the budget for Army Corps of Engineers water and flood control projects -- including several that could have mitigated the disaster in New Orleans.

Just in February, President Bush proposed cutting the Corps' budget by 7 percent. The year before, Bush proposed a 13 percent cut.

Both cuts are part of an annual ritual in Washington in which the president shortchanges lawmakers' pet projects, knowing Congress will restore the money later on.

On Thursday, however, the Bush White House made available top Corps officials to assure reporters that cuts to the agency's budget did not cause the disaster. Even though the administration has chronically cut back on the Corps of Engineers' own requests for funding -- including two key New Orleans-area projects -- White House officials trumpeted the administration's support for the Corps.

"Flood control has been a priority of this administration from Day One," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

I haven't done a keyword search of Scott McClellan and "flood control," but I'm willing to bet this is the first time that the words have passed his lips.

This is an awful tragedy and while some may think that this isn't the time to talk politics, I think this is a time to examine our priorities and the priorities our government.  I hope that the media coverage fosters that type of examination.

Originally posted to brooklynben on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 07:37 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How many hits (none)
    If you Google McClellan and lyin MotherFucker.
    If the world was righteous the hits would number in the millions

    TADPOLE SWALLOWING-The act of rightwingers on their knees, getting the talking points shoved down their throats, so they can reguritate them at the RWCM

    by retLT on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 07:58:56 PM PDT

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