Friday, September 02, 2005

Bush vs. Reality: New Orleans disaster

Pharyngula points out this latest example of a Bush statement at odds with reality:
George W. Bush, September 2005:
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
Scientific American, October 2001:
"New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees that fend off Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south and west. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further, putting it at increasing flood risk after even minor storms. The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing. A year from now another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh--an area the size of Manhattan--will have vanished. An acre disappears every 24 minutes. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because the surging water would cut off the few escape routes. Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die. The body bags wouldn't go very far."
It seems to me there's at least as much blame to place on Louisiana state and New Orleans city government as on the feds for this one.

5 comments:

Einzige said...

Everyone's turning it into a political issue--i.e., "if we weren't in Iraq then the Feds would have been able to spend the money on the levees."

I'm all for getting out of Iraq--and there are plenty of better uses for the billions of dollars being wasted over there--but why should the New Orleans levees be considered a federal issue at all? (Forgiving the fact that they shouldn't be a government issue at all) And who's to say whether the levees would have even been on pork barrel list in the absence of the Iraq war, anyway?

Jim Lippard said...

The SciAm article makes it clear that the issue is actually a lot bigger than the levees--the levees themselves have contributed to the problem of New Orleans sinking.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested nearly $500M of federal funds to work on the levees; they got less than $200M.

Einzige said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention: many years earlier than the Scientific American article, Robert Plant said, "If it keeps on raining the levee's going to break."

I wonder how many millions to rebuild, now?

Jim Lippard said...

Now Chertoff, head of the DHS, is similarly denying reality:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/03/katrina.chertoff/index.html

"Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur."

Victor Reppert said...

Can we conclude from this that Bush doesn't read Scientific American? As Sandra Bullock would say, "Shocker!"