Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Iraq blowback: Follow the money, then thank Bush for the unnatural disaster in New Orleans 

Philly's own Will Bunch follows the money (via the man in the grey turtleneck (here)

Yes, if you follow the money it turns out Bush took the money that should have been spent on New Orleans levees and pissed it away in Iraq. In fact, the very levee that burst, 17th Street, was a victim of Bush cutbacks:

It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.
—Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until until it's level with the massive lake.
There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:

That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount.

But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to
order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said.

The 2004 hurricane season, as you probably recall, was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane- and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history.

One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer was a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach. The levee failure appears to be causing a human tragedy of epic proportions:
(via Attytood)

Remember how, over and over again, Bush fucks the Blue state cities, especially the port cities? Because they're not part of the base?

Remember the idea that the war in Iraq has an opportunity cost (back)?

The Katrina disaster—the dead, the billions in damages, the loss of a city—is the opportunity cost of Bush's war in Iraq.

Just follow the money.

That $8.6 billion that Bush just [cough] "lost" (back) would have bought New Orleans a lot of flood control, wouldn't it...

Yeah, Bush better end his vacation two days early. He's got some 'splainin' to do...

UPDATE Will Bunch also in Editor and Publisher!

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