Tags: President | Bush | Was | Warned | About | New | Orleans

President Bush Was Warned About New Orleans

Friday, 02 September 2005 12:00 AM

Of course, they're both right. That's why the president is so determined to keep politics out of this. You know when you see the president on "Good Morning America" decrying efforts to politicize a natural disaster, and turning to the bipartisan dynamic duo of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, that he is in major political trouble.

To expect the Democrats not to exploit this is absurd. Imagine the situation were the opposite. Imagine Bill Clinton were president, and he had ignored a FEMA report four years earlier predicting just this disaster, and cut funding over the last five years by 40-plus percent, and then sat on vacation and waited while the mayor and the governor pleaded for help, while people died and folks were huddling with no power and no running water, fearing for their lives. Do you think the Republicans would blame him? With a midterm election looming? With any number of senators potentially running for president?

Especially when there is reason for blame.

What will this commission find?

They will find that, once again, the president was specifically warned. There was a report in 2001 from FEMA with a specific warning that a major hurricane in New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters the country faced.

They will find that we were unprepared. Last year, the Army Corps of Engineers' funding request for the New Orleans District to hold back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain was reported to have been cut by more than 80 percent -- and additional cuts at the beginning of this year brought the total reduction in funding to 44.2 percent since 2001, according to Blumenthal. This led the New Orleans district to impose a freeze on hiring and the local paper (whose presses are now underwater) to do a series on the federal funding and preparedness crisis.

They may also find, if they aren't partisan, that environmental policies contributed to the impact, including the administration's policy of giving wetlands over to developers. Reducing wetlands isn't some abstract environmental issue -- wetlands reduce the surge of water in a storm. Every two miles of wetland reduces a surge by half a foot. It was Bush's father who began the policy of conserving wetlands, and Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands -- but he changed his mind in 2003.

That's not even getting into the global warming issue, and the growing evidence of the impact of the rising temperature of the oceans on the severity of hurricanes.

But this time, they may also find that it took reporters and columnists and photographers and cameramen to force the president to leave Crawford, to get Condi Rice off Broadway, where she was seeing a show; that hundreds died who could have been rescued because they lacked basic necessities, that people were forced to live like animals in this land of plenty, that those people were overwhelmingly poor and black, and that this administration did much less than it could have for several days -- and, of course, ultimately could do much less before and after, because of the war in Iraq.

Jack Shafer in Slate asks why no one is mentioning race and class. Good manners. Like not being partisan, or waiting until the funerals are over. Those of us who fret over earthquakes have always known two things. The greatest danger of disasters is not the immediate impact, but their aftermath. And the aftermath is where planning (read money, read class, read race) counts. Whose house is reinforced? Whose do you think? Who had cars to get out, and places to go? Who do you think? Who was left? Not Bush voters. Of course it wasn't conscious. It just wasn't his mother.

Robert Kennedy Jr. wasn't wrong. He just jumped the gun. Hang in there, Bobby. There will be plenty to sink your teeth into. They can run, but this time, they can't hide.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

102

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
Of course, they're both right. That's why the president is so determined to keep politics out of this. You know when you see the president on "Good Morning America" decrying efforts to politicize a natural disaster, and turning to the bipartisan dynamic duo of...
President,Bush,Was,Warned,About,New,Orleans
660
2005-00-02
Friday, 02 September 2005 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved