Thursday, September 01, 2005

Confidence in Bush down to single digits

Bush's Role in the New Orleans Disaster


(Excerpt) Read the entire atricle

Days after Hurricane Katrina hit shore and became the worst natural disaster in American history, questions are being raised about how much of the death and destruction was avoidable and, more important, what effect did Bush Administration policy and budget cuts have in contributing to this Southern nightmare. The answer is, plenty. New Orleans has always been vulnerable to potentially devastating flooding and damage from a direct hurricane hit. Since the 1960's, the federal government has worked with local governments to bolster precautionary measures as well as relief efforts. In 1995, after a huge rainstorm that killed several people, Congress enacted the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA, and appointed the Army Corps of Engineers to oversee the task of fixing the area's hurricane protection levees and to build pumping stations. We now know that it was the breach of three levees, caused by the overflowing Lake Ponchartrain, that has caused the most death and destruction this week, one day after the hurricane itself appeared to spare the city the worst of the storm's impact. What's infuriating is that the levee repair projects were adequately funded until recently, when President Bush wrote out of his 2004 budget most of the spending which the Corps had been receiving. Further, Bush ignored desperate pleas by Corps officials for the additional funding it said was urgently needed to properly protect the city from the kind of horrific chaos that Katrina has now brought. And the reason for the cuts? The cost of the war--the unjustified, unnecessary, 1000% elective, makes-me-mad-as-hell war--in Iraq was spiraling out of control, and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans took much needed revenue out of the Fed's coffers. Simply, Bush needed the dough to feed his neo-con macho war fantasy, as well as fatten the already swollen wallets of his rich Republican constituents. So, screw the poor and screw the vulnerable down in N'Orleans. The levees project was not completed, and they were never fully raised to levels that could adequately protect the city from a ruthless beast like Katrina. And from his 2005 budget, Bush cut all funding for the repair project as well as funding for much-needed research studies to determine better methods for safeguarding the area and minimizing future destruction from major hurricanes.

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