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Did It Have To Happen?

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Warning – If you don’t like scathing criticism of the President and his administration, too fricking bad.

What do you get when you ignore the truth?
What do you get when you ignore science?
What do you get when you are more interested in personal vendetta than public safety?
What do you get when tax breaks for the rich are more important than tax revenue for repair?

You get New Orleans.

Anyone who lives in the hurricane belt knows it is just a matter of time before you get hit. Last year it was our turn. Three times hurricanes passed over our heads, even though a hurricane hadn’t come close to Orlando in over three decades. The good luck ran out with a vengence. I knew people who just felt they were never going to be hit, so never bothered to prepare.

Apparently they work in the White House.

Everyone knew New Orleans was a sitting duck. Any major storm there was a disaster just begging to happen. FEMA declared that the risk of catastrophic disaster due to a hurricane was one of the 3 most likely scenarios in the U.S. That was in 2001. It was old news to anyone who knew anything about the city.

That’s why Congress passed the South East Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project back in 1995.

But guess what – since a certain tax-cut and spend president has come to office, the budget has been slashed. By about 44% going into 2005. The 2006 budget cuts was slated to be even more drastic. Was the budget cut because the work was finished?

No. Not by a long shot. There remained about $250 million worth of work remaining. Worse, much of the funding that was allocated was spent paying interest to contractors for previous work that we couldn’t pay for because of the budget cuts.

The cut in funding was political not pragmatic. It was cut to “reduce spending” and free up money for more corporate tax cuts. It went to the rich. It went to the war. It did not go where it was needed most. Even The Army Corp. of Engineers, the group responsible for the project, has not been shy explaining why the work had to slow. The War in Iraq was taking all the funding. Period.

Homeland Safety was discarded for “Homeland Security”.

Now we must add the rising death toll in the delta to the toll Bush’s Iraq fiasco has taken on this country.

Some would say that isn’t fair. You’re wrong. A hurricane isn’t fair. Being held accountable for bad decisions is. Yes, it is true that Bush is not responsible for Katrina and yes it is true that we don’t know how many people would have died if the project were fully funded. What we do know though was a conscious and unconscionable decision was made to slash the budget at a time when the risks of major devastation were rising to their highest levels in decades.

Mr. Bush was elected to lead, and look where he has taken us.

People are dead, a city is in ruins and a country is in mourning.

Ignore the science, ignore reality, igonore need and this is what you get.

ed/pub: NB

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