New Orleans: the Final Straw

It would be hard to imagine a more devastatingly clear and well-documented example of the poor judgement and misplaced priorities of the Bush Administration. The project intended to protect New Orleans from extreme flooding due to a serious hurricane had its budget cut severely and could not be completed. Why? The money was needed for the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, which has cost over $180 bi llion, and tens of thousands of human lives.

The hurricane would still have caused serious destruction, but if the Corps of Engineers project had been completed, the levees might not have broken. The loss of life and the extended suffering of survivors would have been much less, and recovery much quicker. Now, billions of dollars and months of work will be needed, and the effect on the economy due to shipping and production delays may be even higher.

The slow and clumsy response to the Katrina disaster shows that our government is no better prepared for any emergency than it ever was; perhaps even less so. It has shown the world that we are vulnerable to any destructive event, even with days of advance warning. The first priority for a government is to protect its own citizens, not to change foreign governments.

Bush should make this lesson an opportunity to admit his errors, withdraw troops from Iraq without delay, and concentrate on restoring the Gulf Coast, vastly improving emergency response, and building and strengthening protection for communities at risk. If our President is unable or unwilling to do his job, we should insist that he be replaced.