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Who Opened the New Orleans Floodgates?
Media ignores fact that Bush administration cut funding for the very levies that broke
As the federal government takeover of New Orleans continues and the helpless masses beg the state for refuge and assurance, the media is ignoring the key fact that it was the federal government itself that lowered the guard in cutting off key funding to protect Louisiana from natural disasters.
The New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bore the brunt of a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding for fiscal year 2006.
The Bush administration has been cutting funding for federal disaster relief funds since 2001 while doubling funding in other areas to pump up the biggest growth in government for decades, easily outstripping that of Bill Clinton.
A report from the Best of New Orleans news website outlines the details.
"...Among emergency specialists, 'mitigation' -- the measures taken in advance to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters -- is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives and cut recovery costs. But since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA's Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright. Federal funding of post-disaster mitigation efforts designed to protect people and property from the next disaster has been cut in half. Communities across the country must now compete for pre-disaster mitigation dollars."
The Bush administration's move to merge FEMA with Homeland Security meant that the two had to compete for funding. Straightforward projects that would have massively reduced the devastation we are now seeing, such as raising houses, were cast aside in favor of anti-terrorism measures.
And since the Bush administration has become renowned for its open border policies, the argument that the money was directed towards the real threats facing America is a hollow excuse.
Much of the Netherlands lies below sea level and after the 1953 flood which killed 1,800 people, the Dutch launched a major flood prevention program called the Delta Plan. Engineers fortified dykes and bolstered other water defenses against a future disaster and there hasn't been one since.
Had a similar project been in place for New Orleans and had Bush not cut the funding, the misery and turmoil being visited on that area would have been avoided.
It is an insult to the victims of Hurricane Katrina that the federal government can stomp in, impose martial law while forcibly evacuating local government officials against their will and then be portrayed as saviors by the media, when it was the Bush administration that figuratively opened the gates for the floods to rampage through the city and kill countless thousands.