Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Par for the course

It would be nice to be able to say this is surprising.

Documents released today by Congress show that two days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the White House received detailed damage forecasts from Homeland Security officials predicting that the city's levees might be overtopped or breached.

Yet in the days after the storm struck on Aug. 29, federal officials, including President Bush, said the levee breaches could not have been foreseen.

Embattled former FEMA Director Michael Brown said, "I think we were all taken aback by the fact that the levees did break in so many places and caused such widespread devastation."

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff said, "I will tell you that really that perfect storm of combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners and maybe anybody's foresight."

And on Sept. 1, Bush told "Good Morning America": ''I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" that flooded New Orleans.

The documents provided today by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, however, showed that the federal agencies overseen by Brown and Chertoff had compiled damage forecasts for the White House at least 48 hours before the storm's landfall that predicted levee overtopping and breaches.
Yeah, but George was on vacation in Texas two days before Katrina hit, and had been for nearly a month. FEMA should have known that.

Remember all the fanfare that surrounded Bush's cutting his monthlong vacation short, to only 29 days, to deal with the disaster -- that is, after he went to California two days after Katrina drowned the city of New Orleans? Talk about low expectations.


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