Not that it would ever stop the likes of The Guardian from trumpeting his claptrap, but we should note that, over and above the unsettling swiftness with which Bush’s political enemies seek to capitalize on this human tragedy, his claims have already been thoroughly debunked. A poster at redstate.org has put up an excellent and long critique of the “blame Bush” meme, culminating with this:
Was it rational and defensible to shift funding from any source toward defense- and war-related activities in the aftermath of 9/11? Of course. Did that shift leave the levees unready to handle Katrina's deadly burden? No. The levees were inherently unready: even at maximum proposed funding, their design was only for a Cat3 storm, not the Cat4/5 that Katrina was. It is true that in 2004, proposals were floated to upgrade to a Cat4/5-capable levee system; it is also true that even in an ideal situation, the studies — not the construction! — necessary to assess what that would entail would not be finished before 2008.As for Blumenthal’s claim that Bush’s development policies are responsible for degrading the wetlands around New Orleans which, he says, would have reduced the storm surge if better maintained, consider this MSNBC report:
So, it was not Bush, but the very fact that the Mississippi was prevented from flooding in the first place, which caused the degradation. [Update: the preceding sentence was originally, and erroneously, placed in italics, making it appear to be a part of the MSNBC report. It was not. It was my own comment. My apologies for the error.]
[Envornmental experts] say the levees that ring the city have led to the rapid decay of nearby wetlands during the past century, removing a crucial buffer zone that once protected the area from hurricanes...
Several factors — most human-made — have contributed to the steady decline of the delta at the bottom of the Mississippi. But most of the erosion is blamed on the levees, which faithfully steer all the water from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico. That prevents occasional flooding, keeping area residents above water most of the time. But one unforeseen consequence of the levees has been to cut off wetlands from their life force.
The regular floods served nature's purpose by feeding the delta, bringing fresh water and sediment that served to sustain life and replenish the wetlands. Without the regular flooding, the wetlands naturally “compact.”
“Simply put, when the land does not have any nutrients and fresh water it dies,” Marmillion said.
I don’t expect these facts to keep the media from credulously citing Blumenthal’s latest hit piece, but they are worth pointing out, nonetheless.
(Hat tip to NRO)