When the levee breaks

President Bush says no one predicted a breach in the levee in New Orleans. We've heard that one before.

By T.g.

Published September 1, 2005 6:20PM (EDT)

At a press conference a few months after 9/11, Condoleezza Rice said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted" that someone would try to use "a hijacked airplane as a missile." It turns out that she was wrong. Someone could have predicted it, and someone did: Long before 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration had considered the possibility that terrorists would hijack a plane and use it as a weapon, and the agency specifically warned airports of the possibility in 2001.

Which brings us, somehow, to George W. Bush's appearance this morning on "Good Morning America." There, the president said: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded."

We're not sure which "anybody" the president has in mind -- and we suppose maybe the president was being extraordinarily careful to distinguish between a "breach" of the levees as opposed to a more general overrunning of them -- but perhaps the White House might want to consult a few clips we found in about five minutes worth of Googling today:

The Associated Press, Aug. 31, 2005: "Even as Katrina approached, experts like Louisiana State University's Ivor van Heerden warned of a pending 'incredible environmental disaster.' He predicted the levees would be overwhelmed and much of the city would be turned into a giant, stagnant pool contaminated with debris, sewage and other hazardous materials."

The Houston Chronicle, Aug, 31, 2005: "Local officials said that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection -- including fortifying homes, building up levees and repairing barrier islands -- the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."

The Associated Press, Aug. 29, 2005: "Experts have warned for years that the levees and pumps that usually keep New Orleans dry have no chance against a direct hit by a Category 5 storm."

By T.g.


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