Rememeber this? – On Deadline: Archives — Hey I hate to be seen as a Bush basher. But honesty does not seem to come easily to this administration.

The story the Associated Press moved Wednesday evening about the video that shows top officials warning President Bush that New Orleans’ levees might not withstand Hurricane Katrina is top news everywhere today. Here’s how various media and blogs from both sides of the political aisle are playing it:

– At The Swamp, a blog from the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau, the video’s called “a stunning piece of bad news for the White House.” Why? Because

“it directly contradicts his by now famous statement on the Good Morning America television show days after the hurricane. ‘I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.’ ”

Then they have to spin it again. Note this:

MSNBC notes that “administration officials denied there was anything new” in the video.

Of course there is nothing new. It’s an OLD tape. Talk about spin. It wasn’t new by any means, it was unknown to the public, that’s all. Nice try with the doubletalk. This sort of thing is very galling. Can these folks ever apologize instead of acting like weasels?

Related link:
Actual video linked here

  1. Thomas says:


    It also used to be that people took responsibility for their mistakes. Do you see that blaming the President for the handling of this disaster does absolutely nothing to help us correct the problems? While the President has already taken responsibility for the failures in handling Katrina, he isn’t the person or organization that made the real mistakes that led to this fiasco. The real failures occurred at the Local and State level and occurred over a long period of time. There is no doubt that FEMA needs to be improved but if we really want to fix the problem we should be asking why New Orleans and Louisiana needed FEMA in the first place.

  2. Jim W. says:

    A link to the AP correction:

    from the article:
    “The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.

    The day before Katrina, Bush was told there were grave concerns the levees could be overrun.”

    considering the number of posts, it might be worth a new one for the correction. Or is it to much to ask for fair and balanced bloging. 😉

  3. Alex says:

    The Bush apologist are nothing if not consistant. Was it Clinton’s watch, they would be blaming him for everything from rainy days to bird flu. An entire city gets wiped out after Dubya is warned that the levees may top and he claims no one could have imagined it. Whether or not anyone else could have done something, it was Dubya who appointed incompetent cronies to FEMA and who took FEMA out of the cabinet. It was Dubya who didn’t ask any questions during the briefing. His only input was to pray. Instead of following the situation he was out campaining in California. If he cared at all, he would have been checking out the developments and he would have made sure that relief was there sooner. Once it was clear that the worst had happened, Dubya should have marshalled the immediate response. Instead he sat there waiting for days. He is not a leader, he is a putz.

    Truman used to say “The buck stops here.” Today Dubya says “Buck, what buck?”

  4. Alex says:

    One last thing, comparing Florida to New Orleans is hardly fair. Aside from the fact that we get a lot of practice every year, the governor of Florida is the president’s brother and a Republican. I imagine when he calls Dubya he gets a response a little quicker than Blanco who is also a Democrat.

    Even despite the practice we get, last year we got our asses kicked by two storms. First Katrina on its way to the Gulf. Second by Wilma after it wiped out the Yucatan. Katrina hit Florida as a category two. Wilma hit Florida as a category one. Both hurricanes caused extensive power loss for days if not weeks. Many people were caught without enough water or food. Needless to say not enough people evacuated. A significant part of the reason for the extensive power loss was the old, rotten, wooden electricity poles that Florida Power & Light has not replaced since Andrew even though they charged us for the cost.

    This is after Andrew and after the 2004 hurricane season when South Florida was hit by three storms. After all that South Florida should be as ready as anyone can be for a large hurricane. The truth is we are not. No city can truly be ready for a catastrophic hurricane. Not New Orleans, not Miami, not Washington, DC, not New York. If the federal government has a responsibility, it is to be there for its people when a catastrophe of such magnitude happens. Yes, many people could have done better. The truth is that even if all the local officials had prepared for the worst, Katrina would still have destroyed the city of New Orleans. Instead of preparing for the possibility of a major disaster, Dubya fiddled while New Orleans sank.

  5. Thomas says:

    Bush was told by his experts that there was a danger of the levees overflowing, not breaking. A President has to trust his experts. Now, a valid argument can be made about the people he appointed and the quality of job they did. However, even if the FEMA director had been a complete bumbling idiot (more than he was), it still does not excuse nor explain the utter failure of the City of New Orleans nor the state of Louisiana in handling the evacuation.

    On the contrary, we can draw a direct parallel between Florida to New Orleans. It’s not like they do not get the news in New Orleans. They knew about Andrew, Wilma and the damage Katrina did in Florida before it got to New Orleans and did little to prepare for what might hit them. What about the numerous near misses over the past couple of decades? During Andrew, Wilma or Katrina, was Florida’s sole response: “Go to the nearest football stadium and hope it works out”? As you said, even with the preparations made by Florida, there was still quite a bit of damage. If ever there was a call to action that was it.

    While it is true that no city can be fully prepared, there is a difference between being prepared and overwhelmed and being wholly unprepared and being overwhelmed. In the original founding of the country, the Federal government’s responsibility was to the States not the people. The States, depending on their government, were responsible to its counties and cities and those to their constituents. That system demands that the Local and State governments have their act together or everyone looks bad.

    The truth is that had City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana been truly prepared for this disaster, the man-made portion of the disaster (lack of medical help, food and water etc.) would have never happened.

    The people of New Orleans got what they deserve (elected) from decades of corrupt politicians and bad money management. This disaster would have happened just as badly no matter who was in the White House.

  6. Alex says:

    Thomas, before Dubya FEMA was a very efficient organization. It had handled many disasters and it was ready to handle them on day one not day five. Dubya gutted FEMA and had it run by incompetent cronies. You can’t tell me that didn’t make a difference. The National Guard was in Iraq and so was its equipment so that the Guard members who were here could not do much if anything to help. That also didn’t help. The president didn’t seem to care about the disaster, instead of acting he sat waiting. When he did move, he just flew over an looked out his window from Air Force One. Are these the actions of a president who cares?

    You obviously don’t live in a hurricane prone area. I do and I lived through Andrew. Every year we get several close calls and the odd hurricane or three. After Andrew in 1992 we had not had a direct hit in South Florida until 2004. Inevitable after so many close calls and false alarms a preparation fatigue develops. People get tired of getting hurricane supplies, putting lawn furniture away and boarding up their homes. It is a lot of work and people get tired of doing it. Employers also don’t give employees a lot of time to prepare. During Katrina my employer didn’t release its employees to prepare for the hurricane until 3:00 p.m. the day Katrina hit.

    I am not defending Major Nagel or Governor Blanco, they should have done more, but there is plenty blame to go around. Wether the levees were toppled or just topped water is water New Orleans would have flooded just the same. Some of the engineering reports say that the levees failed after being topped. That the water flowing over the top undermined the foundations and caused them to fail. Saying that Dubya was warned of topping and not failure and thus he is absolved from blame is patently ludicrous. Dubya didn’t ask a single question during that briefing. He was so uninterested that he could not bother to ask even a polite question. Is this how the president leads? My ten year old could have asked dozens of relevant questions, Why didn’t Dubya?

    Lastly, a lot of poor people don’t have the opportunity to leave during a storm, they rely on the city to help them evacuate or shelter them. They may not have working cars that could carry them far. They may not be able to afford gas for the ride and much less to afford getting a room at a motel. These are not rich people who can just put $50 bucks of gas in their SUV load the trunk with bottled Evian water and drive to their holiday home to ride out the storm. A lot of these people were trapped in New Orleans as surely as if they were locked in. And if all these people had decided to evacuate at once the roads would have been completely crammed with cars. People would have sat for hours if not days on the road. Many of these old, broken down, cars would have done just that and broken down causing more delay. Its not as easy as telling people to leave. You may have plans to evacuate some of the people but no city can manage to evacuate everyone, the roads and infrastructure simply cannot handle it.

    If you lived in a hurricane prone area you would know that some people just don’t leave for any storm. I think these people are insane but that doesn’t make them leave. A large number of people figure it is just a false alarm and stay. They may prepare a bit but not for a major disaster. Even if they prepared for a major disaster supplies and ice only last so long. After going through the hurricane preparation routines for many storms people develop a very strong fatigue. You often hear weather forecast experts speak of it. Almost every false alarm comes with the same dire warnings about preparing for the worst. Several years ago hurricane Floyd, I think, was heading directly for Miami. At the very last second, just before it hit land it made a sharp 90° turn and went North. We didn’t even get rain. After such a false alarm people stop preparing a hard, its human nature. So before you start blaming the people of New Orleans for not preparing or evacuating you need to understand how these things work. It is not as easy as telling people to leave. The people at FEMA know how hard it is to get people out of a city and they knew that Katrina may be the big one. Why did it take them 5 days to respond? Harry Connick Jr. arrived with a truck load of ice and supplies before FEMA. How do you explain that?

    So, Dubya bears a good part of the blame he could have left FEMA a cabinet level organization led by experts instead of trashing it. He could have left the National Guard in the US instead of sending them to Iraq to an unnecessary war. As much as you, the other apologists and Dubya may wish, the Buck makes its final stop at the president’s desk. Before 9/11 we may have had an excuse to be surprised an unprepared for a large disaster, but after years of scaring us, raising alerts prior to elections and talking about dirty bombs and many other bugaboos, the administration doesn’t have the luxury of being surprised. If this had been a terrorist attack we would have been caught with out pants down as well. The administration fumbled this one because they are a bunch of incompetent fools not because every one else failed. Just for a second think of the response you would have to this Debacle if the president had been Gore or Kerry. You would not cut them as much slack. You only find excuses because you support Dubya and not amount of logic or facts will change your mind.

  7. Thomas says:

    > You can’t tell me that didn’t make a difference. The
    > National Guard was in Iraq and so was its equipment so that
    > the Guard members who were here could not do much if
    > anything to help. That also didn’t help. The president
    > didn’t seem to care about the disaster, instead of acting
    > he sat waiting.

    You are blaming the wrong person. The National Guard should have been deployed by Blanco not Bush. In order for non-Louisiana National Guard to deploy to Louisiana they have to have authorization from Governor not the President. The National Guard in Ohio and Michigan were waiting on Blanco to provide authorization. Arizona did not receive a request for help until Thursday. Wisconsin took an end run around Blanco and declared a disaster outside its own state. Just as other states must have authority from the state needing help, so too must the President have authority before he can deploy the military to that state. The National Guard and the military were ready and waiting on Blanco. Where was she?

    Your argument about lack of people is also specious. Iraq only accounts for about 10% – 12% of the Army. Almost 75% of the military is stationed in the US. There were plenty of military personnel available for Katrina.

    > That the water flowing over the top undermined the
    > foundations and caused them to fail. Saying that Dubya was
    > warned of topping and not failure and thus he is absolved
    > from blame is patently ludicrous.

    The President cannot be expected to be an expert in New Orleans levees. If his experts tell him that the levees might be topped and the damage from that will be bad but not horrible, he has to believe them. Any other President would have come to the same conclusion.

    > Dubya didn’t ask a single question during that briefing. He
    > was so uninterested that he could not bother to ask even a
    > polite question. Is this how the president leads?

    The President has to trust the people working under him. He has to trust that they have done their job and have the situation in hand and will prepare him for contingencies.

    RE: Contingencies

    Scenarios like the ones you mentioned: the poor or elderly not having the resources to leave, massive traffic jams, people refusing to leave, runs on supplies, people being desensitized to false alarms are all contingencies that should have been anticipated by the City and State.

    RE: FEMA
    FEMA is not designed as a first responder organization. It is assumed that City and State services will be first to provide relief and that FEMA will come in afterwards and provide additional relief, not all of the relief. If in a large disaster, the City nor State provide any help, then it may be a while before help arrives.

    >Harry Connick Jr. arrived with a truck load of ice and supplies
    > before FEMA. How do you explain that?

    Where were the local fire and police services? Where were the City and State emergency services? I bet he arrived before them too.

    >If this had been a terrorist attack we
    >would have been caught with out pants down as well.

    When terrorists learn to launch hurricanes, we’ll all be in trouble. Had this been a terrorist attack, Bush would have been authorized to send the military whenever he wanted in the interest of National Security. So, while it would have been bad, it would not have been nearly as bad as we would not have had to depend on Blanco.

    The people that fumbled this one were the people that elected the New Orleans mayor and governor and the mayor and governor themselves.

  8. Alex says:

    Thomas, I am astounded, there isn’t a single failure of this administration that you haven’t found a rationalization for. Has Dubya actually made any mistakes in your view or does he just walk on water? Maybe he is the second coming! That is the problem with you Repugs, you don’t need reality, you make it up as you go. It doesn’t matter how low we get, its OK as long as a Repug is doing it. I am sure in your mind Dubya is the greatest president ever. We should tear down all the monuments to Washington and Lincoln and replace them with statues of Dubya eating a pretzel.

    BTW, Dubya chose his White House staff not because they were the smartest people but because of their loyalty. So when he gets bad advice it is because he is getting it from the loyal, but dumb as a post staff that he picked. You see smart people are troublesome because they ask annoying questions and object to stupidity. That is someting that Dubya couldn’t deal with.

    I am giving up on you, I might as well be arguing with a block of concrete. No sense trying to get a reasonable argument out of someone who swallows anything the administration spins. Have a nice time in your separate reality. It must be nice to have all the answers, even if they are wrong.

  9. Thomas says:

    You are grasping at every remote straw you can to blame this on Bush even though he is wrong person. Regardless of which President you choose: Carter, Gore, Clinton, Reagan, or even Washington, the results would have been equally bad because the failures did not occur primarily at the Federal level; they occurred at the State and Local level. The Federal government is not responsible for mistakes made by the State and Local governments. THAT is why Bush is not the person to blame.

    This should have nothing to do with love or hate of Bush. Where did the real mistakes occur and who was responsible? When you ask those questions the answer invariably points to Blanco, Nagin and a long track record of corrupt New Orleans and Louisiana politicians. Your irrational hatred for Bush as evidenced by your ending rant, has blinded you to the actual causes that if corrected would have significantly mitigated the relief problems. You don’t want solutions; you just want to hate Bush.

    For the record, there are in fact issues with which I disagree with the President. Immigration, religion and Medicare are three off the top of my head.

  10. Alex says:

    Remote straws? A president isn’t there just so he can sit around and look dumb. During a briefing about a likely natural disaster of biblical proportions this dimwit cannot even come up with a single half intelligent question. Faced with such a disaster, the right response is to show some interest and ask questions. A proactive administrator would have asked probing questions, would have asked the experts to elaborate and explain. A leader with some brains would have asked if the relief plans were sufficient. Faced with the mere chance of losing an entire city a good leader would have made sure that all the resources were ready. A president isn’t there to sit around and hope for the best, a president is supposed to anticipate the worst and to look for ways to prevent it.

    Instead Dubya prayed. He didn’t ask any questions. That is why he is to blame, because he is too stupid to think ahead. The US is too big and complex a country and we live in too complex times to have a president that waits for things to happen before he reacts. We need a man who can think several steps ahead and come up with the best path around the obstacles we face. Dubya is clearly out of his depth. He has been out of his depth since day one. We find ourselves in this mess because Dubya is too stupid to wonder what will happen if we do this or that and his loyal staff is too loyal and dumb to question him. I blame him because he failed to imagine that a huge storm could cause severe damage in a city that is built below the level of the Mississippi. I blame him because he didn’t imagine that creating democracy in Iraq was more difficult than overturning Saddam’s government and setting up elections. This administration is only good at being caught with its pants down. They have plans for nothing. They are to blame for that.

  11. Thomas says:

    Thank you Alex. Your rant merely confirms my last point: you don’t want to find solutions; you just want to hate Bush.

  12. Alex says:

    No Thomas, you don’t get the point. The problem IS Dubya. The solution is having a competent president. If you had any clue, you could see that.

  13. Thomas says:

    It makes no difference who was in the White House, the result would have been the same. If you could get past your irrational, truculent opinion of Bush you would see that.

  14. Alex says:

    So you are saying that competence makes no difference in a president? No wonder you support Dubya. Now I get it, you are possibly even dumber than he is!


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