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Federal Judge Says Corps of Engineers Liable For Katrina Damage

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the too-bad-a-judge-didn't-do-the-engineering dept.

The Courts 486

Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers — and thus the US government — is liable for a big chunk of the damage caused when hurricane Katrina pushed ashore on August 29, 2005 by failing to stop the natural widening of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet canal (aka Mr. Go) causing it to eventually bump up against the shore of Lake Borgne, on the city's east side. 'It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia, and shortsightedness,' wrote US District Court Judge Stanwood Duval. Judge Duval said he believed it was the failure to shore up the outlet that 'doomed the channel to grow to two to three times its design width' allowing waves on Lake Borgne to enter the Mr. Go and travel into the east side of the city, battering the levees to a degree to which they were not designed. 'One of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the US' was both predictable and preventable, testified veteran Louisiana geologist Sherwood Gagliano, a former Corps consultant."

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486 comments

What? (2, Insightful)

wpiman (739077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170122)

The people who knowingly decided to live below sea level bear no responsibility?

Seriously; this look to government to protect one's self has gone too far.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170144)

The people who knowingly decided to live below sea level bear no responsibility?

Seriously; this look to government to protect one's self has gone too far.

In the US of A, being stupid is a civil right.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170174)

60% of the population of the Netherlands live below sea level. Are they all stupid too?

Re:What? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170196)

Having been to Holland many, many times I can in fact confirm that the entire population are indeed stupid. Next question please...

Re:What? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170238)

60% of the population of the Netherlands live below sea level. Are they all stupid too?

No, but they all have their fingers stuck in dikes.

Send the Army Corps of Engineers to the Netherlands. All the folks that live below sea level will move, real fast.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170544)

No, but they all have their fingers stuck in dikes.

Careful, Kurt Greenbaum might be listening...

Re:What? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170320)

Before any american says anything stupid: Amsterdam is in Holland, which is the part of the Netherlands closest to the sea. So a lot of Amsterdam is below -5m (I know my house is) ...
And as all americans know you can party 'below the sea' in Amsterdam a hell of a lot better than the Little Mermaid does...

Re:What? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170452)

How many hurricanes do they get a year and at what intensity?

Re:What? (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170474)

they're not stupid, but don't come demanding my help when they flood, or don't tell me they were surprised.

asking for help... that's another story.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170644)

They don't tend to pray that hurricanes decide to change direction to avoid them... So I say no.

Location. Location. Location.

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170188)

The people who knowingly decided to live below sea level bear no responsibility?

Seriously; this look to government to protect one's self has gone too far.

In the US of A, being stupid is a civil right.

and you guys think political correctness has nothing to do with that. PC is a religion because you are made "right" by it, and everything non-PC has to be wrong by it. it's a nontheistic way of sanctifying yourself for being a good little robot and doing like they told you to do and making sure not to offend anyone, because that would be so horrible if they got on their high horse over a word or two since apparently these people have no idea what real animosity is about. this increasingly regimented increasingly centralized society and these unreasonable demands are part of why everyone is so stupid.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170154)

Appealing to "individual responsibility" is fun and all; but senseless if perspective is not kept.

Living below sea level is stupid. However, living below sea level behind a levee designed specifically to make that area habitable, which has been doing exactly that for years and years now is considerably less stupid.

Does "individual responsibility" require near-Cartesian levels of doubt in every possible piece of infrastructure?

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170198)

If it were a cheaply made levee whose maintenance had been ignored for some time, then it's still pretty stupid. Obviously the average person wouldn't know what kind of state the levee was in, but as someone who lives down south, it's safer to just expect that everything is falling apart.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

dlt074 (548126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170246)

if the levee is only rated to work and hold up to a category x type storm and a x+1 type storm comes along and you're still there. you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170408)

You mean that levee that had never been tested in a hurricane and was well known for years (I saw a documentary on this a year or less before Katrina) would probably fail if got hit by a large enough hurricane? Admittedly it probably should have taken a larger hurricane but what if Katrina had still ben a cat 5 when it hit?

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170426)

Appealing to "individual responsibility" is fun and all; but senseless if perspective is not kept. Living below sea level is stupid. However, living below sea level behind a levee designed specifically to make that area habitable, which has been doing exactly that for years and years now is considerably less stupid. Does "individual responsibility" require near-Cartesian levels of doubt in every possible piece of infrastructure?

The levee could not handle a Category 3 hurricane. Category 3 hurricanes which hit that area are periodic events that happen from time to time; they are absolutely inevitable. So you have a city below sea level protected by a barrier which cannot possibly handle an event that you know with certainty will one day happen. Additionally, all those years that passed without it happening were ample opportunity to reinforce the levee and otherwise to prepare for that eventuality. This did not happen. This alone would dissuade me from living there because the result is absolutely predictable. It's only a question of when.

What do you call it when people make themselves available for preventable disasters that are easy to foresee? Usually the word "stupid" is used to describe actions like this. "Stupid" is also used to describe people who need a politician or other official to tell them when something is a bad idea because they've lost their common sense and have replaced it with various authority figures. So without a government mandate or official inquiry they, acting on their own, would not seriously question the integrity of the levees or the tremendous risk they were taking. That sheeplike dependency, that inability to independently question and reason, explains not only why New Orleans was such a terrible diaster but also most of American politics and government expansion.

If you want to do something constructive, don't feel sorry for them or make excuses for them. Those sentiments are probably meant well but they accomplish nothing. They have no power to prevent a future disaster. If you want to do something, use this as an example for why there is no substitute for thinking for yourself and assessing your own risks. Let it represent why there is no substitute for those things, that all kinds of preventable harm is caused by the failure to value those things. The (minority of) people who understand this got out of New Orleans a long time ago and wouldn't have considered moving back without substantial improvements to the inadequate levee. The rest were surprised by the inevitable, which is like choosing to be a victim.

So yes, individual responsibility was a big factor here. It's not about doubting everything to an absurd degree. It's about knowing the situation you're in and putting yourself into a different situation if it's an invitation to disaster. But the folks who were hit hardest were not thinkers. They didn't think about their situation or compare it to other situations or evaluate risks. They had no such awareness. They just did their daily thing without a second thought and were surprised when something happened. That's the real message here.

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170640)

"Additionally, all those years that passed without it happening were ample opportunity to reinforce the levee and otherwise to prepare for that eventuality. This did not happen. This alone would dissuade me from living there because the result is absolutely predictable. It's only a question of when"

      And you just re-discovered the point of this court-case! Woo!

Re:What? (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170542)

Levees only buy you time, they are not dams and do not prevent floods completely, they just buy you time to get out of the area.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170642)

The levees in New Orleans were not ever designed to make a Category 3+ storm survivable, and they've always been in a TERRIBLE state of repair (anyone who's actually been the the area could tell you that water constantly seeped through them in several places). New Orleans floods during normal rainstorms. Anyone who thought they were safe there during a Hurricane doesn't deserve any pity.

Also, the money allocated to levee repair/upgrade was spent on things like off-ramps for casinos and such by the local levee boards. This judge declaring the Corps. to be responsible while ignoring the gross criminal negligence by state and local officials is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice I have ever seen.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170164)

The people who knowingly decided to live below sea level bear no responsibility?

So, let's get this right... If you contract me to do some work on your roof and it leaks -- it's your own damn fault for choosing to live in an area where it rains?

I like it!

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170482)

That's the irony, actually. Normally, the same people who are big on "personal responsibility" are also big on "accountability". Why would they be opposed to the Army Corps of Engineers being "accountable" for fucking up?

One can legitimately assert that this bit of engineering shouldn't have been their job; but it has been for some decades now and they've never been absolved of it. Why would anybody not want them to be accountable for doing their job properly?

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170522)

Actually yes. Eventually those shingles will wear and be damaged and it'll rain again and it'll leak again. Move to the desert if this arrangement bothers you. Its not the governments responsibility to control weather, raise land to above sea level, plug faults, super glue cliffs together by the ocean, fireproof trees or quench volcanos. If you choose to live where there are naturally dangerous occurrences and they occur , It isn't my fault, it isn't the governments fault, it isn't even the insurance companys fault , it's yours.
        To further look into this, It isn't the governments job to make you safe against anything but invasion (what a fine f**king mess that is) and various sundry constitutional duties. If you really want to know what the states liability is, then read your states constitution. The rest is in your hands. Live in a flood zone? Build on stilts and take the elevator up. Live in a quake zone? Build a single story in the wide open. Live on a volcano? Buy some barbeque sauce , Einstein.
            Unless my semen had something to do with your birth and it was my responsibility to teach you how to get along in life, everything else is your responsibility.

Re:What? (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170612)

No, but if a tornado or hurricane comes, and my roof leaks, it's neither of our faults. If I live below sea level I might not consider my self stupid for the majority of year. If there is a hurricane coming, and I live below sea level protected only by an old levy-I'm getting the heck out to higher ground!!!!

Re:What? (5, Informative)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170170)

While I agree that trying inhabit the New Orleans area is rather stupid, this ruling was pretty specific about this particular canal's design and maintenance. Apparently residents and city officials have been complaining about this thing since a 1965 hurricane that did a miniature version of what Katerina did and have been begging the Corp to change the canal to prevent exactly what happened.

That's what I got from some extensive radio news coverage yesterday.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170282)

From what I remember the Corp has been begging since 1965 for money to make the changes. Every year state and federal funds went to things that were at that time deemed more important.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170582)

Particularly, in the two years immediately before Katrina, a huge amount of the Corps budget ($2-300 milllion, IIRC) was switched to funding the occupation of Iraq because, since it was already Army money, it could be switched without permission of Congress. Which puts the blame squarely on the Adminstration, rather than the Corps of Engineers. And also shows how silly it is to have what is basically a civil job being done by the Army.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170184)

Mmm. I think if you check the New Orleans flood map, you'll find that the hardest hit districts were the ones with the lowest social mobility. If you're born there, and can't afford to move anywhere else, then should you be damned for your "decision" to be poor? [cityofno.com]

Perhaps the State has no responsibility to act for the benefit of its citizens, but if not, then what is its purpose?

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170226)

Can't afford to move indeed.
Even Bag Ladies move.
If you decided to stay in squalor after being born there. You pretty much decided to be poor. You decided not to be educated. You decided not to try to better yourself. All this because you gave up because you were born poor.Poor you, sit on a government pity pot.

Silly ass.

Re:What? (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170350)

Can't afford to move indeed. Even Bag Ladies move. If you decided to stay in squalor after being born there. You pretty much decided to be poor. You decided not to be educated. You decided not to try to better yourself. All this because you gave up because you were born poor.Poor you, sit on a government pity pot.

Silly ass.

You are being sarcastic, right?

Cause if you're serious, I'll assume you delivered yourself by C-Section. After carefully choosing appropriate parents, of course.

Fuck Yeah! (5, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170360)

Fuck the poor, the weak and the helpless!
They've nobody and nothing to blame but themselves!

That's the spirit.

Silly ass-O.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (3, Informative)

HisOmniscience (1361001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170614)

Cause it's not the poors' fault that they decided to drop out of school, not use contraceptives, raise their children in single parent homes, and continue to rely on welfare.

(Anecdote: my class had a 58% graduation rate... and that's normal for my area.)

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170502)

You pretty much decided to be poor. You decided not to be educated. You decided not to try to better yourself.

This is the great conservative myth, born in the 1970's under the auspices of Barry Goldwater and popularized by Ronald Reagan.

People don't decide to be poor. No one wakes up in the morning and says "I want to lose all my money and become broke". But the statistics don't lie: Either the vast majority of children of poor people are lazy, stupid, and unmotivated while the vast majority of children of wealthier people are smart, hardworking, and motivated, or there's some other factor at work.

For instance, in private colleges and universities it is not uncommon to find children from wealthy families who have a hard time writing at a 6th grade level. Explain that via personal decision-making. In your typical Best Buy you can and will find people who with a bit of training could have become darn good developers and admins, but the best they can manage is working overtime for the Geek Squad to make ends meet. Explain that via personal decision-making. Or for that matter, explain someone who works at my company answering customer service calls while earning a 2-year degree in web development, got that degree, and still is answering the phones for a living.

Even in Horatio Adler stories, being smart and motivated wasn't enough. The hero usually needed quite a bit of luck, and a benefactor of some kind.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170294)

Well it's no accident that the 9th ward was hard hit; the whole ward didn't exist until it was dredged from the river. Basically it used to be a flood plain.

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170442)

waaaa... I live in a river, below sea level (or on the flood coast of florida for that matter) who will come save me?

waaaa... I paid too much for my house and assumed I'd always have a job, now things changed, who will come save me?

Re:What? (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170204)

It's complicated by the fact that the government was the one who drained the marshlands originally and then sold the resulting dry land to expand the city. If they tried to blame the people for living there, people would then in turn blame them for suggesting that it was safe to live there. But more to the point, didn't these people have flood insurance?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170390)

No, flood insurance is not sold at all to people who live on flood plains.

Re:What? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170214)

Well... the government did allow people to build there. Insurance companies considered it an acceptable risk (pre-Katrina). Most of the houses would be saved if the Levies didn't break.

I would say this would go under normal government protection not excessive one. When it is an individual who knows the risk then it is their fault. However if you expand a city to these areas then it becomes a government concern.

Do they even realize it (4, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170258)

When my parents bought a home, the elevation was not on the contract or even sale presentation. You could only see if you were going to search for special map with precise elevation lines. So how many people living there do REALLY realize they live on ground below sea level ? Well *NOW* maybe a lot. but how many did back then ?

Re:Do they even realize it (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170342)

Well *NOW* maybe a lot. but how many did back then ?

Any competent buyer, who would demand a correctly-surveyed piece of property before purchase. We didn't invent elevation in the last decade or anything, just easy ways to get a bad estimate thereof (Elevation is GPS' key weakness.)

Re:What? (1)

Cemu (968469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170296)

So the government now has to stop natural things! What next, they're going to get into trouble because people die in car wrecks in the winter after a snow that they didn't prevent. Or what happens when the sea level continues to rise? How friggin' high are those levees going to get? It's cheaper in the long run to not rebuild the flooded areas and instead move the people to higher ground and let nature turn the low areas back into marshlands that will naturally protect other areas from storm surge.

It is always the guy with the biggest bank account (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170318)

who is responsible else how will the lawyers get paid?

So, the Corp is responsible. Big deal. Fix the problem. I do not see how this entitles anyone to sue the government for money. Whats next? Suing the government for permitting tobacco sales? Its not like the government doesn't know they are bad for you.

Ridiculous oversimplification (2, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170388)

There are some projects that can only be undertaken by large resources: the reclamation of the Netherlands and the East Anglian Fens from the sea being successful examples. The return on investment can be very large. But the effect of drainage is to reduce soil levels, so land that started up above sea level ends up below (you can see this very easily in East Anglia, where the drainage canals are often well above field levels.) East Anglia and the Netherlands have amazing hydrological systems to prevent flooding, which are well maintained, and I imagine that abandoning, for instance, Cambridgeshire and Befordshire to the sea might not be a sound idea financially. I don't know any more about New Orleans that a few articles in Sci Am have told me, but it looks as if the root cause of the problem is that large amounts of land and harbor have been reclaimed in ways that are perhaps hydrologically unwise, and the US Government decided to stop funding the protection measures. Now, what about all the people who have roots in the area from before the hydrological works started? They were presumably perfectly safe until the changed pattern of water movement created the conditions for a disaster. They at least should be able to claim against the developers and the Government who created the problem in the first place. And what of the people who moved into the area on the basis of misrepresentation that the system was safe?

Me? I live 65 metres above sea level and my backyard drops two metres to a drainage ditch. The prospect of flooding does not alarm me. But some of the most agriculturally productive parts of our area (and the Fens, and the Netherlands) are potentially liable to flooding, and in 30 years some of them may be abandoned to the sea. This will result in large economic loss. The decision on when and what to abandon will have to be taken on ruthless economic grounds. The decision in the US seems to have been taken on the grounds that (a) isn't this war expensive? and (b) why are we paying to protect poor people who vote Democrat? People do have a right to expect better of the Governments that they elect and pay taxes to.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170422)

The people who knowingly decided to live below sea level bear no responsibility?

They probably didn't even know they were below sea level. What is your town's elevation? Hell, Cahokia IL is smack in the middle of the midwest and it's only 400 feet above sea level.

And a lot of people, especially the poor, don't have much of a choice where they live. If you were talking about the rich people in California who build mansions where they can slide off a cliff, or in a wooded area that was prone to wildfires you would be right. If someone's home Kansas gets blown away by a tornado do you blame them because they live in Kansas? If someone's house in Japan gets destroyed in an earthquake do you blame them for living in Japan? If someone in Florida's house is destroyed by a hurricane do you blame them just because they live in Florida? There aren't many places on earth that are immune from natural disasters. But the disaster in N.O. was caused by the Corps of Engineer's incompetence. It's scary; I have friends in the St Louis area. I just saw in the paper yesterday that the levees in Alton, IL are in bad shape. I hope the one in Caholia is good, I have friends there. When the hundred year flood hit in the nineties, the Mississippi was at the top of the levee there.

Blaming the victim is despicable, and that's just what you're doing. The government reassured these people and they believed the gov. Who's to blame, the liar or the one who believes the lies?

Build your house on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170492)

Build your house on a fire ant hill, don't complain when you find fire ants in the house.

Build your house below sea level next to the ocean, don't complain when you find an ocean in your house.

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170636)

When those houses were first built, more than a century ago, they were above everyday river levels. The continuous building of levees has cause the river to silt its bed and raise itself up above the surrounding land. Levee building on a silty river is a job which, once started, can never be stopped. Better, but more expensive in the short term, would be to have dredged the river down rather than levee it up. But this was a gradual process - there was no day (until Katrina) in which the inhabitants could say that their homes (and major capital assets) has suddenly become uninhabitable. They depended on assurances from City, State and Engineers that they would be "all right", that the levees were up to their needs. And why should they not accept the assurances of the people who are supposed to know?

Remember, kids... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170130)

This is why you need to listen to the guys with hard hats and pocket protectors.

They aren't the only necessary ingredients of a functional society; but engineers(in concert with scientists) are your best hope of pulling nature's teeth before it can bite you in the ass.

Having recently been to New Orleans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170132)

I find it disturbing how the rest of the country just abondoned the people of New Orleans. There are thousands of people still living beneath the freeways.

This is truly a failure of government.

Re:Having recently been to New Orleans (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170220)

Those are just poor people who won't pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like my grandfather did so I wouldn't have to.

Ticket status: Closed: asdesigned, wontfix.

Re:Having recently been to New Orleans (1)

lottameez (816335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170324)

Those are just poor people who won't pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like my grandfather did so I wouldn't have to

I wonder if your grandfather would feel so smug.

lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (-1, Flamebait)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170146)

"Federal Judge Says Corps of Engineers Liable For Katrina Damage"

Patently untrue, the levees collapsed [google.com] because they were built cheaply, in such a way that they couldn't withstand a catagory three Hurricane ...

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (2, Insightful)

Brainpimp (919187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170222)

Do any of you RTFA? Cheap levees had nothing to do with this portion of the ruling. They didn't maintain a large man-made canal. They let it expand and erode into the existing natural barrier. This applied to the St. Bernard and some lower 9th areas. This had nothing to do with the 17th street or other canals that were topped and then eroded. To the dimwit that said people that live below sea level, FYI the area is not below sea level. It is outside the levee and the MRGO and the corp's failure to maintain it as originally planned is what made this a problem. This would be similar to if a plane crashed into an area that was near a runway and then telling the people that they bear part of the responsibility.

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170540)

But they would be responsible, for living below cloud level.

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170230)

"Federal Judge Says Corps of Engineers Liable For Katrina Damage"

Patently untrue, the levees collapsed [google.com] because they were built cheaply, in such a way that they couldn't withstand a catagory three Hurricane ...

I think you need to go back and read that page a little more clearly. He talks about Zionist movements and mentions several Zionist conspiracy theories. It's quite hard to take a site like that even a little bit serious.

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170330)

He talks about Zionist movements and mentions several Zionist conspiracy theories. It's quite hard to take a site like that even a little bit serious.

They are not conspiracy theories, they are Christian Science theories.

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170476)

I think you need to go back and read that page a little more clearly. He talks about Zionist movements and mentions several Zionist conspiracy theories. It's quite hard to take a site like that even a little bit serious

Yea, it sure looked like a real report..does that mean the stuff about the levies didn't happen?

Re:lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170234)

What's with the bullshit redirect disguised as a Google page? If you're going to push a badly written, badly designed and blatantly agenda-pushing website on us at least have the balls to link directly to it.

Re: lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170284)

"What's with the bullshit redirect disguised as a Google page? If you're going to push a badly written, badly designed and blatantly agenda-pushing website on us at least have the balls to link directly to it"

I did a Google search and that's what came up. Down at the bottom it does refer to shootouts with Israeli contractors, so I guess its one of those black propaganda type of articles designed to dilute the veracity of facts by burying them under a tonn of bullshit. At first sight a well laid out piece. Make you wonder who would spend their time in constructing such a piece ????

But the veracity of my post still stands. Bush cut funds [salon.com] to the levee project - to pay for the Iraq war.

Re: lack of funds Liable For Katrina Damage (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170362)

Make you wonder who would spend their time in constructing such a piece ????

Someone with far too much time on their hands that might have been better spent doing an HTML or website design course...

Pay no attention! (3, Funny)

LeepII (946831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170156)

Pay no attention to the reports from residents that heard the levies being blown to protect the rich neighborhoods.

Re:Pay no attention! (4, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170216)

Exactly, because breaching a levee in one place does not magically strengthen it in others, nor does it "relieve the pressure" being exerted by a fucking hurricane. What kind of fucking numbnuts even entertains such a notion?

Re:Pay no attention! (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170382)

Its paranoia, but partially justified paranoia. In 1927 they did blow the levee to prevent economic damage to New Orleans (and causing a flash flood that killed several people south of the city).

They did it once? why not do it again? The circumstances were different, and it wouldn't work this time. And the water wouldn't have anywhere to go. The "rich" french quarter was "saved" by being the oldest part of the city, built on dry land before the levees and higher than the rest of the city. Its a ridiculous notion, and not correct, but sometimes ridiculous things happen.

Re:Pay no attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170402)

Kanye West.

Re:Pay no attention! (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170458)

Exactly, because breaching a levee in one place does not magically strengthen it in others,

You're being a big fucking idiot [marinij.com]. It becomes particularly easy to believe when confronted with proof that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight [commondreams.org] while they claimed ignorance for an entire additional day. It's important to add as much delay as possible after any malfeasance to muddy the trail... Put another way, what kind of fucking numbnuts thinks such a thing is impossible? They said the same thing about Olivehurst/Marysville/Yuba City.

Re:Pay no attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170260)

If the government is picking up the tab for the devastation, shouldn't they get to decide if they want to rebuild the poor or rich area? Based on cost alone I would've done the same thing.

Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,ugg,Tshirts (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:Christmas gifts,shoes,handbags,ugg,Tshirts (1)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170394)

I've seen this spamming bot a lot here, are Slashdot staff getting a cut of that website's revenue? If so, I want in.

Finger pointing (4, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170186)

I've read in several disparate sources that the Corps repeatedly informed the powers-that-be in Louisiana and New Orleans that the levies were insufficient but were regularly ignored.

Re:Finger pointing (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170344)

This was not-so-widely reported during the Katrina situation, because people were too busy jumping on the "Katrina is Bush's Fault!" bandwagon. Funding was funneled away from the levees and put into other projects.

That isn't to say that the ACE isn't at fault either; some of the levees seem to have been poorly built, but I am not convinced this is due to malicious intent.

lack of logic (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170398)

'This was not-so-widely reported during the Katrina situation, because people were too busy jumping on the "Katrina is Bush's Fault!" bandwagon. Funding was funneled away from the levees and put into other projects'

If Bush cut funding, how isn't this Bushs fault ?

'That isn't to say that the ACE isn't at fault either; some of the levees seem to have been poorly built, but I am not convinced this is due to malicious intent'

Yes, the construction was flimsey, because of lack of funds.

Re:lack of logic (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170574)

Please cite your source that says that Bush cut the funding. Last I heard funding is a Congressional responsibility.

This was known for some time (1, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170190)

While Katarina was ongoing, there were plenty of independent news outlets running video footage of professionals warning what would happen. It made the Bush mantra of "No one could have predicted..." out to be just as much of a joke as the "No one could have predicted..." 9-11 version. (And then the Aug 6th PDB title was released.)

Re:This was known for some time (3, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170374)

"While Katarina was ongoing, there were plenty of independent news outlets running video footage of professionals warning what would happen. It made the Bush mantra of "No one could have predicted..." out to be just as much of a joke as the "No one could have predicted..." 9-11 version. (And then the Aug 6th PDB title was released.)"

Exactly, so how a Judge could belatedly blame the Army Corps of Engineers, defies logic. Of course he couldn't every state the real reasons. That the levees failed because of their flimsy construction and funding was denied to pay for Bushs war in Iraq. Not only that Bush was warned in advance [msn.com] about Katrina, but took no action.

"President Bush is expected to shift [nola.com] $1.3 billion away from raising and armoring levees, installing floodgates and building permanent pumping in Southeast Louisiana in order to plug long-anticipated financial shortfalls in other hurricane-protection projects, a move Sen. David Vitter describes as a retreat from the president's commitment to protect the whole New Orleans area"

Re:This was known for some time (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170510)

funding was denied to pay for Bushs war in Iraq

Ah. So, back in the 1990's, when Clinton was running things, and the design wasn't any better and local engineers were saying the same things, that was different? I see. It's different because of your politics, not because of reality. The levees weren't built to withstand a Katrina. That reality goes back well before Bush. Of course you know that, and you're a troll.

Your heros on the left could have spent money to change the levee construction for years and years before Katrina hit. Why didn't they? Well? Did they somehow know that years later, Bush would come into office with pre-existing, poorly built protections around a city that had spent decades making the problem worse - and they were somehow pre-blaming Bush for later political advantage? Sounds about right.

Also, it's Bush's fault that your coffee wasn't very good this morning, and that the traffic lights in your area aren't synchronized very well.

Re:This was known for some time (3, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170448)

It also makes the entire state of Louisiana look stupid for not declaring an emergency (Federal gov't can't send in the national guard without the state's say so) or forcing an evacuation, even though they are the ones who should have best known that anything above a category 3 would put the city underwater.

susceptible cities (2, Insightful)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170228)

At the beginning of the trial this summer, US District Court Judge Stanwood Duval asked, "You all know what this is about: ... What did the Corps know, when did it know it, and when should it have known?"

He answered in a 158-page ruling late Wednesday.

"It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia, and shortsightedness," he wrote.

He awarded 4 people (presumably New Orleans landowners) about $750,000 apiece for a lawsuit that's been going on since 2006. I don't know any more specifics about this case, but that seems like a small price to pay compared to the millions/billions that were spent immediately after the storm.

What I don't understand is why natural disasters should have been mitigated by technology. There are certain areas of the country that are susceptible to certain disasters. They wouldn't blame a construction firm when a tornado rips apart a building in the Midwest. They wouldn't blame the fire department when fires are engulfing a city. Why point extra blame towards the Corps of Engineers when a very powerful storm hits a susceptible city with the full force of its power? I don't buy the argument that we should be expected to spend the money up-front to guard against storms that big.

Re:susceptible cities (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170336)

I don't buy the argument that we should be expected to spend the money up-front to guard against storms that big.

You're missing the point, which is that the badly maintained canal made the situation worse than it would have been had the canal never been built (at which point nobody would have lived in the area in question because it would _always_ flood). People would have been better off if they had done nothing at all, but that's not what they did.

Bush cut funds for levee project (1, Informative)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170248)

"by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding [salon.com] requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent.

Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late"

Score 2 Troll ? (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170308)

What, if anything in that linked to article isn't true ?

Re:Score 2 Troll ? (1)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170504)

It's not that the article isn't true. It's that the article is more than four years old. Citing it here and now, to blame the evil Booooooosh yet again for all the woes of the world, is a textbook example of trolling.

Re:Bush cut funds for levee project (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170312)

funding for the flood control project essentially dried up

I think that one deserves a rim shot [instantrimshot.com].

But yes, one of the many causes of Hurricane Katrina was short-termism and a "cut government spending" ideology that led to underfunding of essential maintenance of levees, bridges and other not-so-glamorous infrastructure in many parts of the country.

Myopia and shortsightedness (2, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170250)

In my opinion, it wasn't just myopia and shortsightedness, but nearsightedness as well!

fixing the barn ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30170300)

after the cows got killed by wolves.

Sounds like the farmer's fault, not the barn makers.
It's the people of New Orleans fault, not the President's, or Governor's or Army's fault.

People need to look in the mirror more.

strange category (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170338)

How does an article about a legal ruling regarding negligence over a flood constitute "your rights online?!?"

Seth

Predictable... (5, Insightful)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170386)

They are partly correct: This catastrophes in the history was both predictable and preventable. They built a city right next to the ocean, bellow sea level, in a major hurricane zone, on a sinking delta, and in the flood plain of one of the world's largest rivers. It is quite easy to predict that any such city will be flooded, and being a major city it was a major disaster. And it was preventable: they could have built the city somewhere else, and limited the use of the delta area to only stuff that had to be there.

Re:Predictable... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170440)

They also went through a massive geo engineering project to prevent the natural course of the river from moving west of the city away from the city of new orleans. To save its port economy instead of building a different god damn port.

Re:Predictable... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170546)

That's easy to say, but at the time New Orleans was founded, all that stuff pretty much did have to be there. Time passed, and it grew, and the desire for continuity meant that it stayed there. And now you've got a choice between abandoning the city to rot because it's in a dangerous location, or using some less-than-space-age engineering know-how to render it safe. The error here isn't that the latter was chosen, but that it was chosen and not properly followed through on.

This is total BS (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170418)

The same Army Core of Engineers recommended for years the levies be reinforced. There is no reason to think doing so would not have avoided the flooding problems. The people there failed to make the investment. Its the local government there that is responsible and nobody else.

What we have here is a professional organization said the situation was unsafe and recommended a fix. The customer did not elect to implement the fix. Then when things went wrong the customer is trying to blame that organization for not having recommended something else.

Its total crap.

so federal funding got cut..... (3, Insightful)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170420)

If this was such a major concern for the state of Louisiana......................why didn't they just use state money? This is a classic case of fingerpointing.

No surprise here (1)

Neutral_Observer (1409941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170534)

They have had plenty of years to relocate the city inland to a safer area. They got what was coming to them. Anyone who bought property there had to know the risk. It was no secret that it was a flood zone. Same goes for people who decide to live next to a nuclear power plant, a volcano or an area notorious for tornados.The risk is obvious. Deciding to continue to live in these areas is the persons own fault. It is not like they are chained to their homes.There is no excuse, they could have walked away.

So the taxpayers... (1)

Kidro (1283296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30170620)

We're already spending significant sums of taxpayer money to not only keep those anti-flood measures kept up, but also to continue preventing the Mississippi River from going through its natural course changes [wikipedia.org] (Wikipedia).

I realize that there's a huge economic consideration in the whole mess of the river changing course, but shouldn't we be spending effort and money on finding a long term solution, rather than fighting a losing battle against a force of nature we can only hold back for so long and giving money to people who already received plenty of tax money and charity?
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