Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What Really Happened to the Levees?

Paul at Wizbang really wonders what is going on with the big media outlets. The local paper, the Times Picayunne does groundbreaking work on why the levees failed, and comes to the conclusion that it was due to negligence on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers to properly construct the 17th Street Levee in the first place.

Yet no one seems to have picked up on this story in the mass media? Why?
There is a reason for me harping on this-- Other than the obvious that it was an appalling failure by the Corps...

This makes the case against the Corps (ie the Federal Government) seem to be a slam dunk. Contrary to what the arm-chair lawyers will tell you, the government can be sued for negligence. I've been saying it since days after the storm, we are going to see a lawsuit against the feds the likes of which we've never seen before. (Can you cay 300 billion?)

It simply amazes me the MSM is missing this story. 60 Minutes runs some whackjob who claims New Orleans is sinking but they ignore who flooded New Orleans?!?! I can't help but wonder who is making those calls.

If there was an engineering failure on a aircraft that made 3 of the same model aircraft crash and it killed 1000 people, the media would be in full circus mode.

In a not so hypothetical situation- A single teenaged girl disappears in Aruba and that gets front page coverage for months. The Federal Government floods a city of a million people and the media ignores it. What am I missing here?
Paul isn't alone in wondering about the levee failures. Solomon's House has been delving into the engineering mess that was the levee system. I've been looking at the political ramifications and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast on a regular basis. But the national media has been strangely silent.

This is something that the big media outlets should be salivating over. Perfidy and corruption at the highest levels of government in an ongoing problem for decades. A high death toll and widespread property damage that may have been the result of a failure to properly design, engineer, and manage the levee system. Yet, they're silent.

Before any reconstruction can go forward, it looks like the Corps will need to see a house cleaning to get to the bottom of this disaster, which may put the federal government on the hook for damages that may exceed $300 billion.

While we're at it, one has to wonder whether anyone at the local levee boards noticed a problem and spoke up? Or were they in on the mess as well? Expect culpability to extend out from the Corps to anyone associated with the design, construction, and maintenance of the levees. Oh, and the largest CYA job ever imagined.

UPDATE 12/1/2005:
Today's edition of the New York Times has a summary of the findings in the T-P/ story about the levee failures. It appears buried in the middle of Section A. About page A20. You would think that a story that has ramificiation the reverberate throughout the halls of Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE), and throughout the state and local government of Louisiana that someone at the Times might have pushed the story to the front page. Of course, it would look bad for the 'paper of record' to push a story that it didn't bother examining on its own and instead relies upon the work of a local paper with no national prominence.

Whatever the reason, the Times better get up to speed quick. There's plenty of room for investigating this mess. The Times can start with the DC angle. Finding out what Congress knew and when they knew it might be interesting. So would the oversight procedures in place at the ACoE.

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