In 2009, a federal judge ruled the Army Corps of Engineers was at fault for shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River, which led to the flooding in New Orleans. A year before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for flood programs in New Orleans. Instead, George W. Bush approved $40 million, while his Republican-controlled Congress passed a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill that included a $231 million bridge for an uninhabited Alaskan island.

After 9/11, the Republican agenda was to reduce FEMA’s mitigation budget. New Orleans was known to be one of the top three catastrophic disasters facing our country. FEMA veteran Pleasant Mann warned: “Over the past 3½ years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being one where funds are being misspent, employees’ morale has fallen, and our nation’s emergency management capability is being eroded. Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically connected novices and contractors.”

Inexperienced cronies were installed to head FEMA. The catastrophic disaster in New Orleans wasn’t the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers or FEMA. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favored ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of competence.

Counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke served under four presidents. He reported that within hours of the 9/11 attack, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested Iraq as a battlefield. Not because al-Qaeda was there, but because it offered “better targets.” Clarke explained: “We invaded and occupied an oil rich Arab country that posed no threat to us ... We delivered to al-Qaeda the greatest recruitment propaganda imaginable.”

Incompetence in the Bush administration is well known. The Trump regime’s incompetence is still being revealed.

Jim O’Leary


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