We Told you so!
The scientific community, at least in the form of Scientific American, spelled out exactly what was going to happen in New Orleans four years ago but the bush league were busy figuring out how to sell a war against Iraq. The first line of the of the article Drowning New Orleans on page 77 of the October 2001 issue begins this way:
"A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands"It wasn't a headline then even though it was conservatively extrapolated from tons of measurements and careful modeling of the impact of development on the Mississippi delta. It wasn't a head line because they had a much more politically useful crisis on their hands. And it wasn't a headline because it was just a bunch of science and we have repeatedly seen that once this anti-science administration believes credibility requires a scientific opinion, it'll buy the one it likes. This adminstration's irresponsibility sinks to the level of negligent homicide. As far back as 1998 the engineers, scientists and Louisiana politicians were frightened into hard fought concensus that immediate remediation of barrier island errosion and subsidance of the land under the city was the only solution. What was the response to this consensus appeal to fund a collection of engineering projects that should have protected a coastline that produces one third of the country's seafood, one fifth of its oil and one quarter of its natural gas?
"Thus far, however, Washington has turned down appeals for substantial aid."Now perhaps readers who aren't scientists or don't keep read up on science's latest findings and best current theories, can't count themselves among the "we" who told him so. But read the article, the politicians and engineers had joined the scientists on this one...they ALL told him so.
I happen to subcribe to SciAm and the article came to mind the minute I heard the news that New Orleans had gone under. Most of what we will now hear out of New Orleans is aftermath and testimony to how desperate circumstances are .... the real plot line of the story was written some time ago but not read by the party which, unfortunately, we have entrusted with the power to avert catastrophy.
When will it be too late for real science to have a voice in setting priorities for how we prepare for the future?
--for some, NOW is too late.
By the way, Dubya, your dad wrote a book in which he described what a mess a war in Iraq would turn out to be...have you read that yet?