Friday, September 02, 2005

Bush, we told you so

I told you not to say "I told you so"...and in personal realationships its not bad advice but in the political arena, you gotta call bullshit when bullshit is pushed as a policy and if the policy reaps its crop of corpses, its time to say, time to shout:

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?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...
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cul said...

Parfait, as they say. Excellent post.

Aleksander817 said...

Absolutely! A perfect post. Way to remember the SciAm article.

I only hope someone has the guts to shout "We told you so!" loud enough.

Is SciAm a big enough publication to make a splash, do you think?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, 1998... under Clinton's watch... Nah, it's all Bush's fault.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, 1998... under Clinton's watch... Nah, it's all Bush's fault.

GreenSmile said...

Anonymous:
Strictly speaking, the neglect of the Mississipi delta's natural resistance to storm surges has gone on for over 50 years and no administration or party can claim to have done much for the situation...including Clinton if you must. But the Army Corps of Engineers has undergone a steady reduction in funding under the Bush administration. The USACE has been particularly distracted with Iraq lately, to the detriment of stateside projects: " The Bush administration has cut the budget by about 10 percent for 2004, affecting mostly the civil works side of the ledger. Hardest hit will be the construction budget, which will be slashed 16 percent to $1.4 billion. " Louisana civil engineering authorities point out that a minimal remediation program authorized in 1996 has not had enough funding to let construction contracts. The cuts by the Bush and the diversion of domestic engineering money and talent to Iraq are greater than the neglect by previous administrations simply because they had not given themselves a war nor a mandate to gut federal government but fair is fair: there is a history of neglecting the recommendations of the engineers for decades and congress has not even funded work it had approved...the system is broken and the current pack of goons is breaking faster than the last one.