Wednesday, March 01, 2006

AP going after Bush on Katrina. Again...

The Associated Press is running a piece of video on which they're claiming exclusivity, of some of the FEMA preparation meetings prior to the landfall of Hurrican Katrina. They've also got video of the President speaking to FEMA, and then, later, speaking to ABC in the aftermath. They've chosed to portray the President as oblivious to what happened in New Orleans.

President Bush (speaking to ABC news): I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.

Voiceover: A seemingly direct contradiction to what is said at the briefing.

Max Mayfield (director, National Hurricane Center): I don't think anyone can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped.

Someone at the AP clearly needs to be taking some listening comprehension lessons. There's not only not a "seemingly direct contradiction" between what the President said and what was said at the briefing, there's no contradiction whatsoever. Unless there was something said at the briefing that they didn't include in the report. The President said that no one anticipated the "breach" of the levees. The Director of the National Hurricane Center said that they couldn't say whether the levees would be "topped." Well, that's the difference between your bathtub overflowing, which makes a mess, and collapsing, which is a disaster. People feared that the storm might top the levees, which would cause some flooding in some parts of the city. To the best of my knowledge, there was no public speculation or warning that the levees would actually collapse.
Army Corps personnel, in charge of maintaining the levees in New Orleans, started to secure the locks, floodgates and other equipment so it could better weather the impact, said Greg Breerwood, deputy district engineer for project management at the Army Corps of Engineers.

"We knew if it was going to be a Category 5, some levees and some flood walls would be overtopped," he said. "We never did think they would actually be breached. I don't think anyone raised the question that the city would be flooded to the magnitude it was now."

San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/2/05



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