For almost two weeks since Katrina devastated New Orleans, America’s media have been lambasting the president for not properly funding the Army Corps of Engineers. An article at CNSNews this week deals specifically with a NY Times hypocrisy in this regard.
This morning, NY Times columnist John Tierney has an op-ed suggesting that much of the media – including the Times – might have no clothes on:
“Or suppose the investigators try to find out why the Army Corps of Engineers didn't protect New Orleans from the flood. Democrats have blamed the Iraq war for diverting money and attention from domestic needs. But that hasn't meant less money for the Corps during the past five years. Overall spending hasn't declined since the Clinton years, and there has been a fairly sharp increase in money for flood-control construction projects in New Orleans.
“The problem is that the bulk of the Corps's budget goes for projects far less important than preventing floods in New Orleans. And if the investigators want to find who's responsible, they don't have to leave Capitol Hill.”
And who often are the beneficiaries of these projects?
“In rural Nevada, an area not known for hurricanes or shipping channels, the Corps has been given $20 million for construction projects. When I asked an official why so much was being spent in Nevada, he said that the money was paying for wastewater treatment and mentioned the name of Senator Harry Reid, the Democrat's leader in the Senate.”
And how about Mary Landrieu?
"This week Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat, lambasted Mr. Bush on the Senate floor. 'Everybody anticipated the breach of the levees, Mr. President,' she said. But she and others from the Louisiana delegation have been shortchanging the levees themselves. As Michael Grunwald reported in The Washington Post, they've diverted large sums to dubious Corps projects aimed at increasing barge traffic, not preventing floods. Ms. Landrieu forced the Corps to redo its calculations when a project to deepen a port flunked its cost-benefit analysis."
Finally, there’s been a lot of finger pointing concerning the incorporation of FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security. Who thought of that?
“Mr. Lieberman joined Mrs. Clinton this week in calling for a ‘re-examination’ of FEMA's status, but he was against independence before he was for it. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he helped lead the charge to create the Department of Homeland Security.
“Republicans first resisted, as the Democratic National Committee pointed out during the presidential campaign last year. Its radio advertisement declared: ‘John Kerry fought to establish the Department of Homeland Security. George Bush opposed it for almost a year after 9/11.’"
Given the tenor of this article, one has to wonder if the Times is either having an epiphany, or is just trying to counter articles like this.