Bush Diverted Levee-Building Funds to Iraq War, Tax Cuts

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain.

Repair and maintenance of the fortress-like system of levees around New Orleans has been a fact of life there for decades. The levees themselves are constantly sinking – in one report they sank four feet in about a year. But in 2003 – at the time President Bush cut the taxes of the wealthy (his “base”) while simultaneously launching the invasion of Iraq for no other reason than his personal whim, funding to rebuild the levees was reallocated:

[After] 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The [Army Corps of Engineeers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

As the situation in Iraq devolved into the slow-motion bloodbath we are experiencing today, the Bush Administration needed more money to feed the beast it had unleashed. As a result, even more funding was drained away from repairing the levees around New Orleans:

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

Last summer, local officials recognized that the president’s decision had placed the city in jeopardy:

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

13 Comments

  • September 1, 2005 - 4:53 am | Permalink

    We all have to understand the way we have allowed the crooks in charge to destroy America. The efforts of the rich and powerful to place the dangers and cost of a society in denial on the poorest will be remembered.

  • don garb
    September 1, 2005 - 5:33 am | Permalink

    New Orleans has sunk and is gone.

    Now we must derrive what solace we can from the facts that Halliburton and the oil companies are showing the highest profits ever recorded in history, that the super rich are paying less taxes, and that everything in Iraq is going just great!

    Let’s all take a moment to smile and reflect on how good things are going for the richest (and therefore the best) amongst us.

    Feel better now? You can feel this good for a long time as long as the elections keep getting stolen …

  • September 1, 2005 - 5:49 am | Permalink

    Best Slogan for the Dems (from another website):

    “New Orleans – Your taxcuts at work”

  • chuck nas
    September 1, 2005 - 6:12 am | Permalink

    While the people hit by Hurricane Katrina are living in thew streets, we must all try to help them. Maybe we all should get in the streets to stop what the President and his lies have done to all. The money that could have prevented the levy break went to Iraq, or in Halliburtons record profits. We all need to get in the streets to stop Bush and help us all. Sept. 24th meet me at the White House. March on Washington.

  • September 1, 2005 - 6:22 am | Permalink

    And yet the Bush apologists will continue to defend this wormy lying scumbag.

    They will accuse anyone that points out Bush’s failings of ‘blaming bush for everything’.

    They will do anything it takes to keep from having to admit that they voted for a corrupt little weasel.

  • Pingback: Pensito Review » Bush: ‘I Don’t Think Anyone Anticipated the Breach of the Levees’

  • Mario Bernheim
    September 1, 2005 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s just like the Feds said last year to funding cutting old forrest from Arizona to California and the very day the “NO” decision came from the feds, the mega-multi-state firestorm that could be seen from space, started. They keep saying “NO” to things that can actually benefit Americans, but we are expendable in their criminal war. I believed him, at first, defended him and then realized I was lied to. What gives America?

  • September 3, 2005 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    It is very easy to sit back and criticize, bitch and assign blame for the Katrina Disaster
    but this provides no help to those who are suffering. It seems like it would be just as fair to blame GOD for the disaster as it is to blame Bush.

    Instead of pissing and moaning I suggest you get out your checkbooks and write a check to the Red Cross in an amount that will mean some difference to the victems not just an amount to ease your liberal conscience!

  • Linda Duscoe
    September 3, 2005 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Your article is on target. What Rove and Bush neglected to realize is the real political differences in the two worlds in Orleans parish now and in the future. The population and/or property in the breached Industrial Canal area may be of little political significance now(as was in Hurricane Betsy of 1965). However, the property of the population in the breached 17th Street Canal/Lakeview area is owned by part of his political base and is now under 8 feet of water!

  • Sharon Carpenter
    September 3, 2005 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Responding to Jack Johnson (comments 9/3/05, 8:14 a.m.):

    If you had a liberal conscience, perhaps you’d see that the government is unable to admit they’ve botched the mission to save New Orleans and it’s people. Liberal conscience proactively spends money to prevent problems, rather than throwing money at it AFTER the fact to ease it’s conservative conscience.

  • Scarlet Spider - Original Clone
    April 20, 2006 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Red Cross is a rip-off as well. They’re not using the money as they claim, and they have a virtual monopoly on the Disaster Relief game.

  • Pingback: Dear Kitty. Some blog :: Brussels 23 September: Shame on Bush demonstration :: September :: 2005

  • Pingback: Brussels 23 September: Shame on Bush demonstration | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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