Besides ripping away the roofs of New Orleans, Katrina ripped away the argument that we can cut taxes, properly educate our kids, compete with India and China, succeed in Iraq, keep improving the U.S. infrastructure, and take care of a catastrophic emergency - without putting ourselves totally into the debt of Beijing.
[...] So many of the things the Bush team has ignored or distorted under the guise of fighting Osama were exposed by Katrina: its refusal to impose a gasoline tax after 9/11, which would have begun to shift our economy much sooner to more fuel-efficient cars, helped raise money for a rainy day and eased our dependence on the world's worst regimes for energy; its refusal to develop some form of national health care to cover the 40 million uninsured; and its insistence on cutting more taxes, even when that has contributed to incomplete levees and too small an Army to deal with Katrina, Osama and Saddam at the same time.
The second major flaw in Friedman's column is that he perpetuates the LIE that the Bush Administration budget cuts were somehow reposnible for some of the damage which Katrina wreaked on New Orleans. Chief of Engineers LTG Carl A. Strock of the Army Corps has flatly and repeatedly DENIED THIS on TV interviews MANY TIMES - including an appearance tonight on TV. First, the LEVEES DID NOT FAIL. A few canals failed. And the canal which failed MOST (the 17th Street Canal) was one which was COMPLETELY FUNDED AND JUST COMPLETED ACCORDING TO THE MOST RECENT DESIGN SPEC'S. Here's STOCK at a DoD briefing:
"The area where the levee leaks -- where the levee breaks occurred was at its final design configuration. So that was as good as it was going to get. And what does that mean? Actually we knew that it would protect from a Category 3 hurricane. In fact, it has been through a number of Category 3 hurricanes. The intensity of this storm simply exceeded the design capacity of this levee. And those two points-- and others were over top, but those are the two main points of trouble. But that is the basic problem here, is that this storm exceeded the design capacity. ... The other question is, in general is the civil works budget of the Army Corps of Engineers suffering because of the war in Iraq? Not in my opinion. And the reason I say that is that if you look at the funding levels of the corps from pre-war days of 2001 and 2002, it has been a fairly steady level. We are spending a lot of money and the Corps of Engineers is involved in the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we're able to balance that with our human resources and it is not directly affecting our budget. "
ALSO: Clinton cut the Army Gulf Coats budgets. And the NYTIMES caslled them BAD LEGISLATION. SO - if Freidman wanted to be fair in how he applied a lie to fabricate a smear - he would have also criticized Clinton and his OWN editorial board. He did not. He deliberately used discredited line-of-attack against Bush in spite of the fact that it is false, and that he applied it in a biased way. You CANNOT get much lower than that! Only Krugman can, I think. And Herbert. And Dowd. (HEY: That has a kind of catchy ring to it: "KRUGMAN AND HERBERT AND DOWD - OH MY!"