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The Corps Report- A Personal Note

Note: Before you read this post must first read the story above it about the Corps of engineers admitting they flooded New Orleans. You need to read it to fully understand this post.

Of course you long time readers of Wizbang know this reports is somewhat of a bittersweet thing for me to blog. I have -thru the pages of Wizbang- been on my own 9 month crusade to get this truth out.

Starting just days after the storm I began following this story and predicted this day would come when all the evidence was in. I also began documenting the repeated lies told by the Corps.

Within a few weeks of the storm I was demanding that more evidence be released because the evidence we had was damning the Corps. It was about a month and a half after the storm that the evidence became -to my mind- overwhelming. And the crusade began in ernest.

Thru that time, I've sparred with some readers who were legitimately skeptical of my conclusions and ALSO with more than one or two people I've since found out had connections to the Corps and were trying to discredit me. (yeah, you guys (and gal) are busted, now run along.)

I'll admit to being human. When I read the headline I got a certain satisfaction... That it was a "victory." And it was in some ways. It was a victory for the truth, it was a victory for the engineering profession and it was a victory for openness in government. (although that last one was a tight race)

But my joy at the "victory" was short lived. Very short lived. Because it changes nothing.

In the end, this story is not about engineering reports, politics or blame. It is about people. By the time the numbers are all in, it will be over well 2,000 dead. - And imagine the number they left grieving.

It is a story of 250,000 people -a quarter million- who lost their homes and all their possessions. You can drive thru the streets of New Orleans and see mile - after mile - after mile - of ruined homes, destroyed cars and untold debris. It goes on forever. I can put you in car and drive for 2 hours and not see one livable home.

Behind every one of those homes is a story. They are numbers to the rest of America. To us they are our neighbors, our friends, our families.

None of their lives will ever be the same. Ever.

Even people who had no monetary or personal losses have had their lives all but ruined. - My own family, for reasons I won't discuss, was completely torn apart. And that's just a small the tip of a big iceberg.

Thousands of people who "made out OK" in the storm have similar issues. Many in the city's older population are leaving, leaving behind children and their grandchildren. Daily (yes, daily) I hear of wives who refuse to move back to town -not because of the hurricanes- but because with a faulty levee system we now have to evacuate for anything.

The thought of reoccurring evacuations -even for nothing storms- is taking a toll on everyone.

I won't even attempt to tell you the number of small businesses -and small business people- that were destroyed.

Greater than a million people have suffered enormous losses because of the Corps' failures. You in the rest of America can't come close to understanding. (largely I blame of the media for that)

The Great Flood of New Orleans makes 9/11 look like child's play.

Today's report doesn't undo any of that. It can't, as the philosophers say, un-ring the bell.

The best it may possibly do is convince the remaining holdouts in Congress that since the federal government flooded us, they hold the ultimate responsibility for making many people here at least partially whole. So I guess some will say this is a "victory" for the people of New Orleans. At this point, you'll pardon us if we don't cheer.


Comments (24)

Paul,I ran across ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Paul,

I ran across this story yesterday: New Orleans Sinking Faster Than Thought

Here's the important part:

For years, scientists figured the city on average was sinking about one-fifth of an inch a year based on 100 measurements of the region, Dixon said. The new data from 150,000 measurements taken from space finds that about 10 percent to 20 percent of the region had yearly subsidence in the inch-a-year range, he said.

Obviously the Corps could not have known this when the levees were originally designed and built. That doesn't excuse the Corps from their self admitted failures, but it does raise the question as to how well any levee system could have been designed and built before this information was known. The implications going forward are unknown at this point. Maybe some sort of levee can be constructed that can be easily updated every few years to account for the subsidence, or maybe parts of New Orleans will have to be abandoned.

Apparently the Corps was no... (Below threshold)
A Corps Lacky:

Apparently the Corps was not finished spamming us. They were deleted and will continue to be deleted.

BTW- Can you make it -a little- less obvious next time?
-Paul

Mac I've been working on a ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Mac I've been working on a post for a while now... Suddenly to many "scientists" -not the media per se- New Orleans is doomed. And they are all rushing to the media to tell them...

For example: According to one guy -who I googled and he actually has a reputation- suddenly New Orlenas is the mostly likely place in the country to get hit by a hurricane ths year. EVEN OVER MIAMI who gets hit by at least something twice per year. The last time we got hit by a decent sized storm was 40 years ago. The one before that was 50 years before that. YET this guy says we have almost of 40% chance of being hit by a Cat 3 THIS SINGLE YEAR.

I find it REAL REAL REAL hard to belive that is based on science and not a quest to make the newspaper.

There are similar problems with the story you link - and others. It seems every "scientist" in the world wants to become famous by using the word Katrina.

I have other examples I'll blog later.

Mac 2:Maybe som... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Mac 2:

Maybe some sort of levee can be constructed that can be easily updated every few years to account for the subsidence,

Mac everyone wants to wail about the levees subsiding. It is a red herring. (floodwalls not included) The levees are simply big hills of mud.

You know like when you plant a tree you make a little ring of mud around it to keep the water on the roots? Imagine that around a whole city. PAINFULLY simple stuff. (sorta) If they do subside ya just throw more mud on top.* No big deal.

OK there is one *.

We learned during Katrina that if an earthen levee is built with poor materials -which many of them were- when the water flows over the top and hits the backside of the levee, the levee dissolves basically instantly. That is a catistrophic failure. We knew this before Karina but never fully appreciated it.

So now they want to armor the levees. That means putting rocks (or something) on the back side of the levee so that if they DO get overtopped the flooding is limited to the water that makes it over the top. -- CONSIDERABLLY less than what happens when the levee disapprears.

They also need to make sure they use better soils.

So "throwing more mud on top" is harder if you have to armor but still not rocket science.

Mac Lorry, Accordi... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Mac Lorry,
According to Prof. Dokka of LSU the entire gulf coast area is sinking. Does that mean we have to abandon Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida? I think the American CITIZENS of those area might not like that. It is a slippery slope you are on. And, of course, the COE should have known of the subsidence. They are in charge of the entire water management system of the Mississippi River.
Paul,
As you know, I am a dentist. I saw a young girl at my office who lives in the city and I asked her the mandatory question "How did you make out in Katrina?" She answered she did fine, though the roof of her apartment blew off and there was substantial water damage in her appartment. It seems her dad, who works with the Corps of Engineers, told her before the storm to take anything and everything with her when she evacuated because it will probably be all destroyed if she left it. Why wasn't the general public given this same advice! They obviously knew ahead of time the true condition of the levees. It made my blood run cold.

I dunno what to think Doc. ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I dunno what to think Doc. I've gotten more than one report that people involved in the Corps knew the hurricane protection system -shall we say- "had problems."

I don't think even they (much less George Bush ;-) could have predicted what happened.

It's all water under the bridge -ummm- or in the living rooms now.

P

It really is interesting ho... (Below threshold)

It really is interesting how the 400 foot slump in a rebuilt section of flood wall is glossed over. One has to wonder what caused that particular failure. Was it inadequate examination of the geology underneath the site? Was it improper preparation of the site before the new material was added? Was it a design failure?

While all those miles of new concrete flood walls seem impressive, one has to wonder whether they too might fail because of problems with the site that go undiscovered until they're needed under storm conditions.

The Corp bears some respons... (Below threshold)

The Corp bears some responsibility for the failure to protect N.O. Do they bear ALL of the responsibility? I think not.

I find your language (the Corp, not Katrina flooded N.O.) extreme and offensive. The Corp failed to protect N.O. from flooding. The two are hardly the same. Let's see. If terrorists attack the U.S. somewhere and inflict heavy casualties again, by your logic, it is Bush who will have attacked the U.S. since he failed to protect us - right? You should mitigate your comments. You sound like a media leftist.

Sorry Jeff but no. <p... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Sorry Jeff but no.

If a Dam was built wrong and it collapsed would you blame the river or the guys who built the dam wrong?

If a bridge collapsed because it was built wrong, would you blame the engineers or gravity?

The water we got in the lake WAS LESS than previous storms. (See the Graph Kevin posted 9 months ago) and WELL below design specs.

In fact Jeff it looks like in reality the HPS (hurricane protection system) actually made things WORSE than none at all.

In 1965 we got hit by what we now call a Cat 3 and it flooded a few neighborhoods.

40 years and $800 million later of the Corps effort and a Cat 1 (by the time it got to New Orleans) destroyed the town.

No Jeff. Katrina didn't flood New Orlenas. The Corps did.

Although when the Box Score... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Although when the Box Score comes out, I'll give Katrina an assist.

Can We call this the Corps ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Can We call this the Corps Leak Scandal? yknow hearings cant be far off..

Good post, except one thing... (Below threshold)
rambam:

Good post, except one thing. I never knew anyone had faith in the Army Corps of Engineers to begin with.

The Great Flood of New O... (Below threshold)

The Great Flood of New Orleans makes 9/11 look like child's play.


Right.


:rolleyes:

Anybody who would willingly... (Below threshold)
quark2:

Anybody who would willingly live at the edge/bottom
of a levee, damn or berm is crazy. Anybody who deliberately ignores the warnings of an oncoming storm must bear the weight of responsibility.

"The Great Flood of New Orleans makes 9/11 look like child's play."

And this statement is over the top, comparing apples to oranges and undeserved.
The people who died in 9.11 had no warning and no
opportunity to escape.

doctorj,A... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

doctorj,

According to Prof. Dokka of LSU the entire gulf coast area is sinking. Does that mean we have to abandon Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida?

That depends on the rate it's sinking. If it's sinking a foot per year and you are 10 feet above sea level, then you should make plans to leave soon.

I understand that there are crackpots who happen to have an advanced degree and claim to be scientists. One way to identify "real" science is when something is published in a peer reviewed journal. That doesn't mean it's right, but it does pass the litmus test for being real science.

The story I linked to is based on research that was reported in the journal Nature. It's real science and it's not in a discipline where the only data comes from statistical correlations. This is new data from 150,000 measurements taken from space, likely with radar.

My only point is that anyone interested in the future of New Orleans should take a good look at this information and not dismiss it out of hand. Sometimes real scientists are right.

And this statement... (Below threshold)
carrick:
And this statement is over the top, comparing apples to oranges and undeserved. The people who died in 9.11 had no warning and no opportunity to escape.

The city was supposed to be able to have withstood this hurricane. There was nobody who predicted that the concrete levees would fail in the manner they did. Not that imperfect of an analogy at all.

Hmmm The death toll from 9/... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Hmmm The death toll from 9/11 was 2,986 people.

The death toll from just Louisiana will be well over 2,000 people. Perhaps much more.

9/11 the damage was limited to a 7 square block area. Katrina affected an area the size of Great Britain.

Katrina left over a a half a million people homeless for months and over a quarter of a million home destroyed. 9/11?

If you think 9/11 was bigger than Katrina you're both ignorant and really bad at math.

Nobody is dismissing it out... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Nobody is dismissing it out of hand Mac... Just keeping a few CASES of salt handy.

So far the "experts" don't have too good a track record in New Orleans.

"Good post, except one thin... (Below threshold)
tarheelcon:

"Good post, except one thing. I never knew anyone had faith in the Army Corps of Engineers to begin with. "

Not since Robert E. Lee left the Corp.

>Anybody who deliberately i... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Anybody who deliberately ignores the warnings of an oncoming storm must bear the weight of responsibility.

You know that's funny... Hundreds who perished on 9/11 ignored evacuation orders before the first building collapsed..

You never hear anyone blame them for their own deaths. THEY are victims.

OH.. That's right... They were from New York. My apologies.

The victims of 9/11 were mu... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

The victims of 9/11 were murdered. The victims of Katrina died in a horrible NATURAL disaster. Neither was or is child's play. I understand that you are very close to the disaster in N.O. Paul, and I respect that, but trying to make it some kind of competition and then insulting New Yorkers on top of it surely is child's play.

I would also add that there is certainly a difference between being told to evacuate a building, an occurence that happens regularly in offices, as anyone who has worked in one would know, and being told, by government officials, to evacuate an entire city. A warning I would venture to guess doesn't happen all that often in New Orleans. And how much time did victims in the towers have between a warning and the towers crashing down? I believe the victims in New Orleans had quite a bit more.

D-Hoggs, Did you read the a... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

D-Hoggs, Did you read the article? It says and the Corps admits that the flooding was an UN-natural disaster caused by negligence. 2000 Americans were killed because of it.
Mac, Prof. Dokka is the co-author of that article. (I had a link but the spam killer wouldn't let me post it.)

WOW you made what might be ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

WOW you made what might be the stupidest post I've read in 9 months. Did you even THINK about what you were typing?

The victims of 9/11 were murdered. The victims of Katrina died in a horrible NATURAL disaster.

No. If snow piles up on the roof of a mall and it collapses killing 100 people was that natural disaster?

Now what if the guy who built the roof knew the roof was faulty and he built it anyway? HINT: He goes to jail for negligent homicide

---
....trying to make it some kind of competition and then insulting New Yorkers on top of it surely is child's play.

I didn't make it a competition, I made an accurate statement of comparative fact.

AND YOU WANT TO CALL ME DOWN FOR INSULTING NEW YORKERS? DID YOU READ this thread?

The people of New Orleans were actually insulted on this thread and you said not a word. I simply point that out and you call me down for insulting New Yorkers.

HOW ABSOLUTELY HYPOCRITICAL OF YOU.
ARE YOU REALLY TOO STUPID to see what you just did?

In your world view it is perfectly OK to insult New Orleanians, they deserve it.

Here's a clue: Fuck you.

=======

I would also add that there is certainly a difference between being told to evacuate a building, an occurence that happens regularly in offices, as anyone who has worked in one would know, and being told, by government officials, to evacuate an entire city.

Ironically, thru your stupidity, you are absolutely correct. Evacuating a single building is a hell of a lot easier than moving a million and a half people out of a costal area. Did you think about what you were saying before you typed it? Apparently not.

The people in the office building simply had to move down the steps in an orderly fashion. Many healthy people ignored the order. Even though as you say, they probably had to do it before.

(In case you failed to understand what the hell you are talking about...)
Louisiana had to move about a million and a half people. And you think moving a few people from an office building is harder? ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?

Just imagine the amount of food, water, gasoline and supplies required to move 1.5 million people 200+ miles. And you want to compare that to a few hundred people walking down some steps? ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE VICTIMS WERE?

Something like 80% of the victims were greater than 70 years old in New Orleans. (I blogged the exact numbers, go look.) Most of these people either didn't have cars or could not physically drive them the 6+ hours required in unfamiliar areas to evacuate. Many of them had nowhere to go and didn't have the ability to find a hotel room that 1,000,000 other people were also trying to get.

MANY OF THEM had health issues and simply could not be evacuated. There was a story in the paper about a 40 year old woman who stayed behind because she had 2 parents on oxygen. She had no choice but to keep her 7 year old son with her. When the floodwall broke they all died.

IF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAD DONE THEIR JOB ALL OF THEM WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY.

And you want to blame those people but give the people who were able but unwilling to evacuate an office building a pass? GEEZE that is monumentally stupid.

Here's a clue: Evacuating a city is just a wee bit more complex than a single building.

Of course you'd have to get your head out of your ass and think a bit to figure it out. Something you couldn't be bothered to do.

There is some law about com... (Below threshold)
Paul:

There is some law about comment threads. The longer they are open the stupider the people who come to comment get.

This thread is going that way fast. It's always a sure sign when Lee arrives.

D-Hoggs if perhaps you now understand that you didn't think your comments thru and would like to say something a little more accurate, unfortuanly you'll not get that chance.

If on the other hand you wanted to revise and extend your (perhaps momentary) stupidity I'll be spared the blood pressure of reading yet another idot in a long line of idiot posters.

I simply don't have the energy to point out the obvious to people unwilling (or unable) to think and have not the tolerance I perhaps should to let them ramble.

For 9 months I've had every quack and their brother tell me I had no clue what I was talking about. For 9 months I've been dead freaking accurate. -- More accurate than any other media stream I've found. (go read the archives)

I refuse to let the idiots undermine that body of work. So if leaving comments open means giving the idiots a venue, all things considered, I'd rather not.

Good night everyone.




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