U.S. Dams Iraq While Damning Iowa

Desperately needed funds for new levees in U.S. Midwest have been diverted to flood control in Iraq.

How many more floods of Biblical proportions will it take for Americans to realize what the government is not doing?

The Bush regime and Congress have refused to spend money on upgrading levees in the U.S. while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on levees and dams in Iraq.

The first disaster was Hurricane Katrina. Now we have the Iowa floods, which will have even more impact worldwide because of their impact on food prices.

I thought Bush was a big Bible reader. So why is he ignoring prophecy about floods? The AP's Jim Salter reported on May 12 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn't even know how many levees there were in the country, let alone the sad shape of them. Salter wrote:

"We have to get our arms around this issue and understand how many levees there are in the country, who's watching over them, what populations and properties are behind them," Eric Halpin, the corps' special assistant for dam and levee safety, said in an interview last month. "What is the risk posed to the public?"

Asked and answered when it comes to Iraq. The Bush regime diverted flood-control money from New Orleans to try to win the propaganda war in Iraq. (Go to this 2007 Bush Beat item for facts and links.)

Same situation in the Midwest. While the waters were still ominously rising last month, the AP's Salter wrote:

Corps levees in Missouri and Illinois that are supposed to protect against a 500-year flood fall short of even 100-year protection, said Col. Lewis Setliff III, commander of the corps district in St. Louis. Getting those nine levees up to standard would cost an estimated $200 million.

Last year, Congress passed the National Levee Safety Act, which for the first time directed the corps to inventory all private levees. But so far, Congress hasn't provided funding and won't likely do so until 2009 at the earliest.

$200 million would pay off your mortgage, but it's really not that much money in the big picture. As I wrote in September 2005:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is mighty proud of its $100 million water project in Erbil, in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. But that's just one of its thousands of reconstruction projects in Iraq.

In contrast, the entire 2005 construction budget for all Corps of Engineers projects in its New Orleans District was $94.3 million.

While the corpses of elderly people were floating and bloating in New Orleans in September '05, the Defense Department was also bragging on its "Defend America" website about spending money on Mosul Dam, the largest in Iraq, to keep floodwaters from potentially — potentially — flooding Baghdad:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 9, 2005 — Stabilization of the Mosul Dam continues with an additional $20 million in Iraq Reconstruction and Relief Funds allocated this week for that purpose. The Iraq Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Electricity have made the dam a top priority for the region.

Not that the Mosul Dam project worked out well, mind you. Two years after the DOD crowed about its work on the dam, Stuart Bowen, the courageous special inspector general in the Iraq Debacle, pointed to the facts, as NPR noted in October 2007:

Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, reports on 21 contracts totaling $27 million that the government awarded to repair the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq.

The crumbling structure threatens to flood Iraq's two largest cities, and Bowen calls grouting work on the dam unsatisfactory and U.S. oversight of the contracts weak.

For more, read this Washington Post story, which says in part:

A U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.

Rather that a corrupt flood-control project be undertaken in this country instead of Iraq. At least it would have partially helped defend America.


From the Bush Beat



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