In early 2001, at the start of Mr Bush's presidency, his Government's Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) warned that a hurricane hitting New Orleans would be the deadliest of the three most likely catastrophes facing America; the others were a massive San Francisco earthquake and, prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York.
Hmmm, that's 2 out of 3. I don't think I'd want to be living in San Francisco right now.
Actually, I've got a business trip there in November... Hmmmm...
There's some good information in this article explaining how the disaster we are now seeing in New Orleans happened. In short, the key points are:
* long-term neglect of the levees
* long-term erosion of the area (marshland which buffers against storm surge being lost at a rate of 25 sq miles/year); the city itself has sunk 2 feet in the last 60 years
* lack of funding for emergency planning, particularly due to the Bush administration's "war on terror"
And here's the kicker:
Last year an emergency exercise run by the federal, Louisiana and New Orleans governments, featuring a fictional Hurricane Pam, almost exactly foretold the disaster now unfolding. But officials said plans to prepare for an actual catastrophe were abandoned because of cuts.