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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Carts before horses

A Senate committee is looking into the failure of the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Both incompetence and malfeasance are suggested as possible reasons. The Corps of Engineers is investigating as well:
The corps's investigation of the disaster will be completed by next July 1, Mr. Mlakar said, a month after the levees are scheduled to be returned to their pre-breach strength.
So the Corps is going to spend the next seven months rebuilding the levees just the way they were, and THEN figure out why they failed. When the report finally comes out, they will have spent millions rebuilding the levees, they may find out it was all wasted, and it will be hurricane season again. There's an old saying--"There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over." Which may not be true in this case. There are physical limits to how fast the levees can be built--holes must be dug before they are filled, and concrete takes time to cure. But those limits don't apply to investigations. With more engineers and money, the investigation could probably be completed in a month or two, and the levees could then be rebuilt in a better fashion. The amount of money needed to speed up the report would be miniscule compared to the money wasted in rebuilding the levees improperly--and this would again be tiny compared to the loss if the levees were to fail again.

This is sort of like waiting until our lying imcompetent scumbag of a pResident has been re-selected before finally investigating his many crimes. Running in a fire is only a good idea if you know where you're going.