Hang 'Em High (Whoever They Are)
Every day, more information is surfacing about those failed levees in NOLA, and by now it’s (hopefully) clear to everyone that the city wasn’t as safe as it thought, let alone as safe as it should be. What is not getting clearer is who is responsible.
There are lots of fingers pointing at the Army Corps of Engineers, whose design team (which included a couple of no-doubt-doomed private firms) apparently overlooked the weak soil upon which the levees are constructed.
Paul at the Wizbang blog thinks the buck stops right there with the Corps:
This makes the case against the Corps (ie the Federal Government) seem to be a slam dunk. Contrary to what the arm-chair lawyers will tell you, the government can be sued for negligence. I've been saying it since days after the storm, we are going to see a lawsuit against the feds the likes of which we've never seen before. (Can you cay 300 billion?)Paul’s right, by the way. Contrary to what this attorney told the NOLA City Council this week, the Corps can be (and in fact has been) sued. They’ll figure that out, and then the city government is likely to use the threat of a suit to get some real levees.
Still, I’m not convinced that in all this zealous searching for a responsible party to hang for NOLA’s devastation, we’re not overlooking something else. Who, for instance, drove those pilings to a mere 10 feet? The original designs, flawed as they were, called for nearly twice that depth.
Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz suspects folks need to be looking much harder at the Orleans Levee District.
Although some politicians want to focus their anger exclusively on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in reality, a healthy dose of blame for the post-Katrina disaster in New Orleans should be placed directly on the Orleans Parish Levee District.I suspect he’s right. A healthy dose of blame probably belongs right there in Orleans Parish.
As much as I’d like to find a culprit to hang this mess on, I don’t think we’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation yet. ‘Til then, I’m sitting on the fence on this one.