Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Profiles in Pusillanimousity

The American Society of Civil Engineers has threated and the 17-year-old producer of a video criticizing the ASCE's investigation into the failure of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-built levees in New Orleans. By the time you click that link, the video may be gone.

The ASCE not only demanded that remove the video from its website and the YouTube online video site, but also copied the letter to the school where the producer is a senior. leader Sandy Rosenthal said the video would come down, but only because her non-profit could not sustain a prolonged legal battle to defend it. As of midday on Wednesday, the video was still on YouTube.

Apparently, the ASCE takes umbrage at the video for pointing out that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers paid ASCE close to $1 million for the study. They don't deny it. They just take umbrage. And they sort of fess up to opening an internal investigation into improprieties associated with this study.

The video supports's call for an independent, Congressional commission to look into the massive engineering failure that drowned New Orleans. It's about time. And it's about time to start a criminal investigation into the Corp's failures, and that of any accessories, as was done for the Big Dig in Boston.

In my book, ASCE Executive Director Patrick Natale [quoted in the Times-Picayune story] joins any number of the members of the corps as accessories to mass manslaughter.

Update: Suspect Device captures the video in flash on his blog. It will never go away. We will never let the world forget. Memo to the ACSE: by joining forces with the Corps to whitewash their culpability for a few hundred thousand dollars, you have fucked with the wrong people. Don't get me wrong. I don't blame the working civilian corps of the Corps. I blame its command.

I blame Congress (yes, you John Breaux and Mary Landrieu, who diverted flood protection money into the new lock for the industrial canal). And I particularly blame anyone or group that would rush in to cash in on the opportunity to help cover up what happened. Most of a million and the inside track on future contracts. Sweet.

I think its time we empaneled a grand jury and began dragging the command structure of the Corps and idiots like these in to explain while they should not spend the rest of their lives breaking rocks in the Louisiana sun

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