- August 27, 2005: At a 9 a.m. meeting, two days before Hurricane Katrina makes landfall, the White House is given a slide presentation comparing the storm's predicted impact to that of "Hurricane Pam" -- a test-case used for disaster-preparedness planning. Katrina, the report warns, could be far worse, noting that the storm surge, "could greatly overtop levees and protective systems," destroy nearly 90 percent of the city and displace more than a million residents. The presentation also predicts "incredible search and rescue needs (60,000-plus)."
- August 30, 2005: 80 percent of New Orleans is underwater. Bodies are floating in the streets. President Bush, as part of a month-long vacation from the White House, spends the day in San Diego. Vice-president Cheney is on vacation in Wyoming.
- September 1, 2005: In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, President Bush tells Diane Sawyer, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm." He also assured Sawyer that help was in transit. "Well, there's a lot of food on its way. A lot of water on the way. And there's a lot of boats and choppers headed that way. Boats and choppers headed that way. It just takes a while to float 'em!"
What will President Bush say about Hurricane Katrina next Tuesday? Anything? Certainly, he will no make mention of the fact that the Justice Department went looking for ways to blame environmentalists for the levee failures after the fact. No, that fishing expedition came home empty-handed. Will he, then, talk about the urgency of restoring New Orleans' flood protections, including Southern Louisiana's wetlands? Seems unlikely. Of course, there's not much he can say to make things right now. But, with just four months till the beginning of the next hurricane season, it does seem like he ought to say something. Doesn't it?