Pentagon Response to Katrina Based on Nonexistent “Dodged a Bullet” Headline

Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers just wrapped up a live press conference with Sec. Rumsfeld on the Defense Department’s response to Katrina.

Myers repeated Michael Chertoff’s debunked claim that newpapers on Tuesday had said, “New Orleans Dodged a Bullet.” But then he went a step further — Myers claimed that “most of the papers” carried that headline on Tuesday, and that the Defense Department’s response to Katrina was developed with “those words…in our minds”:

The headline, of course, in most of the papers on Tuesday — “New Orleans Dodged a Bullet,” or words to that effect. At that time, when those words were in our minds, we started working issues before we were asked, and on Tuesday, at the direction of the secretary and the deputy secretary, we went to each of the services. I called each of the chiefs of the services. One-by-one I called them and said, we don’t know what we will be asked for yet. The levees and the floodwalls had just broken and we know some of what will be asked because we had some requests for assistance already. There is probably going to be more.

Too bad Gen. Myers never received a copy of Tuesday’s Times-Picayune. The banner headline that morning: “CATASTROPHIC: Storm Surge Swamps 9th Ward, St. Bernard; Lakeview Levee Breach Threatens to Inundate City.”