Geronimo : What if Osama Bin Laden was killed prior to 9/11?

Without 9/11, it's possible the far-right conspiracy culture could be either butterflied away or watered down as it produced a number of conspiracy theories.
Without 9/11 happening, there will be none of that 9/11 truther BS, and thank god for that! Hopefully Alex Jones (hopefully I'm not breaking the current politics rule by mentioning his name) and other similar people have less influence in this timeline than they do in OTL.

I think we still would get "x invasion was for oil" "the US wants to conquer the world" "UN is the New World Order in the larval stage" kind of theories but no "Bush did 9/11" and variations of those questioning how the steel melted or saying he did that because he's the Antichrist seeking to turn America into a Police State(which later would be used against Obama and Trump as well)

It'll be watered down. Conspiracy theories weren't born overnight. There were already conspiracy theories in the 1990s against the Clinton Administration, especially after the Waco incident.

Here, these post-9/4 conspiracy theories would come out in a different form.
Yeah, we will probably unfortunately still get some of those other conspiracy theories throughout the 2000s and 2010s, but hopefully they don't get talked about as much compared to OTL.

I'd hate to imagine how the 9/4 conspiracies will go. People would probably be saying BS like "9/4 was an inside job", "Putin did 9/4" and "Bush did 9/4" among other BS.
Without 9/11 happening, there will be none of that 9/11 truther BS, and thank god for that! Hopefully Alex Jones (hopefully I'm not breaking the current politics rule by mentioning his name) and other similar people have less influence in this timeline than they do in OTL.
No worries. Mentioning Alex Jones in the context of this alternate 2000s timeline isn't breaking the current politics rule for as long as it sticks to the context of the TL without too much heated OTL references. Jones was already well-known in the 2000s anyways.
Yeah, we will probably unfortunately still get some of those other conspiracy theories throughout the 2000s and 2010s, but hopefully they don't get talked about as much compared to OTL.

I'd hate to imagine how the 9/4 conspiracies will go. People would probably be saying BS like "9/4 was an inside job", "Putin did 9/4" and "Bush did 9/4" among other BS.
Considering the Second Chechen War is still ongoing, the Russians accidentally shooting down a Japanese airliner which they mistook as being hijacked, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building was targeted, many well would say "Putin did 9/4" or "Vladimir Zhirinovsky did 9/4" as a pretext for Russia to go to war and reclaim the Soviet nostalgia.

"Bush did 9/4" won't probably go ahead since the 2004 elections were already coming up and he ended up losing to John Edwards.
No worries. Mentioning Alex Jones in the context of this alternate 2000s timeline isn't breaking the current politics rule for as long as it sticks to the context of the TL without too much heated OTL references. Jones was already well-known in the 2000s anyways.

Considering the Second Chechen War is still ongoing, the Russians accidentally shooting down a Japanese airliner which they mistook as being hijacked, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building was targeted, many well would say "Putin did 9/4" or "Vladimir Zhirinovsky did 9/4" as a pretext for Russia to go to war and reclaim the Soviet nostalgia.

"Bush did 9/4" won't probably go ahead since the 2004 elections were already coming up and he ended up losing to John Edwards.
Putin doing 9/4 is actually believable.
No worries. Mentioning Alex Jones in the context of this alternate 2000s timeline isn't breaking the current politics rule for as long as it sticks to the context of the TL without too much heated OTL references. Jones was already well-known in the 2000s anyways.
Thanks for clarifying that, Gillan1220. I know Alex Jones was spouting his BS even back in the 2000s, but with him still be somewhat relevant to this day, I just didn't want Ian or CalBear getting pissed off at me for mentioning his name.

Considering the Second Chechen War is still ongoing, the Russians accidentally shooting down a Japanese airliner which they mistook as being hijacked, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building was targeted, many well would say "Putin did 9/4" or "Vladimir Zhirinovsky did 9/4" as a pretext for Russia to go to war and reclaim the Soviet nostalgia.

"Bush did 9/4" won't probably go ahead since the 2004 elections were already coming up and he ended up losing to John Edwards.
Yes that makes sense. Thanks.

Putin doing 9/4 is actually believable.
Makes far more sense than Bush doing 9/11 that's for sure, though of course Putin obviously didn't do it.
Makes far more sense than Bush doing 9/11 that's for sure, though of course Putin obviously didn't do it.
Other theories could have some Russian hardliner do it. Such as Sergei Shoigu. Zhirinovsky would also be the ideal target of the conspiracy theories, since he is known for his crazy remarks.

Another question @Iwanh, did the POD butterfly Alexander Lebed's death in 2002? Or did it still happen on schedule as per OTL?
Part 52: The calm before ...
Part LII

The Calm Before ...

Announcer: The following address is from the office of the President of the United States.

John Edwards: Good evening, I came to Washington with promises of a better America, but some have accused me of promising too much in my campaign. Saying that there was no way I could come through with all my promises. But I am here to tell you that those people; are total idiots. AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.

John Edwards: The Republicans have called my proposal for raising the minimum wage 'a pipe dream', but I see, that it is crucial for American families to get a pay raise; so that they can buy the necessities. Conditioner, Lip-gloss, nail polish, teeth whitening strips, and not just the men, ladies too. AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.

John Edwards: When I said I wanted to make America the healthiest country in the world, a lot of people, some of my best friends, were like, ‘You’re thinking way too big John’. ‘Really? the healthiest country? America? healthy? don’t you think you’re reaching just a smidge too far?' But no gosh darn it, I meant it. By the end of my Presidency, we will have every American on balance boards poppin’ diet pills, until their cores are hard as a rock. AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.

John Edwards: I hear what they say, ‘hey? that President Edwards. heck, he’s just a pretty face, he’s got no substance’ But that’s not fair, not at all. I have a very pretty face and my hair needs a lot of substance; you think I just wake up like this? No, I do this for you America. AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.

John Edwards: Some of my detractors have even called me a populist, and I think that is just really, really mean. And to those detractors, I say, what on earth do you think is popular about free drugs and more money? These are just sensible, normal, moderate, handsome, popular polices. If they want to vote against the ‘kittens-and-puppies-deserve-hugs bill’ that I bravely proposed to Congress, then they can go right ahead and do that. I don’t know about you America, but I believe these wonderful kittens and puppies should be hugged and I am not afraid to say it.

(John Edwards lifts a puppy from under his desk and smiles). AUDIENCE AWES.

John Edwards: And now someone is going to accuse me, of using this wonderful creature, whom by the way name is Snuggles, for a political photo op. ‘That John Edwards, never met a baby he hasn’t kissed, always taking pictures, instead of working’.

(There is a knock on the door to the oval office)

John Edwards: Who could that be?

(Edwards opens the door to guest stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) AUDIENCE WHOOP.

John Edwards: Oh my, Hollywood Superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, what a surprise, it’s just wonderful to meet you.

(Edwards enthusiastically shakes their hands smiling while Jolie and Pitt are puzzled)

Angelina Jolie: You invited us, Mr President. We’ve been waiting for an hour.

John Edwards: I did? wow? hmm? That must have slipped my mind, oh well, these things happen … did you bring a baby? AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.

Brad Pitt: No … Are we on television?

John Edwards: Ok you two can see yourselves out, thank you.

(Brad and Angela are ushered out with the puppy)

John Edwards: Well America there it is, if you think I promised too much in my first term, just wait for my re-election pitch, who knows what I’ll promise, a mission to Mars? cure to baldness? reviving the unicorn? I’ve got big plans America, and I want all of you to be with me, so look deep, look really deep into my boyishly handsome smile, and listen to my sweet, sweet sales pitch and Live from New York it’s Saturday Night!


SNL Cold Open 'President Edwards addresses his detractors' May 14th, 2005, featuring Will Forte as John Edwards

Minimum Wage

For 8 years the United States Congress had refused to raise the federal minimum wage, it remained at the standard $5.15 an hour set in the 1997 amendment to the Labor Standards Act. That refusal meant that half of the civilian labor force now lived in a state where the pay was higher than the rate of the federal government, specifically 17 states and the District of Columbia had already done so, and now dozens of other states were contemplating raising the wage themselves including some, where the rate was already higher than the federal rate.

Adjusted for inflation the minimum wage was at its worst value since 1951 and throughout his Presidential campaign and now from the oval office President John Edwards made it known he wanted to change that. “$5.15 as a federal minimum wage is a national embarrassment,” he said at a stop in Columbus Ohio, on a tour to promote his change. “This isn’t about giving people a handout. This is about people earning a decent wage.” He ran through the necessity of a wage hike, “today more and more Americans are living in poverty, including children, by raising the minimum wage we can fulfill our moral obligation to reduce poverty and lift people up instead of leaving them behind.”

Raising the minimum wage was certainly a popular idea, and an overwhelming majority of Americans supported a raise (roughly 83% in favor) of a $2.00 increase and just over 50% wanted a higher increase and even former President Bush was forced to acknowledge that the next congress would “study minimum wage proposals” But public approval doesn’t automatically lead to legislative achievements.


(Left) Map of US according to minimum wage (Right) President Edwards campaigns for higher minimum wage

Conservative legislators were especially opposed to such a consideration. House minority leader Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican, pledged that there would be no deal with him to increase the minimum wage, arguing that any increase would force small businesses to lay off workers. DeLay was a sharp-edged conservative especially on this issue, earning him the moniker in liberal circles ‘defender of sweatshops’ for his advocating keeping wages below the federal level in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands which he called a “perfect petri dish of capitalism” But despite DeLay’s opposition, a wage hike was vocally stewarded through the House by Speaker Gephardt a fierce advocate of raising the minimum wage, an unsurprising move for the Democratic-controlled house, but more shocking was the amount, $9.00 a massive 75% increase in staged 70 cent bumps over the next 7 years. Gephardt framed the raise as central to providing stimulus to the economy “This will provide the necessary security to working Americans who build our economy” and the President tentatively endorsed it, “The speaker is right, substantially raising the wage puts the economy back in the hands of working Americans”.

Republicans guffawed, quick to pounce on the House bill as far too radical and dangerous. Senator John Cornyn of Texas rejected that proposal “My question is, why stop there? Why not $100 an hour.” He told Texas reporters “This is ridiculous government intervention”. And Republican Senate minority leader Bill Frist warned Democrats to “think long and hard about what they propose” and given the filibuster rule, it was very unlikely the House bill would gain every member of the Democratic caucus + 5 Republicans.

But Democratic leader Harry Reid was open to negotiations “The door is open to my Republican colleagues; we are willing to work this out to get things done”. Democratic Senators put forward their proposal, $8.50 over 5 years. The measure still proved contentious with a couple of centrist Democrats wavering the vote count at approximately 53 votes for and 47 against, still shy of the 60 votes needed to end the debate. Both sides entered negotiations with 7 moderate Democrats and Republicans to hopefully find a compromise, but efforts stretched into the Summer recess.


(Left to right) Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), House Minority Leader DeLay (R-TX), Speaker of the House Gephardt (D-MO), and Senate Leader Reid (D - NV)

Middle East

As negotiations continued, Edwards faced a major test of his Presidency, when the CIA and the Department of Defence told him that two members of the U.S. Army Special Forces had been killed while on a mission in Afghanistan and another had been left severely wounded. The agencies quickly pieced together the assumed timeline for the tragedy, while air evacuating an injured soldier the transport helicopter had been damaged in a dust storm and crashed, ruling out that it had been shot down, but marking the first combat deaths of his Presidency, Edwards did his solum duty calling the families of the deceased and wounded before asking his commanders how best to strike back.

The politics of the conflict in Afghanistan were becoming more complex by the day, with Masoud’s diplomatic overtures to the Taliban, the international coalition was unsure of its continuing role in the conflict. But neither of the primary military powers (The United States and Russia) was content to sit back and wait for the peace declaration plus they had some demands of their own from any new Afghan government. The No.1 objective was the expulsion of jihadist groups from Afghanistan, many of whom were residing in the remaining Taliban strongholds in Nangarhar province, currently in the disputed control of local rebels and Taliban/foreign fighters. Under a mission authorized by President Bush and continued by the Edwards administration, U.S. special forces began providing covert aid to these anti-Taliban elements with the goal of capturing/killing terrorists. The CIA responded to the President’s request by providing a map of the Tora Bora mountains. So far, the forces in the region had been denied air support due to the proximity of the Pakistan border, but now the agency identified the mountains as an expansive cave and tunnel network, akin to a ‘fortress’[1] and the main base of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group holding its leader Mohammed Atef and his key lieutenants, giving the President a clear target.

He authorized an air strike campaign on the mountain range, informing Pakistan of the incoming missile strike en route, while Afghan rebels and the special forces prepared to move in. What started as a punitive strike mission, the President expanded to a genuine military campaign, encouraged by positive feedback from the Pentagon on the progress of forces. Afghans on the ground reported the astonishing firepower on display “At first we thought they were trying to frighten them out, the ground shook for miles”.


(Left) US bombing of Tora Bora (Right) Anti-Taliban soldier

After the two-day bombing campaign, the rebel forces moved in. Langley’s eyes were firmly on the battle, monitoring reports that senior Jihadists were moving via convoys and a video of local Sheiks blessing Atef. The Pentagon head Secretary Shelton reported that the attack was in accord with “local fighters, our mission is to drive out these terrorist groups, we’ve made that very clear”.

The fighting remained tough as loyal foreign volunteers fought to the death after four days of battle, the signs that the Taliban fighters were withdrawing became more and more clear, and according to interviews with Arab fighters Atef was leaving the region along with a clique of his close confidants and directing his underlings to do the same. The Afghan local fighters were slow to follow, supposedly wary of it being a trap, or perhaps they were content to loot the provincial capital and its villages before rooting through the foxholes and caves for the final holdouts (several rebels are known to have accepted bribes to allow ‘safe passage’ to foreign fighters).

It appeared that most senior leadership had escaped, with the notable exception of Abu Zubaydah, a wanted Saudi, and suspected camp commander, suspected by the FBI for his connection to a plot to bomb American Airliners in 2002. He was captured alive, after losing a foot to an artillery shell along with several other stranded commanders. Local warlord Abdul Haq, revelled, “We have captured Tora Bora they have left nothing behind, just a few cowards and idiots to face us”.

With only a few embedded special forces, the U.S. had directed a successful capture of some of the harshest terrain and dedicated fighters in the world, with minimal casualties. Vice President Kerry congratulated the troops on a visit to a U.S. base in Saudi Arabia “On behalf of President (John) Edwards and the American people, our military and our partners deserve enormous credit for the success of this operation to disrupt terrorism in these areas, its an incredibly difficult task but the results are significant”.


(Left) Abu Zubaydah, (Right) Vice President Kerry addresses troops in Saudi Arabia

The strategy for the campaign had been a success and was widely celebrated in the Pentagon and West Wing, despite the escape of key jihadist leadership the terror organization had been severely ruptured, and many analysts predicted that with an Afghan peace deal on the horizon, the threat of international terror would significantly recede. As one jubilant General Abizaid head of central command put it “We have chased them out of their hideouts and won the battle, with no casualties, that is an unparalleled victory”.


Rockets Strike U.S. Ships in Jordan Killing Sailors
AMMAN, Jordan, August 19, 2005

(CBS/AP) Authorities say as many as seven rockets were fired early Friday from Jordan, 3 striking U.S. Navy ships docked in a Jordanian port, killing at least 3 sailors. Two other rockets were fired at an Israeli airport only a few miles away. Two others were fired in the vicinity of the U.S. Navy ships docked in the port of Aqaba, Jordan, but both missed, striking a nearby warehouse, there are dozens of U.S. naval personal injuries and at least 3 confirmed casualties as of yet.

U.S. Central Command said the ships were the USS Ashland and the USS Kearsarge. The Ashland an amphibious warfare ship to transport marines and equipment was struck twice by the rockets. The USS Kearsarge is an assault command ship that carries up to 1200 troops and has been struck once.

"At approximately 8:44 a.m. local time, a suspected mortar rocket flew into the USS Ashland striking the bow and causing a rupture several feet wide. Another rocket flew into the rear of the ship causing a similar rupture, a third and fourth rocket flew over the bow of the Kearsarge striking a warehouse on the peer before a fifth rocket struck the Kearsarge," said Lt. Cdr. Charlie Brown of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, in a statement.

The death toll is expected to rise as 4 sailors still remain missing, each blast has caused significant damage to the ships, and rescue crews are struggling to repair the damaged vessels.

“This is nothing but a senseless act of terror,” Adm. Michale Mullen the chief of naval operations told reporters at the Pentagon.

Addressing the nation from the White House Rose Garden after the attack, President Edwards vowed the incident would have no impact in the U.S. efforts to patrol the Persian Gulf to uphold the freedom of the seas and enforce sanctions in the region.

“If as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was crooked and cowardly, we will find those responsible and hold these accountable, if their mission is to deter us from promoting a free and peaceful middle east they will fail”. Said the President

The attacks have come at a time of rising tensions, marked by Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, the responsibility for the attacks is still unknown but Islamic extremists have long criticized both the Jordanian government for its relations with Israel and Washington and dislike the U.S. presence in the region as a whole.

*This article has been updated as of August 22, 2005

A radical Islamic group Jaam’at a Jordanian terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the strike on U.S. Navy ships in Jordan's Red Sea that left 7 sailors dead as well as two Jordanian Soldiers. The Jaam’at organization's leader, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said in a statement that the attack was “a clear message for American forces to leave”. The Jordanian government has claimed that the suspects of the attacks rented a warehouse in the area and fled afterward over the Iraqi border.

The attack on U.S. ships expanded the threat matrix but left the United States with little ability to respond. CIA head Bob Kerrey briefed the President, agreeing with the assessment that the Zarqawi group was responsible, but there was no evidence related to his or his group's location, he was last ‘seen’ in Afghanistan a couple of years ago and even that was shaky but before any coordinated plan could be developed for the storm in the red sea, a different storm made landfall.


(Left) USS Kearsarge (center) Abu Al-Zarqawi leader of Jaam'at (Right) victims of the Aqaba port strike return to the U.S.


Five British Muslims killed in Afghanistan
Declan Walsh in Islamabad
Mon 29 Aug 2005 01.41 BST

5 British Muslims have reportedly been killed fighting for the Taliban. Three of the casualties of the British-based Al-Muhajiroun group have neem identified. Killed during fighting in the Nangarhar province where a U.S. led airstrike campaign on the Tora Bora mountains has recently taken place.

“Five of our British Muslim Volumeters were martyred in Nangahar” Anjem Choudary said. The identities of those killed include Abdul Saleem (29) from east London, Mohammad Sidique Khan (30) [2] from Leeds and Shehzad Tanweer (22) [3] from Bradford. He declined to reveal the identities of the other two.

The police and MI5 believe that as many as 70 Britons have flown to the region over the last year siding with the Taliban against the British-backed ‘Northern Alliance’ in the ongoing civil war, and some are suspected of joining terrorist groups.

Al-Muhajiroun has claimed that 1,000 British Muslims left Britain to offer support to "Muslim brothers and sisters" in Afghanistan and Chechnya. And have made threats against the British government which have prompted investigations, but many of its reports have proved exaggerated or incorrect.


3 Identified British Muslims killed in Afghanistan

[1] The Tora Bora Mountains were exaggerated by the CIA & DoD

[2] 7/7 possible mastermind
[3] 7/7 participant
[!] The next update is already written I just wanted to fit in more pictures. It just needs to be edited so stand by.


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Part 53: The Big Muddy

The Big Muddy

In 2001 an assessment of threats to the United States determined that the greatest dangers to the homeland were an earthquake in California, a terrorist attack in New York, and a hurricane in New Orleans. To counter the latter scenario a hypothetical ‘Hurricane Pam’ mock exercise was carried out, it determined that preparations for such an incident were woefully insufficient for a powerful storm and subsequent persistent flooding.

On August 23rd, 2005, a tropical depression merged southeast of the Bahamas and began to organize, it was named Tropical Storm Katrina. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami Florida issued an advisory warning that hurricane conditions were possible within the next 36 hours. Across the country, corporations and government entities began to prepare for a potential emergency. “Hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters that are predictable”. Said Jason Jackson an emergency coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the cabinet department [1] better known as FEMA.

On August 25th Katrina built strength, reaching the level of a Category 1 Hurricane, able to fall trees, snap powerlines, and damage homes. Later in that day, Katrina came ashore in eastern Florida slowly moving inland. The hurricane killed a dozen people, especially deadly for Category 1 due to its slow movement speed (8 miles per hour, less than half the usual speed of the hurricane). Once Katrina exited Florida and re-entered the gulf it re-energized. “The conditions were exactly right,” said Louisiana climatologist Barry Keim “for one of the biggest storms on record”.


(Left) Hurricane Centre, Florida study Katrina, (Right) Flooding in Miami

On Friday, August 26th, Katrina built tremendous strength, reaching a Category 2, and was now predicted to target somewhere along the gulf coast between the Florida panhandle and east Texas. FEMA, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army were on the move. Opening shelters and feeding units, while positioning supplies in warehouses across the gulf.

But as fears were growing in the minds of those paying attention, in the city of New Orleans, the good times kept rolling as the metropolis of half a million played to its own beat. The port city was built nearly entirely below sea level, with the Gulf to its south, Lake Pontchartrain to its north, and the Mississippi River running right through it, protected from overflowing by a network of earthen levees and flood walls.

Hour after hour, Katrina sucked up more energy now predicted by some to reach Category 3 before making landfall, across the country, local, state, and national officials were made aware of the monster on the way. With emergency planners in Baton Rouge (Louisiana’s state capital) in battle mode, preparing the state’s defenses, and organizing local forces for the coming storm. “Our preparations begin at the ground level, we have a saying, all disasters are local,” says FEMA coordinator David Fukutomi.

Throughout the day the EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) coordinated with FEMA, State, and Local offices, and both Mississippi and Louisiana declared states of emergency allowing the Governors to maneuver hundreds of national guardsmen to aid the storm preparations. Additionally, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard were placed on standby[2], further out in the gulf, oil companies evacuated their rigs causing an immediate spike in petroleum prices.

With predicted landfall in 72 hours and New Orleans in the direct firing line, critical decisions were and weren’t taken. The streets of the Big Easy were packed, many unbent by the grim predictions, on Saturday, Katrina was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 115 miles per hour. Coastal Louisiana parishes began a mandatory evacuation of their residents, but not New Orleans, the idea being that rural communities needed to get out first before New Orleanians' traffic could clog the highways.

Later on the 27th New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in accordance with the state's plan, called a state of emergency and announced a voluntary evacuation of the lowest-lying areas “This is not a test, we don’t want you to worry, we want you to be safe”. He also announced that the Superdome, the 70,000 ft stadium built to withstand 200mph winds would be a ‘shelter of last resort’. Emergency evacuations then began as all road lanes were opened to outbound traffic but regardless the streets became swamped with cars.


(Left) Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco (Right) New Orleans Superdome

Across the entire gulf, thousands streamed further inland hoping to avoid Katrina's wrath, they lined up for gas and groceries and booked out hotels or stayed with relatives, but still, there were tens of thousands of people staying put, some resolute, some unwilling, and some unable. Determined or forced to ride out the storm. Analysis shows that nearly 20% of the city’s residents were without transportation, many had no money for busses, trains, or hotels, and many were dependent on welfare that tends to run out at the end of the month. New Orleans was a poor, predominantly black city, with twice the national poverty and murder rate, with thousands jammed into ramshackle housing standing 4 feet below sea level.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco wrote and sent a request to President Edwards, then on vacation at Camp David for a state of emergency to be declared. The President signed the request enabling Federal Agencies and the Military to be deployed to greater lengths in the area, including the Army, Marines, and Airforce to carry out recovery operations after the storm hits, designating FEMA as in charge of relief efforts[3].

Some believed that the measures being taken were too few. Former FEMA agent Leo Bosner brought to light several of these critics in an essay, where he said that budget cuts, and political staffers had watered down FEMA’s ability to act, he blamed the Bush administration for nearly 30 billion dollars in cuts[4] under Secretary Joe Allbaugh and Michael Brown [5] as well as a desire for those secretaries and the Edwards FEMA secretary Tim Roemer to focus on FEMA’s role in national security rather than natural disasters.


(Left to right) FEMA Secretaries, Joe Allbaugh 2001 - 2003, Michael Brown 2003 - 2005, and Tim Roemer 2005 - Present, Logo of FEMA

And on the ground, some were already warning that the decision by the Mayor to delay evacuation was dangerous, Cedric Richmond of the lower 9th ward pushed the Governor to urge evacuations and went from parish to parish to tell people to “get the hell out … no one was taking it seriously, I went from bar to bar saying ‘Y’all need to go’.” Slowly the sirens started to blare as FEMA Secretary Roemer warned Gulf residents about the need to evacuate “There is still time to take action, everyone should prepare to evacuate the area or be evacuated from the area”. [6]

By the afternoon of Saturday, the 27th, Katrina continued barrelling toward Louisiana and Mississippi expanding so rapidly that its effects were rippling across the entire gulf, as 12-foot waves lapped the coast and New Orleans flood gates closed. Thousands fled and thousands remained, boarding up their homes before heading out to surf-crammed bars and restaurants. A roundtable conference at the EOC with the Mayor and Governor laid out some of the direst predictions and statistics, yet according to a later report ‘city life was still rocking’, On Sunday Morning the 28th, Katrina was upgraded to Category 4 then hours later a Category 5 hurricane, the worst case scenarios were coming true.

Following the conference Mayor Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation for the first time in the city’s history. Quickly the EOC was confronted with a hundred thousand people without transportation in sudden need of evacuation, including the poor, elderly and disabled, the Superdome was opened with enough supplies for 20,000 people for 3 days but even with the 1200 National Guard to control the crowds a long entry line formed. In a joint press conference, the Mayor and the Governor pressed for citizens to evacuate New Orleans and enacted a curfew “This is unprecedented” the Mayor said “A Hurricane of this strength to hit the city directly will cause enormous damage … everyone should leave the city” but the Mayor had failed to enact a sufficient plan for those without transportation.

Moments later the weather service issued an apocalyptic warning, more reminiscent of the Book of Revelations than a science report, predicting ‘certain death’ for anyone without shelter in the storm, and that the area would be ‘uninhabitable for weeks’ with a headline that read ‘devastation expected’. The language was so incendiary that NBC didn’t run with it fearing it was a bogus dispatch.

And still, tens of thousands of the city's inhabitants remained, stocking up, usually equipped with the same logic “We survived Betsy, Camille, Rory, Jean, etc we will survive this”. In a 'lessons learned' interview Mayor Nagin explained that enforcing the mandatory evacuation was tough to do, that the city of New Orleans was stretched to the bone in terms of resources, and because regular officers were unsure of their power to enforce the evacuation usually resorting to persuasion alone.

By the time the mandatory evacuations were in place, they were unenforceable, roughly a hundred thousand residents were still in the city and 200,000 in the surrounding parishes. The mayor dispatched regional and school busses to pick up people to be taken to the Superdome and other shelters but the service was erratic, until later in the day private drivers and Guardsmen were able to supplement the service, National Guardsmen also began evacuating medical and elder care facilities[7]. While FEMA trucks dispatched food, water, and emergency gas generators[8] while aiding the evacuees and contracting drivers.

The situation had become so ominous that the national hurricane director personally briefed President Edwards. Thousands of people were standing in the 90-degree heat waiting for buses and trucks with scant possessions between them. There was additional confusion at railways when last-minute trains were canceled to take electronic equipment out of the city instead. More and more people piled into the Superdome while conflicting reports between City and State offices arguing that either the Mayor, the Governor, or both were severely unaware of the coming threat. Both Nagin and Blanco were political rivals and despite their Democratic part allegiances and the crisis at hand, they would remain so.

With the Mayor's curfew in place, the city finally quietened, with all news reports repeating the same epic pronouncement ‘CAT 5 on the way’ ‘THE hurricane is here’. In a final pre-storm conference, the EOC discussed as a matter of fact the size and scope of the coming devastation and that the city's Levees would be overtopped. A high-level video conference took place between the President, emergency managers from across the Gulf, the Defence Secretary and the FEMA Secretary going over the final state of FEMA and Military preparations for the storm and a last-minute Presidential announcement endorsing evacuation.

Across the gulf, the holdouts battened down the hatches and prepared as the first rains fell. Most were optimistic, the evacuations had been seen as successful, though last-minute roughly 80% of residents were out of the city, Mayor Nagin put it in baseball terms, batting an .800 was phenomenal. But Nagin wasn’t in city hall, where the police, FEMA, and military headquarters were. He was in the 18-story Hyatt building, safely tucked away from the command center.


(Top Left to right) Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, and President Edwards
Bottom (left) cars trying to leave New Orleans, people boarding up windows

On Monday, August 29th Katrina made landfall. Millions had evacuated, but too many had stayed, in homes, shelters, and the Superdome and now it is where they would stay. The winds pushed a storm surge of 17 ft toward the coast. Parts of the city lost electricity, including the Superdome which resorted to backup and emergency FEMA generators. The city's decimation began, as water rushes down the Mississippi River and its canals, and powerful winds battered the city, picking up debris to collide with cars and buildings, and throwing glass into the streets. The Superdome began creaking and then leaking, pump stations were overwhelmed and workers were forced to abandon their posts in fear for their lives. Water poured into the stadium and 15ft sections of the roof were stripped away by the wind to the terrifying awe of its denizens, while painful bullets of rain blinded anyone left in the streets.

The storm surge converged in the eastern part of the city and its levees were overtopped, cascading water into New Orleans. Signs spun like weathervanes before crashing to the ground, powerlines, and phone lines were torn apart, cutting off communications between emergency services, trees shook and streetlights shattered. Terrified evacuees in the Superdome feared that the building could collapse as more and more of its ceiling was torn away. Terrified families tried hopelessly to call 911. On the eastern side, the earthen levees, some constructed in the 1920s and in dire need of repairs, began to break, eroded by the surge. New Orleans East, floods rapidly to 12 feet above sea level completely submerging many homes, and the flooding is only accelerating, more and more levees are overtopped as the city goes under, sinking into 'the bowl’. City Councilman Oliver Thomas describes the scenes. “I heard the glass shattering out from the Hyatt, where the mayor was,” Thomas recalled. “And the car windows just burst out in the street. Each popped windshield sounded like a little bomb. It was deafening. It was frightening. The lights in City Hall had gone out. All darkness. I kept being drawn to the window. I feared that the windows would break out. But it was calling me. It was like ‘Come see the devastation.’ And you could feel it. It felt like the end of the world.”

At Police Headquarters the telephones were still barely working dispatchers were overwhelmed: roofs were blowing off, levees were breaching, storm surges were topping flood walls, sewers were backing up, homes were being destroyed, and people were dying. The calls included fellow officers trapped in their homes, drowning.

Katrina moved north to the Mississippi border shutting off its roads, as water floods the lower levels of buildings forcing people to higher ground, where it is available. Images of debris floating, furniture floating, cars floating, houses floating, bodies floating. A soldier at Keesler Air Force Base described the hurricane as “God and the Devil fighting it out here with Godzilla as the referee”. Moving east, Mobile Alabama was hit with 10 feet of water, and death was everywhere along the coast. Where there had been neighborhoods neatly filled with houses, there was empty despair. But back in New Orleans the nightmare only got worse as levees continue to buckle. Across the country, however, news reports were underselling the devastation as a ‘dodged bullet’.


(Left to right) Flooded New Orleans street, busted Levee, a barge drifting amongst houses

Among those stuck in the flood, 500 Louisiana National Guardsmen were at their barracks as they became consumed in the flood water, as its brick buildings toppled, forcing them to save themselves from the flood before they could respond to anyone else. And across the city, people remaining in their homes were left with dire choices, fleeing upstairs, their roofs, into neighbors’ homes, or sometimes their attics where many would remain trapped. Reporters at the Times-Picayune eerily reported caskets floating out of mausoleums in the first hours of the devastation, many emergency workers were unable to take action worried that first responders at this stage could become victims of the storm. “We were in the fog of war, if we sent people out with no knowledge or information that would be a mistake, we know it’s hard for people to hear that, especially in a crisis, but it is necessary,” said FEMA Secretary Roemer in an interview with PBS. Two reporters Byrn and Maccass scribbled down the names of the flooded structures ‘Shopping Centre (7 feet), Elementary School (8 feet), Coffee House (7 feet), Walgreens (8 feet), Blockbuster (7 feet).

As the storm curve north, water from Lake Pontchartrain was pushed toward the city and more levees and flood walls collapsed on the east and west. The average home in New Orleans is more than 6ft underwater. Rescue missions manned by Police, National Guard and Military moved in, manning hundreds of boats gathered from every department in their vicinity[9]. Following reports of hundreds trapped on their roofs through the former city streets “The lower 9th ward was now a lake, it just so happened it was full of houses, we knew this was going to be bad” said one marine. But just as many response forces were in disarray, Police systems were wrecked and most had no means of transport in the aftermath, precincts were fending for themselves referred to as renegade police. Some became vigilantes or thugs enforcing order at the end of a gun, some abandoned their posts altogether. National reports were leaking out scenes of poor African Americans wandering the streets, through the rubble. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer awkwardly quipped “You simply get chills every time you see those poor individuals…so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor, and they’re so black.”.

Phones were out, TV and Radio stations were down, and all that was left was shoddy satellite phones.[10] Lt General Russel Honore commander of the Katrina Task Force described the storm as an attack “The storm gathers strength, attacks the coast with overwhelming force, it took out our communications, it blinded us, it cut the road network to hold us back, and protected its flank with the flooding, a textbook military attack”. If it was a battle, the storm seemed to be winning.

By Monday afternoon, the scope of the disaster was becoming clear just how unprecedented it was, and with the city's communications gone, organizing relief and rescue missions was impossible. Buildings had been thrown hundreds of feet, oil rigs twisted and corpses were floating in the street, but still, news reports don’t depict the full picture, ABC News only reports that ‘Levees have been topped but not broken, this is not the apocalyptic hurricane that many had feared’. Governor Blanco reminded her staff of Murphy’s Law, everything that could go wrong had.

The only reliable method of communication was e-mail on a handheld device where survivors could eke out messages of ‘OK’ or ‘Fine’. The mayor from his hotel, was completely out of contact, practically on another planet, for all intense and purposes Terry Ebbert the FEMA director for New Orleans ran the city while the mayor remained in the tower.

The perception was growing that the city was in chaos and no one seemed to be helping. Governor Blanco with a severe lack of charisma scolded the press and she failed to explain the decisions she had made to send nearly a thousand boats into the flood zone from every department under her control, sheriffs, firemen, state guard, “we don’t have boats for the media, every spot is for survivors” she grimaced “we need more bodies down here, anyone who’s available to help”.

On Monday evening, Bill O’Reilly opened his Fox News program with a stunning revelation: “At least forty thousand homes just east of New Orleans—forty thousand—have been destroyed.” He was referring to the flooding of St. Bernard Parish. On CNN, Paula Zahn spoke live to a woman who reported that on the Mississippi coast, “there are like eighteen-wheelers on top of cars and homes in the middle of the streets. And there’s people wandering down the streets with nowhere to go, homeless. They’ve got maybe a bag over their shoulder, and they’re all in the middle of the streets, with nowhere to go. And the homes, houses and boats and cars are just…debris is just everywhere. It’s just…it’s very catastrophic down here.” Although many media reports on Monday morning had been tinged with relief that “it could’ve been worse,” by night-time the real situation was becoming apparent.

With the city sinking, fear took hold, and looting broke out, as citizens wade through waste-deep water, shattered store windows and made off with supplies. Some for necessity, some for greed. There were also other reports of violence, muggings, murder, and rape, both from civilians and police. Many reports are later deemed erroneous but regardless, feed into the terror. With the city still flooded, Governor Blanco ordered for the Superdome to be evacuated but with roads still flooded or blocked transport was slow, and as night dawned again thousands were still trapped. President Edwards called Governor Blanco where reportedly she broke down in tears “We need your help” she pleaded “send everything you’ve got”[11].


(Left to right) Flooded New Orleans, Governor Blanco, stranded New Orleanians

On Tuesday, August 31st the sun beamed down on the Gulf, the New York Times reported on its front page “Escaping Feared Knockout Punch, Barely, New Orleans is One Lucky Big Mess”. But the real scene is one of total devastation, 80% of the Greater New Orleans area is underwater, 200,000 homes are destroyed, and the survivors weave their way through the city on makeshift rafts through a concoction of mucky brown sludge, a combination of flood water, chemicals, and sewage, thousands more are trapped. National Guard and Police Forces were severely depleted with hundreds deserting their posts. But a mix of FEMA search and rescue, Coast Guard, Local Police, National Guard, Marines, Army and Navy, and even the Louisiana Department for Fisheries were atop boats and helicopters to aid the stranded. But flood water was still entering the city.

Following his call with the Governor, President Edwards returned to Washington to deal with the Hurricane, Mayor Nagan tried to manage the crisis from the 27th floor of the Hayat, but with no clear picture everyone remained in the dark as to the level of the crisis. “the problem was big and was escalating, and there was no SOS button for the city” said Colonel Wagener of the US Army Corps of Engineers. With rescue workers bringing people to the Superdome, the stadium became an island amongst the flood. But trucks couldn’t reach the dome and the crowd inside and out, stretched to 35,000 with conditions deteriorating. Elsewhere across the city, large buildings like the Convention centre became spontaneous refuges for up to 28,000 people but unlike the Superdome, they had no emergency supplies.[12] Others sit on bridges exposed to the elements without electricity.

FEMA director Reomer arrived in Baton Rouge where he, Governor Blanco, and the President conversed. For the first time, the news of levee breaks reached the highest levels and it was becoming obvious that the forces in the Gulf were insufficient. Roemer was a former Indiana congressman accused by many of receiving his post not because of his experience, but because he was an early supporter of President Edwards, but by all evidence showed that he leaned into his new job diligently focused on improving the nation's resilience to a potential attack on the homeland, Roemer had a finely tuned political ear as a 6-term congressman and earned a reputation for methodically reading and relaying data. Roemer issued an appeal for emergency responders across the country to help, an extraordinary request for assistance from a cabinet secretary, and FEMA’s request was granted, planes from Florida, dingies from Arkansaw, boats from Texas, trucks from WalMart, and waste disposal facilities MRE’s and bottled water in droves from DoD supplementing food from the agriculture department, but it still wasn’t enough, quickly enough.[13]

In the White House, schedules were canceled and the cabinet assembled, to confront the deluge in the Gulf, where in a Rose Garden response the President unveiled a ‘Hurricane Task Force’ led by FEMA to aid emergency operations and coordinate better with the Federal Government. “The highest levels of government are taking action now, the country is watching, and it is time to show that this administration will do what needs to be done to fix this, thank you.”[14]


(Left to right) FEMA secretary Tim Roemer, New Orleans convention center, President Edwards takes a question in a press conference

The sky was filling with helicopters, from the Louisiana Naval and Aerial Guard, the Coast Guard, and the Navy, as the stationed ships USS Bataan, the USS Harry S Truman USS Iwo Jima, and USS Comfort flew supplies and rescue craft into the city, while on the ground, rescue workers and civilians alike jumped into the fray so vast an operation the Coast Guard dubbed the mission ‘Operation Dunkirk’ and slowly more and more television airtime was focused away from the disaster and onto the rescue.

But by the evening the city was still on the brink, Mayor Nagin was in whiplash between fits of rage and distraught fear, while he the Governor, and FEMA contended with the fact that New Orleans simply wasn’t fit to live in, anymore. FEMA secretary Roemer, head of the Hurricane Task Force looked up and down the streets, and realized that even all the resources he could muster weren’t enough, the boats, the medical teams, the trucks, the generators, the food, and water. It couldn’t save a city with a hole in it this big. He fielded a call to the White House informing them of just how big the problem was.

On Wednesday 48 hours since Katrina struck the unprecedented scale of the devastation was still slowing relief efforts, supply trucks and evacuation busses sporadically entered but struggled to navigate the city without proper communications. The sound of random violence, looting, and gunshots echoed. On the morning news, Americans awoke to the continuing terror, the dispossessed, the derelict, the unhinged mass of humanity. Governor Blanco flew in a Blackhawk chopper to New Orleans to meet with the mayor and witnessed as the first of 500 FEMA supply trucks and busses snaked to the Superdome and Convention Center relieving the areas at last and allowing FEMA to set up its base of operations at the Center[15].

And as reports streamed to Washington and the country about the ongoing disaster President Edwards prepared to take further executive action. The White House was watching the coverage closely “It's become clear the President is the only person with the resources necessary” said former New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy on CNN that morning. Other commenters were becoming less accommodating Joe Scarborough on MSNBC spoke from his gut “There isn’t enough, people need to be evacuated out of the city, those responders are out there helping every person they can, but it clearly isn’t enough, this is becoming a national scandal” The Governor received a call first thing in the morning that told her the President was on his way to Baton Rouge.It was the clear signal the Governor needed that her pleas had gotten through.

As the President touched down, the Governor, the Mayor and everyone at the EOC rattled off what they needed, more troops, more boats, more trucks, more helicopters, more food, more water, and more money. The President landed and met with the Governor, the FEMA secretary, and Louisiana's two Senators Mary Landrieu and John Breaux who had encamped themselves in the EOC and each took turns relaying the scale of the devastation and the unending need for the city to the President, including dire predictions that as many as 10,000 people could have been killed. After listening Edwards gave reassurance that the ‘Full weight of the Federal Government is behind you, we’re going to be taking action, we’re headed down there now’. The President then indicated to his staff and the room that he would be going to New Orleans via Marine One to meet with city officials and see the damage for himself.[16]

The President did so, venturing into the bowl. The city smelled of death, referred to as ‘toxic gumbo’. A swill of rotting flesh, and human waste, stewing in the warm tropical climate. Rubber tires, house paint, gasoline, and dead rats. Sour cheese, and curdled milk a smell that burned the sinuses and left those that breathed it too long with a “Katrina cough” or worse. It was impossible for anyone who smelled that air to not understand the utter calamity that had befallen an American city.

After meeting with Mayor Nagan and the city hall headquarters, the President visited the decimated 9th ward with officials and an on-edge secret service, maneuvering the waterlogged street and meeting a few pre-screened survivors, before returning to Washington. Working with the Governor and Mayor on the Federal plan of action, a declaration of national emergency.

Good afternoon, as I speak to you tonight, New Orleans is underwater, thousands of homes and businesses are destroyed Most of the Mississippi gulf coast is completely gone, Mobile is flooded. We are dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history. And the people there feel forgotten. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. That is why after speaking with Governor Blanco, Governor Barbour, and Governor Riley as well as consulting with the cabinet, I have declared a national emergency by reason of natural disaster. This will allow the Federal Government to better direct an effective, responsive relief effort. This disaster has challenged the limits of despair, but I know the American people can show compassion to those that are struggling and deserve our help, there is a job that needs doing here.”

(Left to right) President Edwards visits New Orleans, Marine One over New Orleans, President Edwards announces the national emergency

The emergency federalized both the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard and deployed 60,000 troops, mostly national guard but also regular, armored and airborne soldiers and marines to aid in the search and rescue missions and ‘restore order’. Additional U.S. Navy ships would be deployed to the region and the airforce would work to bring water and MREs to stranded citizens. Task Force Katrina equaled the greatest deployment of military forces within the United States since the civil war. On top of the emergency, President Edwards invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 for the first time since the LA riots in 1992, enabling the U.S. Military and Federalized National Guard to carry out law enforcement duties and effectively authorizing martial law. [17]

The Federal Government had essentially taken control of the relief operations by the afternoon of the 31st and the President delivered another national address about the ongoing crisis in New Orleans and the operation underway to relieve them. Hours later the first of many military convoys led by the cigar-chomping Lt Honere entered the city in force and begin shuttling people out to centers across the country.

After another night of round-the-clock aid and rescue missions, a sense of stability returned as troops moved in and basic communications were finally re-established, the images of the troops helped put to rest stories about havoc on the streets, and rumors that widespread looting, murder, and rape was going unpunished, including fantastical and ugly claims about slaughtered children, basements filled with corpses and roving gangs of escaped bloodthirsty prisoners. Blackhawk Pilot Tammy Duckworth reported that seeing the city in person showed that ”the cameras did no justice to what we saw in person, everyone under the sun was helping to rescue this city from devastation”.
Some decried that the military was forcefully evicting people from their homes leaving what little they had left (including pets) behind. But bit by bit, the U.S. Army engineers started to clog the flood walls, people were evacuated and a new sense of strange order returned to a devastated city. In an interview, President Edwards described the crisis as “Weather of mass destruction” and thanked all the forces for their “tremendous efforts to save lives” before setting off again to travel to tour the wreckage in the Gulf. The U.S. Congress in an emergency session signed a relief package of 16 Billion Dollars, it would not be the last or the biggest to come.

Within a week New Orleans water pumps were restored, and the ever-present flood was finally being pumped out of the city back into the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain but half of New Orleans homes remained unsalvagable and under the emergency order, practically all of the city was evacuated.


(Left to right) Military aid New Orleans, Secretary Roemer and President Edwards, Naval rescue efforts, Lt General Honere

Hurricane Katrina was the worst disaster in the United States in living memory leaving upwards of 700 people dead[18]. And in its aftermath people’s hearts poured open in collective horror, and billions in charity relief were collected from within the United States and across the world, as the brutal photographs and footage (not dissimilar to those following the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean the previous year) splashed front pages. The sense of collective grief and praise for rescue workers was enough to dispel even the most brutal critics of the handling of the crisis within its early hours tipping their hats to the first responders, military, FEMA, and the public efforts.

As the Hurricane dissipated and the flood waters eventually dropped, minds turned to the reconstruction of what once was New Orleans. Though Congress had signed a relief package it was clear that more needed to be done and the President gave a speech from New Orleans on the 15th of September to address just that.

“Good evening, I speak to you tonight from a devastated city, New Orleans, many parts of this great city are still underwater, Hundreds of thousands of Americans from here to Florida have been left homeless, and many have lost the lives of loved ones, taken from them by a storm.
These past few days we have seen fellow Americans, desperate, searching the ruins of their homes, carrying what little they have left on their backs, and grieving for the dead. Desperate people in a desperate place.
But we have also seen acts of compassion and courage that can make us proud, emergency response workers in FEMA, our military, and ordinary men and women, helping to rescue tens of thousands of people from drowning neighborhoods. This compassion has stretched the country, congregations, schools, and businesses who have donated time, money, and blood, and those who have opened their homes to people with nowhere to go.
This tragedy has given us the opportunity to rebuild, to rebuild a New Orleans that is a shining example of this country at its finest. To rebuild here and Biluxi and Mobile and other cities, to provide homes for those without them. To get support to those starting from scratch. This is a great historic city but as we have all seen, there is a deep persistent poverty, inseparable from its racial history and we have a duty to confront this with bold action to fulfill our responsibility to the people here to get New Orleans and the Gulf back on its feet … Thank you and may God bless America.


(Left to right) Katrina survivors in the Houston Astrodome, President Edwards rebuilding speech, Federal troops raise the U.S. flag

[1] FEMA was downgraded from cabinet rank and merged into Homeland Security following 9/11, a massive blow to the agency and by putting DHS in the way stalled relief
[2] Only the Coast Guard was there IOTL along with the USS Bataan which had to disregard orders, a better organized FEMA has better pre-hurricane response
[3] More or less OTL, but with a clearer chain of command.
[4] FEMA being merged with the DHS cut its budget by about 100 billion
[5] Michael Brown was incompetent pure and simple basically the worst kind of person in a crisis who actively hindered relief operations you would genuinely struggle to find a worse person for the role.
[6] Brown didn't push for an evacuation
[7] The presence of more National Guardsmen due to no Iraq War is a big butterfly allowing for more education prior to the hurricane, including the elderly and infirm some of whom died
[8] FEMA has no generators on the scene due to cuts
[9] The National Guard was severely underequipped for Katrina due to the Iraq war
[10] Communications would be even worse ITTL, after 9/11, police and national guard communications systems were upgraded
[11] Blanco and Bush were on bad terms through Katrina. As the administration tried to blame her, and she rejected federal overtures after that, seeing them as disingenuous
[12] Better evacuations after the storm makes matters worse at the Superdome as more and more people are dropped off there
[13] inexplicably Brown put out a message saying the opposite, telling FEMA and federal troops to block extra assistance in a desperate attempt to better organize relief which he then couldn't do
[14] Bush kept his schedule on Tuesday and remained on vacation until Wednesday and several high-profile cabinet members also remained on vacation, massively contributing to the 'Bush doesn't care' narrative
[15] FEMA wanted to make its base the Convention Center but got lost and set up in a Walmart instead, a better-organized FEMA makes it
[16] infamously Bush didn't come, instead, he flew over the city, which even he admits was one of the greatest mistakes of his Presidency
[17] After several more days IOTL, some in the White House wanted to Federalize the efforts but backed off when Blanco was against it suspecting they were just doing it save face
[18] Roughly half as many dead, I will cover the repercussions and long-term aftermath at some point
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That butterflies away the 7/7 attacks, but the U.S. would still fight a low-scale "war on terror" in the Middle East.
2001? A terrorist attack in New York? What happened in TTL?
It's a hypothetical scenario for the great disasters that could hit America.
From what I read in the 9/11 Commission Report, the greatest threat the U.S. faced in the post-Cold War world was cruise missiles coming from rogue actors. A hypothetical terrorist attack in New York had probably been drawn out due to the 1993 WTC attacks.
Man, that took me back. I was 14 when Katrina happened and so I have pretty vivid memories of watching the fallout on TV but never followed the details of preparation or response very closely. Well done @Iwanh that was excellent