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America Betrayed
America Betrayed
Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Grunwalk, John Barry
Director: Leslie Carde
Genres: Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 34min

One of America's proudest achievements, our national infrastructure, is now its most dangerous embarrassment. Our bridges, dams, levees and highways are crumbling, toppling, being washed away, and putting us all at risk. H...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Grunwalk, John Barry
Director: Leslie Carde
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Politics
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/21/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Scandalous Behavior
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 03/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""America Betrayed"

Scandalous Behavior

Amos Lassen

In August, 2009 it will be four years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and most people really have no idea about how terrible that it was. I do because I was there and was not taken out of the city until a full eight days afterwards. Now living in Little Rock, Arkansas I still find it hard to think about New Orleans and all that was lost even to the point of not wanting to go back even for a visit. I have been able to put it behind me but others are not so fortunate
"America Betrayed" (First Run Features) looks at the response (or lack of response) to Katrina and it is even more shocking now. The nation is still in denial about what really caused the post-storm disaster which in many cases was worse than the bumbled immediate emergency disaster. It seems that we are only aware of the billions it will cost to fix it and much of it cannot be fixed. Surely we all remember what was seen in the media as we watched a major America city almost disappear from the face of the earth. We (speaking collectively as I had no way to watch from my flooded apartment) watched as elderly New Orleanians were left for dead and saw people stranded begging for food and water. We saw President George Bush praising the efforts of those who mismanaged public funds and we saw what went on at the Convention Center and the Superdome. But we really saw nothing because unless you were there, you can have no idea what it was like to lose everything.
Leslie Carde, a native of New Orleans and journalist and filmmaker, claims that the government gets too much attention and that the real fault of what happened was the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers who has carved out a body of water years earlier. It was a canal; the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet that served as a conduit for storm waters that flooded the city and especially the Lower Ninth Ward (where I lived). Carde says that it was a funnel effect that caused the storm surge that put the entire city under water. A tremendous 30 foot wave came up that canal and d brought the storm waters with it. It is now understood that the whole canal idea was poorly conceived from the very beginning of the idea. Carde goes on to say that it was the shipping interests who wanted this shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico into the so they would not have to deal with the snaky twists and turns of the Mississippi River. It is the canal that is the main character in "America Betrayed" which is skillfully narrated by Academy Award winner, Richard Dreyfus.
The canal which was supposed to handle hundreds of ships each month in actuality only saw an average of eight ships monthly because it was too shallow. We see that is was not only a supreme waste of money but it brought about many environmental issues and ultimately the cause of the near drowning of the city. Worse, it was eroding yearly and many citizens had been calling for its closure over a forty year period. As the canal ate the land that bordered it, it grew from 300 feet wide to over 3000 and took the land and the wetlands with it. When Katrina came, the canal brought the water from the Gulf right into the city itself as it washed away the levees and literally drowned the city. It is still not on the government agenda to fill in the canal and it could all happen again. The estimated cost for such a project is about $2.8 billion and could take as long as 44 years to complete. It seems the Army Corps of Engineers simply wants to close the canal to commercial boat traffic. We have no idea of what will ultimately happen but what is left of New Orleans is in a dangerous situation until a decision is made.
The film contains interviews with journalists and scientists as well as those who risked their lives during Katrina and politicians including Barak Obama and John McCain. This is a documentary that exposes collusion, corruption and cronyism within our governmental agencies whose job it is to keep us safe. How could something like this happen to in the most powerful nation in the world? This is a question that we all must ponder. Such is the case of the infrastructure of our country and it is shameful.
America Betrayed - First Run Features
Carlos E. Velasquez | 11/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy in every possible sense and meaning of the word that you can imagine. Perhaps the biggest of it all, was the total failure of the United States of America's government to prevent the catastrophe and provide relieve afterwards. This is something that we don't expect from what we are taught is the most powerful country in the world. As a result, many articles and books have been written and films made that document this failure in its entire splendor. The powerful and unforgettable "America Betrayed" takes a well-researched and penetrating look at some of the factors that lead us to such a shameful disaster.

Right at the beginning of the documentary, we are told that the devastation created by Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, was not the result of a natural disaster. We learn that it was actually a man-made disaster, in which 80% of the city was sadly flooded - a hell that could had been prevented. Director Leslie Cardé remarkably documents how this failure was the result of the relationship that the US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) incompetent management and the greedy corporate sector - via profitable contracts - has. The USACE is the agency that is in charge of planning and designing of bridges, dams, levees, and similar structures that serve the nation. Cardé interviews several agency and government officials, academicians, etc., and provides evidence after evidence of how the USACE builds relationships with corrupt politicians and hires contractors with shadowy reputations, which unashamedly overbill their employers, hence the taxpayers money. The result, of course, is Katrina, Because of this destructive relationship, we witnessed the annihilation of one of the major and historically important cities in the US. No matter how much restoration takes place, the soul of the city is gone with some of its people. Cardé wisely connects all the abuses committed by politicians, USACE, and contractors with the term Disaster Capitalism, which clearly has shown that in any recent wars or disasters, these people are more interested in making money that helping their fellow citizens in need. She rightly concludes that this behavior is definitely related to the so-called Shock Doctrine, which Naomi Klein so brilliantly discusses in her best-selling book.

Cardé also adequately discusses USACE-related projects in other cities across the US, and we witness how some of these cities are taking justice into their own hands in working hard and against time in trying to prevent any future disasters.

"America Betrayed" will not tell anything new if you have been able to read the actions of our government well. The signs are all there - you just need to make the associations. However, the director provides so much valuable information that helps us understand the system better, how we are being pillaged and how greed is destroying our institutions. It is a powerful and well-produced indictment against some government and non-government officials that are eating us alive. It will surely put the health care debate into perspective, and make us understand why there is one greedy party that doesn't want it to happen. If there is no money in it, we don't want it. The DVD also includes an interview with the director, as well as bonus interviews with the people that shared their thoughts in this film. It also provides a resource guide. (USA, 2008, color, 94 min plus additional materials). Reviewed on September 17, 2009 by Eric Gonzalez for [...]."
Worse than your worst fears about Katrina and New Orleans
Future Watch Writer | Washington, D.C. Area | 06/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I thought I'd heard all the bad news about the government mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans in 2005. I was wrong.

This is a factual, well documented study of one of the two greatest engineering disasters of the last 100 years. (The other was the meltdown of the nuclear plant at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union.)

Some basic points:

This was not a "natural" disaster. It was a direct result of billions of your tax dollars being used to pay for all sorts of idiotic projects to benefit private, politically connected interests while money for the levies to protect the people of New Orleans was neglected. Katrina was not even a Category 4 storm. It was a category 3 storm. The disaster that ensued was a direct result of public works projects that destroyed the wetlands protecting the city and even built a huge ship canal (that did not work properly) which would channel the full force of the storm into the city.

Warning. If you live near levies, you should get this film and check out the resources listed. You could be in danger too. Other levies around the country have also been neglected.

Spending on infrastructure to protect people in our nation has been neglected for years while public money has gone to help gambling casinos and other forms of politically connected "development".

Educate yourself. Become an active citizen. This film shows your life and property could very well be in danger.

If this sounds extreme, watch this film. Don't take my word for it. Make up your own mind. This is very disturbing material.