Washington D.C.--Upon returning from a trip to assess the recent flood damage in Nashville, Tennessee, Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr., Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke candidly to media correspondents about the need for immediate action to prevent similar catastrophic events from happening in the future. "The devastation that is caused in our large metropolitan areas by flooded rivers every year underscores the need to institute preventative measures that will insure the reduction or elimination of this problem", Colonel Van Antwerp said. "While our present system of rivers has some strategic advantages, we in the Corps of Engineers feel the system has outlived it's usefulness and is in need of drastic change."
Colonel Van Antwerp was then encouraged by the press to elaborate on the Corps' long range plan to curtail severe floods. "In order to eliminate big city flooding, our focus will be on flooding the small cities instead. To accomplish this we plan to dig ditches to reroute the rivers around large cities and build a series of dams and levies that will flood the hell out of the smaller towns around the country", the Colonel replied.
When asked if the Corps' enterprising project was possibly an attempt to deflect criticism, Van Antwerp said "You bet your ass it is. We have always been blamed for all the flooding. First they say we didn't build enough dams at the headwaters. Then they say it must have been the wing dams used to keep the rivers in their channels. And when a major city gets hit with a flood, it gets a ton of publicity. But if Sassafras, Georgia or Jack's Bend, Kentucky go under water, who really cares? Certainly not me. You wouldn't catch me dead in one of those little hick towns."
And Ken Holder, Chief of Public Affairs for the New Orleans District of the USACE, went into detail about the proposed construction project. "Basically, we will be digging channels to divert the overflow into areas that receive little press coverage, if any. Residents of cities with a population of under 20,000 should definitely be thinking about trading in that second car for a good motorboat. And farmers might want to do a little investigating into growing rice and cranberries, or catfish, instead of whatever else they used to grow."
According to Project Manager Colonel Richard Gridley, years of research went into the development of feasibility studies before final approval was granted to break ground on the project. "What we discovered in our research is that for some reason these rivers have the uncanny ability to pop up right next to big cities", Colonel Gridley said. "While we weren't quite sure what caused this phenomenon, a thorough study of the maps indicated that most of the large metropolitan areas had the misfortune of being in the vicinity of a good sized river. We knew this scenario had to change."
Gridley also stated that a "test run" had been conducted in which an unspecified city in central Mississippi was flooded. "We needed to determine whether or not flooding some one-horse town out in the middle of nowhere would be covered by reporters from newspapers or television stations. We are pleased to announce that the event went completely unnoticed by the press, even though over 350 people were drowned in the process. This is exactly the kind of response we were hoping for", Gridley said.
Reliable sources inside the Corps stated that the project was expected to take 150 years to complete at an average cost to the taxpayer of $35,000 per person. "While 150 years might seem like a long time to finish even the most industrious of projects, the new river channels will be in place in time to prevent a 500 year flood, a 300 year flood, and even a 151 year flood. Of course a few of those 50 year floods will fall between the cracks, but no government project is perfect," an unnamed source said.
Van Antwerp also remarked about the possibilities of using similar tactics in battlefield situations. "After this project is completed we will be doing an assessment regarding the use of flooding small cities in Afghanistan to bring that conflict to a quick end", he stated.