Thousands of US troops are being deployed to West Africa to fight the deadly Ebola virus. President Obama has stated that their mission is strictly humanitarian. Our troops, according to the Administration’s spokesman, will construct treatment centers and provide medical training to health-care workers in the local communities infected by Ebola. Obama initially announced that three thousand US troops would be deployed for an unspecified period and they would not be exposed to Ebola. However, within weeks of that initial announcement, the number of troops to be deployed has already escalated by at least one thousand, accompanied, perhaps, by even more hundreds from the National Guard and Ready Reserve forces.
These troops can be seen by the hundreds on a near daily basis, boarding military contract flights departing from the international terminal at Baltimore Washington International Airport. They have their weapons slung. Their lackluster enthusiasm for this particular deployment borderlines nervous to pessimistic. They know that before they can return home from this open-ended deployment, they will be required to endure a period of lengthy quarantine.
The question that begs to be asked is just how wise it is to send our military into an area we know is infected with a deadly contagious disease like Ebola and why is our military providing this sort of aid? It would seem it’s not only not wise and extremely risky to the health of our troops, but that the decision is politically motivated, rather than militarily grounded. As such, militarizing humanitarian aid to fight Ebola in Africa is a really bad idea and there are several primary reasons that immediately bubble to the top.
First, humanitarian aid must be perceived as neutral. Humanitarian principles are blurred by militarized aid whether or not the troops are armed. The perception that militarized aid is agenda-driven and has hidden military and / or political goals is not unfounded. Over the past ten years the US has systematically expanded its military presence in Africa through humanitarian missions that were specifically intended to establish points of entry for future military missions. This is not lost on Africa’s dictators and monarchs.
Because of its mineral wealth, Africa is seen as a strategic battleground. As part of the New World Order realignment, China has shifted it’s mineral exploitation interest toward Africa. To a lesser extent, so has Russia and Western Europe. The US is also turning toward Africa as a strategic source of untapped mineral wealth. To this end, China has engaged key African nations economically, while the US has attempted to buy favor through a strategy of providing military aid to anyone who will accept it. Both strategies have advantages, but economic engagement is a lasting strategy that offers the least risk.
Second, the military is not the only institution capable of handling the Ebola humanitarian response in Africa. There are a number of civilian-led programs capable of eclipsing militarized aid and they can get the job done. Civilian-led organizations can handle the complicated logistics necessary to address large-scale humanitarian crises and they should be called upon to do it. Assigning the military the responsibility of humanitarian aid over the civilian-led response serves to discourage the maintenance and further development of civilian capabilities – use it or lose it.
Third, militarized aid requires a massive budget (one billion so far) that DOD is supposed to spend quickly in order to achieve short-term political goals. This usually means mistakes get repeated, accountability wanes and follow-ups are few and far between. The public is sold a propaganda line that brags about accomplishment, but lacks substantive achievement. We are told that our military will be building hospitals and providing medical training so Ebola can be treated on the African Continent. In truth, our military will undoubtedly be operating in the thick of Ebola-infected countries. Those countries are dangerous from a violence perspective and they harbor Islamo-fascists. As a result, many of our troops will be assigned security duties to create a secure perimeter around those building hospitals and examining sick people. Identifying the sick from the healthy is far easier than identifying the bad from the good. Costly mistakes will be made.
It is only logical to assume that some of our troops will be directly exposed to Ebola infected people or Ebola contaminated conditions. One must wonder, if the President had a son (who might look like Travon), would he send his son into this potentially lethal environment where the lethality rate for those infected ranges from 70% to 100%? Those are not good odds by anyone’s standards, yet that is what our president expects our troops to accept.
Last, the first rule of epidemiology is that you keep sick people away from healthy people. Maybe you can’t isolate nations, but you can effectively isolate neighborhoods. Several of the West African nations where Ebola is at crisis levels are controlling its spread by closing their borders and isolating the infected neighborhoods. The US Administration’s party line, continuously repeated by the mainstream media, is that closing the US to travel from Africa, is out of the question. They flatly claim a travel ban can’t be done and if it could be, it wouldn’t serve to slow the spread of Ebola. That said, if it were done, and our borders were closed, it would serve to stifle the liberal agenda of granting blanket amnesty for illegal aliens. Again, the Administration is not only putting their political agenda ahead of the welfare of our troops, they are using it as the guide-on for long term US health and welfare as a whole. This puts the entire US at risk.
All epidemics begin with one case. The Administration can downplay each one case but there is no substitute for the common sense precautionary measures that have been learned through human sacrifice. It will be interesting to see what our troops encounter in West Africa and the sacrifices they are expected to willingly make – all in the name of political agenda.
Paul Evancoe is a freelance writer and novelist. His action novels deal with government conspiracy, WMD and terrorism. His titles include Own the Night, Violent Peace and Poison Promise and are available at www.AmazonBooks.com.
Featured Comment From John C.
This is a complex and little understood virus. I am quite skeptical of the forensic explanation offered as to just how the Ebola Virus moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) to Guinea. Just HOW did this virus up and move over a thousand miles via Fruit Bat, Monkey, Chimpanzee?? There is no record over the last 38-years of the Ebola Virus moving across Africa on this scale/distance.
Why isn’t anyone from the media spending more time researching/questioning the official explanation rendered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC? I suspect that they really don’t know and are afraid to admit this for fear of alarming the public. The ‘Patient Zero’ explanation in Guinea defies logic (‘Patient Zero’ is a two-year old boy who somehow contracted Ebola from tainted Fruit Bat, Monkey or Chimpanzee meat in December of 2013. The virus spread when his grandmother touched the child’s remains at the funeral…. This is the Official explanation which does not stand up to logic.).
Yet, there is no explanation to corroborate this storyline as none of the animals cited (Fruit Bats, Monkeys and Chimpanzees) migrate in this direction, or at this distance. Someone really needs to figure out the real origins of HOW this virus was spread. My bet is the real patient zero has yet to be discovered.
Other points for consideration:
1. WHO’s overall mortality reporting is low. Some of the border countries are not reporting their mortality rates to the WHO (Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, etc.). Those that can report are unable to report accurately. Nigeria has live cases on its remote borders that are NOT being reported. The WHO should not have cleared Nigeria. Now if we can just figure out how to get this delivered to Boko Haram….
2. The CDC is not accurately portraying how long Ebola remains virulent on surfaces (5-6 hours on solid surfaces; 2-3 days on porous surfaces). Decontamination IS one of challenges.
3. The U.S. ought to impose a 4-month travel ban on all of West Africa. Anyone with a passport or VISA from these countries attempting to enter the U.S. MUST submit to a 35 day quarantine… and yes, they pay for their food, electricity and any other ‘consumables’ while in quarantine. Only then do they get the clearance to travel within the U.S.