20 September 2014

Good use of the American military

As a frequent critic of how the United States uses its military in the world, I was delighted to hear that President Obama has made a major commitment to use the U.S. Army against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Many nations are responding to the crisis—Cuba is sending 165 health workers, China will send 59, the U.K. is building a 62-bed hospital, etc.—but all these are dwarfed by the American military response. Up to 3,000 army personnel will provide logistics, supplies, engineering and transport of supplies and personnel to the epidemic, and construct at least 17 new hospitals. They will also build a training facility to instruct up to 500 local and foreign health workers a week in infection control and self-protection.

With the epidemic now out of control in three countries, the assistance is badly needed. Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, science writer Laurie Garrett reports, "Nothing short of heroic, record-breaking mobilization is necessary at this late stage in the epidemic. Without it, I am prepared to predict that by Christmas, there could be up to 250,000 people cumulatively infected in West Africa." The disease has a fatality rate of over 50 per cent.

Full credit goes to President Obama for recognizing the severity of the threat and taking strong action. By using his military for constructive purposes—a very welcome change—he shows the U.S. at its best. Our current government has been quick to support American initiatives, so might we assume it will direct our military to follow the U.S. Army into battle against ebola? We are waiting, Mr. Harper.

1 comment: