Some things are just dumb and some things are absolutely insane. Such is the decision made by Barack Hussein Obama via executive order on Thursday.
As reported by Politico, “President Obama authorized the Pentagon to call up military reservists to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The president issued an executive order and a letter to Congress that said he’d deemed it “necessary to augment the active armed forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation United Assistance, which is providing support to civilian-led humanitarian assistance and consequence management support related to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa.”
“About 540 U.S. active duty troops are now posted in Liberia, helping its government, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies fight the outbreak. Obama’s order would permit the Pentagon to call up National Guard troops or military reservists to join the effort.”
I do believe the U.S. military can play a part in combatting the spread of the Ebola virus — here in America, but not overseas — and especially not in the Ebola “hot zone. Of course it’s just too easy to point out the irony of Obama’s intransigence regarding “boots on the ground” to combat an enemy that has beheaded Americans — but somehow combatting Ebola is more important.
If we have healthcare professionals in America who have contracted this disease, why are we sending in our own troops who aren’t trained or prepared for this endeavor? And where is the United Nations? Where is the World Health Organization?
So now we’re going to take men and women out of their civilian jobs and deploy them into a dangerous virus zone? Has Obama secured safe transit and clearance for these troops when they redeploy from West Africa? I understand our military providing humanitarian assistance – as a matter of fact in late 2005, I remember an earthquake hitting us in Kabul ,Afghanistan at the Military Training Center. The epicenter was over in Pakistan. And our military executed humanitarian assistance operations into Pakistan to provide aid. It’s important to note the exact same helicopters that were flying combat operations in Afghanistan were tasked to fly cross-border into the country where the enemy had sanctuary to fulfill that mission.
We got that, and saluted our brave men and women, saluted the flag and executed the operation. However, in this case, Obama is deploying our men and women into an area where they’ll be exposed to a deadly killer enemy against which they cannot fight. Why? Is this the warped sense of commitment Obama sees for our military that he and his policies are decimating?
Politico reports “as many as 4,000 or more American troops could deploy to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak there, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Thursday. They’re helping build and support Ebola treatment units, run mobile testing labs and train health care workers in an all-out effort to containing the deadly virus. USAID’s leader in Monrovia, Ben Hemingway, told reporters at the Pentagon by phone on Thursday that it was “difficult” to assess whether the outbreak has slowed since the international response began. The current military commander in Liberia, Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams (an Army Artilleryman with whom I served in the 4th Infantry Division) said Marines are still flying to remote parts of the country doing “site surveys” for areas where they could build the Ebola treatment units.”
“U.S. troops have been tasked with building 17 treatment centers, 65 “community care centers” and setting up four more mobile testing labs. The Pentagon estimates operations there could last a year or more. Each service member deploying to Liberia is getting special instructions on preventing infection, Williams said, and everyone is taking intense precautions to avoid infection. For example, Williams estimated he’d had his temperature taken eight times just on Wednesday. “It’s discipline,” he said. “Everyday in the morning with my breakfast, I take a malaria pill … We don’t shake hands. I wash my hands — a lot — with chlorine.”
“MG Williams said commanders have contingency plans in case an American soldier or aid worker does contract Ebola: Those patients would be isolated, quarantined and flown to the U.S. for treatment.”
“He acknowledged, however, the arrangements aren’t yet clear for American personnel whose normal duty stations are overseas. It isn’t clear, for example, whether the Marines who deployed to Liberia from Spain would have to be quarantined before they can return there, or whether Williams’ own staff members could rotate directly back to Caserma Ederle [Vicenza] Italy (where I served as a young lieutenant).”
So there are SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) details that apparently haven’t been hammered out.
I know Major General Darryl Williams and am quite sure he’ll accomplish the mission assigned to him, but I question why the Commander-in-Chief deployed our military into a very dangerous area to build treatment centers and “community care centers?” Our men and women shouldn’t be used as some sort of hired hands. We could have easily provided prefab shelters that are easy for host nation personnel to construct. And I am further concerned about calling up additional reservists and exposing them to this deadly virus.
This is a disconcerting misuse of our U.S. military. I wonder if the Commander-in-Chief will visit those troops during the year he has committed them. And lastly, what are their rules of engagement during this deployment?