It’s difficult to ascertain who’s in charge when it comes to the whole Ebola procedures and guidance debacle here in America. We’ve got four symptoms of why this whole thing is FUBAR.
1. There is no travel ban but there will be screening at selective APODs (Aerial Ports of Debarkation).
2. Folks flying into America from West Africa are still getting past the screening and being released – like the doctor in New York City.
3. States are taking the lead to quarantine individuals entering their states — but the Obama administration has taken umbrage with their unilateral decision — guess Obama now knows what that feels like.
4. And now the latest in this ongoing kabuki dance as reported by Fox News, “The Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended that all U.S. troops returning from West Africa undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine, senior Defense officials told Fox News — a step the Army already is taking. Even as the White House fights such mandatory quarantine policies in New York and New Jersey, the U.S. military is moving in that direction as a precautionary measure.”
“On its own, the Department of the Army has issued guidelines ordering troops returning from West Africa into a 21-day isolation, separated from their families and other troops. Currently, a team that consists of a major general and 11 other troops is being held in isolation in a building at their base in Vicenza, Italy, after returning from Liberia. “There are several dozen more people due in, and they will go through the same procedure,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said, adding that “no specific event or incident” triggered the policy.”
But wait a minute! I thought we were told our troops deployed wouldn’t have any contact with Ebola patients — so why is there a need for a 21-day quarantine?
In any event, the military, namely the U.S. Army — in true honor of the legacy of General George Patton — has sent a message to the White House of “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.”
I was taught in the Army that in absence of clear concise guidance from higher ups, make a decision — and so it seems that is still a viable maxim in the Army.
Now I don’t agree with deploying our troops into the Ebola “hot zone” for facility construction, when the UN and the World Health Organization could fulfill that mission using contracted host-nation labor. Of course, it will be interesting to see if the White House pushes back on the Pentagon as they have done with the governors of several states on the issue of quarantine – we’ve already seen New York’s Governor Cuomo grow a yellow stripe and back down. Something tells me the uniformed leadership of our military will not do the same — well, I don’t believe they will.
So where is the Obama Ebola Czar Ron Klain on all of this? I thought he was brought in to synchronize efforts – I guess this was just another show pony action — politics not policy. But it’s extremely confusing to the American people. The Obama administration makes a policy that doesn’t prevent Ebola cases from entering America. The governors come together to make tougher standards to prevent Ebola from entering America — the Obama administration scoffs at the governors. And the military comes up with its own policy — namely one branch, the Army — without consulting the Commander-in-Chief.
Fox says “the Army made the decision separately from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is mulling whether to accept the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and impose that policy across the military. Asked if Hagel thought the Army’s decision was a good idea, Warren said “he would have to get back” to Fox News on the question. The secretary is deliberating, and no final decision has been made. “Secretary Hagel has a big problem,” one senior U.S. official told Fox News, referring to the decision he has to make.”
Seems to me Hagel is Oscar-Bravo-Echo as we say in the military — “Overcome by Events” — meaning the decision has already been made and anything he says or does to the contrary will be severely questioned. I find it simply unconscionable that the Obama administration — the Commander-in-Chief — would order our men and women into an Ebola hot zone without any consideration as to the redeployment procedures — something we mentioned here about the decision to deploy the force in the first place — along with the ROE.
So with all those advisors, why couldn’t they have thought this issue all the way through from deployment to redeployment to reunification with their families?
Confusion abounds, “If the Pentagon does decide on a 21-day quarantine for all returning personnel, it would represent a major shift in its Ebola response policy. And it presumably would put them at odds with the White House. “The Obama administration is going to war with New York and New Jersey, but its own military is recommending the same thing,” a senior U.S. official told Fox News. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stressed Monday that the Defense Department’s policy for all branches has “not been settled and implemented yet.” He also drew a distinction with the policies implemented in New York and New Jersey, noting that they singled out health workers.”
There is complete lack of guidance and direction at a critical time in dealing with a critical issue. It just reminds me Abbott and Costello’s “who’s on first” routine. In the worst way.
And the CDC is supposed to release “new guidelines” which most likely will be in contradiction to what the states’ governors have implemented.
Fox says, “Defense Department officials have made clear that no personnel are going to be treating infected patients and that the vast majority of the troops in Liberia are logistical experts who are establishing the medical infrastructure for health care workers outside the Department of Defense. But a growing number of U.S. military personnel are being deployed, and would be affected by any blanket quarantine order. As of Friday, 686 U.S. troops were in West Africa as part of that mission, with hundreds more expected to have arrived over the weekend.”
Oh — UN Ambassador Samantha Power is also in West Africa at ground zero of the Ebola hot zone — will she undergo a 21-day quarantine? This is a national issue and we don’t have a national policy or a visible leader — oops, we do have Ron Klain.
Well, here is my simplified equation Ebola + Obama = FUBAR.