The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed the lives of thousands of Africans and several westerners there trying to treat the sick. Somehow this disaster has become a political issue in the United States. Every day it seems we hear new hysterical news reports of faulty screenings at airports, accusations of political correctness preventing a properly frank appraisal of the issue to the American people, and our porous borders being a potential portal for the spread of the disease. The noted infectious disease expert, Rush Limbaugh, has even suggested that President Obama has intentionally allowed infected West Africans into the country as payback for slavery.
This story is proof positive that everything, and I do mean everything in this country is political. But it’s also disturbing proof that there is no end to the list of jobs that the United States military is asked to do that have nothing whatsoever to do with killing people and breaking things. 3000 military personnel have been sent into the midst of an Ebola outbreak in a foreign country with a fuzzy mission of unknown duration. Am I the only one who finds this to be a ridiculous use of military assets? What’s next? Will the first armored division soon be deployed to Shanghai to assist the local police with rush hour traffic?
In my opinion, an outbreak of an infectious disease in Country A. is a regrettable tragedy for Country A. Country B has an obligation to see to it that the disease stays in Country A. since its primary constitutional obligation is to the citizens of Country B. not Country A. This does not mean that Country B. cannot send doctors and nurses to assist Country A., but it must be at their invitation. It would seem self-evidently clear that Country B. would severely restrict, if not prohibit altogether, travel from Country A. to Country B. until the disease has been checked. This policy would not have roots in racism, or colonialism or imperialism, but rather would be a natural response born of common sense.
But, this is not the world where we live. Instead, with the active aid of a sensational media, whipping up hysteria to feed the 24/7 news cycle, Ebola in Liberia has become a political and even a racial issue with possibly implications for the November elections.Only in America.