By Katie Kieffer
Two lawyers fight Ebola in the U.S. while our troops are forced to combat Ebola in West Africa. Americans may contract Ebola but rest assured: no one will sue the federal government.
Your president, a former constitutional law professor, is violating our brave troops’ natural rights in the name of political correctness. Bypassing Congress, Obama has ordered up to 4,000 troops to fight Ebola in West Africa and has named lawyer Ron Klain “Ebola Czar.”
I realize Obama may admire Russia, given his whispered exchange with outgoing president Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that was transmitted over a hot microphone in March of 2012:“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”Alas, you and I aren’t Russians and our ancestors did not fight the Revolutionary War so that America could become the Land of the Czars.
Every human has a natural right to his or her own body, their first piece of private property, and the federal government’s role is to help protect your natural rights—not endanger them. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution acknowledges this natural right.
It’s infuriating that a man who has never served a day in his life in the military is abusing his executive privilege to compel our brave troops—including many Millennials of my generation—to risk their bodily health fighting Ebola in West Africa.
The president’s role is to keep Americans safe and defend our natural rights. If he’s able to keep Americans safe while also helping foreign countries, fine. But Obama’s current War on Ebola is jeopardizing American health. Below, I outline the unseen risks of sending U.S. troops to West Africa and offer a better solution:
Risks to troops and their families:
Pentagon officials boast of protocols to protect our troops and their families when they return from West Africa. However, the Pentagon’s protocols are subjective and porous—leaving too much up to the personal discretion of military commanders who lack medical experience.
Thousands of troops are expected to return home in late November or early December, after building 17 Ebola-treatment units. Given that Thomas Eric Duncan did not exhibit any symptoms of Ebola, including a fever, until a week after he arrived in the U.S. from Liberia—every single U.S. service member should be quarantined for 21 days to ensure their own and the public’s safety.
However, Stars and Stripes reported last week that the Pentagon is leaving quarantines up to the discretion of commanders and is only requiring every service member to undergo two comprehensive tests for symptoms prior to returning to their families and day jobs in the U.S. And, only one of these tests will be conducted by medical professionals.
If even one out of the thousands of returning U.S. troops has Ebola but does not display symptoms until later (think Duncan)—or if a patient with symptoms slips through the mandatory tests (think nurse Amber Vinson who treated Duncan and was given clearance to fly commercial after she notified the CDC of her elevated temperature)—Ebola could spiral out of control.
We have yet to develop an Ebola vaccine or accumulate a stockpile of a treatment such as the ZMapp serum. This lack of preparation is unacceptable given that the CDC spent a mere 6 percent of the $3 billion it received from an Obamacare fund to fight communicable disease and saw its overall budget swell by 5 percent in fiscal 2014 (far more than the average American saw their wages increase).
70 staffers were dedicated to treating Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Imagine if just 10 out of the thousands of returning U.S. troops break out with Ebola after returning home. A minimum of 700 health care workers would potentially be required to properly care for them—not to mention workers needed to monitor their families—straining our existing healthcare system and endangering healthcare workers.
We can’t trust our president on matters of healthcare. He told us we could keep our healthcare plan if we liked it and that health insurance would become more affordable. Yet many Americans, including yours truly, experienced price increases or cancelations. The Los Angeles Times reported in September that average health premiums are up 3 percent.
So, let’s take a listen to the folks who are being honest about what has worked in fighting Ebola.
Obama claims unnamed experts tell him: “ a flat-out travel ban is not the best way to go.” Hmm. That’s interesting. The Associated Press reported last week that West African officials are crediting strict “border controls” and “patient tracking” [two precautions that the CDC and Obama have failed to implement] for limiting Ebola’s spread to five African countries—two of which have succeeded in “snuff[ing] out the disease.” Dr. Nelly Bosire, leader of Kenya’s chief medical union, told the AP: “The fact we stopped doing the West African flights had an impact [on limiting Ebola’s spread]. On that part I think we got it right.”
Rather than forcing our troops to fight Ebola in West Africa without sufficient safety mechanisms in place, we should consider relying more heavily on the private sector. Liberal philanthropists like Bill Gates and Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt who boast about their willingness to pay higher taxes would surely step up to the plate if Obama called on them to aid West Africans.
An infusion of private funding would help Liberia pay their own health workers $700 a month in hazard pay so that they do not go on strike. This would enable the country to continue the enormous progress it has already made on its own. We should also follow West Africa’s lead and implement a temporary travel ban to protect U.S. citizens from an Ebola outbreak.
“The first thing in caring for someone with Ebola is to do everything in your power to never become a victim,” the World Health Organization’s Dr. Aileen Marty advised after returning from combating Ebola in Nigeria. We should ignore pompous lawyers like Obama and Klain who possess zero medical or military expertise and start heeding medical professionals like Dr. Marty. We will not help Ebola victims in West Africa or the U.S. by turning our troops into victims in the name of political correctness.