Ebola, Obama and the Sacrifice of the American Military

Either as distraction or abomination, President Barack Obama has ordered 3,000 U.S. troops into Ebola infested West Africa.

The problem is, 3,000 U.S. troops can’t defeat Ebola.

It was said that the military personnel will not be directly involved with treating Ebola-infected patients. The problem with that is that the people who are infected and contagious but not very sick in the beginning are the ones who spread the disease.

So how are our troops supposed to tell the infected and contagious indigenous people from the healthy ones?

Another question is how are we going to protect those 3,000 military personnel? Are they being trained and inoculated? Is there a vaccine we don’t know about that is being administered to those being deployed?

CAMP PENDLETON, CA - AUGUST 07:  U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during his visit at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base with troops and their families to thank them for their service on August 7, 2013 in Camp Pendleton, California. Obama announced today that he canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow amid tensions over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and other issues. Credit: Getty Images

Prior to my multiple deployments overseas I was inoculated against small pox and anthrax. Not your common everyday illnesses. Was the general public ever aware of this?

If there were a vaccine, would the government hide that fact from us in order to preserve Ebola as a possible bio-weapon? Bio-weapons are only effective if there is no vaccine. If they have a vaccine, concealing that fact makes those who have the virus in a test tube somewhere more powerful.

One of the reasons Obama says he is sending military personnel is because there is a security threat. Could we be positioning ourselves to assist the West African governments with deadly forceif it is indicated?

It was said during the announcement of U.S. military involvement that the U.S. would beestablishing a command and control base, offering health care worker training, and helping to set-up a health care logistics system.

Health care logistics means delivery of health care supplies and equipment directly to those who need it. Command and control requires eyes-on supervision. How would it be possible for U.S. military personnel not to come into contact with infected Ebola patients?

Health worker burn used protection gear at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) center in Conakry on September 13, 2014. For nearly four decades, mention of the Ebola virus has evoked death and terror, yet a simple factor -- money -- has stood in the way of erasing the curse, experts say. Despite its evil reputation, Ebola breaks out only rarely in brief if murderous spurts in impoverished African countries. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI

Military personnel are trained to perform their duties in a wartime environment. These highly trained, highly motivated personnel are soldier’s first, and then job specialty second. Why are they being given a mission that seems much better suited to civilian health care professionals? If there is a security issue they should use local law enforcement or hire contracted security personnel, not use soldiers.

Why aren’t African countries taking the lead on this? Why aren’t the bleeding heart social medicine champions form Europe leading this charge, putting their money, people and materiel where their mouth is? The World Health Organization should be out front on this, along with other non-governmental organizations and countries who have much more skin in the game than we do.

In our country medical care is an insurance issue, so where is the insurance ground zero here? Why are Americans being asked to pay up front on something that may never affect us directly before others who are directly affected give their all?

Could Iraq use 3,000 troops? How about our border with Mexico? Ukraine? Afghanistan?

Once again it seems as though Obama’s advisors have convinced him to use the military in a way the military was never intended to be used, kind of like “no combat role” for troops in Iraq. Pssst! The Army is trained for COMBAT, stupid!

Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantley, left,  embraces Dr. Bruce Ribner medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP/John Bazemore)

Obama’s advisors are a group of military haters, with only five of 54 cabinet appointees and czars with ANY military experience at all, and among those NONE with either combat Army or Marine Corps officer experience. So, the Air Force and Navy guys on Obama’s team aren’t suggesting THOSE branches to be involved. Why?

The Navy medical personnel I served with at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 did a great job with the detainees. They did excellent isolation care with those detainees suspected with tuberculosis! Why not Ebola? Besides, the Navy has those neat hospital ships, what better way to isolate those who are ill? And the Air Force is famous for their on the fly health care and innovative delivery systems in the air. Why don’t they have a role in this mission?

Why? Indeed!

Maybe the answer is the Obama team wants the Army to suffer. After all, it has been Army officers who have repeatedly suggested Obama’s plan to battle the Islamic State without combat troops is pie in the sky, to the contrary of the president’s mantra. It’s embarrassing to say the least that his own military, specifically the Army keeps contradicting the advice he keeps getting from his no-military, no-brain, trust in the White House.

Sequestration is still on the table, and will hurt the Army first, last and worst. The Army continues to be asked to do more with less, and now are being asked to work magic on the Ebola crisis using funds already earmarked for the fight against Islamists. Wrong team, wrong battle.

The Army is being sent to sacrifice for the sins of it’s leaders, those who continue to advocate for missions that they are built for, and not missions the Obama team wish they were built for. And if the military fails, Obama has his favorite fall guy.

If you want to degrade and then destroy Islamic State you send in the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Marine Corps.

American Aid goods are loaded onto a truck after it arrived by airplane, to be used in the fight against the Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Two alarming new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria, widening the circle of people sickened beyond the immediate group of caregivers who treated a dying airline passenger in one of Africa's largest cities. The outbreak also continues to spread elsewhere in West Africa, with 142 more cases recorded, bringing the new total to 2,615 with 1,427 deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

If you want to stem the spread of Ebola you send in civilian medical personnel and then protect them with contracted civilian security if indicated.

It’s the civilian health care system that saved at least two American doctors who came down with Ebola. Notice how they weren’t sent to a military medical facility? Can you imagine the Department of Veterans Affairs having to add Ebola to the list of diseases they have to treat?

Using military for the Ebola fight simply puts a strain on the current mission, supporting global operations against Islamists who want to kill us. Most likely the bulk of those being sent will be Army reservists, who would be available but currently serving in civilian medical facilities, which would suffer from their absence.

Sacrificing American military assets for a civilian health care crisis weakens our ability to protect our own and sets yet another bad precedent that mismanages our military, sadly par for the course for Obama and his anti-military minions.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter ID @mjgranger1

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