(by Joseph Farah, WND) -- While Barack Obama is reluctant to deploy U.S. military forces to fight ISIS, he’s gung-ho to send 3,000 soldiers to fight Ebola in West Africa.
But what kind of sense does this make?
What is the mission?
What will U.S. soldiers do to contain the Ebola epidemic that local forces could not do?
Defense Department officials have been vague to say the least.
Spokesman John Kirby said the highly trained warfighters will be used to set up the infrastructure for an operation that will be run by the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, to provide mostly logistical and engineering support for health workers trying to stop the spread of Ebola.
Wouldn’t that be better handled by the Army Corps of Engineers? If the kind of work to be done isn’t up to the skill set of the Army Corps, wouldn’t it make more sense to hire local people to do the job to save money and lower the risk of infection by U.S. servicemen?
The Defense Department is planning to spend at least $1 billion on the effort. That represents a commitment of $333,333 for every soldier deployed. Just imagine how many more local citizens could be hired for this assignment.
Kirby was more willing to talk about what U.S. soldiers would not do than what they would do. They would not treat Ebola patients
“But there’s no – there’s no intent right now for them to have direct contact with patients,” Kirby said.
However, the operative phrase is “right now.”
It’s unclear even if the U.S. soldiers will be armed with anything more than hazardous gear to wear.
“This is not a military-led operation,” said Kirby. “And so the mission itself as it’s defined is limited to those – those areas, and not direct medical care of patients. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about what might or could change over time. We are – we have unique capabilities. We try to stay as ready and prepared across those capabilities as we can. And if there should be a need in the future to change the mission, to modify it somewhat, then we’ll have that discussion. But there’s no discussion about that right now.”
What else is the Defense Department saying about the mission?
“The mission is to do some training, to build these units and do some logistics, some transports, the movement of materiel,” said Kirby. “It is not to treat. General Williams understands those parameters. He knows what his mission is. And he’ll make sure that the troops are property trained themselves and have the – the protective equipment that they will need. But there’s no intention right now that they will be interacting with patients or in areas where they would necessarily come into contact with patients.”
Is that clear enough for you?
In recent years, U.S. military missions have been ill-defined. But here’s a non-military mission for U.S. soldiers that appears to set new low standards for the likelihood of mission creep.
How will we know when the job is done?
If building treatment centers is the goal, why are U.S. soldiers chosen to do the job? Why not engineers? Why not local contractors?
Will soldiers be given any of the experimental vaccines for Ebola before deployment? Will they be used as guinea pigs to test their effectiveness?
There’s an actual war to fight in Syria and Iraq right now, but Obama is reluctant to send warriors there to do a warrior’s job. He is, however, more than willing to send warriors to fight a virus – a job they are wholly unqualified and untrained to do.
My gut tells me U.S. soldiers would be much more willing and able to take on ISIS than Ebola.