Ebola Decisions Based on Politics

President Barack Obama made it clear Tuesday that he bases many critical decisions on one type of science – political science.

Military leaders have asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to require all armed forces personnel returning from Ebola-related missions in West Africa to be kept in quarantine for 21 days. Army leaders already have issued such orders for their branch, to guard against troops bringing Ebola home to the United States.

Hagel will consult Obama, of course. And the president is hinting he will go along with the Pentagon’s recommendation.

Yes, this is the same president who has been criticizing New York and New Jersey officials for requiring quarantines for health care professionals returning from the Ebola hot zone.

But Obama differentiated between civilians and military personnel. In a statement Tuesday, he pointed out civilians have gone to West Africa by choice, while troops have been ordered there. “We don’t expect them to have similar rules and by definition they’re working under more circumscribed circumstances,” Obama said of the military.

The Ebola virus cares not whether it infects a civilian nurse or an Army private building a hospital. If anything, health care personnel helping African Ebola patients may be at more risk of becoming infected – and thus, it may be more important to quarantine them.

None of that seems to matter to Obama. The man who claims “the science is settled” on climate change pays no heed to it concerning an immediate threat. Politics trumps public safety in the president’s mind.


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