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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

when all you have is a military….

… everything looks like a war.

i guess the “avian flu” news of the week – from president bush’s press conference…

Q Mr. President, you’ve been thinking a lot about pandemic flu and the risks in the United States if that should occur. I was wondering, Secretary Leavitt has said that first responders in the states and local governments are not prepared for something like that. To what extent are you concerned about that after Katrina and Rita? And is that one of the reasons you’re interested in the idea of using defense assets to respond to something as broad and long-lasting as a flu might be?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Thank you for the question. I am concerned about avian flu. I am concerned about what an avian flu outbreak could mean for the United States and the world. I am — I have thought through the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean. I tried to get a better handle on what the decision-making process would be by reading Mr. Barry’s book on the influenza outbreak in 1918. I would recommend it.

The policy decisions for a President in dealing with an avian flu outbreak are difficult. One example: If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country, and how do you then enforce a quarantine? When — it’s one thing to shut down airplanes; it’s another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine? One option is the use of a military that’s able to plan and move.


it’s not entirely suprising that bush has military responses on the brain. after all, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, right?

military budget: $419.3 billion (up 5%) (source [pdf])

center for disease control budget: $7.7 billion (source)

by name alone, you might think that “disease control” is how you would “control” an “avian flu pandemic” – if only because “avian flu” is, i think, a disease.

this opens a huge can of worms about budgets and priorities, so i’m just going to leave the lid off… (hi lucas)

posted by roj at 5:58 am