‘The purpose of our soldiers is to fight a war, not medical battles’.
WASHINGTON – Two retired U.S. Army generals have blasted President Barack Obama’s decision to send U.S. troops to West Africa to battle the Ebola virus epidemic, saying the military is to fight wars, not disease.
In exclusive interviews with WND, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin and retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely condemned Obama’s decision, as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved up to 4,000 boots on the ground from a previous ceiling of 3,000.
The concern is that these soldiers, who will be exposed to the environment where the virus is prevalent, could bring it to the United States and potentially spread the disease as they rotate back to the United States and are assigned to other units.
As WND reported, the soldiers would be responsible for command, control, logistics, civil affairs and medical assistance, even though U.S. officials emphasized that their exposure to Ebola would be limited.
The soldiers would not be exposed to patients, except for Navy units that will maintain labs to test samples for the Ebola virus. Already two such portable labs have been set up. They can process some 100 samples in one day.
This is a president who thinks like a community organizer and not like a commander-in-chief who takes his responsibility for his troops seriously,” Boykin said. “At a time when our military has been at war for 13 years, suicide is at an all-time high, [post-traumatic stress disorder] is out of control and families are being destroyed as a result of 13 years of war, the last thing the president should be doing is sending people into West Africa to fight Ebola.”
These military personnel, Boykin said, don’t have any qualifications to fight an Ebola epidemic environment.
“That’s not what the military does,” he said.
“When [General] Douglas MacArthur in 1962 stood in the mess hall of West Point and made a very impassioned statement, he looked at [the cadets] and said, ‘Your mission remains fixed, determined and inviolable. It is to fight and to win the nation’s wars.’
“That should be what the president is focused on now. The mission of the military is to fight war, not to fight Ebola,” Boykin said. “It is a misuse of our military, and I for one am very opposed to this [deployment].”
Boykin pointed out that there will be no inoculation for Ebola prior to troop deployment. Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said that the only preparation service members will receive before heading to West Africa will be briefings on the disease.
“It still comes back to the question whether this is a military mission,” Boykin said. “At this point, no. It is not a military mission, and given the 13 years of war, this is the last thing we should be doing.”
Boykin questioned where the United Nations was in forming a coalition to send into West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic.
“What about the other African nations? What about a coalition? Where is the U.N.?” Boykin asked. “There should be a U.N. coalition to try to stem the tide of this Ebola [epidemic]. This isn’t a U.S. military operation, and it should not be a U.S. military-led operation.”
Written by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
Read more at WND