Bush wants right to use military if bird flu hits

  1. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/wa..._flu_pandemic/

    President George W. Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to consider giving him powers to use the military to enforce quarantines in case of an avian influenza epidemic...
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    This bird flu has been in the news a lot lately. With authorities talking more and more of a "what if". I guess it's best to be prepared. It's sounding scarey.
  4. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from Tweety
    This bird flu has been in the news a lot lately. With authorities talking more and more of a "what if". I guess it's best to be prepared. It's sounding scarey.
    Definitely prepare way in advance. I have seen this bird flu frequently as well.
  5. by   ZASHAGALKA
    The question is an important one. I don't know how I fall on it - I have opinions both ways.

    Since the late 1870's Our military has been restrained from domestic acts by a law called 'Posse Comitatus'. Before that point, if local gov't needed help w/ law enforcement, they could call the military.

    Posse Comitatus prevents the military from engaging in domestic law enforcement. The thinking is that - a military free to act against its citizens is a military free to control its citizens. The key to our military is CIVILIAN control - and Posse Comitatus was designed to prevent the military from operating in ways that could threaten that control.

    I agree with that. It has to do, in my opinion, with civil liberties.

    Now, with Katrina, this was a problem - everybody was asking where was the gov't to restore law and order. Well, by law, THE MILITARY cannot engage in that function - because of the Posse Comitatus Law of 1878.

    So Bush is asking: should this be addressed now in order to avoid a problem with a major disaster like an avian flu epidemic that could kill upwards of 2 million people. Think about what this would do to our economy - hoarding, trying to isolate from others, breakdown of order.

    The military might well be needed to maintain order. But that requires a change in the law. Or at least a debate about it.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  6. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    The question is an important one. I don't know how I fall on it - I have opinions both ways.

    Since the late 1870's Our military has been restrained from domestic acts by a law called 'Posse Comitatus'. Before that point, if local gov't needed help w/ law enforcement, they could call the military.

    Posse Comitatus prevents the military from engaging in domestic law enforcement. The thinking is that - a military free to act against its citizens is a military free to control its citizens. The key to our military is CIVILIAN control - and Posse Comitatus was designed to prevent the military from operating in ways that could threaten that control.

    I agree with that. It has to do, in my opinion, with civil liberties.

    Now, with Katrina, this was a problem - everybody was asking where was the gov't to restore law and order. Well, by law, THE MILITARY cannot engage in that function - because of the Posse Comitatus Law of 1878.

    So Bush is asking: should this be addressed now in order to avoid a problem with a major disaster like an avian flu epidemic that could kill upwards of 2 million people. Think about what this would do to our economy - hoarding, trying to isolate from others, breakdown of order.

    The military might well be needed to maintain order. But that requires a change in the law. Or at least a debate about it.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Interesting points. I refuse to think of the possible outcome for my peace of mind right now. We will be okay you'll see.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Already military resources are strained to the MAX thanks to the war and handling problems domestically. Just where he thinks he will draw enough forces to add this responsiblity, I am unsure. Even our guard and reserve are strained to the max. It will prove interesting and perhaps, scary, as this virus emerges and possibly mutates to cause major problems worldwide. We should have been more concerned and proactive in 2003, when it first emerged in Asia. It may be too little to late, if we are not lucky.
  8. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    Already military resources are strained to the MAX thanks to the war and handling problems domestically. Just where he thinks he will draw enough forces to add this responsiblity, I am unsure. Even our guard and reserve are strained to the max. It will prove interesting and perhaps, scary, as this virus emerges and possibly mutates to cause major problems worldwide. We should have been more concerned and proactive in 2003, when it first emerged in Asia. It may be too little to late, if we are not lucky.
    Less than 20% of our military is currently involved in Iraq and Katrina/Rita. That's a far cry from 'strained to the MAX'.

    No matter how we prepare, another 1918 flu pandemic will encircle the globe, at some point. And there will be millions of deaths. If not H5N1, then another strain.

    No government can prevent this tragedy. I agree that we should be taking steps to prepare - and we are.

    But this is not a political matter. When it strikes, millions will die - whether a Dem or Rep sits in the Oval Office.

    I think that it is appropriate to review the circumstance which would dictate Posse Comitatus being temporarily suspended for the public good. But it would have to be very carefully vetted.

    I like my civil liberties. I would take strong offense to my State, city or street being 'guarded' by the Military. But that doesn't mean that we cannot envision when some military order will be necessary. The havoc of a 1918 strain of deadly flu may well be one of those cases.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am involved and married to military. I therefore believe I can speak as to how strained our resources are with some authority. I have been in the military myself, and my husband is set to retire in the next year. I have lived in and around military life for more than 1/2 of my life. I see past "numbers" and statistics. Ask families how stressful it's become over the past 5-10 years.

    There are cuts happening everywhere and deployments are increasingly frequent and longer. What used to be 6-9 month deployments are now more than a year or 18 months and they are rotating in and out of theatre MUCH more frequently. THAT IS what I mean by "strained to the max". Look beyond numbers, when you speak of military matters. It's the reason a lot do not re-enlist, and are getting out at their first opportunity. And it's the reason every branch BUT Air Force can't meet their recruitment numbers!

    I would like to ask, are you a veteran or serving now, and can you tell me of the climate where you are, if so?

    And as to politics, I am not Bush-bashing. I just wish we (as a nation, not just Bush) would be MUCH more proactive when ugly situations like this FIRST rear up, not years later when a crisis looms. This is NOT news, how dangerous and deadly this virus is----- but until it literally threatens our shores, we just choose to bury our collective heads in the proverbial sand!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 5, '05
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I am involved and married to military. I therefore believe I can speak as to how strained our resources are with some authority. I have been in the military myself, and my husband is set to retire in the next year. I have lived in and around military life for more than 1/2 of my life. I see past "numbers" and statistics. Ask families how stressful it's become over the past 5-10 years.

    There are cuts happening everywhere and deployments are increasingly frequent and longer. What used to be 6-9 month deployments are now more than a year or 18 months and they are rotating in and out of theatre MUCH more frequently. THAT IS what I mean by "strained to the max". Look beyond numbers, when you speak of military matters. It's the reason a lot do not re-enlist, and are getting out at their first opportunity. And it's the reason every branch BUT Air Force can't meet their recruitment numbers!

    I would like to ask, are you a veteran or serving now, and can you tell me of the climate where you are, if so?

    And as to politics, I am not Bush-bashing. I just wish we (as a nation, not just Bush) would be MUCH more proactive when ugly situations like this FIRST rear up, not years later when a crisis looms. This is NOT news, how dangerous and deadly this virus is----- but until it literally threatens our shores, we just choose to bury our collective heads in the proverbial sand!
    I was in the military also - and so also can speak w/ some authority. But even if I weren't, I resist the notion that I must be a vet to have an opinion about our military.

    While it is true that recruitments are down, re-enlistments are at an all time high. And that says something. Is it a strain? yes. But for people that sign up for this kind of duty, that strain is part of the job description. Much like nursing.

    Yes, some nurses are leaving the profession, and others discouraged from joining - but others, like us, are dedicated to the goal, regardless the process. And much the same is true of our military.

    Of course it's hard on the families of the bases you're are around. Nobody ever said that sacrifice isn't. And any deployment is difficult. I was in the Navy, so I understand this at its core.

    But when you believe in the goal, the sacrifices are worth the effort. And our military is AWESOME. I do not subscribe to the notion that we are 'strained to the MAX'. I think the ability of our military to stand up for what is right has yet to be nearly tapped.

    That's why I'm so proud of them.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    How about when you are active duty but don't believe in the goal? Yep, getting out is an option for some, but not always others. It's not just a patriotic duty that guides young people into the military; just ask ANY recruiter how they get them to sign on. And pardon me if I was unclear; nowhere did I state that you had no right to an opinion---I am sorry if you got that impression from me, honestly.

    However, statistics don't tell our story. Being a veteran, surely you understand what I am saying here. Maybe at *one snapshot snippet of time*, as you say, 20% of our forces are "involved in the war", however, many more are involved on a rotating basis, know what I mean? And those rotations are putting a huge strain on many families, as you well can imagine.

    Anyhow, those of who us who are vets/active yet express dissent, does that somehow make us so wrong? Are we somehow less patriots than you who are supportive of the war are? Answer: no. We can be *troop supporters*, yet dead-against the war and the policies of our Administration, and still be great patriots.

    If not so close to retirement, we may have been out long ago. See, so many fail to understand, a lot of military and veterans DO NOT support the ideals of this war or the current Commander-in-Chief, but being military, cannot/are not allowed to be outspoken on this. You surely know that, having been military right?

    Finally, I have pride, too, in our military, in myself having served 10 years,and much more, yet--- in my husband, honorably having served nearly 20 years this November. On that, anyhow, we can seem to at least agree, Timothy. I am grateful for that much.

    And let me please be one to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your military service, as well.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 5, '05
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    As far as preventing spread of bird flu, true action to develop antivirals and vaccines could have begun nearly 3 years ago, when this problem first emerged in Asia. Yet, no one really paid much more than passing attention here, as it was "over there". NOW, we worry, already behind the power curve, so to speak. I have real problems with this.

    You are right, action needs to be taken. I just find it so sad thinking we will find it likely to spread widely and kill millions worldwide, before real, viable and workable solutions can be found. It's up to 60% lethal in some populations, I have read. That prospect frightens me greatly.

    Our inactivity will cost us dearly I am afraid. Quarantine ---not the solution. It's just a desperate measure we will take once this thing is spread worldwide.
  13. by   eltrip
    The bird flu is a scary illness. My DH & I were reading about the efforts taking place in Asia in our latest issue of National Geographic. Hold on, it's not scary, it's terrifying. Why work didn't start on a vaccine or an antiviral sooner is beyond me. Ask the CDC - perhaps it's one of their secret projects, eh?

    As for the president discussing the use of American troops to quarantine cities who are affected by the virus, well, he's getting me a little worried. He's starting to sound scary. More militaristic than I'm comfortable with hearing a president speak.
    Last edit by eltrip on Oct 5, '05 : Reason: oh, dear, I misspelled a word! Quelle domage!
  14. by   jnette
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    As far as preventing spread of bird flu, true action to develop antivirals and vaccines could have begun nearly 3 years ago, when this problem first emerged in Asia. Yet, no one really paid much more than passing attention here, as it was "over there". NOW, we worry, already behind the power curve, so to speak. I have real problems with this.

    You are right, action needs to be taken. I just find it so sad thinking we will find it likely to spread widely and kill millions worldwide, before real, viable and workable solutions can be found. It's up to 60% lethal in some populations, I have read. That prospect frightens me greatly.

    Our inactivity will cost us dearly I am afraid. Quarantine ---not the solution. It's just a desperate measure we will take once this thing is spread worldwide.


    Quote from eltrip
    The bird flu is a scary illness. My DH & I were reading about the efforts taking place in Asia in our latest issue of National Geographic. Hold on, it's not scary, it's terrifying. Why work didn't start on a vaccine or an antiviral sooner is beyond me. Ask the CDC - perhaps it's one of their secret projects, eh?

    As for the president discussing the use of American troops to quarentine cities who are affected by the virus, well, he's getting me a little worried. He's starting to sound scary. More militaristic than I'm comfortable with hearing a president speak.
    You guys are sooooooooooo right on the money. Very worrisome. And I, too, simply do not understand our ALWAYS WAITING until the proverbial doodoo hits the fan, and then scramble to ineffectively put a bandaid on the situation. We can do SO much better... but we don't. Very disturbing.

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