The spread of Ebola in the U.S. has some critics calling for the resignation of Dr. Tom Frieden as head of the CDC. He has been criticized for an apparent reluctance to call for a ban on travel from West Africa.
No one mentioned that Dr. Frieden, as commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, literally turned the tide on the spread of drug resistant TB in New York City. He developed protocols to handle epidemic outbreaks in New York City complete with provisions for legal representation for those trapped by quarantine in Manhattan in a worst-case scenario outbreak.
Constructive criticism is deserved for the doctors and nurses in Texas whose failure to exercise the proper caution when treating Thomas Duncan may have endangered more Americans.
Thomas Duncan traveled from Europe to Texas and lied on his visa application in order to enter the U.S. A travel ban would not have prevented him from illegally entering the U.S. Now two nurses have contracted Ebola from their limited contact with him despite safety protocols being in place. This speaks volumes as to the need to enforce protocols strictly to prevent spread of the disease.
Containing the spread of the disease is best effected at the epicenter in Liberia. The U.S. has courageously sent personnel and supplies to help Liberia end the outbreak. Dr. Frieden contends that there is no need to panic since the disease cannot be spread via airborne transmission but any organism has a potential to mutate and a possible enhanced capability to spread warrants a proscription on travel for people who have come in contact with the disease.
The infected nurses from Dallas traveled and one traveled on a commercial airliner while a lab worker went on a Caribbean cruise. These trips should not have been allowed to happen. The workers were originally asked to monitor themselves for symptoms. A sensible, federal rule should restrict travel for anyone who has come into contact with an Ebola patient.
President Obama has appointed Ron Klain to be an “Ebola czar” to coordinate efforts to end the threat of spread of the disease. Mr. Obama is being criticized for failing to act sufficiently, and after he increased federal action he is being criticized for failing to act quickly enough.
There is similar negative criticism leveled against the White House for the response to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The critics should direct some criticism to the ISIS fighters who are destroying sovereign nations, enslaving women and children and executing anyone opposed to them.
The air strike operation adopted by the U.S. has been named “Operation Inherent Resolve” and critics immediately took exception to the name instead of asking why the rest of the world is reluctant to take any action against the crimes committed by ISIS.
ISIS finances itself with nearly $1 billion stolen from Iraqi banks as well as $3 million a day from black market sales of stolen oil. Organizations with significant financial and operational abilities are abetting this financial activity that supports murder and mayhem.
The press deserves criticism for failing to uncover information on these enablers who profit from the illicit activity.
Critics quip the air strike campaign should be called “Operation Wavering Resolve.” Why? The White House used diplomacy before military action. It selected military action that avoided prolonged engagement in a foreign theater against unknown enemies.
The White House can effectively threaten enhanced military action. That would be impossible if an expeditionary force were already deployed in the Middle East. Meanwhile, thousands of Kurdish families have fled into Turkey to avoid the genocidal violence and Kurdish forces who are holding out in Kobane, Syria against a larger and better equipped ISIS force with U.S. air support that has prevented ISIS from overwhelming the city.
The BBC reported that the Kurdish commander in Kobane stated that ISIS fighters have been “driven … from most of the city.” If the goal of stopping mass executions, beheadings, enslavement and genocide can be accomplished by supporting moderate forces with air strikes, then that should earn the approval of all Americans.
Mayor de Blasio reiterated that New York City is capable to protect its citizens from the threat of terrorism or Ebola infection. New York City is implementing screening measures in airports, and hospital and health care workers are prepared for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak.
Polls indicate that incumbent Michael Grimm, despite scandal and indictment, clings to a lead over challenger Domenic Recchia in the race for Congress in the 11th District. Mr. Grimm consistently advocated conservative policies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Recchia successfully fostered development in South Brooklyn and supported opportunities for middle class working families.
A dispassionate comparison of the records of the two public servants should convince most voters that the big business, big corporation, pro-gun and anti-worker positions that Mr. Grimm adopted to be a part of the GOP do not work for them and that they would be better served in Washington, D.C. by Mr. Recchia.