Skip to comments.Bush Wants Right To Use Military If Bird Flu Hits
Posted on 10/04/2005 12:02:27 PM PDT by areafiftyone
WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - 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.
He said the military, and perhaps the National Guard, might be needed to take such a role if the feared H5N1 bird flu virus changes enough to cause widespread human infection.
"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?" Bush asked at a news conference.
"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?" Bush added.
"One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move. So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have."
Bird flu has killed more than 60 people in four Asian nations since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe.
Experts fear that the H5N1 bird flu virus, which appears to be highly fatal when it infects people, will develop the ability to pass easily from person to person and would cause a pandemic that would kill millions.
"And I think the president ought to have all ... assets on the table to be able to deal with something this significant," Bush said.
He noted that some governors may object to the federal government commandeering the National Guard, which is under state command in most circumstances.
POLICE DUTIES BANNED
"But Congress needs to take a look at circumstances that may need to vest the capacity of the president to move beyond that debate. And one such catastrophe or one such challenge could be an avian flu outbreak," Bush said.
The active duty military is currently forbidden from undertaking law enforcement duties by the federal Posse Comitatus Act.
That law, passed in 1878 after the U.S. Civil War, does not prohibit National Guard troops under state control from doing police work. But, unless the law is changed, it would keep them from doing so if they were activated by Washington under federal control.
While the law allows the president to order the military to take control and do police work in an extreme emergency, the White House has been traditionally reluctant to usurp state powers.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters he was not aware of any current planning by the military to help respond to a flu pandemic.
But he noted that after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf region, Bush had asked Congress to consider giving the military control over initial response in dealing with major natural or other domestic disasters.
"Obviously the (Defense) Department has a tremendous amount of capability in a lot of areas. And we are a large force," Whitman said, noting also that the military had deployed field hospitals to Louisiana after the hurricanes.
Health experts are working to develop vaccines that would protect against the H5N1 strain of flu, because current influenza vaccines will not.
And countries are also developing stockpiles of drugs that can reduce the risk of serious disease or even sometimes prevent infection -- but supplies and manufacturing capacity are both limited.
Bush said he was involved in planning for an influenza pandemic, which experts say will definitely come, although they cannot predict when, or whether it will be H5N1 or some other virus. (Additional reporting by Maggie Fox)
ping for later
Is it just me, or is our President looking for more and more situations in which the Commander-in-Chief should be allowed to use American military forces on our own soil?
I think it's a case of "If you all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
They would be the only ones in a position to enforce needed quarantines. If he is mentioning this now, it is possible.
Wrong Election Outcome
It ain't just you.
This should be a last-ditch emergency proposal - NG should be used first. A lot more people died from government last century than died in the great flu pandemic.
I think the President needs to rethink some things. He's going to be explaining this comment and Ms. Miers for the next month.
If your kids or wife is dying..along with half a million other Americans in the next pandemic I am "just wondering" what your thoughts will be then.
We should have quarentined for the aids epidemic.
Does he know it's coming?
You mean "more government" isn't the answer to every problem?
I wonder if it wouldn't be a bit more effective to let the local police do the enforcement and focus on medical preparedness: prevention, treatments, distribution networks and suchlike before we end up with de facto martial law.
Bush: "Trust Me".
Or does the President just realize that some state governments are completely useless and incapable of responding to a true emergency.
Yes bird flu. Read into it, this is not a chicken little event.
brilliant comeback dipstick.
Thank you, I'm glad somebody said it.
No he isn't. For example, he wouldn't consider using them to actually secure the southern border.
Yes we should have, and tens of thousands have died because of the gay agenda.
This flu is killing as much as 55% of the people contracting it. It is now spreading person to person. Migratory birds have spread it nearly world wide. It could leave millions dead in its wake.
We are also overdue for a pandemic. I can assure you quarantines will be used often and rapidly if it happens.
"along with half a million other Americans in the next pandemic"...
Thats just the kind of exaggeration the proponents of such a policy want to see.
Not that many died when bird flu was an untreatable mystery.
Yikes! This must be a serious Flu epidemic in other countries for our president to take the matter all the way to the hill for precautionary reason which involve our Military!! Scar-r-r-ry!
If your wife and kids are safe at home in a town that is not yet infected, but that the government deems needs to be "quarantined" just to prevent political backlash (can anyone say 500 mile radius?), and you come home from work to get them out before they are actually infected and hit a military road block that fires on you, I am "just wondering" how you'll feel then.
30 people died out of 1.6 billion over a two year span and he wants Congressional pre-approval to use the military to restrict the rights of Americans to freely move?
You can chock that up to WHO - Panic buttons!
Aids is not transmitted by coughing in the same room as somebody or handing them a dollar bill crawling with death.
But I am curious as to how you would quarantine against aids. Please explain.
Is there a vaccination for this over here?
We do have a vaccine. But they haven't stockpiled it yet of course.
Thirty souls does not a half million make.
I'd risk double that to preserve Americans' right to freely move in the USA without military intervention.
10995: Seizure of all communications media in the United States.
10997: Seizure of all electric power fuels and minerals, public and private.
10999: Seizure of all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control of highways, seaports and waterways.
11000: Seizure of all American people for work forces under federal supervision including the splitting of families if the government finds it necessary.
11001: Seizure of all health, education and welfare facilities, public and private.
11002: Empowered the postmaster general to register all men, women and children in the U.S.
11003: Seizure of all airports and aircraft.
11004: Seizure of all housing and finance authorities to establish Forced Relocation Designated areas to be abandoned as "unsafe".
11005: Seizure of all railroads, inland waterways and storage facilities, public and private.
12919: Signs June 3, 1994, by President Clinton. Encompasses all the above executive orders.
I'll be praying for our overlords in Washington to declare martial law and take good care of me, of course. Without them, I'm helpless.
The worst flu pandemic on record -- the infamous Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 -- killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million people worldwide and some 500,000 in the United States alone, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Within just two years, 20 percent to 40 percent of the human race was thought to have fallen ill from the virus.
Almost half of those who died in the plague -- which occurred before the development of virus-fighting vaccines -- were young and otherwise-healthy adults, according to the CDC.
A flu epidemic happens when a virus spreads rapidly through a population. This happens nearly every year. A pandemic occurs when a virus spreads across the world.
It wasn't until 1934 that scientists were able to isolate the influenza type A virus, and eventually develop vaccines in the 1940s.
Vaccinations may have prevented the 1957 Asian flu from being worse than it was. It was blamed for the deaths of about 70,000 people in the United States -- most of them elderly.
According to the CDC, the 1957 pandemic was identified quickly because of scientific advances -- also helping to prevent more deaths. Cases multiplied a great deal shortly after the original U.S. outbreak in August of that year because children spread the disease when they returned to school in the fall. The highest infection rates were among school children, young adults and pregnant women.
Flu fatalities diminished greatly by 1968, when the Hong Kong flu raced around the globe. The number of people killed in the United States in this pandemic was about 34,000, according to CDC records, making it the mildest flu pandemic of the century, according to CDC records.
Together, the Hong Kong and Asian flus caused an estimated 1.5 million worldwide deaths, according to the World Heath Organization, and cost $32 billion in health care and lost productivity.
This is because the MSM made up the rule that the President is to blame and is totally responsible for every national and regional problem.
Having said that, it has become abundantly clear that local politicos are out of their depth, or at least very inconsistent, in dealing with big issues that require tough decisions and military style command and control. It the case of a bio-terror attack, I think we would all would expect a national civil-defense plan.
No, we don't have a vaccine, bt there is a treatment. We don't stockpile that either. I think it might me manufactured abroad.
Lord have mercy. There's a CW2 ping in here somewhere.
If I am not mistaken, you cannot stockpile this type of vaccine because it is produced to combat a specific strain of influenza, and influenza is constantly mutating. The vaccines that are produced each year are designed to target the anticipated type of influenza in circulation that year. The same vaccine may be useless the following year.
have a link to those EO's ? just want to read the text
Someone needs to tell Big Government George that when he swore an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies both foreign and domestic that included himself.
Reopen Alcatraz. It is convient to one of the most affected populations.
No foreign virus should be allowed to cross our borders
without putting our military on the front lines to confront
and challange their invasion....
So, if a pandemic broke out, killing say...50% of CA's population, you would not want martial law declared and CA quarantined?
Ding, Ding, Ding we have a great thinking winner! You are 100% right.