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Can he do that?

Tonight was the second and final night of my first aid course. I gave CPR to the dummy. I passed the exam. Still, god help you if you have a heart attack in front of me.

So, a quickie. I know we’ve subjected soldiers to dangerous experiments in the past. MK Ultra comes to mind. Standing close to nuclear testing, as above. I always thought these acts were mitigated because the military really didn’t know how dangerous they were when they went on. Probably.

I also assumed there’d since been…I dunno. Legislation or a regulation or something to allow soldiers to opt out of dangerous experiments not centrally important military service. I mean, those things have generated so much controversy.

So, how the fuck can we knowingly send thousands of soldiers into the middle of an epidemic hot zone for reasons not obviously vital to American security? I mean, that’s not what they signed up for. That’s not what the military is for, is it? Is there a mechanism to opt out? Also, by the way, it’s a really, really bad idea.

I haven’t seen anyone else asking this question, so I have to assume it’s an incredibly dumb question. But it’s mine and I’m asking it.


Comment from Brother Cavil
Time: September 17, 2014, 10:36 pm

Nah, not the first. I think folks are mostly just dumbfounded by how spectacularly bad an idea it is…

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 17, 2014, 11:04 pm

IANAL but I don’t believe there is legislation or a regulation that applies here. Military asshats lie to the troops all the time with no penalties I’ve ever heard of. The only applicable law here is the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) which says, haw-haw-haw, that you must obey any lawful order given by a superior. Note well that word “lawful.” As a practical matter, a refusal to obey on those grounds is, first, foremost, and painfully obviously, a refusal to obey. Determining whether the order was lawful or not is going to be a long, drawn-out process if you are lucky. Without luck, no one will even bother to look into the matter of the lawfulness of the order.

The system is a terrible, terrible abuse of power. As such, it is naturally a universal trait of all govts/military.

Comment from Sakhara
Time: September 17, 2014, 11:04 pm

They probably were mitigated by the fact that they didn’t know about radiation poisoning. I think there is some regulations for nuclear testing, but not for this. Not for Ebola.

Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors are trained to follow orders, so that was the reason for MK Ultra. To see if they would follow orders if nuclear weapons were used.

The US has a volunteer Military. They take an oath to die for the Constitution, not for the President, not for Congress.

Being mindful of that oath, I have talked to a few that don’t like what is happening, and would prefer not to go, but since they are so well educated, they know what could happen if they don’t.


It’s not really about coming back dead or alive, although alive is the best. It’s about protecting people, and trust, and love.

It’s loving people enough to give your life, your most precious possession, so that others can live.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 17, 2014, 11:08 pm

“Really bad idea. . .”

Well, it is Barack Insane Obama. The only orders he gives are bad ones.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: September 18, 2014, 12:01 am

Just what the heck are our troops going to do over there, anyway? Shoot the Ebola virus? Capture it alive and interrogate it for information?

Practice CPR in a hazmat suit?

Comment from Pupster
Time: September 18, 2014, 12:06 am

Military medical personnel, hospital ships, corps of engineers to build facilities and improve sanitation and infrastructure…sure, why not? Combat troops to destroy every viable airplane, ship, train, motor vehicle, bicycle, water buffalo capable of travel outside the quarantine zone and close the borders, sure, why not?

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: September 18, 2014, 12:41 am

1) sadly he can do it.
2) it is an incredibly bad idea, which is why he did it. I would note that the locals view western medical personnel as causes of Ebola, and not aid. They only see the medical personnel when they have Ebola running through them. They are attacking those coming to help them. Then there is the matter of the “Boko Haram” army, which translates literally as “western knowledge is religiously forbidden”. This is not going to be a first aid course or vaccination clinic.
3) those deployed to render medical aid, and the many more that are going to be needed to provide infrastructure support and defense have a name. It is “disease vectors”, and they are probably intended to bring it back to the US in quantity.

The description of what this is going to be involves the word “cluster”.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:12 am

Everyone knows the old military dictum
“Never get involved in a land war in Asia”.

There is a second, unspoken, dictum that is just as valid:
“Stay the Hell out of Africa”.

It always ends in tears. There is aways an exception to every rule though, and that would be -oh wait – there isn’t any exception.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:17 am

It’s an insane idea to send troops there. It was insane to elect Obama twice. It was insane to print and spend 4 trillion dollars based on ‘economic theory’ conceived by academics. It is insane to arm Islamic ‘rebels’ in Syria….there doesn’t seem to be any end to the insanity…

Comment from mojo
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:44 am

Just wait for the “optics” of “our boys” shooting civs in self-defense. It’s a-comin’…

Comment from Davem123
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:51 am

Task Force Ebola
1. Diverts attention from the Cluster Fornication that is BHO’s approach to all things relating to the Mideast.
2. Allows BHO to look tough deploying the military while only putting our own troops at risk. No fear of collateral damage among followers of the Religion of Peace.
3. Improves BHO’s record toward Africa, i.e. in comparison to GWB’s Aids efforts.

Possible casualties among the American military. See #2 above.

What’s not to love?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 18, 2014, 2:09 am

Hrm, but if you claim to be moose-limb you might be able to stay back in the good ol’ USA & get a little “workplace violence” in, to boot.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: September 18, 2014, 3:08 am

As Mojo says, the optics on this are hopeless. We traditionally like to show our troops handing our Hershey Bars. The problem here is that the infected population must be kept isolated. From what I have read, this stuff is highly contagious by contact. This inevitably leads to a situation where some poor bastard bleeding from the eyes begs for help from a G.I. and gets shot in the face just as he is about to touch that G.I. – right in front of those same newsmen who were so helpful in Fallauh some years back, accusing soldiers who were clearing houses of unnecessarily shooting wounded enemies.

If ever there was a job for the U.N. ‘peacekeepers’, this is it. I had thought that one of the big kicks about Bush was acting unilaterally… Apparently that is now a feature, not a bug.

Comment from beasn
Time: September 18, 2014, 5:37 am

And where is congress on this? Are they that f*cking stupid to be silent on this too?
What happens if it blows through 1500 of these guys at once? There is no other ‘vaccine’ available at this time, from what I’m hearing.
Are they expected to round those people up and hold them indefinitely? And if they attack our troops, will the RoE be the same as those in the ME… to just take it?

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: September 18, 2014, 6:46 am

Yes, there is a security issue here.

If the Ebola outbreak becomes a real epidemic, it will reach the U.S. and kill a lot of Americans.

Quarantine? Travel is so easy, so widespread, that quarantine is hopeless. By the time the epidemic is recognized, the bug will already be spreading through lots of new countries. There will also be masses of panicked refugees.

Comment from technochitlin
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:06 pm

Lessee, we have our military responding to medical crises, the IRS is in charge of our healthcare, and the CDC is being armed to prevent rebellion. Oh, and NASA is doing Muslim outreach. Good times, good times…

Comment from Chris
Time: September 18, 2014, 1:45 pm

It’s not an incredibly dumb question…. we just have an incredibly dumb president who panders to the threats that aren’t while ignoring the threats that are.. and I thought Jimmy Carter was bad… He makes Carter look like a genius… And now it turns out the Bush 2 was prescient… God how I wish we could re-incarnate Reagan… a few B-52s and B-1s would solve the issue admirably with respect to the treat that is

Comment from weaselwannabee
Time: September 18, 2014, 2:08 pm

NOT a dumb question! “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Will they be quarantined upon return or do they get to bring a little bit of Africa home with them? Also it distract people from talking about the real problem, fighting the “non-Islamic” Islamic State…

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: September 18, 2014, 5:26 pm

Comment from beasn
Time: September 18, 2014, 5:37 am

And where is congress on this? Are they that f*cking stupid to be silent on this too?

That only applies in a country that does not have functional one-party rule. We do not have anything approximating a real opposition party, therefore from their point of view silence is the best option.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 18, 2014, 8:23 pm

For a long time I’ve thought we need a fifth branch of the military to handle this kind of thing and rebuilding.

Comment from Old Surfer
Time: September 19, 2014, 12:42 am

This is part of the plan – bring it back with the troops and then declare martial law, suspend elections, it’s contagious you know, and vio’la, the 1000 year ‘bamareich.

Comment from Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Time: September 20, 2014, 1:30 am

On a zero to ten, Obama to Einstein scale, this is a three: not totally stupid, just pretty stupid. Our troops have biological weapons training, which applies here. They will follow orders, which will help stabilize the situation. They arrive with resources.

Without attention from wealthy countries the ebola epidemic might burn itself out in Africa, but slower-moving AIDS didn’t.

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