[guest post by Dana]
While the president has repeatedly stated there would be no ground troops sent to fight the threat that is ISIS, he did announce that he will be sending 3,000 troops to Liberia to lead the way in the fight against Ebola:
‘U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts,’ a statement from the White House press office said.
‘A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.’
However, it should be noted: AFRICOM already warns its own personnel that they should ‘avoid nonessential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.’
And the Defense Department is concerned, one Pentagon official told MailOnline, about the public perceptions aroused when American G.I.s patrol ground zero in a disease outbreak that could plunge three or more countries into chaos if it worsens significantly.
Combat soldiers and Marines ‘will be on hand and ready for anything,’ said the official, who has knowledge of some, but not all, of the Ebola-related planning. ‘But hopefully it will be all logistics and hospital-building.’
‘The president has ordered us to help, and we’re eager to do it,’ he said. ‘Now it looks like we’re going to be the lead dog, and that’s bound to make a lot of people nervous. It’s understandable.’
‘But no one wants U.S. personnel enforcing someone else’s martial law if things go south and the entire region is at risk.’
Commenter ThOR aptly expresses my concerns:
I am far more concerned about the military deployment to ground zero in the Ebola epidemic than a deployment against ISIS. Our troops have the tools and the training to wage war; they’ll be sitting ducks in West Africa. The proposed deployment to West Africa speaks volumes about President Obama’s disregard for the safety of our servicemen and women. Also, if there is a pathway by which Ebola makes its presence felt here at home, the conduit could easily be our returning Ebola-fighters.
There is no mention of specific precautions and barrier methods that will be in place to keep our troops well protected from this virulent and unusually contagious strain of Ebola.