The US military will deploy three thousand troops to Ebola-ravaged West Africa, the president announced on Tuesday at a press conference in Atlanta. According to ABC News, “In the next few weeks, U.S. service members will establish 17 treatment facilities with 100 beds each, train as many as 500 health care workers per week in proper care and containment techniques, and orchestrate a community messaging campaign about the disease…”
Using the US military to support humanitarian operations is, of course, nothing new. President George H.W. Bush ordered forces to Somalia in 1992 to help mitigate the effects of a famine. The US military also deployed to support victims of the 2011 Haitian and Japanese earthquakes, as well as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Should humanitarian operations be the responsibility of the armed forces? The argument against them is that the military’s proper role is not to act as “meals on wheels” for the whole world. Killing people and breaking stuff is their calling and they do it well. I don’t necessarily subscribe to these objections, though I would argue that now is not the time for a humanitarian mission. When the country is seventeen billion dollars in debt and its military has suffered deep cuts in manpower and funding we have to start asking ourselves which missions we can realistically take on.
The president must believe that the military is flush with cash and extra bodies or else he wouldn’t be committing our troops to a war against Ebola. A senior official told Fox News that General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a recent meeting that combatting Ebola is the Pentagon’s “number one priority.” And I thought its highest priority was getting chicks on submarines and shaming soldiers who smoke cigarettes!
If the Ebola crisis is the Pentagon’s number one priority then everything else must come second, right? That’s what “number one priority” means. The Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Iraq can rest easy tonight knowing that they simply don’t rank anymore. We’ll get around to them later if at all.
Disordered priorities are the hallmark of this administration. Like no other chief executive before him, President Obama appears to misunderstand the mission statements of the various agencies, bureaus, and departments he has the privilege of overseeing.
The tragedy of our VA healthcare system is at least partially attributable to poor prioritizing. Just ask Scott Davis, a program specialist at the National Health Eligibility Center in Georgia. Said Davis to FOX News’s Neil Cavuto: “We do not work for veterans. That is something that I learned after working there. Our customer is the VA central office, the White House and the Congress. The veterans are not our priority.” (Emphasis added.)
What is their priority? According to Davis, Obamacare ranks somewhere above veterans and their wellbeing. Healthcare applications were put aside to concentrate on “ACA related applications,” he said. That’s not their job, of course.
The current administration has similarly confused notions about what NASA is supposed to be doing. NASA chief Charles Bolden bragged to a reporter from al-Jazeera about the agency’s priorities as decreed by President Obama. “When I became the NASA administrator…[Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering…”
NASA’s “foremost” priority is to lift Muslims’ self-esteem, likely with recycled myths about how they invented algebra and the concept of zero. You can’t make this stuff up!
The IRS used to be charged with collecting revenue for the federal government but since the advent of Obamacare it now ensures that everyone is complying with the individual mandate. Even that mission however, seems to be secondary to harassing the administration’s political enemies, as evidenced by Lois Lerner’s shenanigans and the IRS’s shameless stonewalling.
What about the Department of Justice? Traditionally, its role has been to enforce federal laws but our current Attorney General only fulfills that charge when it suits him. According to Holder, his department is simply underfunded. “We don’t prosecute every violation of federal law,” said Holder. “We don’t have the capacity to do that and so what we try to do is make determinations about how we use our limited resources.”
For someone with limited resources, Holder seems to spend a lot of time and energy policing non-crimes. For example, his department has threatened legal action against employers who refuse to hire felons, unless those employers can justify to the government’s satisfaction that their policy is necessary. Not hiring felons is racist, you know. There is no federal law prohibiting discrimination against felons.
Time and time again, the DOJ has sued states and localities merely for having policies Eric Holder doesn’t like. Don’t want to allow men to use the ladies’ room? Expect a lawsuit. Think you can ask for ID at the polls? Not so fast; the DOJ will see you in court. No longer is the department’s job to enforce laws but to sue people it doesn’t like for doing things that are completely legal.
No one in Obama’s federal government seems to be doing what they’re supposed to so. The military is so busy containing disease that actual warfighting is placed on the back burner. The VA prioritizes Obamacare applications over veterans’ healthcare. NASA doesn’t send men into space anymore but it does stroke Muslims’ egos. The IRS is in the business of making you buy health insurance, very likely a policy you don’t want at a price you can’t afford. When it isn’t doing that, it’s harassing conservatives with frivolous audits. The DOJ doesn’t enforce the law. In fact, if you encounter a member of the New Black Panther Party armed with a billyclub on the way to vote this November, you can rest assured that the DOJ will not help you. They will however, make your life hell if you don’t want to hire a felon.
Anarchy reigns in Washington and will continue to reign as long as the Obama philosophy dominates.