(Be very scared when the commander in chief starts talking about using federal troops to enforce domestic quarantines. Especially when said commander in chief is appointing his very own supreme court, was effectively put in place by the current supreme court (remember when he stole the election?) and his constitutional right to be the ‘president of everyone’ is coming to an end. If an ’emergency’ were to happen on the eve of his departure he could decide to stay, rewrite the constitution, and use federal troops to quarantine the blue states from the red states….you heard it here first…cd)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) –
President George W. Bush suggested using the military to contain any epidemic of avian influenza on Tuesday, saying Congress needs to consider the possibility.
He said the military, perhaps the National Guard, might be needed to enforce quarantines 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.
He noted that some governors may object to the federal government commandeering the National Guard, which is under state command in most circumstances.
“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.
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 concerned and 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.
“And I think the president ought to have all options on the table to understand what the consequences are — all assets on the table, not options — assets on the table to be able to deal with something this significant,” he said.