Hamilton: Ebola and Bergdahl: Election politics?
In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama for what he might do toward world peace rather than for what he had done after only nine months in the Oval Office. Then, on March 23, 2010 — without a single Republican vote for it — President Obama signed ObamaCare into law. Because it has been pretty much downhill for America at home and abroad ever since, that may have been the high-water mark of the Obama presidency.
But President Obama is not entirely at fault. As president, he had every right to appoint members of the executive branch who share his world view. Unfortunately, far too many of them have turned out to be grossly incompetent, leading to both a crisis of competence and a crisis of confidence. Space does not permit a complete listing of all the things that have gone wrong over the past six years. But let’s just take as examples the ebola crisis and the trading of five of the world’s worst Islamic terrorists for the freedom of Bowe Bergdahl, someone his fellow soldiers call a deserter.
Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told Congress you cannot catch ebola while sitting on a bus next to an ebola victim. In the next breath, the CDC head said ebola victims should not be on public transportation because the person sitting next to them could catch ebola. Huh? Then, he compounded that illogic by saying we should not stop airline flights from ebola-infected West Africa because ebola victims will come overland into America and be unmonitored. Translation: our southern border is so uncontrolled that ebola victims desperate for medical care will slip across from Mexico and we won’t know who or where they are. Hello? If they are desperate for medical care, won’t they show up at one of our hospitals?
The CDC says it was wrong for that ebola-exposed nurse to fly from Dallas to Cleveland and back and it was wrong for another ebola-exposed nurse to board a cruise ship. So, why is it OK for airline flights to continue from ebola-infected West Africa? Doubtless, the CDC head’s testimony had prior White House approval. Apparently, someone flunked Logic 101.
Until proven otherwise under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Bowe Bergdahl is entitled to the presumption of innocence. But the White House order to withhold the results of the investigation about how Bergdahl came to live with the Taliban for five years until after the November election suggests that Bergdahl was, indeed, a deserter. If the report filed by Major General Kenneth Dahl has concluded that Bergdahl did nothing wrong, wouldn’t it benefit the Obama White House to release General Dahl’s report right away?
None of this is fair to Bergdahl’s former platoon mates who claim Bergdahl is a deserter. Nor is it fair to Bergdahl who might, after all, be innocent. In the Court of Public Opinion, the withholding of General Dahl’s report replaces the presumption of innocence with the presumption of guilt. Just these two examples suggest the triumph of politics over public health and over the UCMJ. We report. You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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