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Osterholm Advocates Full Military Mobilization To Fight Ebola

Oct. 19, 2014 (EIRNS)—While members of Congress are arguing over a travel ban for countries where Ebola is raging out of control, Dr. Michael Osterholm, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Oct. 19, called for a full military mobilization to meet the disease threat in Africa, instead. “What I’m really concerned about is what happens in Africa,” Osterholm said before the topic of a military mobilization even came up, “because as long as that infectious disease forest fire is burning, those embers are going to keep running around the world regardless of whether we close the borders or not.”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penna.), a key member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in arguing for a travel ban, noted that the U.S. military flew hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies into Berlin during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49, despite the ground travel ban imposed by the Soviet Union.

“I agree with you on the Berlin Airlift but that was all military,” [emphasis added] Osterholm said. “If you’re prepared today to give us hundreds of military planes that will fly in and out at will when we need them to move not only material but also people, then maybe I’ll reconsider [the travel ban, which Osterholm opposes], but I don’t see anybody in Congress telling us we’re going to get hundreds of military planes.” Murphy acknowledged that the ability of the U.S. military to move goods and supplies is “pretty massive,” but he said he wants to focus as much on keeping the disease out of the U.S. as he does on dealing with it in Africa.

The U.S. Air Force’s airlift fleet is, indeed, considerable, currently consisting of 222 C-17 Globemaster III’s, about 50 C-5 Galaxy’s and approximately 350 C-130 Hercules. The C-17 has a cargo capacity of up to 160,000 pounds, the C-5 of up to 270,000 lbs and the C-130 of 45,000 lbs. Mobilizing this fleet, as Osterholm suggests, would require a presidential order, as the Pentagon would say that these aircraft are already supporting missions all over the globe, but it could be done were the Ebola crisis to be treated as the existential crisis that it is.