U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa

Under pressure to do more to confront the Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa, President Obama is expanding military and medical resources to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

Comments: 234

  1. For people with no concern for the Ebola virus because it's only killing Africans...remember AIDS that many people ignored because it was predominantly targeting gays? Diseases are an equal opportunity destroyer and we are all in this world together. There are no walls or boundaries for disease and we must do what we can to curb its infection.

  2. One would hope that we COULD be concerned about Ebola simply because it is killing Africans, not just out of fear of what it might do to "us" someday. Why isn't that reason enough to be concerned?
    Tribalism's days are obviously not over, nor are they limited to Afghanistan...It is alive and well here in America.

  3. I wish I could "like" this comment by Allison a hundred times. It is dreadful that we can kill people through weapons of war with ease but cannot help them heal from disease.

  4. We have given financial aid to Africa. In this we must consider our own nation first and the costs. Why not secure our border first before sending aid to other nations to deal with Ebola.
    If we can not secure our border, if we can not send more troops to deal with ISIS then we should not send troops to deal with Ebola and allow our troops to be infected and return to spread it throughout the US.
    Yes tribalism is alive, it is alive in Africa and infested with corruption.

  5. American solution to a West African problem instead of a West African solution involving American help to a West African problem. The expanded effort has to be well coordinated, ethical and with good intentions. The locals have to be convinced of what exactly the Americans are offering and how it compares to the treatment received by the 3 Americans on US soil who were infected by Ebola virus in Western Africa. Instead of having 5 treatment centers around the capital would it not have been better to have several of them distributed around the country and where there are most cases. Finally, it is unclear whether thisis a response to the criticism including by the NYT editorial board or whether it is an effective well planned operation that will be successfully executed.

  6. Monrovia is key, as the Liberian president indicated. It is an enormously crowded city where the disease is spreading rapidly. Like you, I hope this effort is well organized. The military can do this kind of thing well if they have good guidance from the medical folk.

  7. One 25 bed hospital will handle all the new cases during the next 6 hours--that's all. Might as well spit into a forest fire.
    An enemy growing in strength exponentially requires an exponentially response. 50 hospitals would be an adequate response today. If we can't spare 50 today how about 500 or 5,000 hospitals a month from now? The response needs to go viral because that is exactly what Ebola is doing.

  8. The 25 bed hospital was intended to treat health care workers who contracted Ebola without the risks associated with transporting them out of the region, not solve the problem in the general population. The last cumulative number I saw was 240 infected and 120 deaths in that population. While the number was front-end loaded because of the lack of proper (by western medical standards) barrier treatment protocols, I'd expect the infection rate in health care workers to decline while the population grows, yielding a roughly steady stream of health care workers requiring treatment.

  9. Thanks, I missed that on my first reading of the article.

  10. With the radical left's takeover of campuses in the 60s, and now radical right's takeover of much of the rest of our country, coupled with both of their contempt of "fact-based" thinking, I wonder if we still are like the scientific powerhouse we once were, when we conquered polio. 30% of American believe in angels, and 30-50% believe creationism is equally valid to evolution. Maybe we are just too close-minded and incompetent at anything but political dogma to take on Ebola.Maybe our universities are too busy doing "gender studies" to do actual science anymore. Maybe it is better we decline and let a country that can still do science, like Switzerland or Israel or Germany take this one. I wonder.....

  11. I am sorry that you have such a negative view of the American biomedical research infrastructure. As a part of it, I assure you that the US remains the premier place to do this research, whether in the academy, government laboratories or in industry. Funding has been cut, but there is no one better or more productive out there. That is why young people from all around the world are dreaming of coming here to study. If you would like to help, lobby for better support for NIH.

  12. Great reply. Thank you! I am glad to hear we still have that.

  13. Are we behind the curve on all this? Could it be that O's reluctance to engage the world, especially in Africa, puts us in the classic 'lead from behind'? Better late then never. Hopefully something can be put together for the immediate crisis, and long term. The US needs to be more then a 'killing machine', it needs to be a living machine. Why we have not pre-positioned protective kits in areas we know will need them is just poor planning. It has always been know that these outbreaks will happen, only where is no known.

  14. The American response to Ebola has been both pathetic as well as stupid. If anything, West African states that descend into chaos will be magnets for jihadis to move in, leaving aside the humanitarian questions and questions of racism at hand. Responding to Ebola is a great security and policy concern for the US than antagonizing Russia in the very least.

  15. Let's all hope that for once, our fellow citizens in the GOP believe in science and don't resort to the usual paranoia and fearmongering to scare up a few more votes in November.

    Americans have to understand that ebola has the potential to become a global pandemic if it's not contained soon. With every additional victim, several hundred billion more copies of the virus are made. If mutations occur that cause the virus to be airborne, humans are in serious trouble. This is not science fiction, it's real, and the CDC and others know this. There is no "West African" solution to this, because the nations of West Africa simply do not have sufficient resources to stop it. This has to be led by the US and the EU, before it gets out of hand.

    ISIS is a potential threat to us in the future. Ebola is very much a threat right now.

  16. Yes, we should certainly be helping and preventing the spread of ebola, but you yourself are making up facts. The CDC has said, and I quote, that "the current outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa but does not pose a significant risk to the United States".

    They do not see ebola as a threat to us "right now".

    Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html?

  17. So we should wait until it is a threat before doing something?

  18. Memo to Buckeye Billy: Right you are as the Ebola virus mutates with every victim it infects. If it does become airborne, the world is in big trouble! My scientific credentials to make such a point-

    Approximately 40-50 published scientific manuscripts on respiratory viruses. Fact, not fiction!

  19. Even as our President is sending troops to Ebola-infested Africa, he claims to be expanding his effort _against_ the disease? This makes me laugh, and that's a big deal. You see, unlike my father, I have no sense of humor whatsoever.

  20. Please...this is not a political issue. Hopefully it doesn't take Ebola knocking on your door for you to see that.

  21. On this subject in a recent comment, I wrote that we should send troops, doctors, medicine and all other needed commodities to help staunch the onslaught of ebola. I used the words, "fair planet," and a responder to my comment, said something to the effect that we won't, nor should we respond in kind to this situation. He also made light of, and questioned what I meant by the term, "fair planet."

    What I meant was: on a fair planet, all inhabitants would seek to insure that everyone had access to the necessary provisions of life, education, and a livable wage. Also, on a fair planet, everyone would treat the planet like gazillionaire mansion owners treat their mansions.

    Every mansion owner spends a certain percentage of his fortune on preventive maintenance of his domicile. Why then wouldn't we spent the same percentage on keeping our planet from crapping out? That to me is what a fair planet should be.

    It's really quite obvious what a "fair planet" is: we take care of it or we lose it.

  22. Mankind is one.

  23. It is Kant applied planetarily. Not a bad place to start

  24. In words but not acts.

  25. If Ebola mutates and spreads in airborne droplets, consequences for the whole world could be disastrous. If we can help, we should. But the seeds of bad foreign policy are sprouting widely.

    America has blundered around the world for too long, and is now expected to respond to every world problem--ISIS, Ukraine, and now Ebola. This expectation lies not just in those who suffer but also in Americans conditioned to believe they have a right to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nations--in the name of American exceptionalism.

    It's good that Obama has heard the pleas of Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf; it's better that he waited to be asked.

  26. It's a good start, it seems.

  27. Precisely where American intervention would be welcome and do good. Invest wisely.

    Fight Ebola, a worthwhile undertaking, and forget ISIS.

    "The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future - must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, TO DO GOOD OR TO DO NO HARM."* ~ HIPPOCRATES, Epidemics

    *Emphasis mine.

  28. President Obama on Tuesday is to announce an expansion of military and medical resources to combat the spread of the deadly virus, administration officials said.

    Isn't kind of sad that even in as humanitarian an effort as trying to help people get better from a horrible disease like Ebola, that even our assistance has to entail and characterized as a military operation?

    If the only tool we have at our disposal for every situation, regardless of its nature, is a sword, then is it any wonder war seems to be constantly close behind and our thinking reflexively conditioned to use war as a first reaction?

    Maybe it's time to start forging those swords back into plowshares, and see if maybe then the peace everybody yearns for can finally allowed to be found.

  29. As it happens, "the military" has for years possessed the expertise in dealing with the outbreak of deadly viruses. This isn't he first outbreak in Africa to threaten the world. The "Hot Zone" documented another deadly outbreak. Worth reading or re-reading.

  30. When we hear the word 'military' we all think bombs and killing, but actually the military has a broader mandate than that. Early in America's history the military schools provided many of our best engineers.
    Today the military has our best logistics experts. Logistics is a funny sounding word. It means getting the right stuff, to the right place with the fewest problems. Logistic experts are the people you want when disaster strikes.
    Most countries wouldn't have a clue about how to spend the billions of dollars and organize the thousands of people required to fight Ebola. You can't just throw bales of money at a problem like this. It takes planning and tons of practice. Without that you'd just add to the chaos, and most of the assistance would be squandered.

  31. Just so you understand, some of the emerging potential responses to the threat of Ebola, both treatment and vaccines, have been funded by United States military health dollars. What is vexing to me is that our "civilian" health infrastructure is not focused in the same way, whether on Ebola or other emerging and present threat. The fact is, military health infrastructure is galvanized by the mission of protecting troops in a way that our civilian infrastructure is not galvanized by a mission to protect citizens. Our civilian infrastructure is galvanized by making profits, and for a long time the overlap between profit and public health improvements was close enough, but the gap between the two is becoming cavernous. So we have a ultra-expensive "treatments" that barely move the needle on end stage cancers, but we have no vaccine for Lyme disease, which courses through the population at epidemic levels causing vast suffering and disability. It doesn't have to be this way.

  32. Tragically late. Given the exponential impact of spreading virus, this should have come weeks ago. Ebola has been on the radar as a potent threat for a very long time, the US response to this is inexcusable.

  33. Why doesn't China ever help out? Or am I missing something?

  34. It is the first responsibility of the First World, especially those who have a long term relationship with said countries

  35. I think China has done a fair amount, though I'm not sure of the numbers. Although I'm critical of the response of developed nations I do see we've done a lot, it's just not enough. What we are doing now would have been enough 60 days ago.
    I think this is really about a sobering human short coming--difficulty in preparing for disasters--worst case scenarios. That's what led to the Panic of '08.

  36. It's about time. I was starting to think they wanted Ebola to spread to ISIL before containment efforts.

  37. Yes, this should have come months ago. It would have been so much more effective. The spread of the infection could have been curtailed and the crisis would not be as enormous as it is now.

    But that's a reason to correct course and to ramp up an adequate - gigantic - response now. The current plan, outlined by President Obama, should be just the beginning. Since the reality is that the Pentagon can best respond, let's have the Pentagon respond. This is about people's lives.

    It is also about whether we are only capable of killing people with drones and bombs, or whether all the billions of taxes we spend on the military can do some good when there is extreme, dire need.

    As a taxpayer, this is where I want my money to go: to stop the spread of Ebola and to treat the infected people as well as we possibly can.

  38. Sadly, this is the kind of situation that often must escalate sufficiently for a local government to admit it needs help. I don't know to what extent these countries have been sending diplomatic messages that convey the kind of panic that was probably justified, which you and I would not necessarily know of, but my sense is that they have been trying to hold out an image that the disease spread is limited in scope and they do not want extreme measures -- to instill panic in their own populations, and to result in a cut off of access to other countries, which has slowly been occurring anyway.

  39. I seem to be alone amongst the commenters here, and the reporters who wrote the article, in failing to see how this problem is up to the Americans to solve. The reporters say "the administration’s new efforts still appear to fall short of the 1,000 beds that Liberian officials and international aid groups say are needed in the next week alone to contain a disease that has been spreading exponentially." Ben in Austin says "the US response to this is inexcusable.". Allison in Washington state says "Tribalism...is alive and well here in America." Elextra in San Diego says "Diseases are an equal opportunity destroyer". Right you are, Elextra; so, the rest of you: where are Britain, Iran, Japan, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Brazil, India, South Africa, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and anyone else who has an economy? Why do these 1000 beds have to come from the US? Why are you treating this as an(other) excuse to promulgate your political opinions instead of demanding a global response to a global threat?

  40. What makes you think that no one else is doing anything? Nothing could be farther from the truth. But that doesn't excuse inaction on the part of the country with the biggest scientific and research community in the world.

  41. Liberia is our problem. The new rules say former colinail power have a special relationship to their former possessions. We set up Liberia ( to re settle former slaves)and are considered the former colonial power there. That is why it is our business in particular

  42. It isn't as if America has been assigned this problem to solve. It isn't our 'obligation' in that sense.

    We are, however, going to step up and solve it.

    We don't need to wait for others to act. They may participate or not, but we're finally responding to this emergency. That's leadership that will help move others towards the global response this global threat requires.

    It's unimportant to me whether other nations contribute. Infrequently, we lead in the right direction and do the right thing with our power. This is one such time, and I'm glad we're doing it.

  43. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves us far behind Cuba. The Cubans are sending 63 doctors and 102 nurses or other skilled professionals. Shame on us.

  44. There is a place for private philanthropy also. The Gates Foundation, for example, is currently doing a lot.

  45. Not surprising, Gates is equally interested in population control.

  46. I applaud Obama for stepping up to engage this disaster fully -- finally! Transmission of the virus to additional neighboring countries is now almost inevitable, but it can still be limited there if aggressive case detection is instituted as soon as it appears in a new region. Liberia clearly needs 1000 new beds for Ebola Virus disease (EVD) treatment as soon as possible; 500 will not be enough. It does not appear that anyone else will provide them.

    Every day of delay will equal dozens more dead. Ebola transmission is preventable but expensive. The investment is well worth it, even if only to protect our own interests. There is a real risk of political meltdown and chaos in Liberia if exponential growth in the EVD epidemic is allowed to continue. There is also a real risk now that mini-outbreaks will occur in developed countries from airborne travelers, but let's hope that it does not take this sort of disaster to generate the 1000 beds that the Liberians need.

  47. Well Doc the real problem is that 1000 beds is not even close to enough. The reproductive number is estimated to be 1.5 to 2 in Liberia and the doubling time is ~2 weeks now. WHO has estimated that the real number of cases is 2-4 times the reported number With so many unreported cases and such rapid exponential spread, by the time the proposed aid can arrive there the need will be many times 1,000 beds. Is that even possible? The aid being discussed now to be announced tomorrow is already behind the growth curve. We need to be prepared for the possibility that the epidemic cannot be controlled without a vaccine and can only be limited geographically.

  48. Ah, so it is an airborne transmitted disease after all.

  49. No There is not evidence that it is transmitted via aerosol, which means by droplets so small they float in the air. All the evidence shows that the virus dies when it is fully dried out and aerosol sized droplets dry out fast enough that the virus dies before it floats far enough to deliver an infectious dose. It can be spread via larger droplets at short range and that is why masks and face shields are needed, and are effective if used properly, when working closely with an infectious person. The rapid spread of the disease is due to lack of enough gloves masks face shields and incorrect use of PPE. It is really really hard to always always maintain correct procedures when hot tired and exhausted.

  50. This is where Obama truly failing, His slow reaction to trouble in what is considered our former colony is disgraceful. Britian is helping Sierra Leone much more than we are helping Liberia, This could be a really bad mistake

  51. If he had done it sooner, would you have supported it?

  52. I will no longer vote for Obama. He is slow in dealing with this crisis, and it probably is time for him to be impeached. I voted for him both times, but this goes beyond the limit. He is supposed to be on top of things, not way behind.

  53. "Our former colony"? Exactly what is your definition of colony?
    This is a WORLD problem. The US cannot be responsible for everything that happens everywhere in the world. If you haven't noticed we are broke and have been for quite a while. So where does the money (and the manpower) come from? And by the way, it already affects more than just Liberia and Sierra Leone. So Tom, will you at least assign ebola responsibility for Guinea to China, the Congo to Germany, Gabon to Russia and then castigate them for "failing" with their "slow reaction"? Have you written your check yet?
    Ebola is a huge, urgent problem that must be addressed by the entire world.

  54. Experts from the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool in the U.K. have found an existing drug that can help tackle the Ebola virus currently plaguing West Africa. See here http://goo.gl/3uctj7

  55. He wants to build 1,700 treatment beds when an epidemic is raging? Train 500 health care workers a week? That is not even enough time to teach them how to use the protective gear.

    But the most worrying aspect of his plan is that he wants to send 3,000 military personnel to West Africa. Some of these soldiers are going to end up catching the bug if they have any contact with the local population. Never underestimate how difficult it is to wear a biohazard suit in tropical heat and humidity. All it would take is for someone to take their mask off once to wipe his face and he gets Ebola.

    Why do these African nations expect America to build their health care facilities for them? Simple huts built cheaply with cinder blocks and corrugated roofs would more than enough to serve as treatment and isolation facilities. It is infuriating that even today, none of the West African countries have taken the steps they need to protect themselves.

    So in steps Obama to save the day,

  56. This disease is much beyond the capacity of "African Nations" to control. This is a Worldwide threat and needs the USA's leadership. Its too bad your feelings about our President mar your understanding of the threat this disease is to you, your family, your Country, the World's economy and Humanity. And yes every country in the World has stake in this outcome but we need to show the way.

  57. Re: "Train 500 health care workers a week? That is not even enough time to teach them how to use the protective gear."

    To be fair - the plan might be to set up a school for, say, 2000 students trained for 4 weeks. Once underway, the school would enroll 500 new students and send forth 500 graduates per week.

    But yes, one week of training seems optimistic.

    More Reporting!

  58. Why do these African nations expect America to build their health care facilities for them? First of all, America is helping Liberia, while France diverts resources to Guinea and England gives to Sierra Leone (former colonial powers supporting their old colonies). Secondly, Liberia would not be asking for help unless their resources were totally tapped. At least 144 healthcare workers have died in the three countries. Meanwhile, Liberia has one doctor for every 16,000 people!

    If you follow the work that humanitarian organizations are doing, then you know that building field hospitals is being done cheaply and well. There are best practices to building wards, and using cinder blocks and corrugated roofing is not the way to go. For example, Doctors Without Borders has been using thick plastic sheeting that can be easily hosed down with chlorine to disinfect.

    Liberia has minimal resources, has only recently begun to recover from years of civil war, has a mostly uneducated population, combined with traditional beliefs and squalid slums that have helped spread the virus. Despite all of this, Liberian doctors, nurses, and men and women from all walks of life are putting their lives on the line to care for the sick, bury the dead, inform the public, deliver food, and more. They have taken matters into their own hands. However, the reality is that they cannot stop this epidemic on their own. Please give these courageous people some credit, and join the US in extending help.

  59. Hey! We should go. With the rest of the world. Let's fight this for all of us.

  60. To little to late

  61. as another commenter queried; why doesn't china help out? or are they? as a looming world power i assume they are in line to respond to world crisis?

  62. Why doesn't China help out? It has its hand full already with the health concerns of its own people. Both China and the US are the Superpowers of the World today, increasingly insular ones and the borders of the former are closing until further business perhaps.

  63. About time! Every bit the threat posed by "ISIS". AND something we can do that can have a decent chance of success, as opposed to all of our other foreign interventions since 9/11. Why aren't John McCain, Lindsey Graham and all the other warmongering nitwits calling for action on this also? This is a war that can be won. It just involves "degrading..." a virus instead of killing massive numbers of people. And what do you think will engender more international goodwill towards America: continuing to destroy the middle east, or saving tens of thousands from an epidemic that could have been contained very quickly with this type of effort right from the start?

  64. What the U. S. is doing to combat the spread of Ebola is right and noble, but, as with the threat of ISIS, I ask: Where are the other nations doing business with the afflicted nations and with significant travel in and out of those countries? At most, it seems, they want to “ASSIST” the U. S., but not LEAD in the efforts, even though they are at much greater risk than we are.

    Moreover, China has interests all over Africa and boasts about how it measures up to the United States economically, militarily and otherwise, but we haven’t heard ANYTHING from Beijing regarding ISIS or Ebola.

    Oh yes, has Mr. Putin’s Russia solved all its problems with Muslim extremists similar to ISIS and quarantined itself from those countries in Africa now stricken with Ebola?

    Too many countries are laying back or contributing minimally while the U. S. bears the brunt of these global menaces! When the fog of battle clears sufficiently, we must make this known in no uncertain terms.

  65. China's GDP per capita is $6800, USA is $53,000. And United States has been rich for a long time, so it has had time to build up its infrastructure and assets. It really is up to the rich countries (China is not a rich country yet) to take care of a health crisis likes this. It helps humanity, it is inexpensive (compared to war), and makes other countries like us more ( reducing terrorism). I cannot believe we were not more involved earlier. I was appaled when Obama said he was setting up a 25 bed hospital a few days ago.

  66. This is a world problem, not just an African problem. All of the major countries of the world should be helping, China, Russia, all of Europe. When are we going to realize we all live on the same planet, what hurts some could just as well hurt everyone.

  67. It didn't have to become a World Problem.....the borders of all infected Countries should have been sealed...no flights out or in other than medical supplies or personal.
    Allowing the Ebola patients to be brought to the US was a violation of current laws....allowing people to fly all over the Globe after realizing Ebola was present was stupid...making it a World Problem!

  68. Agreed. Quarantine is important in treating epidemic diseases.
    Unfortunately, it is not politically correct or acceptable.

  69. This is a very important fight. The entire world of medicine should descend upon Liberia. Ebola is in the villages for now, but let one (unbeknownst) infected person travel to a city. And another who touched or hugged him get on a plane.

  70. What's especially needed are trained healhcare workers. I challenge all U.S. medical organizations to continue to pay the full salaries of doctors who leave and volunteer six weeks on a medical tour of duty with an organization like Doctors Without Borders.

    I also challenge the U.S. government to announce that it will cover the outstanding medical school debt for American doctors who volunteer.

  71. Yes, with the military running this, it will be a great triumph.

  72. Many nations around the world bash the US about our healthcare and preach that healthcare should be a human right. We agree. Where are you world? China? Russia? EU? India? South America? This is a bigger threat to humanity than any war if it spirals out of control. As a US taxpayer I'm getting sick of all the bashing the US gets from the world and then expects us to save them from diseases and war and everything else. We are all in the era of globalization. So do you part and help us get this disease under control.

  73. It does seem that the initial DOD response was severely limited; however, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief planning is dependent upon many factors -- the first being a request by the host nation. The Air Force is the only service with a 25-bed hospital (Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS)) that can be readily shipped by air in a short turn around. This seems to have been the initial choice. On the other hand, the Army has Combat Support Hospitals (CSH) with a max configuration of 248-beds. Due to the sheer magnitude of equipment within a CSH, transportation would have to be provided by sea lift. This would drastically increase the time to get the equipment on the ground. Contracting takes time as well, and this seems to be the new course of action with the addition of engineers.

    Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.
    – Albert Camus, The Plague

  74. One question occurs to me in all this - where is China? I have been following this story from the very beginning and not once have I heard of any assistance - of any kind - being pledged from China. Time and time again it is the US that has to step and do the right thing when a major crisis hits Africa, while the Chinese just sit idly by, mute as tree stumps. Yet when it comes to plundering Africa's resources, you can bet the Chinese are always first in line. I hope these African countries remember who it is they can really rely on in a crisis. And it ain't the Far East!

  75. Hi Mark,

    I do not know why you are so angry with China. But I have to tell you that the story you followed was not complete. On 11 August we donated supplies which worth 4.9 million US dollars to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa.

    Kind regards,

  76. Nathan Expat in China commented and provided a list of thins China is doing, including infrastructure.

  77. So far, China has done more than the US has, and it is Cuba that is leading the effort against ebola.

  78. Somehow the US has got to systematically get regional parties and global organizations to effectively own situations such as ebola in Africa, or the conflict in Gaza. We DO have a responsibility to help others as the country with the most resources, and we should be proud of having a legacy of helping in times of need. But we perpetuate a situation where it is easy for countries, regions, and organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, or the WHO, to take symbolic and ineffective actions knowing that the fall back position is that the US will be forced to act. This is not about cost. It is about building in accountability and forcing others to have skin in the game. We need to build institutions, incentives, and capabilities for other parties to shoulder a fair share of the burden.

  79. I applaud this action. It is long overdue. It is best to fight such a scourge at its source. All countries that can contribute to this effort should do so now. We must also be cognizant of the fact that the more Americans are sent over there, the more likely they will contract the disease. Either we build better isolation wards there (with adequate staff and resource), or we will be bringing dozens of active Ebola cases into the US. Although the risk of infecting the general population would be small, there is still a risk and it will grow with each case and each passing day. And this is assuming that the virus does not mutate into a more virulent form (only remotely possible but still possible). Curative agents and vaccines must be pursued. Some hard decisions are going to have to be made....and soon.

  80. With our debt we need to prioritize our aid to the world's needy. The Ebola epidemic could have been stopped some time ago for a few hundred million dollars. That's about when the corporate funded American establishment was promoting the Central American immigrants as the great humanitarian crisis that we had to take care of. These are mainly the middle class seeking better paying jobs and their children; the poor couldn't begin to afford the coyotes' fees. Obama asked for $3.7 billion as an opening payment to cope with it on July 8.

    The establishment pushes immigration hard because corporations want that endless supply of cheap labor, and the population growth, which makes their investments more valuable. It's a relentless propaganda campaign, always on message, with not one voice in major American media against 'reform'. Rapid population growth has made the situation worse in these very poor African countries, and is a major driver of immigration from Central America, where population growth is among the highest outside of Africa - but corporations see them as more customers.

    People including heroic health workers die from Ebola because Africa lacks cheap basics like bleach and rubber gloves, and a real humanitarian crisis has grown rapidly, menacing everyone, but apparently the establishment hasn't figured out a way to monetize Ebola yet.

  81. Spending time and money won't take the public eye off of the president's lack of vision in the Middle East and the perfidious nature of his presidency. I voted for him, twice, but his service has become alarmingly shallow and his methods of distorting the spotlight are all too transparent. Mediocrity is forgivable, but incompetence is criminal, as it is by choice.

  82. Kudos to the President --his actions can make us Americans proud, and make again of our country the leader of the free world, and a beacon of hope to all.

    Regardless of whether the Ebola virus is constrained and beaten in West Africa, or if we enter a new chapter fraught with uncertainty and fear, let us be clear: Ebola *does* present a clear and present danger to the West. Here in the US we have millions of individuals without healthcare, even after Obamacare, and we have under-served populations all the way from rural America, to the Reservations, to urban ghettos. Here too in America we have infectious diseases rampant, from TB to AIDS, and we have hospitals challenged by persistent infections, and most clinics are unable to isolate but only a few patients at a given time.

    In this interconnected world where poverty and want interleaves with progress and wealth, none of us, regardless of race and money, are truly isolated. Ebola is a danger to us all --and the President's actions benefits us all.

  83. Again for those asking what is China doing? See below. Other countries are doing things. There is a lot of information out there on what other countries are doing. i) Chinese are working on a drug called JK-05 to treat Ebola ii)Chinese government is helping Sierra Leone set up an Ebola laboratory and an Ebola holding center. Dr. Wang Yu, director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is there now. The lab and the holding center will be based at the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital in the outskirts of capital Freetown. Wang is leading a nine-member experts team visiting there. iii) China has also sent about US$ 40 million in supplies for disease control, emergency treatment facilities, and capital support -- more is on the way. Dr. Wang said that China will soon airlift a mobile lab to Sierra Leone and that China will also work with the west African country to select a site for the establishment of a level-three bio-safety laboratory. (There is much more information out there.)
    Almost more important is the fact China over the last 20 years has been building up infrastructure in Africa health, education and transportation often built in exchange for access to resources as it has become Africa's largest trading partner. The Chinese go to other countries and build things think about that. This infrastructure and the development it represents will be crucial in dealing with this and future crises of this nature.

  84. "The Chinese go to other countries and build things think about that." When added to your previous sentence, "...in exchange for access to resources as it has become Africa's largest trading partner" you see the real economic and politic impetus behind Bejing's moves. Granted, any help to the poor in this health crisis is to be welcome, but please don't try to paint the Chinese government as being this altruistic "friend of Africa".

  85. Seriously?!?
    One lab?
    One treatment center?
    One drug in development?
    Help at one hospital?
    A whopping 9 sets of boots on the ground and a measly $40M???

    Even little Cuba has done more! What a joke.

    FAIL China. Big Fail. This post just made the point that everyone has been making that China is more than happy to extract HUNDREDS of B-illions from the African sub-continent but is only willing to give back TENS of M-illions.

    Oh, and btw, speaking of money, save yours and your effort on that BSL 3 lab you're constructing. About the only thing that will be good for is TB and malaria. You need at BSL 4 for filoviruses like Ebola. Kinda sums up the whole sorry state of affairs, huh?

  86. So, it's not all about America?

  87. "Officials said the military expected to send as many as 3,000 people to Africa to take charge of responding to the Ebola outbreak."

    When one takes the kings shilling, so to speak, one is expected to follow orders, but I would hope that only volunteers are sent by the military and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other American agencies. The brave announcements by "senior administration officials" I trust means that they will be leading the charge in country.

  88. They think we're the source of all of their problems and the source of all of the solutions.

  89. It's about time that someone stepped forward to thwart what could develop into a pandemic.

    President Obama is leading in an effort that should be expanded.

    The entire world's resources should be brought to bear upon this deadly, multi-vector, mammalian emergent virus.

    With a respiratory, touch, and fluids transmission capability; a 90% death rate; and a two week incubation period the Ebola virus has the potential to be a global disruption of immense proportions.

    Should it break out and move through wild and domestic mammalian populations, it could claim a place in human history along side bubonic plague. small pox, lethal strains of influenza, and polio.

    I am glad to see that the military is being mobilized in this effort. Restriction of travel by land, sea, and air can only be enforced with armed forces.

    This disease is a dire threat.

  90. Shame on the world for it's slow response to this unprecedented tragedy. If this epidemic occurred in Europe, North America, or Australia there would have been an all out assault on this virus. Where are the Chinese in the response? They seek the riches of Africa but turn a blind eye to their dire medical crises. Shame on the world.

  91. Why not stop wringing your hands and you do something also?

  92. Shame on the leaders of Africa for squandering their money and completely failing to have a medical infrastructure in place to deal with epidemics.

  93. The internet indicates that two lab studies have shown that ebola has been transferred by AIR in controlled lab environments. One of these studies was done by the US Army and healthy chimps were infected by AIR rather than blood or body fluids. Can a reporter please research this and provide a news article concerning this? If this internet information is true--this changes the whole fight against ebola.

  94. "The internet indicates…" What is the source? A large amount of internet material is false, written for reasons far from educational.

  95. Perhaps a reporter and a news article are not the best sources for this info. There is no evidence from HUMANS that current Ebola strains spread through an airborne route. The data you mention are from laboratory settings, including one in which water was being sprayed onto infected animal cages to clean the animal room. Not evidence of airborne spread in humans. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
    -an MD

  96. Interesting how Obama caves to pressure when foreign citizens are involved isn't it. But then again he seems to cave to pressure for everything except eloping the average American.

    Who will build these centers Halliburton who some other tax evading military contractor?

    I feel for these people I really do but the time has come for the US to take care of its own people before we are so weak we cannot do anything. We are very near that edge now.

  97. Perhaps one of the reasons we are standing on edge, is that we're not used to having our wallet hit. While we continue to cry for ourselves, The President is on The Road, listening to the concerns of the People of America and taking action accordingly. If we feel for these Other people out there, a small donation would be helpful while we prepare for OUR Thanksgiving soon.

  98. Pandemics don't recognize national borders.

  99. Miss Ley - "The President is on The Road, listening to the concerns of the People of America...". He is?? Well, he IS on the road a lot, but it sure seems like it is almost always to a high priced political fund raiser or to address selected, adoring crowds who support him. I don't see him making many ventures out there to listen to anyone who disagrees with him or to just the regular people.

  100. Thank goodness the U.S. government is getting involved. Epidemics travel--they traveled efficiently before airplanes and they'll continue to do so now. I hope wealthy, private donors will assist U.S. efforts to contain this disease.

  101. The administration has had its priorities wrong.

    The real WAR should be against Ebola, not ISIS!

    Yes, and that will need boots on the ground—an invasion of HELP right now!

    Instead of airstrikes and bombing and blowing people apart (including, as always, innocents) let's attack the Ebola virus.

    An MD

  102. This is a great example of how public health is broken in the world. When it comes to an epidemic, the earlier the response the better. The WHO has completely failed. The European health agencies that should be taking care of the problem in their backyard have failed. It now falls to the US to do the right thing again (like with PEPFAR). If the WHO and the European health agencies would have stepped in and done their jobs by committing every possible resource, then US soldiers wouldn't have to risk their lives for their protection (and now ours).

  103. The initiative of the U.S. is good. However, our own health may be under a serious threat. Who knows whether the doctors will be infected or not. This deadly virus is pretty unpredictable. Who will be responsible for possible victims?

  104. The President is responsible as always. If you want the job, you have to take the responsibility. So we have to hope he does this deployment as well as he can given the current information.

    Nonetheless, it is an infectious disease. It doesn't respect international boundaries. Any lives lost overseas could very well save lives at home. And any lives saved overseas may very well pay dividends in the future if terrorist groups or unfriendly politicians try to get power. It is impossible to know what the consequences of this deployment will be, but its intention is just. It is best to play it by ear for now. Rapid and clumsy deployment for an exponentially growing epidemic today might be ten times better than the most careful and well planned deployment two months from now.

  105. "So we have to hope he does this deployment as well as he can given the current information." After watching him for six years on what is that hope based?

  106. Cuba was the first to commit a significant effort to fight Ebola as part of an international effort, announcing to send 165 doctors and other medical personnel. Why not team up with Cuba? Certainly saving lives must be above politics,

  107. My husband and I worry this may be the next Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions in 1918.

  108. And the Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry, should be directed to stop puttering around with ISIS and start shuttling from country to country to gain commitment and help for a JUSTIFIED WAR—against Ebola.

  109. This is a welcome move. Usually when something is going on on the African Continent, such as Rwanda, we just ignore it; it is "only Africa" after all.

  110. I'm sorry - of course we should do everything we can to help with this deadly disease- but why does the US always have to be the one sending in help and money and taking the lead. And we always get critized no matter what we do anyway.

  111. Because the US is always bragging they are the "SuperPower", that's why everybody is always running to us. Imagine if you went to work today and boasted that you had all the answers. Everytime someone had a question or needed help, they'd be at your desk

  112. We go because as Americans we try to do the right thing--and in this case it -is- the right thing--and in part because Liberia is our former colony, in a meaningful way our brothers and sisters. We take the lead because we are leaders. It is a proud moment for our country today. Someone, somewhere in the world needed to step up.

  113. If Ebola arrives here, as it surely will, I think you'll have your answer.

  114. The mighty US government has lost its teeth. It is run by proxy by private corporations.The reality of Ebola can't be denied. But the tools to fight diseases have been thwarted by power of big corporations over our government and elsewhere. The safety of the world's health has become privatized. The US doesn't put enough money into public research and therefore the research is not publicly owned. Research is privately owned and is not shared unless for profit. Pharmecuticals do not make money on some things, and so they hold the patent until they can make money on them. I've heard this is why there is no vaccine for Lyme disease for humans for example. Now there is an epidemic of Lyme and other tick borne diseases and even the epidemic itself is denied. In the case of Ebola, there might have been a solution if the power of research had been supported publicly. This is the outcome of the power of corporations in the world. The structures have denigrated the environment, exacerbated poverty, and starved the governments of these small countries and of the big ones too. Now we are helpless before the ravishing of this disease, Ebola is a direct outcome of the multifaceted effect of corporatism and greed in the world. We need a return to the common good that will put the corporation in its rightful proportion of power over the people of the world.

  115. 1. Please do a little fact checking. GSK introduced an effective Lyme vaccine in 1998 and withdrew it from the market due to never proven claims of side effects in 2002 since it was not possible to make enough profit on the vaccine to continue expending massive amounts of money on defense of unfounded law suits. As a physician, I administered hundreds of doses without any serious side effects in my patients.
    2. Most new drugs are developed in the USA including the biotech industry.

  116. You prove my point. Profit before people is the culprit in all instances. I have Lyme. It sure would have been nice to have gotten that vaccine...a whole lot less traumatic then what Lyme disease has done to my life.

  117. Dr. Abe Levy, let me be clear, because I made a similar comment, the whole point is that if we have a public health problem like Lyme Disease, it should not be the entire responsibility of GSK or other pharmaceutical manufacturers to solve it, even if they have to lose money doing it. It would be like expecting grocery stores to solve hunger without benefit of food stamps. "Since it was not possible to make enough profit on the vaccine" we therefore have no means and no willpower to devise a solution to a serious scourge. Some diseases will be profitable to treat, some not, but the model that puts us in a position of shrugging our shoulders and continuing to suffer just because no one can make money from the cure is insane. And to the extent that companies lobby to prevent other models from emerging to address unprofitable threats, they do bear some responsibility.

  118. Liberia began receiving freedmen in 1816, which is why its capital is called Monrovia. It has been an independent nation state since 1847. What is needed there now are not so much doctors as ward personnel to pay personal attention to each sick person.

    DC has bureaucrats stacked on bureaucrats, especially in such notoriously overstaffed departments as HHS. Why not recruit volunteers there to form a Monroe Brigade, on the pattern of the Lincoln Brigade in '30s Spain? People who have dedicated their lives to Health and Human Services would be especially easy to train in best methods of disease control and would be eager to contribute their expertise towards something worthwhile.

  119. Why does it always seem necessary to pressure President Obama to do more?

  120. Finally he makes a decision that doesn't humiliate his former supporters.

  121. Another overseas emergency call for help, placed once again directly to our President in his name. Perhaps unprecedented historically, not that anyone cares.

    Every day this American walks by the Consulate of Sierra Leone. It is very quiet these days and brings to mind other times when as a toddler, I used to visit my young cousins there; the house of my uncle, a lawyer, an historian and public servant. There was a garden where we used to sing like little sparrows and play.

    With thoughts of the People of Western Africa today, thank you, Mr. Barack Obama.

  122. Little by little - but is it a patch or a plan? United world leadership, a public health, scientific, medically guided plan, and a coordinated multi-government, serious response to this tragic and extremely dangerous situation needs to be developed and implemented now. Terrorists and the price of gas will become insignificant if we fail to control this horrifically dangerous situation now.

  123. This is a great example of American Exceptionalism. As an immigrant who spent one half of my life in Asia it was always easy to explain why America is exceptional - its constitution, its preeminence in science and technology, its educational institutions and last but not the least its generosity. If you go to many parts of the world, America is still seen as country as the first to respond with help whether there is disease, famine or flood. This help almost always came from ordinary Americans even before the government acted. We struggle with our debates with polarized politics and media but the rest of the world still sees us as a beacon of hope to alleviate human suffering in every form. Last time I visited Asia people still asked me when will we cure cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and they never asked us whom we were invading next. Ebola is bigger threat to mankind then even ISIL. We should learn from the AIDS experience - it too originated in Africa. The help that our military will provide is mostly transportation logistics as very few airlines are flying to Liberia and WHO is unable to transport much needed health care personnel. Believe me, I have been in famine and flood and help is never too late and it always helps. Don't criticize the President for being late but rather encourage more people to help. They need it and we have always helped. This is the still the land of the free, brave and generous.

  124. What about Danish exceptionalism? They spend several times more per person per year to help developing countries than the US? And they do that every year, instead of only when the media reports about a problem.

  125. Denmark isn't even near as populated as NYC. Please stop praising something so minuscule from a country so small.

  126. hm, not sure why you cannot praise a small country. Anyways, the same applies to larger European countries and the EU as a whole. The US in general is lacking when it comes to humanitarian support and development aid in third world countries compared to Europe and Japan.
    Wouldn't call this exceptional though, many other countries behave the same - the US is as exceptional as any other country on this planet.

  127. I established and help run a small mission group in Liberia. (Revive Liberia) We get daily reports form our people there. There are many more dead than reported. You can not realize how bad conditions are in Liberia. Health care is almost non-existent. Ebola has completely wrecked what little there was to begin with. Remember people still get sick with malaria, cholera and dengue fever, etc. Babies are born and need care. A broken bone can be a death sentence. Food and water are becoming increasingly more expensive and scarce. Rice has more than doubled in price. People in Liberia live on less than $1 a day. Hunger is starting to increase. This leads to increased restlessness among the people. The military and police are corrupt and have been shaking people down on an even more regular basis. All government services have been stopped. People can not go to work. It is an endless cycle of despair. The response by the US is finally forthcoming and I for one am overjoyed. Thanks President Obama.

  128. Thank you for the insight into this dire situation - This is where a coalition is needed the most - God's speed to the WHO in forming it.

  129. this is not our fault

  130. The Vice.com documentary on Liberia's General Butt-Naked (no joke) and his child army is pretty illuminating about the challenges that country faces. I recommend it.

  131. This is great news however only a few countries have stepped up to help Africa. The rest of the world needs to step up and help in this crisis. Sadly more money is being spent worldwide on war than humanitarian efforts.

  132. As usual, the US is damned if we do and damned if we don't. We get criticized for "sticking our nose" in other countries, yet when we don't do it fast enough we get slammed. Pretty predictable, but sad nonetheless, especially when must of the harsh commentary comes from within our own borders.

    Yes, we should be assisting in any reasonable way we can, though we need to be realistic in what can actually be achieved. Containment may be best that can be achieved, at least in the short term. That said, I certainly hope we do everything in our power to protect our personnel we send into that mission.

    Finally, I don't know why some feel the need to compare this to the terror issue posed by ISIS or ISIL or the caliphate or whatever this weeks name is. The two are completely unconnected (sorry, I don't buy the "more people will like us if we help" reasoning). At best, let's say we should address both.

  133. Why is it always the US who must fight the wars, rescue people after a natural disaster, fight the diseases? These are issues for which all countries of the world need to unite and take action.
    It's also time for the countries of Africa to rid themselves of the hideous governments, corruption, and lack of education that has made them the slime pits from which emerge diseases like Ebola.

  134. Other countries do, it just doesn't get reported as much in the US media. Europe spends a much higher percentage of GDP on development aid than the US does.
    Good that the US does something to help battle the disease. Now just go crazy and treat yourself as the saviors of the universe.

  135. This sounds to me like a colossal blunder, one that will only inflame the hatred of the troops' parents and family members toward this president who puts them in such danger. A public relations disaster, as well as ratcheting up the threat of this apocalyptic virus to the United States.

  136. >

    What about other countries' military? I did not see anything on them in the article? POTUS needs to demand more from these other countries. The US has been carrying their water for far too long. Europe is at risk far more than the US.

  137. Thank you. I wish I could recommend your post more than once.

  138. Once again we can thank Africa for providing the US with the threat of another communicable disease. Remember HIV/Aids? I agree that Ebola is a threat to the world but I don't think we should be sending our military to Africa to fight Ebola. Our military is not trained to fight Ebola and should not be forced to take a crash course in caring for people who are literally dead once they catch the disease. What we should be doing is containing Ebola until it runs its course. That means no one gets out of Africa until the disease stops spreading. Stop air travel and set up other blockades to stop people leaving by land or sea. Anyone who wishes to leave may do so after they have spent sufficient time in quarantine to be sure they do not have Ebola and then they may travel from the quarantine center out of Africa. That is what the World Health organization should be recommending. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help the sick may do so. However, they will not be able to leave Africa until they are quarantined.

  139. Where are all the Russian aid convoys sent by that great humanitarian Putin?

    Where are all of those genius Russian doctors?

    Or the Chinese for that matter? Why is it always America who steps up when everyone else is shuffling their feet? (Except Cuba - credit where credit is due.)

  140. 3000 troops are not near enough, 30000 is more like it. This is a surge that is worthwhile and needed and only America can do it. There is no other country at the present who is willing to sacrifice the lives of their young people serving in the military for this great cause.

  141. Those will be 3000 brave souls. And an example to us all.

  142. That's the only thing the Democrats know how to do - send in the military. If they can't buy it then they send in the military.

  143. dubious=

    I seem to remember the screw up in Afghanistan and decision to invade Iraq (based on lies about WMDs) was a Republican fiasco. Those decisions were made by Republicans who hadn't been to war themselves, knew little about the Middle East and sent others (J.Paul Bremer) to run the country they ended up destroying. Bush, five deferment Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and Bremmer are responsible for the ME problems we face today.

  144. NY Times, PLEASE do an article on international efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa. I am so sick of reading ignorant comments stating that other nations, such as China, have done nothing, and that the US is as always expected to do everything. The media silence on the reality of this situation makes the US look like Putin's Russia.

  145. Wow, you know when you sign up to join the military that you are signing up to be shot at. Can you imagine being the unlucky private who lost the lottery to be shipped over there? The meaning of "hazard pay" has never been more true.

  146. To see this is to see the very best of what our country is capable of.

  147. This is not an appropriate use of the military. It will increase negative sentiment about this country in Africa, as people there already distrust the medical facilities associated with ebola. Also, those who join the military realize they put themselves at risk, but most do not sign up to be exposed and possibly die from a lingering disease. This is not a reasonable request of them; they do enough and risk enough as it is.

    Find another way.

  148. I know I am in the minority here, but I feel sad for the families of those troop members. Once again, being sent overseas to fix another one of the world's ills--and for the protection of the rest of us. I hope we do right by them, ensure their protection from this illness and PAY FOR THEIR MEDICAL COVERAGE without playing games ala Vet Administration.

    THANK YOU brave service men and women, THANK YOU.

  149. You might be in the minority but you are also correct. Our troops never catch a break. And when they come home they're met with six-month waiting list to see a doctor at the V.A. Sad but true.

  150. I doubt you are in the minority.

    I agree with you.

    Those poor families.

    I know some of them and their military sons and daughters are overused and continue to be.


  151. For many years I have written to the NYT and strongly pointed out how American pharmaceutical companies who are literally multi-rnational corporate giants with billions and billions of dollars, have systematically moved research, development as well as procurement of drug chemicals and drug compounding to China, India, France and other parts of the world. Recently in the United States there were shortage of vaccines notably because it was cheaper to close production facilities in the US and abdicate production to overseas producers. In PA a large research facility was closed in the last 2 years ending jobs in the sciences and also ending the production of drugs sourced and processed in the Untied States. Now we are faced with a crisis of monstrous proportions in Africa and find ourselves committing funding, personnel and other resources that we can't spare. Worse, research for preventive or curative vaccines for Ebola must begin from scratch. Yes, the United can and should take the lead. But every other nation, without exception, who has benefited from the exporting of American pharmaceutical and medical research should also immediately be called upon to participate in a very large and meaningful way. There should also be a Congressional investigation and action to prevent further erosion of American medical research and immediate work begun to bring drug research and production back to the United States. The Ebola crisis is more than a crisis of containing a disease.

  152. This health crisis and the ISIL crisis is a perfect example of the conundrum the United States faces. It seems the world believes the United States has unlimited resources and can somehow wave a magic wand and all will be well. I find it distressing that we get slammed by "African officials, doctors and representatives from aid groups who said the United States has been slow to act..." in spite of the aid already delivered and more on the way. I wonder how much of the Ebola crisis could have been prevented if the African governments, both at the their national level and local level were more pro active in providing basic services. I look at the photo on this page and wonder how much of the aid money is skimmed off at levels before arrival at the clinic?
    I think it would interesting if the NYT would do a story on what other governments, especially African, are doing contain this health threat.

  153. Skimmed is too considerate a description for corruption. Just follow the men and women "of the people" in political positions anywhere and their extraordinarily profitable careers in government which allow them to retire as royalty.

  154. Heartbreaking, frustrating and helpless to change how or why not other countries don't pitch-in. I'm certain that's what the US Gov't leaders are saying.

  155. This is what makes America the exception.

  156. We will soon need the expertise these soldiers get from their African experience. Ebola will be here in this decade, if we don't stop it there.

  157. I wish the local governments in these countries would step up to the plate in a realistic way first. The conditions of care (or total lack there of) are appalling. I cannot believe that there are not resources to provide effect personal protective gear and support for the health care workers. I cannot believe any government would impose a quarantine and not provide food and water for those under quarantine. Yes, yes poor countries. But I know huge amounts of money are provided in the form of aid, and huge amounts of that disappears into the hands of the politicians. The local governments have proven utterly inept and at times brutally uncaring. So they cry to the great USA to save their ill, to rescue the people from their government that will not help them. I am glad someone is doing something, but never forget this was a huge failure on the part of the local governments first. Corrupt and inept and crying "help us". Just don't send cash, because it will be diverted.

  158. Why are we doing this alone? Where are all the other countries of the world, equally threatened?

  159. The idea of The World Community is a fiction, used by politicians like Obama, who, interestingly, is acting out American exceptionalism he derisively contemned not so long ago. And where are the great philanthropic Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like Isis, Hezbollah, Hamas and those "folks" in the neighborhood Boko Harum? They are looking for the opportunity to kidnap and decapitate Western aid workers.

  160. We've trained them to expect to have to do nothing. The US taxpayer will foot the bill and the military industrial-complex will fatten even further. Never mind decaying infrastructure at home and growing jihad abroad.

  161. I hope we aren't just going to run the morgues over there - because thats what it sounds like to me. We can't cure, or vaccinate against this. Now somebody thinks our Army can educate Liberians against Ebola? Thats our weapon? Sorry, but I'm not sold that there is anything substantial in this.

  162. Does Obama realize that "fighting disease" does not necessarily mean using the military? OK, I get it. Good practice for when a pandemic breaks out on this continent, right.

    Send well equipped military doctors and work with the local government's military to maintain order at treatment sites.

  163. Sounds good. But the people getting anywhere near ebola patients need to be well-trained. Apparently Doctors Without Borders, who have been working with ebola for some time have not lost one health worker. Cannot some of them go to train the 3000 workers Obama is sending, even the builders?

    The same goes for the Cuban doctors who are being sent to the ebola region. I heard that 'they have been very good during natural disasters, but need specific training for dealing with ebola'.

    It's a lot of people being sent to stem a fast-moving dangerous disease. We all hope it is done in an orderly and trained fashion so that those sent do not get sick, or carry the disease home.

  164. "We all hope it is done in an orderly and trained fashion so that those sent do not get sick, or carry the disease home." Agreed, in general, I hope your hope floats!
    But, you apparently have never been in the military - "Military medicine is to medicine as military music is to music." I wish both these kids and us luck.

  165. Your comments, Carolyn, are the most intelligent thing I have read in the NYT in a long time. Thank you

  166. For a country that is despised in so many corners of the world for a variety of reasons [real and imagined], isn't it ironic that when a real crisis such as Ebola arises, the US is supposed to automatically be the first responder And if/when Mr. Obama and/or the US does not act swiftly enough, either in the world's or the opposition's opinion, he/we is [are] criticized.

    IMHO, sending troops into the area is just plain stupid. Military personnel, untrained in medical epidemics, have no business receiving a crash course in self-protection, then being air lifted into the disease combat zone. What is their mission - shoot the virus?! If trained medical professional get sick, and they do, what is going to happen to these soldiers? Will we get to see the landing of a medical-evac plane back home on a regular basis followed by the media's coverage of the transport and subsequent care of the individual(s)? That is until it becomes 'old' news.

    And where is the pharmaceutical industry's effort in finding a vaccine/cure for Ebola and so many other maladies? Oh, I forgot, there is not enough profit potential. So how about Congress funding medical research for the public good out of the public coffers in this vacuum?

    Instead of theatrics and hysteria, former Senator Frist - a medical doctor - proposed a possible solution some years back that went nowhere in our forward thinking Congress or the WHO. Revisit that one instead of trying to create something from whole cloth.

  167. Where is the pharmaceutical industry's effort? That incentive went out the window when Obamacare was imposed on the USA. Much as people may enjoy the fantasy, pharmaceutical research isn't done w/the same incentive as missionary work; it's a business. Maybe Obama's imaginary army of volunteers will find the cure for Ebola, and various cancers, etc.

  168. I surely don't see the connection between Obamacare and the pharmaceutical industry's R & D budget. I refer you to Gilead's marketing of a Hep C drug at $1000/pill here in the U.S. vs. their manufacturing of a generic version in Europe for $10/pill. If you are going to make statements such as these, please back them up with specifics and true facts obtained from vetted sources.

  169. "Pharmaceutical research isn't done w/the same incentive as missionary work; it's a business." Maybe that's why we need socialized medicine. The idea that medical care or drugs to combat deadly diseases should only be offered when there's a profit in it verges on the obscene.

  170. Finally America is doing what is necessary, both for the good of the people in these stricken countries and for the world. We have no concept of what great suffering an unchecked epidemic could being to the world.

    The US must do this because no other country has the infrastructure and resources to do it. There are always critics. We need a President who can carry through on what he says. This is an opportunity for President Obama to show some courage. Execution is central.

  171. Interesting. When Obama sends our troops on a suicide mission Europe suddenly admires our 'infrastructure' (aka, money and military).

  172. Such sappy sentimental fawning naivete is profoundly dangerous! America already serves as the world's policeman, so now you want us to be the world's doctor?

  173. Instead of Switzerland always standing on the sidelines, why doesn't your country do something for once and stand up for something instead of playing neutral all the time? Ridiculous comment!

  174. How do experts predict this outbreak?
    Such a virus does not reproduce itself like a simple langton loop, because it needs a host.
    So there should be a kind of Lotka-Volterra-equation to describe the relationship between virus and victims.
    Or is it based on experiences?
    But what experience, if this is the worst known case?
    I fear, these are all hypothesis and nobody knows what's really going on.

  175. So this is what the US military is for? Did they train for this?

  176. yes, very well trained

  177. Under pressure from whom? We have a shrinking military budget and equipment in need of replacement. We have a federal deficit and so many pressing domestic needs. Why are we sending 3000 troops to Africa for this?

  178. Yeah. Let's wait until Ebola is completely out of control and someone brings it here. Then you'll be screaming blue murder that more isn't being done to stop it
    What an amazingly selfish attitude.

  179. Tragically this is just another example of how our troops are viewed as the expendable among us. Send medicines. Send arms. Send money. But don't send our people.

  180. How about sending all those field hospitals from Afghanistan?

  181. It's a little late in this epidemic to take action. Instead of being the military power broker across the globe, the U.S. needed to have taken demonstrative action long ago with its abundant medical resources. But it's similar to the home front: some people matter and others do not.

  182. This is our problem how?

  183. Gee, Darryl, an extremely contagious disease is not our problem? It's a global health problem and U.S. health problem and a humanitarian problem!

  184. Do you realize the medical resources of the US military? What other organization is really equipped to handle this? The Red Cross? W.H.O.? LOL! Try stopping an epidemic in a region with almost no modern infrastructure. You don't just drop thousands of doctors and nurses into a semi-anarchistic society and hope for the best.

    Should we have acted sooner with greater urgency? Perhaps. Could we? I don't know. Regardless, I'm glad and proud that we're acting now and see no cause for such cynicism in a time when the world needs to act together on so many fronts.

  185. The number one reader picked comment laments: "I seem to be alone amongst the commenters here, and the reporters who wrote the article, in failing to see how this problem is up to the Americans to solve."

    Well it's not just up to America to solve this problem, but since you live in this Country, it is the only Country in which you can demand YOUR government do something. Unless you want it to sit idly by, using as an excuse for inaction all of the other Countries who are doing nothing.

    For once, it would be nice to see the U.S. actually lead a humanitarian effort with no vested interest in overthrowing a government, installing a puppet dictatorship, or exploiting minerals or local economies.

    If we want to claim the number one leadership role in the World we occasionally need to act like a role model.

  186. Are you willing to go and assist?

    Not able, are you willing?

  187. Scott,
    A good and valid comment but did you really have to state your severe dislike for our country by mindlessly parroting your adopted, trusted sources of opinions in the third paragraph? Are you saying that the USA has never engineered a humanitarian effort anywhere in the world? If so, you might want to try and emerge from your cocoon and expand your sources of information.

  188. Except few people outside the US pay attention to the good we do.

  189. Why troops?
    There are plenty of African countries that can provide troops.

    We should be offering significant financial inducements to our health care workers to go and fight the disease.

  190. Those ebolas don't stand a chance against our superior firepower

  191. This is a complete misuse of our military. I hope the blowback to Obama is swift and strong.

  192. Disease outbreaks are a security threat our military is well equipped to deal with. This is, indeed, what our military does. It's not all about guns and bombs. Aid/medical missions, logistical support, and training are what most US military missions revolve around.

  193. Why? What do troops have to do with fighting a disease? Are other nations sending troops to help out? Why is our POTUS NOT closing down our border instead and preventing it from coming into the country instead...? This POTUS is a fool!

  194. You and others commenting here either did not read the story - engineers who will build facilities, personnel who will train Liberais on how to deal safely with the infected, kits for testing if Ebola is present -- or don't understand it, e.g., the way Ebola spreads and our ability to far more effectively and safely deal with it. That's the whole point. That and the global interest being served -- including ours -- in containing these dreadful disease.

  195. This is called humanitarianism and in this case requires a high level of organization and discipline. Our president is dealing with the disease at its origins rather than running and hiding. Are we to watch as these nations and their people, who completely lack the resources, devolve into utter chaos? Leadership takes guts.

  196. SK, you state this case requires a high level of organization and discipline, since we have not seen either from the Obama Regime, except to lie and mislead the public, why do you feel they are equipped to handle this....I remind you of: Obamacare Rollout, VA Scandal,
    IRS Scandal, Fast & Furious, DOJ Scandal, etc, etc.

  197. If any of those troops are infected with Ebola, what will Obama do with them? Sending them to the VA hospitals will spell doom due to the waiting and fake reports!

  198. When I saw the headline "U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa," I thought I had stumbled into The Onion.

    We do know that Ebola is a viral disease, and not a terrorist organization, right?

    Given our general failure to understand how ISIS is different from Al Qaeda (hint: the degree of brutality is not the answer), I just thought I'd ask.

  199. There's a lot you don't know about your US military and its capabilities. A major disease outbreak is as big a security threat as anything human beings can pose. The military knows this and they are better equipped than any other human organization to deal with it.

  200. You are of course right, mford—especially about the security point, as I often say that public health is a more vital and everyday aspect of national security than terrorism. I was making more a satiric point that because we have the biggest hammer, the U.S. tends to see the world as full of nails. Just reacting to how every solution seems to be military these days.

  201. Worth putting this financial commitment in perspective- the US military spends $500 million to $2 billion on a SINGLE airplane (e.g, long ranger bomber).

  202. Not a single one of our soldiers should be compelled to go there. They join the military to defend our nation, not to act as nursemaids in a plague. If they are willing to volunteer, then God bless them. To order them there is evil.

  203. This falls well within the mission of the US military, and it is also something that our service men and women are often glad to do. Indeed, most people join the military in order to serve and help others, not to kill. Just ask around...

  204. I truly thought this was a headline from The Onion. Sadly - shockingly - it's not.

  205. Where's China in all this? Japan? Germany? France? The world's other large economies should be kicking in, and we should be kicking them to do so (especially France in its former colonies?

    Also, why is there no discussion in this article of how we're handling any risk of our troops becoming infected -- or of increased contact introducing more of the virus to the US?

    Raising these questions is not necessarily tantamount to criticizing the effort itself; the flaw might merely be in the coverage (in this particular article and elsewhere). The questions are nonetheless daunting and crucial, especially given the lethal potential for unintended consequences.

    Does anyone remember stories of AIDS being spread by dirty needles being re-used in bsckwoods African vaccination programs? It' crucially important that we get this right.

  206. This is NOT a military operation! Our troops should not be on the ground there!

    Foreign countries are always yelling at the USA to do something, we "need more", why aren't the rich Arab countries helping out? Why don't people in that part of the world ever volunteer?

    This is going too far!

  207. Charges of not helping Africa are all over these responses and quite annoying. I'm sure we are sending fortunes in one way or another. Did I just read two and a half million AIDS sufferers in South Africa are treated to their medicine by Uncle Sam and that if we didn.t spring for that we'd have the threat of having to pay for hospital and burial costs instead.

  208. Ruling out ground troops to fight ISIS but sending them to "fight" ebola does not make sense. They are soldiers, not paramedics.

  209. I thought Ebola was a disease. Why is the military involved at all. And people wonder why there is such international disdain for Americans. They have a funny way of "helping."

  210. UN should be the organizational front for deployment of assistance to contain and treat those areas where Ebola is present. The indigenous people in Liberia failed to understand the dangers of Ebola and their actions have led to the spread of the virus. How does anyone think they will react to US Military personnel setting foot in their homeland? How did they react to their own military trying to contain the inhabitants of Freetown? The area needs help and assistance but not from the US under US auspices; the help needs to be from a concerted effort of all members of the UN.

  211. River: Agree. Unfortunately , this president does not put America's best interests first - either as the First Citizen or as the Commander-in-Chief of our military.

  212. The help needs to come from people not wearing uniforms. Wearing uniforms to a medical crisis is the world's worst public relations and will create untold enmity that will eventually come back to bite us.

  213. Absolutely agree! Once it becomes a USA military issue all credibility will be voided. But I do think that we should become the leaders of the world in humanitarian causes and stop selling arms. We will defeat our enemies by making them our friends.

  214. What a traitor Obama is!! Send in 3000 Americans??????
    He's working very hard to create an epidemic here in the US!! Send in 3000 people to get infected and then bring it back home. We should send 3000 troops to the white house to arrest Obama.

  215. One man down "thought" to be the victim of ebola on the Times homepage. Presidents sending troops. New Yorkers freaking out when two or three victims (who, thankfully, recovered, by the way) came to local hospitals. Entire nations trembling in fear. I am not denigrating the seriousness of the ebola outbreak in Western Africa, but where was everyone, where was the global fight 20 or 30 years ago or even now in Eastern Africa against a more sinister killer--HIV and AIDS--that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and is still claiming lives and making the pharmaceutical companies rich by providing inhibiters instead of a cure? Ebola seems to be the new cause of the moment. Yet, the world has some unfinished business to take care of.

  216. More money thrown at Liberia.

    73% of the Liberian economy is foreign aid. They are a bankrupt country that needed to go to whatever fate was decreed to it. Now more and more to a dysfunctional country. Isn't it time to top the nonsense.

  217. A much better use of our time and treasure than another foray into the quagmire that is the Middle East.

  218. They'll send resources from the 44th Medical Brigade from Fort Bragg. They have field lab and area support assets. Most likely they'll also send BLS 4 trained doctors, nurses and staff from Fort Detrick and USAMRIID and CDC assets...much like you saw in the movie "Contagion."

    This is the right move, with the right professionals.

  219. I know in this era of instant gratification, Twitter and TMZ celebrity news, it will not be instantly apparent to the American People what the benefits of helping fight Ebola in Liberia are.
    So to put in in terms that we are used to, "we shall fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here"!
    Think about it, it works for epidemics too just as it works for Terror.

  220. Yes, but we bring them over to treat them! Imagine the hospital exposure and the families of the military....

  221. So you want to make it political? Okay but more will understand it this way, in the era of Obama incompetence, where for months even years he downplayed and ignored the growing threat of Terrorism, Obama did the same for the Ebola, which in both situations left no other response but military action.

    Didn't Obama call Ebola JV?

  222. Our Cuban neighbors and "friends" are sending 165 doctors and healthcare workers to the region to fight the Ebola outbreak.

    If America had diplomatic relations with Cuba we could coordinate our efforts.

    If America had diplomatic relations with Iran it could coordinate with that nation as well.

    America had diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War.

  223. What? Our military and veterans hospitals can't take care of the already wounded warriors? Now subject them to Ebola? And possibly their families?
    Since when did warding off communicable diseases in Africa become part of the job description for signing up? What part of boot camp covers warding off diseases and making hospitals in Africa?

    As a nurse and a woman who has seen many a fallen and wounded soldier in a lifetime, a country of multiple deployments, mistreatment by facilities who are to do no harm and other issues which have come back to haunt us, this seems a bit, way a bit, over the edge to expect of our women and men. We thought troops are supposed to uphold and defend our democracy. "We support our troops" is gradually missing the point because if we really supported them would we be concocting more ways to send them into harms way?

  224. No one is forced into military service these days and they accept all risks including death when they sign up. I am tired of people thinking that the military personnel are compelled to choose that for a career.

  225. Read your history. The US helped establish Liberia early in the 19th century for former slaves to return to Africa and live in their own country; thus the name Liberia. The US has maintained a special relationship with Liberia over many decades. Often not as good as it should be but there is an obligation. Also, if you think the Atlantic Ocean will protect you from the spread of this disease you are living in a fantasy world. Stop it now or it will continue to grow faster and faster. If you really are a nurse you would understand the situation is dire.

  226. Please read the article and not just the headline, which seemed to lead you to believe we are sending only army grunts as "3,000 Troops" instead of healthcare personnel, engineers and tech and logistics experts. If infectious disease experts are encouraged, how can the rest of not be?

  227. US is the only country in the world with the medical expertise to help these people thanks to a private medical system. Why do countries around the world with socialized medical systems not have the resources to help?

  228. It's really not too little too late to intervene in the Ebola epidemic. Nothing about the epidemic models suggest this (I'm an ID epidemiologist). While we could prevented more infections, the models do suggest we can mitigate spread. The global community need to make sure these efforts are not substandard.

    The destabilization of Western Africa is in no one's interest, except maybe the growing number of could-be terrorists infiltrating the region.

  229. Help should have been sent long ago. Once more this administration takes their time to think about it. You know he is so intelligent and deliberate? Of course anyone with half a brain would have thought we had already done this. Not send troops but send actual help. What will the troops do there? Keep people from rioting?

  230. Thank God, we're simply stepping up to do the right thing!

  231. Typical of do-gooder liberals. What is a bunch of soldiers get ebola???? They will come home, and contaminate others. You can absolutely count on Barack Obama to do the wrong things.

  232. "Under pressure to do more to confront the Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa . . ."

    Under pressure from whom?

    "The president will go beyond . . ."

    Under what authority? How is the effort funded?

  233. Why do we need the military to take part in this operation? Where are all the civilians who want to help? Where are all of the unemployed workers who need a job? Where are all of the Americans from West Africa who want to help their kinsmen?

  234. This is how the government works! I mean, it`ll be, as usual, absolutely ineffective. It`s a bit strange that all the researches of the vaccine, supported by the US Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, were closed in 2012