WTVM 9/26/14 Editorial: Fighting Ebola in West Africa

WTVM 9/26/14 Editorial: Fighting Ebola in West Africa

(WTVM) - President Obama says there will be boots on the ground – 3,000 of them - in West Africa, that is – fighting Ebola, not terrorism.

That's the pledge the President made recently in Atlanta, at the Centers for Disease Control.

Ebola is the virus that's killed 3,000 Africans and is spreading at a truly alarming rate.

Obama's plan poses three questions: what will our troops actually do in Africa? Should tapped-out American taxpayers shell out upwards of a billion dollars to stop Ebola? Or should we instead focus on fighting the Islamic state?

Those are three questions that deserve answers, so here is our best attempt. What will our troops do in Africa? What soldiers do best: the logistics of moving equipment and personnel into the hot zone, to build 17 treatment centers, so the sick can be contained and treated.

Should we spend upwards of one billion dollars to fight Ebola? In a News Leader 9 poll of 600 viewers, 78 percent said 'no'; 13 percent said 'yes' and nine percent were undecided.

It's true that such a deadly disease is far away. Not many of us could pinpoint the Ebola outbreak on a map.

But the billion dollars we spend trying to contain it now, could end up being a bargain compared to the cost of a pandemic if we do nothing.

The last question is: should we instead focus on fighting the Islamic state? We believe this is not an either or situation.

Both events threaten the world. Right now, the strategy on Ebola may be easier to see and measure than our fight against the Islamic state.

But America can handle more than just one crisis at a time.

It's who we are.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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