Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Normally George W has me worried when he attempts to speak on topics that require anything more than the ability to count to 10 or an understanding of polysyllabic words. His look of dumbfounded cluelessness when confronted by a slightly complex question does not befit the leader of the Free World. But yesterday he positively terrified me. He was talking about the Government's preparations for an epidemic of Spanish flu -a very nasty infection that killed more people in 1918-1919 than the First World War. The thing that worried me was not W's carefully enunciated sentence alluding to the "H5N1 virus" (how long did his handlers take to teach him that tidbit of scientific jargon?) but his overall approach to another domestic disaster. Essentially he wants to use troops to enforce quarantine in infected regions. Now apart from the political ramifications of such an action (states don't like being overruled by the Federal Government) and that such measures are unlikely to be very effective for disease control what really bothers me is how badly he's missed the point. What we need is increased research to develop better anti-viral drugs and vaccines, not cuts in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget to give tax breaks to the rich and fight illegal foreign wars! A global pandemic of Spanish/Avian flu is predicted to kill 140 million which could mean 5-7 million deaths in the US alone. George, this is serious! For goodness sake get your priorities right and get a grip.