I know President Obama and John Kerry are convinced that we live in the 21st century, and that such brutish behavior as beheadings and anschlusses are passé. But, really, when you look at the world as it actually is, more people are invested in decapitation and other aspects of jihad than in golf and kite boarding. It shouldn’t be so—it’s an offense to all we hold dear—but boy is it ever so.
Just like in this day and age, we shouldn’t bleed out our eyeballs till we die.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is much worse than official figures show, and other countries are unintentionally making it harder to control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN on Tuesday.
The call for action came as a missionary organization announced that another one of its doctors working in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus.
“We’ve seen outbreaks of Ebola before. This is the first epidemic spreading widely through many countries, and it is spiraling out of control,” said Frieden, who recently returned from a trip to the region. “It’s bad now, much worse than the numbers show. It’s going to get even worse in the very near future.”
Those of us who’ve been familiar with Ebola (and its companion virus, Marburg) since reading Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague took some solace from knowing that outbreaks tended to burn out quickly. Since the disease is communicable only by contact with the bodily fluids of one infected, and since those infected tended to die fast, eruptions of the disease were necessarily limited.
But maybe it wasn’t the disease that contained itself, so much as the world that contained the disease:
Making it worse, Frieden said, is that other countries are turning their backs on those coming from countries where the outbreak is strongest, even if they don’t realize it.
Measures to restrict flights and border crossings into the countries facing the outbreak were designed to contain the spread, but are having a paradoxical effect, he explained.
“What we’re seeing is a spiraling of cases, a hugely fast increase in cases, that’s harder and harder to manage,” he said. “The more we can get in there and tamp that down, the fewer cases we’ll have in the weeks and months to come.”
In a strongly-worded statement to U.N. members, the president of Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Joanne Liu, criticized the “global coalition of inaction” in response to the Ebola outbreak.
“States with the required capacity have a political and humanitarian responsibility to come forward and offer a desperately needed, concrete response to the disaster unfolding in front of the world’s eyes,” Liu said. “Rather than limit their response to the potential arrival of an infected patient in their countries, they should take the unique opportunity to actually save lives where immediately needed, in West Africa.”
So, one person is yelling at us for not doing enough to help West Africa, and the other laments that we can’t do more because West Africa won’t let us in to help. Oh well.
May I just borrow from black draft-dodgers during Vietnam? Ain’t no infected fruit bat (the suspected host of the virus) ever passed my lips. Why do I have to save West Africa? I wish them well, but if a job is worth doing at all is worth doing well, I’m sure as hell not stopping at field hospitals. I want strip malls, delicatessens, Caterpillar earth movers, bleach, and DDT. And two-ply toilet paper. And I’m not kidding.
I can’t save your world if it’s not worth saving, and I don’t know that it is. (I don’t know that it isn’t.) I know this makes me a monster, that some lovely people may die from my indifference—but millions have died when I cared deeply, so what the hell? You want to survive, find your own girls, kill Muslim terrorists before they kill you, stop eating fruit bat, and get your hands on DDT, lots of it. Seriously, if you take these few simple steps, you’ll want to thank me later. You won’t have to, but you’ll want to.
You’re welcome. And welcome to the world as it seems really to be: a hell-hole without tee times, wet suits, tan suits, and any sense of modernity. Today is the Dark Ages. Hope for better tomorrow.