A lot of people confuse “Can’t” and “Shouldn’t”. Usually the confusion is deliberate.
We can use a travel ban on Ebola countries to significantly lower our chances of importing Ebola. And affected West African countries are doing so.
What Obama means is that he doesn’t think we should because he puts a higher priority on open borders than preventing an epidemic. That’s how we ended up with the border crisis and its attendant infections and diseases. And Obama is staying true to his belief that West Africa matters at least as much, if not more, than America does.
That’s a problem since his job is supposed to be running America, not West Africa.
Obama made plain he is not currently planning to give in to demands from some lawmakers for a ban on travelers from the worst-hit countries.
“We can’t just cut ourselves off from West Africa,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world – if that were even possible – could actually make the situation worse,” he said.
The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed more than 4,500 people, most of them in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Obama Inc. argument is a strawman that any call for travel restrictions is a call to seal off West Africa. It’s the typical strawman “Some say X and some say Y” that Obama habitually deploys in his speeches.
Obama sought to put the extent of the disease in the United States in perspective. “What we’re seeing now is not an ‘outbreak’ or an ‘epidemic’ of Ebola in America,” he said. “This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear.”
That’s another strawman. No one is saying that there is an Ebola epidemic in America. But there is one in some parts of Africa. And a sensible first step to preventing an Ebola epidemic in Africa is a travel ban.
But it certainly is presumptuous of an administration that goes into full hysterical mode when it suits it, such as with the sequester, now insisting that no one should give in to fear of Ebola.
Being afraid of Ebola is sensible. Pretending that fear of a deadly disease is hysteria is cynical politics.
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