Obama Orders Boots on the Ground!

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We're at war. We're putting boots on the ground. We're not waiting around for the host nation's government to get its affairs in order, or for a regional coalition to commit first. The president has apparently overcome his reluctance to use the military, his worries about a commitment to intervene without an exit strategy, and his usual reluctance to acknowledge (even implicitly) that his administration was wrong when it assured us that there was nothing much for us to worry about.

Of course, the enemy the president has boldly and unhesitatingly sent our troops to fight is the Ebola virus.

Aren't there other parts of the U.S government suited to carry on this fight? If not, shouldn't there be? Max Boot suggested building such a non-military civilian ability in the pages of this magazine over a decade ago. Surely an administration committed to smart power would have developed the civilian capabilities to fight a virus without deploying 3,000 troops?

Apparently not. But it will be interesting to see if President Obama explains why unilaterally putting boots on the ground for the sake of killing our enemies is unthinkable in Iraq and Syria, but, in order to cope with a virus, fine in Liberia.

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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