Today in Unnecessary Fearmongering
Via the Weekly Standard: General: If Ebola Reaches Central America, ‘There Will Be Mass Migration into the U.S.’
The piece is a series of excerpts from a panel at the National Defense University which included Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, the commander of the U.S. Southern Command (all excerpts are from Kelly).
Now, without a doubt, it would be a humanitarian crisis (and panic in the region, if not the whole hemisphere) if there was an Ebola outbreak in Central America. But, we need to remember a few things. First, we are taking about speculation here. Two, it is the job of people like Kelly to plan for various scenarios. And three, people in positions such as Kelly’s are likely to plan, and want to talk about, worst case scenarios–it is inherent to the job. Further, when speaking in public in these types of contexts they are prone to focus on threats (because not only is threat assessment part of their jobs, they want the public to support them, which requires underscoring how important they are).
The DoD’s write-up is a tad less inflammatory than the Weekly Standard’s version: Kelly: Southcom Keeps Watch on Ebola Situation. Of course, SouthCom should keep an eye on a potential outbreak, but the WS approach is highlight the outbreak fears while downplaying the “potential” part (because this scenario plays into the constant narrative of an impending, ominous threat from the south–one that often includes hordes of darker tones individuals carrying diseases).