If we mobilize the national security infrastructure in a sustained way — not the president’s ’15 day’ magical plan — we can surely save thousands of lives.
By Sébastien Roblin
The good news is that America’s national security institutions have a massive capacity to help the country fight its latest war, the one on the deadly and highly contagious COVID-19. The bad news is that their commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, failed to mobilize them in advance to fully harness their power — and continues to be reluctant to do so even now.
While doctors and civilian hospitals must staff the front lines of this war, national security instruments such as military units and medical stockpiles, combined with laws designed for wartime use, can play an important role in supporting them.
But getting them in usable shape takes time, especially because the military is a sprawling and bureaucratic beast. To do so in a way that could have helped blunt the worst of the crisis would have meant acting as soon as the threat appeared in January.
The initial and ongoing failure to fully employ these means in the face of a crisis with the potential to kill as many Americans as a world war is nothing short of unconscionable.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called out the federal government directly for the fiasco Tuesday, declaring at a news conference that it was “inexplicable” that the massive capabilities of the U.S. military were being stalled while hospitals in his state, the hardest hit by the virus so far, lacked colossal amounts of lifesaving supplies and equipment.