Kerry on Ebola Patient's Death: We Must Keep the Borders Open

It’s business as usual for the Obama administration. The administration that infamously doesn’t want to let a crisis go to waste is pretending that there are no crises at all.


One case in point: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel surely has a great deal on his plate. Russia continues its aggression by proxy against Ukraine, and the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continues, as the terrorist army continues its advances on Kobane, on the Turkey-Syria border. Should Kobane fall, Turkey and therefore NATO may be drawn into the war on the ground to stop ISIS.

In our own hemisphere, we’re told that unrest and violence in Central America is causing thousands to leave their homes every month and make the dangerous journey across Mexico to enter the United States illegally. And then there’s Ebola and its spread beyond western Africa. It has already appeared in the United States and Europe. It’s only a matter of time before it shows up in Central or South America.

None of these crises are evidently on Hagel’s mind as he gets set for a diplomatic trip to Peru next week.

For his part, Secretary of State John Kerry reacted to Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan’s death in Dallas today by pre-emptively shooting down any talk of securing the borders or restricting air travel from the Ebola-stricken countries in western Africa.


Kerry, speaking from the US State Department, noted the urgency of the situation but said “We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa, and we need borders to remain open.” Video of Kerry’s remarks is at the link above.

Kerry also called for strengthening medevac capacity and for more countries to contribute more to fight the disease, which has killed thousands including the Liberian man who brought it with him to Dallas. That man, Thomas Eric Duncan, lied on his exit form when he left Liberia and did not disclose his exposure to the virus even when he first came down with symptoms.

Kerry offered no health reason for keeping airlines operating in the Ebola zone or for keeping borders open.

The virus has been spread in part by people traveling back and forth across the borders of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for many reasons, including trade, visiting healthy family and burying the corpses of those who have died of the disease. Several African countries have closed their borders to keep the virus out, and Air France and British Airways have stopped flights into the Ebola-stricken countries in order, they say, to protect their workers.


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