Scott Peters owes us candor on the Ebola crisis

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Guest Commentary
by Jason Jackson (pictured)

The debate about the nation’s Ebola response is yet another example of our elected officials and their media allies attempting to use ambiguous language to obfuscate their positions and motivations. In San Diego, Congressman Scott Peters has repeatedly refused to take a position on restricting air travel from countries suffering from the Ebola outbreak. His non-position that we “should consider” travel restrictions is consistent with the evasion we see from the Obama administration and its allies on the left over the issue.

Why is it that Scott Peters, the administration, and the left are opposing a travel ban when 75% of Americans say they would support such a measure? The answer lies in their ideological approach to problem solving, which prioritizes social justice theory and the global community over America’s national interest. It’s ideology that informs CDC Director Tom Frieden’s conclusion that a travel ban won’t work because “it will increase the risk that Ebola will spread in those countries (with outbreaks) and to other countries.”

The administration and thought leaders on the left seem to be following the lead of international health care experts, who have been very transparent with where their priorities lie. In the words of Natalie Eisenbarth, Policy & Advocacy Officer for the International Rescue Committee, “It’s important to look at humanitarian and moral implications. Stopping the spread of it in West Africa is in our best interest and that means getting the right people and the supplies in as fast as possible. The idea of issuing a travel ban runs against that.” This position in understandable from organizations like the IRC or the World Health Organization, which have no specific obligations for American citizens or sovereignty, but it is more difficult to understand from American officials.

To credibly resist calls for a travel ban, even as other African nations bordering those with outbreaks have done so, requires that the administration and its allies define the problem as the global Ebola outbreak generally, rather than protecting Americans specifically. San Diego is a top tourist destination for the world, and its international airport serves millions of customers every year. With that much travel, our region is at a heightened risk during this current crisis. We need a congressman who will state clearly what his position is and what he will do to ensure the proper response from the administration. As we learned yesterday of yet another case of Ebola arriving upon our shores from overseas, the time for merely “considering” the issue has past. If Congressman Peters prioritizes aiding the international community over protecting Americans than he should say so.

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Jason Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2002. After graduation, he deployed as a naval officer in support of the War on Terrorism, earning the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous campaign and unit citations for his service in the conflict. He has a master’s degree in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA. He was a contributing author to the war memoir, In the Shadow of Greatness, and has also written several papers on constitutional law and election law.

The column above was published on the author’s blog,, and appears on SD Rostra with Mr. Jackson’s permission.


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