Monday, October 18, 2004

More False Economy

Here's something ghastly that you probably didn't know: U.S. troop training, and deployment overseas, is being hobbled by an outbreak of adenovirus, a sometimes deadly pathogen which has been infecting up to 2,500 service members every month.

More than three decades ago, the Pentagon created two pills to ward off a lethal virus infecting boot-camp recruits. But defense officials abandoned the program in 1996 as too expensive. Now recruits are dying, thousands are falling ill, and the military is desperately racing to bring back a vaccine it once owned.
This underscores a point I was trying to make earlier: You can't skimp on public health, inside or outside of the military. For every dollar you save up front, you lose God knows how many down the say nothing of the lives that may be lost.

It also ties in with something I want to talk about later, which is that we, as a culture, seem to be in the process of willfully forgetting everything we ever knew. In far less medically advanced eras, it was understood perfectly that contagious diseases could make an army lose battles or even wars, and that...(wait for it) ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. How could there be so many people in positions of authority who don't understand such a simple goddamn concept? Is there anyone in the world who believes that it costs the government more money to inoculate 250,000 people per month, than it does to have 2500 people get sick per month?



echidne said...

It's not that different from getting rid of the fairness doctrine in the media. We don't need all this regulation and nanny governmenting. We're the free market boys and gals and since we've been doing fine so far, anyone who has not is a wimp and deserves to die.

And health insurance is for schlemiels.

Thers said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if instead of all them biological WMDs what was supposed to be in Iraq, we'd found vats of flu vaccine instead?

Don't you think?