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www.boston.com... Bush wants right to use military if bird flu hits
By Charles Aldinger | October 4, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to consider giving him powers to use the military to enforce quarantines in case of an avian influenza epidemic.
He said the military, and perhaps the National Guard, might be needed to take such a role if the feared H5N1 bird flu virus changes enough to cause widespread human infection.
"If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?" Bush asked at a news conference.
"It's one thing to shut down airplanes. It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine?" Bush added.
"One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move. So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have."
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters he was not aware of any current planning by the military to help respond to a flu pandemic.