Military role in avian flu pandemic debated

How effective would the army be at stopping an avian flu pandemic? Probably not as effective as good vaccines and adequate advancing planning, critics are saying. In a speech Tuesday, President Bush suggested that the military could be used to quarantine areas of the country in the event of a major pandemic. The unexpected comments have drawn major media play. Critics say the plan is a ploy to gain broader powers for the military to take the lead in responding to major public health threats. The comments also risk alarming the public unnecessarily. That's not fair, counter administration supporters. A quarantine plan is a logical step to fight the spread of any contagious disease.

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