Since I don't watch television, the "asian flu" scare has largely not affected me. But I gather second hand reading the newspaper that this is a big deal, with many people panicing over whether there's going to be a pandemic on the scale of the 1918 epidemic that killed 50-100 million people.
Of course I, and nobody else, knows whether that will be the case. But... I have something else to discuss around this issue.
H5N1 hysteria: Patent nonsense on avian flu (By Alec van Gelder The Boston Globe, Appearing in the International Herald Tribune, November 1, 2005)
Bush unveils pandemic flu strategy Improving vaccines, stockpiling antiviral drugs part of plan (Tuesday, November 1, 2005; Posted: 10:45 a.m. EST (15:45 GMT), CNN.COM)
It's interesting to contrast these two stories.
The first is along the lines of "what's all the fuss about". It's not clear the H5N1 strain that everybody is all worried about will jump to humans, and if it does whether it will be all that virulent. And how does this disease with unknown probability of affecting humans compare against the diseases that have known effect on humans, but are not getting near the same attention as the H5N1 flu?
The second story is Bush proposing a plan of proactive measures to detect flu strains early, stockpile medicines, and deploy them rapidly in event of outbreaks. Sounds like a good plan, even if it's a bit militaristic in style. Mebbe he's been fighting this war for too long?
Here's the deal ... and for this I borrow some observations from a well known conspiracy theorist. David Ickes describes the general game plan of the global elite as being to use disasters as a cover under which to cause societal changes that give the elites more control over us. It appears this is another of those instances.
The strategy Ickes describes is this: Disastrous event happens. The people are scared, frightened, worried over their safety, and looking for some way to be safe. Along comes the elite person who deploys a PR machine to shape the populaces worry towards a direction that will achieve the elite's longterm goal. It doesn't matter whether the solution is a good idea, what matters is to make the solution keep the entrenched power of the elite safe and secure. In the midst of crisis people accept solutions they wouldn't otherwise accept.
For example .. you have the September 11, 2001 attack ... disastrous event by all means of consideration ... but flowing out of that event we got the PATRIOT act which trounced all over our civil liberties, and we got a stupid illegal war in Iraq that doesn't do anything about the people who attacked us, but instead fulfills the longstanding plans of the neocons.
My analysis of Bush's flu plan is that ... it's very subtle. It's a sound-seeming idea, being proactive about detecting illnesses. Especially in our modern society with frequent around-the-world travel the opportunity for diseases to quickly spread around the world is enormous.
However ... to implement the plan would mean having some sort of international disease detection agency who has the power to enter any country and go anywhere. Such an agency would serve to take another step in undermining national soveriengty, turning that over to international agencies.
Why do I say it requires an international agency? Think about the recent history of widespread diseases. AIDS supposedly arose from a remote area of Africa. SARS arose from a remote area in China. H5N1 is arising from remote areas in Asia, and is especially connected with migratory birds. But their origins in remote areas didn't halt the spread of the diseases.
In other words - to detect these diseases early, one needs a detection system with fingers into every remote nook and cranny of the world.
How do you implement that? Well, it might be simplest to start with the World Health Organization (WHO), but the Bush administration has repeatedly accused the UN and its agencies of being ridiculous ("irrevelant"). It's especially telling that in the announcement he only had present U.S. officials. This may become another of these schemes he's had where the U.S. unilaterally says we're better/stronger/etc than the rest of the world, and we're going to dominate the rest of you into doing this our way.
Either that or his plan is extremely narrow minded and he's going to completely ignore the international aspect to this issue. In such a plan the detection would only be in the U.S. and serve only U.S. citizens.