As of May 24th, four cases of Ebolas’s Zaire strain have been confirmed in the city of Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the 18 days since the first case was reported, authorities have reported 18 confirmed and 21 probable cases of the horrifying virus; 27 have died in the DRC since the outbreak began, nearly twice as many those who perished there during the course of the entire 2014 outbreak. Making things somehow worse, two infected patients escaped quarantine on May 23rd and were later found dead inside the city. The population of Mbandaka is around 1.2 million people, nearly the same size as Dallas, Texas; the new Ebola outbreak will almost certainly get worse before it gets better.
President Barack Obama’s decision to deploy 3,000 troops to Liberia in response to the West African Ebola epidemic may have raised a few eyebrows last week, but the move was largely supported by a majority of U.S. government leaders despite predictable gurning from the usual suspects. And though this type of deployment may seem outside the norm for many veterans who became accustomed to multiple, revolving combat deployments in recent years, the fact is, this is a mission set the U.S. military has been called upon to tackle again and again throughout its history, and precisely the type of thing we should expect to see more of in the coming century.