One year after President Bush sought to energize the nation's bioterrorism preparations with an unprecedented smallpox vaccination campaign, the program has all but ground to a halt. A report released yesterday, meanwhile, finds that only two states -- Florida and Illinois -- are prepared to distribute and administer vaccines or medicines that would be needed in the event of a major outbreak or attack.
One of the tools Bush used to build support for the occupation of Iraq was the threat of a smallpox attack. Subsequently, however, his actions did not match his rhetoric. So did he never really believe this was a threat? Was he lying all along?
Fortunately, since the original plan was created but after Bush had already demonstrated his words were dishonest, we discovered that pre-1970 smallpox immunizations are still effective. So a lot of people over 35-40 are immune or resistant, maybe enough to slow the pace of an epidemic of conventional smallpox.
This doesn't change the fundamental equation however. Somewhere lies either profound deceit or profound incompetence. I hope it's the former (heck, we already know Bush is dishonest) but I fear the latter.