“It could kill a billion people worldwide, make ghost towns out of parts of major cities, and there is not enough medicine to fight it,” ABC News reports. It is the avian flu, and if it were to reach U.S. shores, it could be “like having a Category 5 viral hurricane hit every single state simultaneously.”
How fitting, then, that Stewart Simonson, the Bush administration’s assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness, has a resume “disturbingly reminiscent” to that of disgraced former FEMA chief Michael Brown.
Though Simonson is “now the point man for just about every health emergency that may hit our shores, ranging from anthrax attacks to an avian flu pandemic,” he has no background in medicine, public health, or bioterrorism preparedness. His chief accomplishment seems to be his position from 1995–1999 as legal counsel to former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who was tapped as President Bush’s first Health and Human Services secretary. Under Thompson, Simonson apparently specialized in “crime and prison policy.”
President Bush has again left Americans dangerously unprepared for a potential disaster. (To push back, join MoveOn’s new campaign calling for Simonson to be replaced.)