“You go to war with the army you have,” said President Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “Not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
Rumsfeld’s profound words have never been more important, as our nation has been called to war against an unseen enemy, the Chinese coronavirus. It’s time to summon and employ the resources we have today, not wait months or years for more studies, more data, and more proof that a promising medication is safe and effective.
President Trump, our commander-in-chief in the war against the virus, is a man of prompt and decisive action, and he takes pride in signing a “right to try” law in 2018. But he is being hamstrung by a Hillary Clinton-supporting federal bureaucrat named Anthony Fauci whose advice has stymied early, widespread use of hydroxychloroquine against the Wuhan virus.
Dr. Fauci is the George McClellan of the war on the coronavirus. General McClellan, the first commander of Union forces in the Civil War, had to be removed by President Lincoln when he persistently failed to engage the enemy.
Imagine if Fauci had been in charge of the decision to use the atom bomb in 1945. Atomic energy is an unproven technology, he might have exclaimed, while the Japanese continued to slaughter our soldiers, sailors and Marines in the Pacific theater of World War II.
Or think if Fauci had been General Douglas MacArthur’s aide-de-camp during the Korean War, when MacArthur proposed the daring Inchon landing maneuver which conquered the North Korean Army. We need more studies, Fauci might have said, before supporting the amphibious assault behind enemy lines.
Or what if Fauci had been advising General Washington about crossing the Delaware on December 25, 1776. The snow, the waves, the rickety boats, the shortage of proper clothes and shoes, the lack of good intelligence about the enemy camped on the other side — all these factors needed more study before Fauci could be 100% sure that Washington would succeed.
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote in his newly published pamphlet that Washington had read aloud to his troops before they boarded the boats on Christmas night. When the survival of your country is at risk and your soldiers are dying on the battlefield, there’s no more time for studies.
No medications have been thoroughly studied in time-consuming clinical trials for any new virus, including COVID-19. But we have solid evidence that a 65-year-old drug called hydroxychloroquine has helped many COVID-19 patients recover, and that it has also prevented many other people from getting the disease.
This medication is already being taken regularly by hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffer from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. As far as anyone knows, no one has ever died from taking a recommended dose of the drug.
As America’s deaths from the virus exceeded 1,000 in a single day, there is no time for methodical studies to help another thousand COVID-19 patients who may die tomorrow. They should immediately be given the best medication available, whether exhaustively tested to Fauci’s satisfaction or not.
Karen Whitsett, a Michigan state representative, is one survivor who powerfully validates the benefits of hydroxychloroquine, which Dr. Fauci continues to disparage as unproven. A Democrat, she represents a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Detroit which has been ravaged by COVID-19.
“I thank God the president of the United States mentioned that drug because it did save me,” Whitsett said. “If President Trump had not talked about this it wouldn’t have been something that would be accessible for anyone to be able to get right now,” the lawmaker said.
When Whitsett arrived at the hospital with symptoms of the virus, she found that her own governor, a fellow Democrat named Gretchen Whitmer, had issued an order prohibiting the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients. Michigan was one of a number of states that have limited the use of the drug because so-called experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci claim it is unproven.
“I did have a difficult time, even that day, obtaining the medication because of an order that was put down in my state,” said Whitsett. “And it was on that day so you can imagine how terrified I was that I had to beg and plead and go through a whole lot to try to get the medication.”
Within hours of taking her first dose of hydroxychloroquine, Representative Whitsett was already feeling much better. “It has a lot to do with the president,” the lawmaker told The Detroit Free Press. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”
As Bob Dylan wrote, “how many deaths will it take ’till he knows that too many people have died?” Dr. Fauci should stop blowin’ in the wind.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.