Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bad Medicine

I’ve long ago given up hope that the revelations of a top Bush administration official will somehow force he administration to change the way it does business. But if anything can it’s got to be the testimony yesterday of former Surgeon General Rishard Carmona, who was Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006. C. Everet Coop and David Satcher, Surgeons General under Regan and Clinton also testified, and all three of them told of political pressures from administration officials to alter or suppress their scientific findings. That the Regan administration tried to stifle debate about AIDS was well known, while the revelation that the Clinton administration tried to suppress a report that needle exchange was effective in fighting disease presents yet more evidence that, despite what the talking heads on Fox might say, Clinton was in no way a liberal.

But Carmona’s testimony was incredibly damning. In case after case—stem cells, cancer, sex education, global warming—Carmona was directed by administration officials not to talk about the issues, not to conduct research, to suppress findings, and to tow the administration line catering to its conservative base. The message was clear: the Surgeon General’s positions were to be based on conservative political positions and not on science.

Play politics with the war is one thing. Many people will let the president get away with that. But most people outside the “God is our science” crowd will not tolerate playing politics with the health of America.

Of course if any of this surprises you you haven’t been paying attention.


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