The making of (formerly) banana republicz; US entitlement

Francis Collins, NIH director has apologized, so has the US to the Guatemala and Guatemalans subjects victims of crimes of lesser humanity. This is how Slate reported it (and everybody else)
“U.S. Apologizes for Intentionally Infecting Guatemalans With Syphilis U.S. officials apologized on Friday for deliberately infecting hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea during secret medical experiments in the late 1940s. Between 1946 and 1948, the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Institutes of Health worked with the Guatemalan government to infect 696 unsuspecting Guatemalans—including mental patients—with STDs in order to determine whether penicillin could work as a preventative measure for the disease. “Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study,” MSNBC says. The so-called “Guatemala experiments” were discovered by Susan Reverby, a Wellesley professor who stumbled upon them while researching the Tuskegee experiments, a forty-year study in which the U.S. government also infected black men with syphilis up until the 1970s. NIH director Francis Collins is scheduled to discuss the issue at 11 this morning, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized this morning for the “clearly unethical” experiments”.

Last night I watched Mrs Reverby being interviewed in PBS, It was a chillingly detached conversation between her and the host. The interviewer asked about ethical concerns(?), proper “protocols” and other astoundingly irrelevant considerations forgetting the main point of, attempted murder by deliberate infection wih Treponema. Mrs Reverby stumbled upon the information while “researching” Tuskagee. I was absolutely taken aback by their demeanor (the TV host and her) as if it was an academic case of misconduct. The point here is that this disposition reflects the mentality of banana republic makers: entitlement. Entitlement of the people that planned and executed the “research plan” (which didnt produce any results, anyhow) completely ignoring their “subjects”.

To anyone doubting entitlement as a permanent US attitude towards many around the world, review the case. Dont blame the Guatemalans. Blame the scientists, their bosses and the sense of cosmic entitlement that prevails thru many in the scientific stratum of this country.


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