President Obama’s failure to shut down Guantanamo Bay despite campaign promises to do so has prompted another round of criticism, this time in the form of a new study of medical professionals’ role in “enhanced interrogation” of detainees, put out by anti-torture activist group Physicians for Human Rights. The group criticizes the administration for not sufficiently investigating the possibility of illegal medical experiments.
Considering the group’s stance that any such interrogation is unethical and can never be “safe,” you don’t have to read the report to know where it’s headed. Because medical professionals were present and possibly taking notes or giving feedback about detainee health, they reason, they were participating in medical experiments.
Dr. Scott Allen, a professor at Brown University and co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, gave an interview with Boing Boing in which he described what they found, making comparisons between these doctors and German and Japanese doctors who had abused human rights. But why is the administration refusing to investigate?
Abuses have been looked into multiple times. The role of health professionals has been looked into in a broad way. But there has never been any investigation into the question of human experimentation.
The administration is being slippery. Their response, as noted in the Associated Press story on our report, is either not true or there is no public record of such an inquiry that we’re aware of. If there was, it’s incumbent upon them to share at least a sanitized version that specifically looked at human experimentation.
People have suggested it before. But I don’t think anyone has raised a credible allegation with verifiable evidence before.
The reason doctors may have been there in the first place, however, would have been to ensure the safety of the patient (which as mentioned before, Allen feels is impossible to guarantee). This report may have the opposite intended effect: Doctors will refuse to participate in enhanced interrogations and they’ll continue with out medical input.
In any case, it’s year two for the Obama presidency and he hasn’t budged. The Left is getting impatient.