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Against all ethics: medical staff participated in torture of terror detainees

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A new report reveals that hundreds of U.S. personnel, including medical professionals, have violated basic ethical principles when dealing with prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other facilities. Prisoners, some uncharged with crimes, have been subjected to torture and had other rights violated creating an ethical dilemma for the U.S. Government.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With allegations of spying, lying to the American people, and a trail of broken promises, the Obama administration has presided over the greatest breakdown of U.S. credibility in history. Doubling down on condemned Bush-era practices which included torture of terror suspects by the CIA the Obama administration has continued to treat detainees in such as way as to taint the proceedings against them.

Read the report here.

Until the War on Terror, the United States was considered a paragon for human rights. Although human rights watchers have always criticized the nation for its domestic incarceration policies and capital punishment, overall the nation was one of the leaders in human rights. Today, that reputation is thoroughly trashed.

According to a report from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, medical professionals participated fully in the torture and unethical treatment of terrorist suspects.

Open Society Foundations, president emeritus and task force member Aryeh Neier said in a press release for Al Jazeera, "We now know that medical personnel were co-opted in ways that undermined their professionalism. By shining a light on misconduct, we hope to remind physicians of their ethical responsibilities."

Dr. Gerald Thomson, a professor emeritus of medicine at Columbia University, said in his own release to Al Jazeera, "We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again. It's clear that in the name of national security, the military trumped that covenant and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice," he said in the press release.

According to the report, medical professionals participated in systematic torture of detainees, including waterboarding, forced feedings, sleep deprivation, and even the mysterious administration of certain anti-malarial drugs with severe psychiatric side-effects, against accepted medical protocol.

At the heart of the issue is an ontological question, what do we, as a nation, aspire to be? Are we a paragon of freedom, virtue and human rights? If so, then we should eschew torture. We must take great care in prosecuting terrorists so that we do not become terrorists ourselves. Otherwise, we forfeit any moral right to  judge the actions of those who would harm us.

In its place, remains the law of the jungle-that the strong shall hold dominion over the weak. For a nation that aspires to be Christian and moral, this is the wrong path.

Nobody has love for terrorists, but we must behave in an upright manner when dealing with them. Not for their sake, but for our own. When we abase ourselves, we undo the work of those who fought to make and keep our country free from tyranny.

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