Tuesday, April 7

U.S. medical workers involved in prisoner abuse


The above is a link to a recent report of prisoner abuse by U.S. medical workers overseas. The report tells of abusive interrogation and torture of suspected terrorists conducted by the CIA overseen and studied by U.S. medical workers. The article also discusses how this is a "gross breach of medical ethics."

This news is very disturbing to me, not only from the medical ethics viewpoint, but also the standpoint of the CIA and federal government. It is difficult for me to comprehend at this day-and-age that torture techniques such as 'water boarding' are still being used to torture suspected terrorists in order to gain information. The fact that the U.S. medical workers oversaw these actions to make sure they would not die seems terrible, but I guess I can see an argument that could be made in the defense of these medical workers. This argument being that if they boycotted this action, the practice may continue and those being tortured could potentially be killed or badly injured. Although this case can be made, there is also the alternative that if these medical workers did boycott the torture, they may not continue these actions based on the fact that they may injure or kill the victims. Very interesting and disturbing article. I'd like to hear what anyone else feels about this and what could be done to prevent future problems.

1 comment:

  1. I am curious about the definition of ‘medical worker’ within this article. Though they clearly work in the medical field, there was no distinction made about what their actual profession is. I agree with the claims about the breach of medical ethics, but this is a case of military interrogation. With all the recently enacted laws that violate our civil rights (i.e. patriot act, extraordinary rendition, approval of water boarding), does anyone actually expect a military interrogation of “high-value” prisoners to be performed ethically? In a perfect world it should be, but our system is FAR from perfect.
    As the article stated, the medical professionals were present to make sure the prisoners did not die during water boarding or other interrogation techniques. It is highly unlikely they would have a say in how the interrogation was performed. Speaking out against these practices would have likely earned them a dismissal from the room. Though the report implicated the medical workers in the torture for being present, the real issue is how interrogation practices are performed. I do think the professional status of these workers should be scrutinized, but it’s a small piece of a much larger problem. The despicable days of the Bush administration are over, and an overhaul of these policies needs to be performed to prevent further malpractice.


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