Regardless of the merits of this excellent article, the first sentence is a howler: "Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates." SHOCKING? Mr. Stobbe, I guarantee you that readers of the LIBERTARIAN BIOETHICS BLOG are not shocked to discover that employees of the premier criminal organization in the world (the U.S. government) violated the non-aggression principle while conducting medical research against vulnerable populations.
Similar to the Wikipedia article concerning U.S. government human experimentation detailed in the 05/03/11 LIBERTARIAN BIOETHICS BLOG post, Stobbe's story provides multiple examples of the approximately 40 unethical studies found by the AP. Below are lowlights of five of the medical experiments:
1) "A federally funded study in 1942 injected experimental flu vaccine in male patients at a state insane asylum in Ypsilanti, Mich., then exposed them to flu several months later."
2) "In federally funded studies in the 1940s, noted researcher Dr. W. Paul Havens Jr. exposed men to hepatitis in a series of experiments, including one using patients from mental institutions in Middletown and Norwich, Conn."
3) "Researchers in the mid-1940s studied the transmission of a deadly stomach bug by having young men swallow unfiltered stood suspension. The study was conducted at the New York State Vocational Institution, a reformatory prison in West Coxsackie."
4) "A University of Minnesota study in the late 1940s injected 11 public service employee volunteers with malaria, then starved them for five days."
5) "For a study in 1957, when the Asian flu pandemic was spreading, federal researchers sprayed the virus in the noses of 23 inmates at Patuxent prison in Jessup, Md., to compare their reactions to those of 32 virus-exposed inmates who had been given a new vaccine."
A commonality in articles detailing U.S. government crimes is a paragraph quoting an "expert" who provides an excuse (or excuses) for the U.S. government aggression. This news story is not an exception, for Laura Stark, an assistant professor of science in society at Wesleyan University, states the following: "There was definitely a sense - that we don't have today - that sacrifice for the nation was important." SACRIFICE FOR THE NATION? Allowing aggression against a vulnerable member of society is not a sacrifice, Assistant Professor Stark; rather, allowing aggression against a vulnerable member of society (or for that matter any member of society) is aiding and abetting a crime.