Raising his apology tour to new levels of absurdity, President Barack Obama apologized to the Guatemalan people for a scientific experiment sponsored by its own government. On Friday, Obama called the president of Guatemala to express his “deep regret” for an experiment conducted more than 60 years ago. From 1946-48, the U.S. Public Health Service oversaw a medical experiment designed to “test the effectiveness of penicillin” in treating syphilis by infecting nearly 700 Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers, and mental patients with the disease, then treating them. Apparently, the torture consisted of bringing STD-laden prostitutes into Guatemalan prisons for conjugal visits. (Fewer subjects had syphilis injected or otherwise introduced into their bodies.) The treatment administered may or may not have been sufficient; the feds ended the experiment and recalled the team. Susan Reverby, a professor at Hillary Clinton’s alma mater, Wellesley College, discovered the experiment and revealed its existence in January’s Journal of Policy History.
On Friday afternoon, Barack Obama called Guatamalan President Alvaro Colom, sombrero-in-hand, seeking penance and absolution. (He also immortalized the moment with a PR photo.)
But one apology was not enough. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote out a mea culpa noting: “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.” (Emphasis added.) Hillary Clinton also bowed southward.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs greeted the news by saying: “Obviously, this is shocking. It’s tragic. It’s reprehensible.”
It is. So is the apology.
ABC News‘ Jake Tapper reported, “The study also was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, a forerunner of the Pan American Health Organization, and the Guatemalan government.” (Emphases added.) Reverby wrote, “Permissions were gained from the [Guatemalan] authorities but not individuals, not an uncommon practice at the time.”
Despite the repentance and their own government’s complicity in the crimes, Guatemalan officials were not appeased. “Sorry isn’t enough; we need compensation,” thundered Guatemalan lawmaker Zury Río. The nation’s ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Villagran de León, said: “We don’t even know if there is a list of these individuals. If there are any survivors, which is not likely, we should make sure that they should receive care.”
Swell idea. Since the Guatemalan government imprisoned or employed the “volunteers,” perhaps its officials should have checked their health status sometime during the intervening 60 years. These subjects would have experienced all the joys of the public health care system established by self-described “spiritual socialist” Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, and expanded by his Marxist successor, Jácobo Árbenz Guzmán. The fact that no one in the modern government can vouch that its doctors treated known infection victims is an eloquent indictment of socialized medicine.
The same is true of the American government that initiated the program. The infections were run by Dr. John C. Cutler, who died in 2003, and overseen by Surgeon General Thomas Parran Jr., who died in 1968, about the time Bill Ayers began his rise to prominence with the Detroit wing of Students for a Democratic Society. Parran was appointed by FDR, whom President Obama has said he admires.
Obama’s apology stands somewhat in contrast to his treatment of Bill Ayers. Obama dismissed calls to explain his connection with Ayers, whom he described as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English…who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old.” The syphilis tests took place 20 years before that.
Nonetheless, on Friday the leader of the free world apologized to the president of a third world backwater for experiments conducted when neither one of them was alive and that both their governments approved.
One can hardly expect more from a president who said on the campaign trail two years ago, “I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged.”
The Guatemalans’ faux outrage over the tests — and demands for reparations from Uncle Yanqui — are hardly surprising. Unfortunately, they may pay off. The Obama administration has promised to launch “a thorough investigation” of the 64-year-old event (two, actually). A voluntary reparations plan may give the president cover to transfer more American wealth to the Global South, as long advocated by his Science Czar John Holdren. Obama has said, “I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”
And our Native American sisters and brothers who were pushed and bullied and mistreated and shoved into all the land we didn’t want, where it was all hot and windy…No more broken treaties. No more broken treaties. Give them the wealth! Give them the wealth! Give them the dignity. Give them the respect that they deserve. No justice on stolen land. We owe them a debt.
Jones was recruited by Obama’s alter ego Valerie Jarrett.
The redistribution serves both Obama’s guilt and his ideological ends. He and all American liberals believe American actions — and only American actions — are uniquely “unethical” and “reprehensible,” from our founding on “Indian land” to our exploitation of “more than a fair share of the world’s resources.” Strangely, when Communists or Muslim fanatics engage in human rights violations, they are content to look placidly away or, in Obama’s case, to make excuses for bombings long ago.
The problem is not that they abhor human rights abuses. The problem is they abhor America.
Photo Credit: marcn (Creative Commons)
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