We’ve long believed that human beings are the worst species on the planet in their cruelty to sentient and insentient beings.
Yet, even we, the hardened, cynical folks at your favorite SI blog, never cease to be amazed at new disclosures of man’s hideous behavior to fellow humans.
News report in the NYT and elsewhere have brought forth revelations of unconscionable American experiments on Guatemalan prisoners, mental patients and soldiers by deliberately injecting them with the syphilis bacteria.
Here, read this chilling excerpt in the New York Times:
From 1946 to 1948, American public health doctors deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalans — prison inmates, mental patients and soldiers — with venereal diseases in what was meant as an effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin.
American tax dollars, through the National Institutes of Health, even paid for syphilis-infected prostitutes to sleep with prisoners, since Guatemalan prisons allowed such visits. When the prostitutes did not succeed in infecting the men, some prisoners had the bacteria poured onto scrapes made on their penises, faces or arms, and in some cases it was injected by spinal puncture.
If the subjects contracted the disease, they were given antibiotics.
“However, whether everyone was then cured is not clear,” said Susan M. Reverby, the professor at Wellesley College who brought the experiments to light in a research paper that prompted American health officials to investigate.
The revelations were made public on Friday, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to the government of Guatemala and the survivors and descendants of those infected. They called the experiments “clearly unethical.”
The Guatemalan experiments are not an exception.
A lot of us are familiar with the Tuskegee experiments in which Blacks with syphilis were deliberately denied antibiotics so that they could be studied.
And because we can insincerely say Sorry for all our sins we have the temerity to lecture the world on human rights!
No wonder the rest of the world thinks of us as hypocritical bastards who don’t practice what we preach to others.
What the callous Americans did 64-years back in Guatemala or Alabama in the Tuskegee studies we still do in other forms right within the borders of USA.
After all, which other so-called rich country routinely denies basic health-care to 50 million-75 million people and blithely pretends all is well.
Sicko – An American Tragedy