Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Surgeon General Speaks Out

I complained previously that President Bush's stem cell decisions seemed to be driven by politics, not public health concerns. It turns out that someone else shares my view -- and it's only Bush's own former Surgeon General.

Richard H. Carmona, Surgeon General form 2002 to 2006, says that the Bush Administration "routinely" screened his speeches for political sensitivity and prevented him from speaking out on public health issues for politicial -- and even theological -- reasons. Carmona was blocked on the basis of what he called "preconceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect."

The Bush Administration has long had a reputation for muzzling its own scientists for political reasons. Now one of Bush's own top political appointees confirms this practice.

The Bush response? You know, of course, that the White House will try to blame and discredit Dr. Carmona. But even knowing that in advance, the chutzpah of White House spokesman Tony Fratto takes one's breath away. He said: "As surgeon general, Dr. Carmona was given the authority and had the obligation to be the leading voice for the health of all Americans. It's disappointing to us if he failed to use his position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation."

First muzzle him, then blame him for being muzzled.

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