Friday, June 16, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 4:07 PM Permalink

The American Medical Assn. has also stepped into the Guantanamo controversy in an effort to address an ethical dilemma created by new Pentagon rules authorizing military doctors to take part in prisoner interrogations.

At a meeting in Chicago on Monday, the AMA's House of Delegates adopted guidelines that make it unethical for physicians — AMA members or not — to use their medical knowledge to interrogate prisoners, deeming all such operations inherently coercive and adversarial.

The AMA's ruling counters guidance issued last week by the assistant Defense secretary for health affairs, William Winkenwerder, who found no ethical obstacle to military medical personnel questioning prisoners or disclosing confidential medical information to other interrogators.
No ethical obstacle ... except it's a violation of the Geneva Conventions!
The AMA action came after decisions by the American Psychiatric Assn. and the World Medical Assn. explicitly prohibiting physicians from assisting in interrogations.

"The new AMA policy goes a long way toward protecting the ethical commitments and integrity of all military medical personnel," said Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights.

Also supporting the AMA's position at the Chicago meeting were the surgeons general of the armed forces. Combined with the association's swift rebuke of Winkenwerder's statements, the opposition highlighted an apparent rift between medical professionals and civilian strategists in the war on terrorism at the Defense Department.
So the AMA, the APA, the WMA and the surgeons general of the armed forces and The Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation of the Department of the Army all agree that these techniques are illegal. So why whould the DoD's top doc, William Winkenwerder, disagree with all of them? Well, he was appointed by Bush and his previous position was Executive Vice President of Health Care Services for Blue Cross Blue Shield. So it also shouldn't surprise you that while his job description is to look after the medical needs of the military, his actual work has been to cut medical benefits for the military.


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