David Burdas editorial about the legislative response to former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmonas congressional testimony (subscription required) was right on the button (Carmona! Carmona! Carmona! July 23, p. 21). I am no fan of President Bushs politicization of science, but it seems that instead of using the surgeon generals bully pulpit, Carmona hid behind it. Perhaps we ought to require congressional testimony from the surgeon general more than once every five years.
I am more sympathetic to those career civil service scientists (who are not political appointees such as Carmona) at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and elsewhere who have had their voices and work suppressed because a politically appointed overseer decided to either ignore or overrule their collective work as ideologically incompatible with the Bush administrations political goals. A few of the bravest among them have resigned in protest, but most dont have the luxury of starting new careers after decades of ostensibly nonpartisan government service.
The Carmona situation reminds me of the Groucho Marx quip that I dont care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
Primary Childrens Medical Center
Salt Lake City
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