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Criminalizing Scientific Inquiry Could Backfire

May 08, 2003

Re "Rogue Science," Opinion, May 4: M. Gregg Bloche is swinging a two-edged sword when he proposes that researchers be held accountable for discoveries that prove deadly. The United States has carried on the world's most prolonged, widespread and sophisticated research on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Unless we apply a double standard (not unheard of), our people should be subject to the same scrutiny and possibility of prosecution.

Bloche's distinction that scientists working for "rogue" nations be singled out leaves things a bit murky as well, since there is a large, worldwide body of opinion that the U.S. falls into this category. His definition of a rogue regime as one that lacks constitutional restraints applies to us as well, since Congress has relinquished its constitutional powers to the executive branch.

Warren Lavender

Yucca Valley

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Science, the rule of the scientific method, cannot be retrospectively labeled as good or bad because of someone's use of the results of the endeavor. The inventors of the wheel cannot be posthumously indicted and convicted because automobile tires blow out and kill people. The inventor of the spike cannot be similarly indicted because spikes were driven into the hands and ankles of Christ.

Bloche's thesis fits squarely with the anti-science crowd of Christian fundamentalists in our nation today.

K. William Wasson

San Gabriel

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Bloche makes a cogent case for holding those researchers who aid terror regimes accountable in war crimes trials. But why stop with scientists? What of U.S. administration leaders who lie unabashedly and relentlessly in order to gain support to send an overwhelmingly powerful military on a preemptive and unnecessary mission to crush a weak but sovereign nation?

What of jingoistic media that have forgotten their calling as objective reporters of fact, and that have uncritically bleated the administration's repetitive lies, effectively brainwashing an inattentive, mindlessly "patriotic" public into being cheerleaders of an unconstitutional and, by any international measure, unlawful war of aggression?

What of the corporations that will gain untold millions of dollars from this naked act of aggression? When looking for possible war criminals, one doesn't have to look very far. But that's only if winners as well as losers are eligible.

Ronald Rubin

Topanga

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