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To: Multiple recipients of list HUM-MOLGEN <HUM-MOLGEN@NIC.SURFNET.NL>
Subject: ETHI: Military DNA news
From: Hans Goerl <GENETHICS@delphi.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 1996 17:34:13 -0500

Several interesting responses to this post.

You should read the current New Yorker to see how politically important and
emotionally difficult the issue of prisoners missing in action can be.  The
Kennedy amendment seems a sensible safeguard.  However, it also seems that
your note is more political than scientific. There are different points of
view (you may even be able to discern that I have such a different point of
view), I do not believe that "corageous"is an appropriate term for
individuals who have voluntarily subjected themselves to the military code.
Finally, I suggest that you consider whether your use of the mailing list
for a political purpose is not inappropriate.

Bernard Strauss
Dept. of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology
The University of Chicago
920 E. 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702 1628, FAX 773) 702 3172

EDITOR'S REPLY: Given the history of the misuse of genetics for political
purposes in the US and other countries, it is important that all who work in
this field be aware of, and have a chance to discuss, the potential and
actual misuses of the technology they are creating.

The ETHI section of HUM-MOLGEN is intended for discussion of such issues, as
well as discussions of clinical ethical issues and cultural issues relevant
to genetics.-hsg

************ 2.

From:   IN%"devaki@andrew.stanford.edu" 21-OCT-1996 14:37:10.79

I don't know if you expect replies to your message about the military
personnel who chose to defy orders.  However, I feel that scientists,
now more than ever,  need to be encouraged to address questions of
ethics as a group and on issues where science policy affects public
life. It gives one hope that there are still many cases where
individuals can stand up for their rights...we need to be able to
support these causes in any way possible

Devaki Bhaya,
Research Associate,
Carnegie Institution,
290 Panama Street,
Stanford, CA 94305
********* 3.

You are right that those two soldiers were brave for standing up
for their convictions.  But look at the personal cost to them.
Court-martialed, imprisoned, forced to pay legal fees to defend themselves.
Even when they get out of prison, they will probably experience severe
limitations to their rights (unable to vote, to hold public office, to own
a firearm, etc.).  And all for what?

        I'll bet you a DM that, within 20 years, and possibly much sooner,
the US government will release use of these samples for other purposes, in
spite of the "law".  Our government has a history of changing its mind or
ignoring laws when it is convenient for it to do so.  These two soldiers
have been broken exactly as was Winston Carter in Orwell's "1984".  I
admire their courage, but never would have exposed myself as they did to
the damage they have endured.  I'll bet you a second DM that if you asked
them if they would go through it all again, they would both say no.

Daniel R. Rosen, Ph.D.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In fact, once the case was appealed and returned to Hawaii
for trial, the soldiers received relatively light punishment of confinement
to quarters. Both have now left the military. The Department of Defense also
announced that it intends to permit personnel leaving the service to have
their samples destroyed, but it is not clear that this policy has been

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