I am not sure how many people know about the atrocity of the Tuskegee Experiments.  I wonder, if this had been perpetrated on “your” ethnic or racial group, how long would it take you to trust the American Government again?  Can you imagaine, purposely, withholding life saving medicine from your fellow human being, believing there would be no consequences because the men, women and children were black?!  I wonder how many lives were touched, either directly, or indirectly, from this horrible experiment, and still, suffer to this day.  

July 25, 2002 –Thirty years ago today, the Washington Evening Star newspaper ran this headline on its front page: “Syphilis Patients Died Untreated.” With those words, one of America’s most notorious medical studies, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, became public.

“For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, not given proper treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects,” Associated Press reporter Jean Heller wrote on July 25, 1972. “The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to the human body.”

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jul/tuskegee/

88 thoughts on “The “Tuskegee Experiment” an African American Tragedy

  1. Leaving Point of Woods

    This is a test post with my new name. I am formerly “anon” but finally decided to get around to changing it – no thanks to Red Dawn’s persistence at bugging me about it (just kidding Red Dawn – it’s all in fun!). I suspect this post will go in moderation but hopefully at some point come out of it so I can start posting under this new name. Thanks Red Dawn – it was kind of “high time” to dump the anon thing!

  2. Red Dawn

    anon,

    I now pronounce you forever anon and as far as the other thread, I am officially PISSED OFF!

  3. anon

    OK, you convinced me Red Dawn. I just made a post as “Leaving Point of Woods” as I kind of like that – it reminds me I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in my own personal situation. Of course, as I expected based on what Emma said in one of her posts – possibly in another thread when she went to change her user name – it is in moderation, which is OK.

    I guess until it comes out of moderation (which there’s no hurry but when it does I’ll start posting under that name) – you can think of me as “soon to be ex-anon”!!! So thanks for finally getting me to do something about it – I was kind of tiring of the anon thing but was more or less too lazy to try and think of something creative for a name. It finally came to me – a good name that kind of sums up my frustrations in just a few words! So thanks for somehow giving me some inspiration – my mind had been drawing a blank but all of the sudden it was a bit like a lightbulb going off. I’m not what one would consider a creative person – I’m more of a logical thinker, so coming up with something creative is always a bit of a struggle for me. That’s a big part of why I hung on to the anon handle for such a long time. Well, once I see my post under the new name come out of moderation – and there’s no hurry on that to whoever does that – I’ll switch to it and we can say goodbye to anon – that is until another anon pops up. Actually there was someone else that posted one or two posts as anon – but then they disappeared it seems – as I started to worry I would get confused with their posts – about 2 weeks ago… Maybe they’ll come back once I abandon the anon userid!

  4. Leaving Point of Woods

    Wow that was fast (thanks!). I see I’m out of moderation. So that’s the end of me being anon!

  5. Leaving Point of Woods

    Red Dawn – don’t let them get you down on the other thread! I know I sometimes got riled up when I perceived personal attacks on myself, but that other thread – the attacks were so far out there and so unbelievably crazy I had to laugh at them. Someone has far too much time on their hands! Then again, some might say the same thing about me – but actually I’m quite a multi-tasker and so I’m not devoting as much time to this blog as it really appears from my posts. Sorry I didn’t take up your suggestion of Forever Anon (it actually is a very good one) but Leaving Point of Woods keeps reminding me of the “light at the end of the tunnel” for my somewhat dreary existence here that was beginning to really affect my mood and quality of life!

  6. Leaving Point of Woods

    Red Dawn: I think I’ll go back and take a peek at that other thread (I’m almost afraid to) to see what’s transpired there while I’ve been over here. I’m going to “tie my hands behind my back” and fight the urge to respond as it just appears not to be worth it – but I know I may be sorely tempted when I get over there….

  7. Moon-howler

    Anon, regarding sexual liasons on the federal job….I have known a lot of fed workers over many years. Not all of them are fired. Not by a long shot. It goes on all the time. I am not justifying it. I am just accepting that it happens. Always has, always will.

    Elena, I felt it was irrelevant (Bill Clinton’s daliances) and I felt that he shouldn’t have been asked. That was a witch hunt. The actions of others took the focus off running the country. but I liked Clinton very much and thought he was doing an excellent job. I understand that others do not feel as I do. I actually still don’t care. It was between him and his wife.

  8. Moon-howler

    The world is full of people who have experienced infidelities. They either leave or they forgive. No one has mentioned the Hillary just might have forgiven Bill. I think because it was so public and therefore more humiliating, it makes us wonder how she can stand him. Who knows. The man definitely has charisma. They also have a daughter who they both adore.

  9. Elena

    Agreed Moon-howler, this is their personal issue, it really isn’t anyone’s business why any couple decides to work it out.

    You know, I still harbor much resentment during the impeachment era of Clinton. There as so much going on in the world, much of which we, as Americans, were not privvy too. Terrorism was mutating out of control, and our congress was focused on cigars, oral sex, and blue stained dresses.

  10. Leaving Point of Woods

    Elena, i do agree with you that what happened with Clinton caused a huge distraction off of more important issues in the country happening at the time. However, it was a huge lack of judgement on his part to cause the whole fiasco in the first place. As a public figure, you have to realize you are often held to a higher standard than non-public figures. He apparently didn’t take that into account, and failed to forsee what might happen if what he did was discovered. Not only that, at first he completely denied it, rather than just come out and admit it when confronted.

    As to Hillary standing by him, I do concede it is really a personal issue between her and Bill as to how they worked it out. And yes, no denying Bill has lots of charisma. And of course as they have a daughter part of the decision may have been preserving their marriage for the sake of her daughter.

    As to sexual liasons on federal jobs – I’m sure there are lots of examples where it happens and they hold on to their jobs. Although not so sure if anyone who has an affair and holds a security clearance would be able to. Having an affair is pretty much a deal breaker for a high level security clearance. If you try to obtain one and you’ve had an affair in recent times before obtaining one, I don’t think it will be possible for you to get one. If you hold one and then have the affair, and it is found out, they would revoke it faster than you can blink your eye! And yet Bill Clinton thought nothing of this, as a person who regularly sees Top Secret and above information – the risk he was taking if he was found out. Then again whoever gets to be president is automatically granted the highest level clearance – obviously or else the president isn’t going to be able to do his job.

    But I do say again – anyone who holds a high level Dept. of Defense Security Clearance – and has an affair and the affair is found out, would have a next to impossible chance of holding onto that clearance. For those who have never held a security clearance – once you get to Top Secret or above (the word of compartmentalized security clearances) – you have no idea the standards you are held to. Any blip on your credit record may be cause for a security downgrade or revocation. An affair or infedelity will certainly cause it to happen. Alchoholism or drug abuse goes without saying. I don’t make the rules or say they are necessarily right – but if you choose to go into a job that requires a security clearance – or in the President’s case sort of are automatically granted one – you need to be extremely careful and make sure you don’t “step out of line” as it were. The fact that Clinton didn’t seem to forsee the possible consequences – to me is a severe character flaw. And the fact that he continued to be allowed to see high level classified information and go about his job – whereas any of the rest of us with security clearances would not have, is what I find unfair. In that case, fine – then change the rules on security clearances. But again, I say, it’s a deal breaker if you have an affair and it gets found out. You would have a very hard time holding onto your clearance and your job. At the very least – your clearance would be immediately downgraded pending investigation. At that point, if that made you unable to perform your job (which if mine were downgraded then I could not perform my job as I would not have access to the system I’m working on) – your company would probably have no choice but to fire you. In fact, holding a clearance for me is a condition of my employment – and it is understood if I lose my clearance I would be terminated.

    Well, I’m just trying to make the point, that from my own view, THAT is why Clinton got impeached. He was regularly exposed to classified information.

    And, the whole thought process between infedelity/affairs and security clearances is that if you do something like that – you open yourself up to things like blackmail – and there are plenty of people out there who might use that to get you to reveal classified info to them – in exchange for their “silence” – if they somehow found out about your affair/infedelity – or any of the other things I mentioned (alchohol/drug abuse, financial problems, any criminal act, etc.). Again, I don’t make the rules but these are what they are and what I think (actually what we are TAUGHT) – is the thought process behind them.

    It is also sort of – if you don’t like the rules regarding security clearances, then you need to find another line of work that doesn’t require them.

    And believe me, I find it very onerous at times, as what makes me sleep uneasy at night is the very prevalent problem of identity theft, and there are genuine cases of honest people losing their clearances because their credit record is ruined. Is this right? Of course not. But unfortunately what again happens is, as soon as someone’s credit records is compromised, it will be a “red flag” and at the very least, their clearance will be immediately downgraded until it can be proven that it is a result of identity theft. If their daily job depends on daily access to a classified system, they won’t be able to do their job, and again, they might be almost immediately let go by their company. Most company’s aren’t going to let someone sit around on what’s called “overhead” as that just eats into the company’s profits.

    Well, I think I at least said my point on where I’m coming from with the whole Bill “infidelity” issue. As a private citizen without a clearance he can do anything he wants, but as President he should at least follow the standards that those of us who are asked to hold security clearances so we can work on highly classified systems – have to follow. I felt that the leader of the US Armed Forces didn’t hold himself to the same standards as most of the armed forces (many of them also are required to hold security clearances) OR civilians who work in the defense industry and support the armed forces such as I do. Again, this is my own personal point of view, but to me it isn’t fair when the leader of our armed forces isn’t held to the same standards of conduct as members of the armed forces or civilian defense contractors are required to be held to, by the fact their security clearances demand it.

  11. Leaving Point of Woods

    And not to belabor this – but the following are good links to see what I’m talking about in regards to security clearances:

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/l/blsecmenu.htm – tells things that are looked at for someone obtaining or holding a clearance (actually every 5 years you undergo a complete reinvestigation – and if infedelity had been found as part of that investigation – your clearance probably wouldn’t be renewed).

    http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/ – this is fascinating – and we are taught to look at this page – as it is the real adjudications of people’s clearances (names redacted) and gives you a window into what was decided when a person had some things that might cause their clearance to be denied or revoked – it goes into what is called “Adjudication” when after all the negative evidence has been gathered by the investigators – a 3rd party – basically an “Adjudicator” who is like a judge – makes the decision whether or not to grant the clearance (or in the case of someone holding a clearance – whether or not to revoke it or restore it). Very interesting reading, although there are thousands of cases there.

    Anyway, I submit that anyone who engaged in the REPEATED infidelity that Clinton did, would have his clearance revoked or denied. Maybe a “one time” infidelity might be overlooked, IF that was the only negative piece of information the investigators found. Also, if you own up to something bad you did right away, and admit it to the investigators as soon as they confront you with it – that is sometimes looked favorably upon. Again, Clinton did not own up to it right away but denied it vehemently – and that would sort of a be the “nail in the coffin” for someone who engaged in an affair, was confronted by investigators about it – and did not right away confess. If they did they MIGHT have some chance of holding onto their clearance.

    My whole point is – why should us normal people who are asked to hold security clearances, be held to a higher standard than our President, and the leader of our military! It had to definitely be bad for military morale as a good percentage of the military hold at least Secret clearances. Most military officers hold higher clearances than Secret, but a good deal of soldiers/sailors/airmen hold at least Secret. To put your hands on much of the equipment present on a military ship, submarine, tank, aircraft or whatever, usually does require a Secret clearance, if not something higher. Any communications equipment at least requires Secret – as usually cryptographic technology is employed – and often that even means Top Secret. In fact anyone who operates or “touches” crypto equipment holds a Top Secret or higher clearance. Anyone who doesn’t – can’t go anywhere near that equipment.

    Anyway, for those interested – the two links above are interesting (although lengthy) reading in the public domain about security clearances.

  12. Leaving Point of Woods

    And right to the point I was trying to make – here’s a particular case regarding infelidelity:

    http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/07-03637.h1.pdf

    Also one that hits home for me (and shows how onerous this process is): http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/07-05341.h1.pdf . I lose sleep over this decision due to my own personal circumstances. However my security officer assures me I won’t have any problems – I don’t know though. My clearance comes up for a 5 year review in January 2009 – so it makes me very uneasy. I think this particular case – the individual’s clearance should have been granted – I don’t see that her connections to China were such that she should be denied a clearance.

    Things like this is what makes having a clearance a bit of a living hell. Unfortunately though, it gets you the most interesting and challenging work, which is what I like. At some point of time, having to deal with the worries about being married to someone who is not yet a US Citizen (and won’t be for at least 4 more years at the earliest, I think) – may cause me to have to re-evaluate whether I should find a software engineering job that doesn’t require a clearance. Or, if my case is deemed similar to the one I cited above, it could force me into doing so!

    This is why I think that Clinton never was held accountable for his behavior – it was not that different than the first case I cited above. No, he didn’t pick up prostitutes, which is what that case was about. But I’ve seen other decisions like this one and it didn’t involve prostitutes – or “committing a crime’ which indeed picking up a prostitute is commiting a crime. However, I’m sure the federal workplace has rules regarding sexual relationships with subordinates and leaving the gov’t open to sexual harrassment lawsuits. What if Clinton had caused a sexual harrassment lawsuit? And I’m sure he broke a rule there, and disregard for rules or laws is a good reason to have a clearance denied/revoked. The first case I cited doesn’t exactly fit what Clinton did, but shows the potential for infidelity to be a cause for loss of clearance. Again, the prostitute thing brings into consideration the subject broke a criminal statute, which clinton admittedly did not, but I can’t yet find a case of just regular infidelity (not involving prostitutes) – although they are out there somewhere in the mountains of cases on that webpage.

    Anyway, I’ve said enough on this topic, but I wanted to drive the point home that holding a security clearance is a responsibility – not a “right” – and Clinton seemed to not be thinking of that when he went down the path he did. That really sums up what I’ve been trying to say here, and why I think he wasn’t held to the same standard as the rest of us who are required to hold clearances as part of our jobs, and would lose our job if our clearance was revoked/denied.

  13. Elena

    You do bring up a good point LPOW. I had not considered that perspective from a security clearance. Still, if we had to kick every politican out of office for sexual infidelity, we’d have to shut government down.

  14. Emma

    Juturna, 7. June 2008, 20:55
    Emma – the reason to bring this up again and again is to hope that something like this never happens again.

    Fair enough, Juturna. But you might recall that the Nazis referred to Jews as “Christ Killers” and used that as an excuse to try to obliterate them, for something that happened 2,000 years ago. Does every Jew today bear that responsiblity? I think not. As a Christian, I prefer to think of Jewish folks as Pope John Paul II did, as our “spiritual forefathers.”

    The endless blame game can ultimately be disastrous, if we want to learn from history.

  15. Emma

    As far as Clinton is concerned, I normally don’t care what people do in their private time. But when a President or other person in a position of leadership engages in a behavior that he/she would like to keep secret, that individual is then in a position to be “bought” in exchange for silence to protect his/her family or job. Clinton’s behavior could have compromised the nation in any number of ways, depending on how much we was will willing to protect his secret. That is why our leaders–and many other people working in government–are held to a higher standard. If they are not open about their behaviors–whether they are gay, lesbian, unfaithful to spouses and family, have an alcohol dependence–whatever—who knows what they might be willing to sacrifice to protect that secret?

  16. Leaving Point of Woods

    Emma – actually you summed it up in a better way than I was trying to do in all my words – I was trying to address the “high standard” issue as that’s probably the most important thing in all that I was saying. Policiticans should KNOW they need to be held to a higher standard, and if they aren’t looking to be held to that, they should get out of public service. At least someone who is seeking the highest office of this nation. And, again, it wasn’t so much as the actual deed itself, but the vehement denying of it afterwards. I know everyone is going to say for example that it is a well known fact President Kennedy engaged in affairs. It was a different time, and the security clearance process may not have been what it is today (I don’t know – I’m not THAT old!). But anyway at the time Kennedy wasn’t found out, and I guess “good for him”! Also, if he was, i would hope he would have come clean right away, instead of involving us in torturous definition of the word “is” and other lawyerly double speak – trying to hide what he really did. Again, I find his denial more shameful than the act itself, and really he committed perjury in the private lawsuit between him and whatever her name is (it escapes my mind) who was suing him for alleged treatment of her while he was Governor of Arkansas. That really is what kicked off the whole scandal, as her investigators apparently found Lewinsky’s “confidant” (again I forget her name – my memory is failing me these days) and when confronted about it at the deposition, he lied/commited perjury.

    But it gets back to Emma’s point – our President shoudl be held to a higher standard than most people. That is what I cannot get away from.

  17. Emma

    Monica’s friend was Linda Tripp.

  18. Elena

    Emma,
    Do you remember the controversy over the Mel Gibson’s “the passion” ? The reason there was such outcry is because in the early 1960’s, the catholic church decided that the passion plays only incited hate towards Jews. Jews were not responsible for the death of Christ Emma, Pontius Pilot was responsible, a Roman.

  19. Leaving Point of Woods

    Also, Emma’s point about the potential for a gov’t official being “bought” in exchange for silence on his indiscretion – that’s exactly the same kind of thinking in terms of an individual holding a security clearance, and why having an affair is considered something that opens that person up as a target for people such as the KGB (OK, they don’t exist anymore but something else like them does) – to use against that person in exchange for forcing them to give up US secrets! That is why holding a gov’t security clearance means you must not put yourself at risk for extortion – and if you have an affair and try to keep it secret, but a foreign agent finds out about it – then it opens you up to extortion. And that is why they will almost automatically revoke your security clearance if a federal investigator of the DOD’s investigative branch – finds out about an affair you are trying to hide.

  20. Leaving Point of Woods

    Thanks Emma – indeed Linda Tripp is who i was trying to think of, but I had a mental block on her name. It has been a long time for me in terms of even thinking about Monica Lewinsky or any of the other figures associated with that mess – and I could not pull out Linda Tripp’s name – it might have come to me eventually if I thought long and hard enough….

  21. Leaving Point of Woods

    Elena, I very much remember the controversy over Mel Gibson’s movie. Indeed, many Jewish organizations were pretty unhappy with it. Of course, it doesn’t help things that Mel Gibson himself, has done some drunken racists rants against Jews, and his father before the movie came out (even before it was made) was well known for making outrageous statements such as the holocaust was fiction – it never happened, etc. etc.!! But the movie was highly controversial, and many mainstream Jewish organizations came out against it. And that only happened 2 or 3 years ago (I forget exactly when his movie was released) so it is recent history and at least very fresh in my mind.

  22. Leaving Point of Woods

    I think in regards to what Emma was saying about Jews – is indeed many people do really believe the Jews were responsible for killing Christ. So she was trying to make the point – SUPPOSING they really WERE responsible – should today’s Jews still be making apologies and bearing responsibility for what happened 2000 years ago? It is similar to the argument that all white people should still be making apologies and even that the US Gov’t should still be paying “reparations” for what happened to the black slaves in the years before the Civil War. I think that’s the point she was stating. And it is a fact that there are some sizeable element of people out there that DO think the Jews were responsible for killing Christ – whether or not it is a historical fact or fiction.

  23. Emma

    Elena, of course I know that. That’s the whole point. But the Nazis used the “collective guilt” concept as one of their many reasons to kill Jews–blamed the collective group for something that happened over 2000 years ago. Pontius Pilate was more concerned about his political situation than about the fate of an innocent man. The point is that ongoing collective guilt and the demand for reparations can take an evil turn, as it did during WWII.

  24. Emma

    LPOW, that is what I meant–we can go on forever apologizing for real or perceived offenses, or we can move on. The Nazis were so mired in hatred anyway that there was no moving on–they found whatever excuse they could drum up to try to exterminate innocent lives.

    “Forgive and forget” is a superhuman concept. Most people are capable of forgiving, but forgetting sometimes takes an act of divinity. Withholding forgiveness when the offender has done much to try to change things can sometimes be nothing short of extortion.

  25. Leaving Point of Woods

    OK Emma – I definitely agree. Indeed, at one point are all the apologies enough. And you are correct about the Nazis using that as one of their excuses in wanting to exterminate the Jews. Why should the Jews in Germany in the 20’s and 30’s have been held accountable for PERCEIVED events of nearly 2000 years before? They were, and unfortunately they paid an unbelievable price for it, in terms of the 6 million that were killed, not to mention countless families torn apart, and countless more imprisoned in concentration camps but fortunately managing to escape in one way or the other. It was a terrible toll to pay – only because again they were being held responsible for something that their very distant ancestors weren’t even really guilty of in the first place.

    And indeed your point about forgive and forget is very valid, and after 2000 years, or even 150 years (which is still several generations) – how much more does someone have to do until the “forgive and forget” rule takes over.

  26. Leaving Point of Woods

    I meant to say: at WHAT point are all the apologies enough. I don’t know how I managed to type: at one point are all the apologies enough! I read it back and it made absolutely no sense so I wanted to clarify what i said in the 2nd sentence of my post!

  27. Elena

    Emma,
    The point you are making is irrelevant though. The tuskegee experiments are factual, blaming the Jews for the death of Christ was a ploy used to unite the Christians in a common cause, although you would have thought, worshiping G-d would have been unifying enough.

    Also, the “apology” to the Jews, for the Holocaust, was Israel. That is a pretty substantial olive branch! I am not advocating reparations for slavery, however, I am suggesting that the healing process was never really properly completed and there are remnants left over. It has been one generation since the real “legal” emancipation from slavery, i.e. the Civil Rights Act, much has been accomplished, but inequality still remains. You see it in the urban ghettos and the jails. Katrina was a snapshot into the inequality that still exists.

  28. Emma

    So what,then, should be the ultimate “apology?” What are you, Elena, willing to give up to make it right?

  29. Elena

    Emma,
    The time for simple reparations is long gone. There needs to be comprehensive job training in inner cities, real investment in community, not just money being thrown at schools, but leadership that starts at a local level with federal government suppport. For instance, look at what happened in PWC, group home no longer funded, conflict mediation on the chopping block. we don’t invest in our poorest children, we just wait til they become old enough to send to jail, and house them there. The number of young black men in jail is the real crime. The number of black men on death row is the crisis. It is all about economic freedom and prosperity. THAT is the kind of overall reform I am talking about. I urge you to read a book, “there are no children here” and tell me what you think about not just surviving poor inner city neighborhoods, but actually having the opportunity to thrive.

  30. Elena

    What was I willing to invest? The money I spent on my education in graduate school. The school I chose to be a middle school counselor at ,was the most challenging in Northern Virginia, probably all of Virginia. I didn’t want an “easy” school. I wanted a school where the only counseling the majority of children would get would be the time I made for them. It was, and still is, the most rewarding job I ever had, and there are several I could choose from.

  31. Emma

    The number of black men in jail or on death row are there because they committed crimes. They have not been summarily rounded up, charged and imprisoned for no reason.
    Again,I ask you, what are you willing to give up yourself? I presume you were paid for what sounds like a very honorable job–that you weren’t a volunteer. I can relate as a nurse. My job is highly technical, I have to keep current with technology and pharmacology, and I get to make a big difference in people’s lives, even having the privilege of saving them a few times. But it is a grossly undervalued job, and there are secretaries in my organization who are paid more than I am paid. So, agreed, we all make sacrifices to do things that make a difference.
    Without discounting the nobility of all you propose, I would like to know how much more in taxes you are willing to pay for what you propose above. The “government” doesn’t run on air, it runs on the backs of middle-class citizens like me and, I presume, you.

  32. Emma

    And I am not discounting the need to help those in need. It just seems to me that you are suggesting that there are no resources in place already, when there are many. Just by checking a box indicating race, you can benefit from many educational opportunities. Unfortunately, in some inner-city areas, taking advantage of these opportunities can get someone targeted as “acting white.” I’m not sure what a white person can do to counteract that sort of culture, but the opportunities are there, and plenty of your tax dollars are spent on welfare, food stamps, esol, medicaid,etc.

    Businesses who reside in communities, use up water and air resources, and don’t bother to hire locally (or legally) and benefit from a number of tax breaks should be bearing some of the costs you are proposing. How many CEO’s are making money in the BILLIONS, and then outsourcing labor so that a woman in Bangladesh is making $1.25 a day to feed, clothe and house her family? Or who hire local–illegal–labor and then pay slave-labor wages to circumvent the system and depress wages for everyone else? These are the true bloodsuckers of society.

    So before people start demanding that “the government” step up to the plate, look who is actually doing the funding of said “government”, and who is merely profiting, and THEN decide what more “the government” should be doing.

  33. Elena

    Emma,
    Read “there are no children here”, then lets talk about those real life experiences growing black in a ghetto.

  34. Emma

    Already noted. I will do that.

  35. Elena

    I look foward to having a “book club” discussion with you 🙂

  36. Moon-howler

    Ah, back to the affairs. The press knew about the daliances of Kennedy, Johnson, FDR, etc. That was back in the day when the office of the presidency commanded a respect within the press where those types of things just were not discussed. It was sort of along the same lines as FDR never having his picture taken with braces or infirmitites showing. As late the vice-presidency of George Bush Sr, there was an unspoken agreement to keep daliances under wraps.

    Now we have to know every single detail of everyone’s life, down to Jimmy Carter’s hemmroids. What is it about Bill Clinton’s ‘indiscretions’ that bother people? What if he were single? Would he be allowed to date, in the eyes of the American people?

    I am not defending his behavior. I am simply saying life goes on and the bottom line is, and in my opinion, he should not have been asked while in office. He did what most people do when accusations are made. He equivocated.

  37. Leaving Point of Woods

    I understand what you are saying Moon-howler, and you do make some very valid points. Hoewever, it kind of goes back to being held to a higher standard, and again the issue of security clearances and access to classified information – and leaving yourself open to external influence if a foreign agent discovered your “dalliances” or “indescretions” and used them against you, in exchange for their silence on something you were trying to avoid other people knowing (an affair, drug use, etc.).

    If it were a single person dating, there’s nothing wrong with that obviously – and it wouldn’t set off any “red flags”. The whole thing about holding a security clearance is taking care to not engage in any behavior that leads you open to being the subject of extortion. I feel like a President who engages in an affair, runs the risk of other people finding it out, and agreeing to keep it a secret, in exchange for something (who knows what) from the President. Actually, more broadly, this would apply to any high level gov’t official. I think it was a character flaw of Clinton’s that he did not forsee that as a possibility (I’m not saying it happened) when he engaged in his affair.

    As to Kennedy – he too took the same risk – fortunately it seems his daliances did not become known until well after his presidency. And as you point out, it was sort of a different time back then. And I know about the rumors regarding Bush Sr., which it is hard to say if they were true or not (that he ever did engage in some sort of affair). If he did, it is just as bad as what Clinton did, in my eyes. Especially given that he was the Director of the CIA at one time, and should have known the risks in engaging in that behavior, while holding a high level security clearance!

  38. Laurie DiMartini

    Umm. Can we please get back to the Tuskogee syphilis study?

Comments are closed.