Imagine people in San Francisco sitting in their homes, blissfully unaware as an enemy seeds the air nearby with bacteria and spores, from a warship right in the middle of the Bay.
In St. Louis and Minneapolis, enemies hide in cars, dispersing invisible clouds of chemicals and germs in the cities to spread the contaminants as best they can to the populace.
American soldiers in a field are strapped into chairs in freezing cold weather as biological weapons are released and sprayed into their faces.
Sound like a scary movie about an attack on the US by Daesh or maybe in the mid 80’s about a Soviet attack?
This was actually done by the United States government in the 50’s and 60’s to test how well they could strike against civilian and military locations to disable the armies and the people there. Of course, this was before the regulations came into place to prevent testing on people without their informed consent. The argument could be made also that it was done for “National Security”. The nice warm blanket that the government likes to hide its worst atrocities under.
How can we judge people for doing things that weren’t illegal at the time? How can we be angry for a betrayal of trust that happened before we ever lived?
The answers are simple. Law or not, they knew that their behavior was wrong. They hid their actions from the American populace and kept the secret into the 80’s even after people came forward with side effects of these tests. It was a betrayal of trust that severely damaged our faith in doctors and the government. These are people who were working tirelessly, not to protect us but to discover the most efficient ways to wipe out their enemies. They specifically seeded St. Louis and Minneapolis because they thought it was closest to what Russian cities might look like. They practiced with San Francisco to find out if these attacks would work launched from other bay areas.
Things like this are the reason that we have to have regulations on research. I know that there are people who don’t want “watchdog” groups and oversight to make sure that research is being conducted safely and responsibly. They argue that trust must be extended. Seeing what has happened here, I have to wonder if we will ever be able to trust the government to be unsupervised again.