To the Editor.
—The article by Drs Geiger and Cook-Deegan1 cites a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report on Kurdish refugee relief after the Gulf War. This report is said to have "contributed to a governmental decision to mount a more effective relief effort." This statement typifies the behavior of civilian disaster intervenors who self-assert their impact as humanitarian change agents in a military theatre.Sandler et al2 reported on the PHR mission as follows: "After returning to the United States on April 15, we briefed individuals in those government agencies and the press. On April 16, US policy shifted away from merely delivering provisions by aerial drops to a more comprehensive public health emergency relief operation." Delightful is the notion that our errant military was guided in its relief strategy by PHR.The self-asserted claims of impact by civilians are not limited to military relief strategy. Claims
Bradt DA. Physicians for Human Rights and the Kurdish Refugee Crisis. JAMA. 1994;271(10):745-746. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510340035021