June 1983

Physician's Responsibility-Reply

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(6):1285. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350060214046

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In Reply.  —Dr Reeves' letter is a classic example of the "we're the good guys, they're the bad guys" type of thinking that is characteristic of ethnocentric perception. That is just the issue addressed by my brief editorial. I am no apologist for the political or military excesses of the Soviet bureaucracy. However, a rational objectivity toward the East-West impasse requires that we not whitewash inappropriate actions on our own side. Our country, too, has employed chemical warfare in Southeast Asia (some of our Vietnam veterans are suffering now from the effects of those toxins), and we have not been above supporting right-wing totalitarian regimes that are purging thousands of their own citizens in Central and South America. Moreover, we do not consider it a sign of dishonor that some of our most distinguished statesmen have presided over our own secret service agencies; such men do not thereby become objects

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