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Frist, Do No Harm

by Sanford Levinson

Recall, of course, that this is the same person who threatened to invoke the "nuclear option" should the Senate not be allowed to vote on highly-partisan nominees for life-time positions on the federal judiciary. But that might be termed "ordinary hypocrisy," where politicians do whatever seems exigent at any particular moment with regard to their political ambitions. Dr. Frist's de facto support for torture (because that is what it is) raises far more serious questions than mere hypocrisy. There is an increasing literature on the role played by medical and psychological professionals in the conduct of interrogations at Guantanamo and elsewhere. I wonder if Dr. Frist would be willing to go down there and give advice on the exquisite difference between 36, 48, and 72 hours of sleep deprivation, or exactly how many hours a person could be forced to stand at attention, etc. Or, for that matter, would he happily preside over the injection of chemicals in order to kill someone convicted after the extraordinary procedures that he is apparently willing to countenance?

If one proclaims one's specialness as a physician, among the most honorable of all callings, then one should live up to the Hippocratic Oath at all times. Otherwise, he should drop the "Dr."