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IPFS News Link • Healthcare Industry

Medicine Has Been Fully Militarized

•, BY Clayton J. Baker, MD

This industry is huge, constituting a large portion of the nation's GDP. Millions of people earn their living through it, directly or indirectly. The people at the top of this industry (who operate mostly behind the scenes, of course) are among the super-rich. This industry's corporations lobby the nation's government relentlessly, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, both to secure lucrative contracts and to influence national policy in their favor. This investment pays off richly, sometimes reaching trillions of dollars.

The corporations supplying this industry with its materiel conduct advanced, highly technical research that is far beyond the understanding of the average citizen. The citizens fund this research, however, through tax dollars. Unbeknownst to them, many of the profits gained from the products developed using tax dollars are kept by the corporations' executives and investors.

This industry addresses fundamental, life-or-death issues facing the nation. As such, it relentlessly promotes itself as a global force for good, claiming to protect and save countless lives. However, it kills a lot of people too, and the balance is not always a favorable one.

The operational side of this industry is emphatically top-down in its structure and function. Those who work at the ground level must undergo rigorous training that standardizes their attitudes and behavior. They must follow strict codes of practice, and they are subject to harsh professional discipline if they deviate from accepted policies and procedures, or even if they publicly question them. 

Finally, these ground-level personnel are handled in a peculiar manner. Publicly, they are frequently lauded as heroes, particularly under declared periods of crisis. Privately, they are kept completely in the dark regarding high-level industry decisions, and they are often lied to outright by those at higher levels of command. The "grunts" even significantly forfeit some fundamental civil liberties for the privilege of working in the industry.

What industry am I describing?

If you answered, "the military," of course you would be correct. However, if you answered "the medical industry," you would be every bit as right.

In President Eisenhower's farewell speech of January 17, 1961, he stated that "…in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." Sixty-three years on, many Americans understand what he was referring to.