Judges have already taken over the jobs of legislators, so why not generals as well?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon must stop forcing servicemen and women to take the anthrax vaccination against their will, unless President Bush signs a special order, a judge ruled Monday. ...

The judge ruled that the anthrax vaccinations fell under a 1998 law prohibiting the use of certain experimental drugs unless people being given the drug consent or the president waives the consent requirement. ...

Sullivan [the judge] rejected the government concern that military discipline would be harmed if courts intervene between soldiers and their military superiors.

Anthrax vaccinations hardly seem "experimental" to me, but at least the judge referred to an actual law rather than just making up some new "right" on the fly. Presumably the point of the law is to put the President on the hook for any subsequent negative effects of the treatment... but isn't that implicit if the President, as commander-in-chief, has his officers administer the vaccines? Maybe my problem is more with the law than with the judge, come to think of it.

If the President has the power to order soldiers to their deaths in combat, and we trust his officers' judgements on that, shouldn't we also trust his officers to administer potentially dangerous medical treatments? I guess we do -- we just want an explicit authorization from the President so we can hang him later if we want to.



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