07/11/2007 03:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Silencing The Surgeon General -- Just Where Is The Last Straw?

At some time most of us have wondered how diabolical leaders took over countries that were considered civilized. Were the people who allowed it culpable? Well, that's what the world wonders about the U.S. How did Americans let things get so bad? Why such tolerance of deception and endless corruption?

Who would have thought it possible for such an impressive country to elect, let alone re-elect, a scoundrel who'd surround himself with sycophants and power hungry schemers?

Now we learn that the former Surgeon General was the target of self-serving, White House political machinations. The current Bush administration, Dr. Carmona told a Congressional Panel Tuesday, would not allow him during his 2002 to 2006 term to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to "water down" a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke could cause immediate harm. He was required to mention George Bush's name three times on each page of every speech.

This is the same administration that couldn't get water to Hurricane Katrina victims for days. OK, so let's just say that was botched by Brownie. In fact, let's go with the Gonzales Huh? defense too for a moment and all the other artful and not so artful dodging of responsibility. But now we're hearing from a two time purple heart recipient, M.D. once Surgeon General that he was prevented from informing the American people of significant dangers to their health.

While not shocked, we might wonder how this happened to such a brilliant man who'd defended and served his country honorably? No doubt some of his acquiescence at the time was out of loyalty -- a positive aspect of military or any training when not the only criteria for determining worth. Dr. Carmona attributed his tolerance to not fully appreciating what he stopped short of describing as the pathological political climate in which he'd been called to serve. If Bush and Cheney can keep such a man at bay, then no wonder they're still in charge.

This is what happens to a country whose government silences admirable experts, allows lobbyist payoffs, demeans or arrests whistle blowers, rewards loyalty above all else, hires on the basis of malleability rather than competence, and does what serves the present power cabal no matter how many people are harmed, injured or even killed in the process.

Republicans in Congress holding out, expecting a ninth inning George Bush miracle, need to know they're the ones who'll be holding the bag for him and the ones to pay his dues if he doesn't. The tide has turned, if not in Congress for the American people. The same finger pointed accusingly at Democrats for not backing the war is now pointing at Republicans for continuing to do so and for condoning by silence countless unpardonable acts in the White House.

So, while more soldiers are wounded and die each day and preventable diseases take the lives of their constituents because saving them required at least awareness of politically inexpedient research, they should know more than Democrats will be holding them responsible. They're on the outside of Bush's inner circle. There's no protection. The bridge is up, the moat is high and the king doesn't care what happens to them. Clearly, he doesn't care what happens to any of us.