Forward march on anthrax policy

July 08, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the San Diego Union-Tribune, which was published Tuesday.

THE Pentagon's decision to inoculate U.S. military personnel against highly lethal anthrax contamination is firmly supported by potential battlefield threats and sound medical science. Defense Secretary William Cohen should not abandon this necessary program because of the tiny minority of soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines who have refused to take the vaccine based on unsubstantiated claims about its safety.

There is ample evidence Iraq has developed an array of biological weapons, including anthrax, which can be spread over a battlefield in dustlike spores. Once inhaled, anthrax toxins cause internal bleeding and, in 90 percent of cases, death if left untreated.

The military services would be derelict if they failed to protect U.S. personnel from the anthrax threat, especially when a vaccine is readily available to counter it. Moreover, it would undermine good order and discipline if the Pentagon allowed some personnel to refuse the vaccine.

Pub Date: 7/08/99

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