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U.S. apologizes for Guatemala STD experiment

This is extremely disturbing

U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.

Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.

About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered apologies for the experiments today. 

The experiments, which took place from 1946-1948, were discovered by Wellesley Women's Studies professor Susan Reverby in the course of her study on another infamous STD study, the Tuskeegee Syphillis Experiment. You can read her findings here

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Nothing's going right for Obama's foreign policy

With the likely withdrawal Saturday of the Palestinians from their ill-advised direct talks with Israel, it looks increasingly like Barack Obama's foreign policy is headed for catastrophic failure.

Nearly across the board, the president's initiatives are going down in flames. Nowhere is this more true than in Pakistan where, Jane Perlez reported Wednesday, the civilian government in which the U.S. has invested billions is perilously close to collapse -- if not facing a military coup.

Now comes word that Pakistan is cutting off NATO's supply lines into Afghanistan in retaliation for U.S. helicopter strikes in Pakistani territory -- strikes made necessary because the Pakistani military can't, or won't, crack down on militants unless they threaten the Pakistani state directly.

As for the war in Afghanistan, it's going very badly.

Further east, the United States seems headed for a disastrous currency war with China, although Beijing's recent diplomatic blunders have sent Asian countries running into Uncle Sam's loving arms.

To the west, Iraq still has yet to form a government after seven months of post-election deadlock, and attacks on the Green Zone are metastasizing in a frightening way.

One rare bright spot is Russia where, despite the complaints of Cold Warriors and human rights campaigners, relations are at their highest point since the Yeltsin era. But much of the good work Obama's team has done could easily unravel, especially if the Senate deep-sixes the new nuke treaty.

As for Iran, it's a mixed bag. Obama has kept Europe on board with tough sanctions, and brought along a few other players. But China is likely to undercut those efforts and relieve the economic pressure, leaving the United States and Israel with few options for stopping Iran's nuclear drive. Meanwhile, the drums of war are beginning to beat in Congress.

Of course, if Obama really wants to make a hash of the world, I can think of no better way than to start launch airstrikes on Iran. But I doubt he's going to do that.

Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images