War of words over Iraq

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 25 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:230
  1. Rebecca Coombes (, freelance journalist
  1. London

    Should medical journals have a role in the debate over military intervention?

    The possibility of a war against Iraq currently has some medical editors at each other's throats. What is at issue, however, is not so much the potential conflict itself, but whether or not medical journals should contribute to the debate over military intervention.

    This war of words has broken out among members of the World Association of Medical Editors or WAME (, which is open to the editors of peer reviewed medical journals worldwide. One of WAME's founding principles was that member journals should inform readers “about non-clinical aspects of medicine and public health including … political issues.” This does not mean, however, that editors agree on how far the potentially devastating humanitarian consequences of an Iraqi war is their business.

    Mark Graczynski, editor of the Medical Science Monitor, an online journal produced from New York, is one of many contributors to the debate raging on WAME's online discussion forum. …

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