President George W. Bush, in lambasting Europe for its ban on importing most of this country's genetically modified foods, is on the side of science, common sense, fairness and humanity. He is, in short, on the side of the angels, while the Europeans are on the side of superstition, avarice, shoddy politics and inhumanity.
There are those who say the president ought to shut up on this sore point because, poor things, the Europeans are already upset with our war against terrorism. But this is not just about European sensibilities. Nor is it just about the rules of the game in trade and the interests of American farmers. It is about European policies that kill people.
That's right: kill people. Because the European Union says it won't import genetically modified American corn, some African nations have refused to accept the corn to feed their starving people. Their fear is that some of the American corn might mix with their corn and that the European Union will then refuse to import their corn. So people get bloated bellies and die.
The harm goes further, for the European stance stands in the way of efforts that could vastly expand the Third World's agricultural productivity. The European politicians are bowing to the fanaticism of some environmental groups, to ignorance, to their own agricultural interests and to their wish for trade advantage.
Meanwhile, scientists testify that genetically modified foods pose no more threat to human health than other foods as long as proper precautions are in place. Has anyone died from eating a genetically modified food? There's no record of it. There is no record even of a stomachache.
Give 'em what for, Mr. President.