Blame the Psychologist

I found the following article interesting: Psychologists aided harsh CIA interrogations, memos show . When the CIA stepped up efforts to interrogate terrorist suspects, on their payroll were psychologists. According to the article it was the psychologists that provided the “critical role” of devising extreme interrogations techniques like using sleep deprivation, insects, and waterboarding. The psychologists also provided the “legal justification for interrogation methods.” I was under the impression that social scientists understood any and all ethical obligation to the individuals they work with or study? Now correct me if im wrong but waterboarding and using insects to invoke fear seems to cross all ethical boundaries? The psychologists should have known better but it also appears that the CIA used the psychologists as an easy scapegoat to justify their extreme actions. I have no issues with certain interrogation techniques but call it as it is and don’t use social scientists to justify your dirty work.

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One Response

  1. This is a huge issue within the profession — there’s a journalist named Mark Danner who’s written extensively about the use of psychologists at Guantanamo and elsewhere, and the whole thing is quite troubling. The psychiatric profession issued a set of statements through their major professional body a few years back, basically forbidding its members to participate in anything that could be construed as torture; the American Psychological Association, however, didn’t issue a similar warning.

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