Human Rights in the Military: The Role of Psychology
J. Wesley Boyd, Alice LoCicero, Monica Malowney,Rajendra Aldis, and Robert P. Marlin
The American Psychological Association (APA) has long maintained aclose, even symbiotic, relationship with the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Veterans Administration (VA). Herein we highlight these close tiesand describe psychologists’ participation in interrogations by U.S. militaryand intelligence entities. We then review the APA’s statements about the permissibility of psychologist participation in the interrogation and tortureof suspected terrorists. These issues are significant in and of themselvesand because the VA and DOD have been described as “growth careers”for psychologists of the future (1). Additionally, the Health Care PersonnelDelivery System allows the drafting of civilian clinical psychologists intomilitary service even in the absence of a general draft. In light of psychol-ogists’ extensive involvement in the interrogation process of suspectedterrorists, and the possibility that psychologists without prior military experi-ence may be drafted, we wondered how much psychologists have been taughtabout their ethical duties should they find themselves in military settings.The results of our pilot study of U.S. psychology graduate students, whichassessed their knowledge of military ethics, raise concerns that psycholo-gists receive inadequate formal training in these matters. This may leave psychologists vulnerable to misinformation about proper ethical conduct intheir future work.
Psychology in the United States has a longstanding, close relationship withthe military. Psychologists contributed significantly to the U.S. military effort in both World Wars, including evaluating new recruits, assisting in the treatment of
International Journal of Health Services, Volume 44, Number 3, Pages 615–625, 2014© 2014, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/HS.44.3.jhttp://baywood.com