Democracy Now's Amy Goodman has been persistent in giving voice to psychologists who object to APA's refusal to preclude its members from participating in torture of military prisoners. I'm a bit embarrassed that I have only recently gotten up-to-speed on this issue (see previous post). I hope my fellow psychologists seriously consider resigning or withholding dues.
My very own American Psychological Association or APA has disappointed its members by refusing to follow the Amercian Psychiatric Association and others in not allowing its members to consult or participate in any way in torture of soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. While condemming torture in their most recent statement, they failed to "go all the way" and ban psychologists involvement. Blogger and psychologist Stephen Soldz has written of a movement by psychology departments in the US to protest APA's position by withholding dues. A few hundred psychologists have already pledged to withhold dues as part of a formal protest of APA's weak stand on torture. You can read about APA's explanation for their more moderate position which the ACLU has criticized for not going far enough.
The argument of military psychologists: Better to be involved as consultants inorder to make sure it is done properly or humanely. But is torture ever something that can be done "humanely?" And can military psychologists truly be independent in a hierarchical system such as the military where many involved in torture hold higher rank than the consulting psychologists? Just say no to your commanding officer?? I don't think so.
I'm considering attending more meetings about the topic such as the upcoming one in New York, but I think my fellow psychologists should consider either resigning or withholding dues.