19 August 2008

The Butter-Cutter On Psychologists Aiding Military Interrogations

“Good Morning,” I said to The Butter-Cutter. “I have a somewhat different question for you today.”

“What's that?” he answered.

“Last week the APA, American Psychological Association, met in Boston for their annual meeting. Not all, but a number of prominent members want the Association to make involvement in military interrogations a violation of its code of ethics.” (1)

“What? The Shrinks think they're too good ta give advice ta military interrogators?”

“No! They are not Shrinks; psychiatrists are Shrinks. Psychol . . . I'll give you the short explanation. Both Shrinks and psychologists study the mind. Shrinks are MDs, medical doctors, and psychologists are not MDs,” I explained haltingly. (2)

“Sure! I got it. They're both Head-Doctors: One fixes the shitter and the other one just talks shit,” The Butter-Cutter laughed aloud.

'Get serious,” I told him. “State licensing boards can suspend or revoke a psychologist's license to practice based on a violation of the APA's ethics code. A psychologist without a license doesn't practice psychology for the military or anyone else. Those arguing for the ban feel that psychologists aiding military interrogations are 'doing harm' to the one being interrogated. It appears that this aversion is based on the principles in the Hippocratic Oath,” I told him. (3)

“What the f*** is the Hippocratic Oath,” he asked.

“That's an oath purportedly devised in antiquity by Hippocrates which asserts that a physician, in caring for a patient, should do him no harm. If this is the basis for these psychologists' protest, it is a curious argument since they are not physicians.”

“OK! Do these shit-talkers wanna also ban helpin' cops interrogatin' civilians?” he asked.

“Well, I haven't heard that,” I said after pausing to think for a moment.

“No screamin' shit. They're not goin' ta consider a ban on workin' with cops even though there have been at least 218 persons that have had their criminal convictions reversed by DNA evidence. Some o' those guys even signed confessions o' rapes 'n' murders. How d'ya get someone who is innocent ta sign a confession fer crimes like that? The cops f*** over 'em, “abuse” 'em; that's how! So, them Head-Doctors are goin' ta keep workin' with those wonderful civilian officers of the law.” (4)

“Thank you for the tutorial on our civilian system of justice; but, the issue here is military interrogations,” I reminded The Butter-Cutter.

“So, what is it about military interrogations that they don't like?”

“It appears they take exception to the abuse of detained enemy combatants. The abuse such as water boarding and that, which reportedly occurred at Guantanamo and elsewhere.”

“Just a freakin' minute.  Didn't I hear that the CIA is the only one that's used that water boardin' shit 'n' they did it at least three times? So, do the Head-Doctors of ethics wanna ban helpin' the CIA in interrogations?”

“According to the article I read, the only ban mentioned would be on 'military interrogations,' ” I answered The butter-Cutter.

“So, the CIA does water boardin'; the cops railroad innocent people inta signin' confessions; 'n', these shit-talkin' Head-Doctors only wanna dump workin' with military interrogators. They say it's because they wanna practice the Hippocratic Oath? Bull Shit! It's because these Mother F***ers wanna practice HYPOCRISY! Well, officer-type, do I have it right?” The Butter-Cutter shot at me. 

I stood there silently for several moments frantically searching for a rational response and I could not find one. So I said, “My apologies, but I have to go,” and I turned and left.  

Semper Searching,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)