The Use of Coercion in Interrogations
The American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association all oppose the use of coercion in interrogation. These organizations strictly prohibit their members from participating in interrogations in which coercion is used. These organizations claim that coercion is unethical.
The resolution of the APA (2008) on coercion in interrogation includes the following statement:
BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association affirms that there are no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether induced by a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, that may be invoked as a justification for torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including the invocation of laws, regulations, or orders. (para. 7)
Publicly revealed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) transcripts and interviews with CIA employees detail that harsh methods were used to develop information from suspected terrorists. Use the key words “John Kiriakou interview with Brian Ross” on a search engine to read a CIA officer’s revelation on the methods used to develop information from a suspected terrorist.
A potential logical conclusion about the treatment of detained combatants is that coercion works and, because it works so well, it can be justified under some exceptional circumstances.
American Psychological Association. (2008). Chapter III. Ethics: Reaffirmation of the American Psychological Association position against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment and its application to individuals defined in the United States Code as “enemy combatants” (amended 2007 position). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/about/policy/ chapter-3.aspx
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