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The Humanitarian - Military Conflict in PsychologyJean Maria Arrigo, PhDThe International Society for Military EthicsUniversity of San DiegoJanuary 26-29, 2010AbstractThe Humanitarian – Military Conflict in psychology arises from such questions as whether there is one moral community or two — friends and enemies — and whether persons are regarded first as ends in themselves or first as organizational role players. Irregular warfare heightens the conflict by driving the exchange of psychological expertise for military fundingand career opportunities. The 2002 Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association (APA) facilitated this exchange by granting dispensations from the APA Ethics Code in case of disagreement with “governing legal authority.” As illustrated by case histories, key institutional features of the military (hierarchy, secrecy, etc.) tend to undermine the traditionalmethods of accountability in psychology. Capitulation of the APA Ethics Code to legal governing authority broadens a path to worst practices in psychology and to corruption of command authority in the military. Drawing from the chaplaincy-military relationship and other sources, I make four recommendations towards a solution to the Humanitarian – Military Conflict in psychology. OverviewThe Humanitarian – Military Conflict in Psychology lay quiet in World War II, when the much-loved father of social psychology, Kurt Lewin, trained American spies headed for Occupied Europe.1 In the Cold War period, the CIA Behavioral Modification Project MKULTRA raised alarms in human rights circles. But the use of psychologists for torture interrogation of detainees post 9/11 – or rather the hapless exposure of this arrangement — created a fracas in the American Psychological Association (APA) itself. Irregular warfare increases military demand for psychologists, when even recognition of enemies becomes a psychological question, and therefore drives the exchange of psychological expertise and moral legitimacy for military funding and career opportunities. As an indicator of demand, inNovember 2004 the Department of Homeland Security co-sponsored a conference with the American Psychological Association and others “to brainstorm a homeland security curriculum” in the behavioral sciences.2 I discuss the non-negotiable element the Humanitarian – Military Conflict in Psychology,then pass on to the negotiable elements, using case histories for illustration. I draw examples from preparatory case histories for the Psychology and Military Intelligence Casebook on Ethics of Interrogation, Treatment, Training, and Research, a project I direct forPsychologists for Social Responsibility;3 from my oral histories of intelligence professionals;4 and from a couple of newspaper articles for which I have some additional confirmation. The case histories particularly point up the difficulty in disentangling the use 1of psychology against enemies from dubious use of psychology against our own military personnel.The APA has attempted a solution of these conflicts through amendments to the ethics code, and the chaplaincy – military relationship suggests to me another. The downside of theeasy APA approach is corruption in both psychology and the military — or so I argue. The downside of the chaplaincy – military model is a substantial change in regulations, but with preservation of scientific and clinical psychology and long-term utility of psychology to the military — or so I argue. A Non-Negotiable Element of Conflict: Whether There AreTwo Moral Communities, Friends and Enemies, or a Single Moral CommunityI begin with an uncontroversial case history from the Cold War period to illuminate the non-negotiable element of the Humanitarian – Military Conflict in psychology. Ammi Kohn (b. 1933), with a background in sociology and experimental psychology, served two years in the U.S. Army, then worked on a series of military contracts. For the Department of Defense Damage Assessment System Center, Kohn’s job was to develop a computer model of Soviet and American cities. The model estimated the level of destruction in a nuclear attack, as a function of bomb size, soil type, wind speed, home construction, and other parameters. Kohn said:5 The real test came in a three-day simulated attack in ’61 or ’62, in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland.... And I start thinking, man! I start having nightmares. And the most vivid one is sitting on top of a hill with my family overlooking a city whose characteristics I know exactly because I designed the city. And I know exactly, according to the model, the millions of people who are going to be killed, including me and my family. And so it really comes to me what I’m doing. At that point, I decide I have to get out of itKohn did not make trouble for anyone. Transitioning from the military perspective to the humanitarian, he simply took another job when he could, in an urban renewal program. Kohn laid bare the element of irreconcilable conflict between military ethics and psychological ethics: 1. Whether there are two moral communities, friends and enemies, or one moral community.The military mission demands recognition of two communities, and military ethics differentiates conduct towards enemies from conduct towards friends. Traditional psychological ethics makes no such distinction: we all belong to the same moral community.Scholarly discussions of the Humanitarian – Military Conflict by security-sector psychologists, such as Charles Ewing and Morgan Banks’ in 2003 take the friends-and-enemies model as their premise:6 Given the grave dangers faced by the United States and its allies post September 11, the government can ill afford to lose the input of psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in cases involving national safety and security.... In order to maintain the ability and 2willingness of these dedicated professionals to continue in these roles, we cannot continue to place them in situations where the ethics of their conduct will be judged, post hoc, either by rules that have little if any relevance to their vital governmental functions or by professional organizations or licensing authorities....This position dismays advocates for a universal psychological science. The militarization of American psychology, the world leader, inevitably legitimizes militarization of psychology abroad and divides


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