Gerald Koocher, former President of the American Psychological Association and ardent supporter of psychologist participation in Guantanamo interrogations, is now involved in developing a Code of Ethics for Researchers! [A "Hippocratic Oath" for Scientists?]
Science, and especially biomedical science, also needs explicit and widely accepted public statements of appropriate behavior, argue researchers engaged in projects to create such documents. Gerald Koocher of Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and his colleagues are developing an ethics manual for researchers; Koocher sees the document as potentially improving research integrity….
Koocher and his colleagues also want a large number of scientists to give explicit thought to ethical problems. His project has invited people listed on NIH’s Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects database of funded investigators to take an online survey about their experiences dealing with ethical problems during their careers. If they wish, respondents can also give detailed, anonymous telephone interviews to “describe the incident and … tell us whether they did anything about it, why, and what happened,” Koocher says in a phone interview. Data analysis, which he expects by summer, will indicate “the scope [and] nature of the problem.” The team will then “take the data … and create a manual … that includes … anecdotes and strategies that worked for people” and also present “our recommendations for dealing with” the various issues that arise, Koocher says.
Many will remember Koocher, of course, as the man who has viciously attacked those who raised ethical concerns about the role of psychologists in interrogations:
A number of opportunistic commentators masquerading as scholars have continued to report on alleged abuses by mental health professionals.
Koocher was also one of those involved in appointing the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) to form APA policy on participation in interrogations, with six of nine voting members from the military and intelligence communities, many with direct ties to Guantanamo interrogations. That is, in the most “ethical” manner, Koocher was among those appointed people who had been accused of committing torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment to be in charge of forming APA policy regarding participation in these abuses!
In his great respect for “ethics,” Koocher was one of those who did everything in their power to keep this membership secret, and to keep the deliberations of the Task Force itself secret.
Koocher was also the one who invited “Urine Man” General Kiley to be the only speaker to address the 2006 APA Convention on this critical issue., though, under pressure, he later backed down.
To get a sense of Koocher’s complete lack of understanding of “ethics”, read Art Levine’s Washington Monthly article Collective Unconscionable: How psychologists, the most liberal of professionals, abetted Bush’s torture policy.
Evidently abetting torture is just the qualification needed to be a “so-called expert” on “ethics”. Koocher is, after all, the Editor of the journal Ethics & Behavior and of the text Ethics in Psychology.
Ethics in psychology is in a sad state indeed!
March 2nd, 2007
John Aravosis of AmericaBlog reminds us that the new, as of yesterday, head of Walter Reed Medical Center is the man who ignored complaints of conditions there for five years. In particular, New head of Walter Reed let soldier sleep in his own urine.
"In 2004, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded at Walter Reed out of frustration. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. 'When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable,' said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.
Beverly Young said she complained to Kiley several times. She once visited a soldier who was lying in urine on his mattress pad in the hospital. When a nurse ignored her, Young said, "I ' went flying down to Kevin Kiley's office again, and got nowhere. He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else' ."
But he does look good in a uniform: Meet Urine Man. Surely that’s more important than the poor soldier lying in his urine.
Of course, those of us opposing psychologist participation in the torture and abuse at Guantanamo (and elsewhere) know Kiley as the guy the American Psychological Association brought in to the 2006 APA Convention sing the praises of the psychologists in the Guantanamo and Iraq Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs). A colleague at the Convention recalls being told “hat an impressive spectacle ‘the General’ had made with his military entourage.” No concern for the detainees at Guantanamo being abused by Kiley’s BSCTs. Power trumps morality and decency yet again.
So the question of the day: Is Kiley best described as “Urine Man” or as “Torture Man?”
UPDATE: See the Washington Post editorial: Not ‘a Good-News Story’: Why is Gen. Kiley back in charge at Walter Reed?:
[Y]esterday, the Army announced that Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, the head of Walter Reed since August, had been relieved of his command. His temporary replacement? None other than Gen. Kiley.
Here’s where the story stops making sense. Much of The Post’s article detailed the abuse by omission that Gen. Kiley, not Gen. Weightman, committed, first as head of Walter Reed, then in his current post as Army surgeon general. Gen. Weightman, who very well might deserve his disgrace, has commanded Walter Reed for only half a year, while Gen. Kiley, now back in charge of Walter Reed, headed the hospital and its outpatient facilities for two years and has led the Army’s medical command since. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife say they repeatedly told Gen. Kiley about unhealthful conditions in outpatient facilities.
While Gen. Kiley was ignoring Walter Reed’s outpatients, he was assuring Congress that he was doing just the opposite. A staffer for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) told us yesterday that Gen. Kiley told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2005 that the performance of the medical holdover program, which covers 69 of the 76 residents of Building 18, “is a good-news story.” In response to questions Mr. Davis submitted, Gen. Kiley stated, “the Army Surgeon General has made their care the medical treatment facilities’ top priority.” At best, Gen. Kiley was ignorant of the conditions at Walter Reed.
UPDATE II: Rep. Slaughter (S: NY) has called for Urine Man, aka Torture Man, aka Gen. Kiley to be fired as temporary head of Walter Reed.
I am pleased that you recognized the severity of the situation at Walter Reed and moved quickly to address it. However, I am very concerned with the Army’s decision to place Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley as the temporary head of Walter Reed. As the Washington Post has reported, most of the problems with outpatient care at Walter Reed began during Lt. General Kiley’s first command there in 2003. Lt. Gen. Kiley and his staff were routinely made aware of the deteriorating conditions during his tenure, but chose to do nothing about it. In fact, Lt. Gen. Kiley reportedly dismissed concerns raised by Members of Congress, veterans organizations, and even the spouse of the former Secretary of Defense.
I have very little confidence that Lt. General Kiley, given his track record as previous Commander of Walter Reed, is capable of providing the leadership needed to fix Walter Reed’s broken bureaucracy and shoddy infrastructure. I strongly urge the Department of Defense to rescind Lt. General Kiley’s assignment, and place Walter Reed in charge of an effective leader.
Update III: Whatever we call him, Kiley’s gone from Walter Reed, as this Army Press Release reports. Also gone is the Secretary of the Army, as the administration tries to pretend it cares.
March 2nd, 2007