Such tactics are regrettable. It's wrong to run away from a serious consideration of what's truly ethical for psychologists working in the national security sector. We know that psychologists play valuable roles in such settings, including providing dedicated and expert care to our soldiers and their families. But with changing times, a profession committed to human welfare must be willing to look inward in order to honestly explore challenging and fundamental questions. Foremost among them is whether coercion, deception, manipulation, and humiliation should be part of a psychologist's ethical work in support of his or her country. Answering this crucial question begins not with some diversionary new "task force," but rather with annulment of the PENS Report.
Roy Eidelson is a clinical psychologist and the president of Eidelson Consulting , where he studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility , associate director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology .