Doing Harm pries open the black box on a critical chapter in the recent history of psychology: the field's enmeshment in the so-called war on terror and the ensuing reckoning over do-no-harm ethics during times of threat. Focusing on developments within the American Psychological Association (APA) over two tumultuous decades, Roy Eidelson exposes the challenges that professional organizations face whenever powerful government agencies turn to them for contributions to ethically fraught endeavours. In the months after 9/11 it became clear that the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency were prepared to ignore well-established international law and human rights standards in prosecuting the war on terror. It was less clear, however, that some of Eidelson's fellow psychologists would become part of the abusive and torturous operations at overseas CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay. Nor was it initially clear that this ruthless enterprise would garner acquiescence and support from the APA's leadership. Doing Harm examines how and why the APA failed to join human rights groups in efforts to constrain the US government's unbridled pursuit of security and retribution. It recounts an ongoing struggle - one that has pitted APA leaders set on preserving strong ties to the military-intelligence establishment against dissident voices committed to prioritizing do-no-harm principles.
About this Author
Roy J. Eidelson is a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He lives in Pennsylvania.
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