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Soldz, S. (2018). It is Time for Psychologists to Face the Truth: Commentary on Philip Cushman’s “The Earthquake That is the Hoffman Report on Torture”. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 13(4):350-367.

(2018). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 13(4):350-367

It is Time for Psychologists to Face the Truth: Commentary on Philip Cushman’s “The Earthquake That is the Hoffman Report on Torture”

Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.

This paper comments on Cushman’s “The Earthquake That Is the Hoffman Report on Torture,” placing the paper in the broader context of discussion of the ethics of psychologist involvement in national security interrogations and other military operations. In a preliminary discussion of the Hoffman Report, a few details that Cushman does not get quite right are pointed out. It then discusses the reasons for American Psychological Association leaders’ behavior in this episode and the mechanisms used to deflect attention from what was really happening. Broader issues regarding the appropriate ethical roles for psychologists in national security operations, or “operational psychology,” are then discussed. Along the way issues are raised regarding the appropriate Telos or goal of psychology as a profession and the distinction between science and scientism. While strongly defending science, Cushman’s call for a re-moralizing of psychology is endorsed. The paper ties it all together with a call for a Truth Commission to create a permanent record of the involvement of psychologists and health professionals with the national security state in the wake of 9/11 and to make sure that lessons are learned for future generations of psychologists and citizens.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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