As a retired Army clinical psychologist with 34 years of Active Duty and Army Reserve service and former Army Psychology Consultant for the Army Reserve, I have been asked by several for a response to the current APA crisis. Though it has been quite difficult to weed through the multiplicity of issues at hand, I cannot help but respond with shock, horror, and tremendous disappointment. If I have misunderstood the issues at hand, please accept my sincerest apologies.
1. The summary of the Hoffman report is so grossly inaccurate and overflowing with sensationalism and bloodletting, it is not even worthy of commentary. The political motivation behind this appears unquestionable, to what end remains unanswered, and has little, if any basis in fact. FOR SHAME on the New York Times for publishing such slanderous rubbish. That such an indictment of Army psychology has been allowed by APA as a full frontal attack is a despicable act.
2. For more than a decade, that APA has held hostage the likes of Dr. John Leso, COL (RET) Morgan Banks, COL (RET) Larry James, among others, is an assault on the profession of psychology and any Army clinical psychologist who has ever had the courage to wear the uniform, particularly in time of war. We are among the 1 percent with the audacity to serve. Within this population are some of the most ethical, morally sound, and valiant individuals and mental health professionals to walk the planet; those who have endured hardships and adversity that would test the fortitude of the hardiest of humans and certainly psychologists, only to be betrayed, deceived, and sent to slaughter by their own colleagues. I find the conduct of APA egregious. Their actions amount to the killing of souls and careers to save face. On not a single occasion has an Army psychologist been found to have engaged in, recommended, or supervised inhumane treatment of national security detainees at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib. In fact, in every case of which I am aware, Army psychologists fought AGAINST abuse and torture of the detainee populations. That is what we do. That is who we are.
3. In the case of Dr. Leso, as of February, 2014, there was insufficient evidence to render any ethical complaints against him, with findings of no wrongdoing whatsoever. Regardless, he was exiled by the APA Board of Directors for well over a decade. In fact, primary sources found that Dr. Leso fought against abusive interrogations while stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from 2002-2003. Dr. Leso’s military career was ended by a plethora of false allegations, which was only made more vile by APA’s actions over the course of a decade, while being held under siege by his very own colleagues.
4. WHY would the APA apologize for collusion with DOD over abuse and torture allegations when the APA knows full well, that this NEVER OCCURRED IN THE FIRST PLACE? The motivation for doing so is certainly suspect. Such baseless complaints amount to a witch hunt. That the APA Board of Directors allowed this and now, have martyred and fallen all over themselves to apologize for crimes against humanity among their own that never occurred and for which not a lick of evidence exists, is bizarre and preposterous. And now we have mass resignations among the APA elite senior leaders....and for what purpose? What do they and APA have to hide? Undoubtedly the truth lies somewhere in this morass, but the rush to judgment against Army psychologists is disgraceful.
5. It is unmistakable that Executioner Hoffman, hired by the APA to conduct an independent review, was given carte blanche to malign and to conduct a search and destroy mission.
6. As Army psychologists, whether Active Duty, Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Ohio Military Reserve, or retired, we have met the enemy and it is us.
Kathy Platoni, Psy.D., DAAPM, FAIS
COL (RET), US Army
COL, Ohio Military Reserve
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom (Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan)