Posted by: quiscus | March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011

“Top Bush-era GITMO and Abu Ghraib psychologist is WH’s newest appointment

One of the most intense scandals the field of psychology has faced over the last decade is the involvement of several of its members in enabling Bush’s worldwide torture regime. Numerous health professionals http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/25/james/index.htmlworked for the U.S. government to help understand how best to mentally degrade and break down detainees. At the center of that controversy was — and is — Dr. Larry James. James, a retired Army colonel, was the Chief Psychologist at Guantanamo in 2003, at the height of the abuses at that camp, and then served in the same position at Abu Ghraib during 2004.

Today, Dr. James circulated an excited email announcing, “with great pride,” that he has now been selected to serve on the “White House Task Force entitled Enhancing the Psychological Well-Being of The Military Family.”  In his new position, he will be meeting at the White House with Michelle Obama and other White House officials on Tuesday.

Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, James should not be deemed guilty in the absence of a formal adjudication.  But the White House’s conduct in selecting him is nonetheless baffling, at best.  Of all the psychologists to choose from, why would they possibly choose to honor and elevate the former chief psychologist of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib at the height of the Bush abuses?  More disturbing still, among those most damaged by detainee abuse are the service members forced to participate in it; why would the White House possibly want to put on a task force about the health of military families someone, such as Dr. James, who at the very least is directly associated with policies that so profoundly harmed numerous members of the military and their families?

This isn’t exactly a powerful Task Force, but what this appointment does is have the White House — yet again — signal that it does not really take very seriously the Bush torture regime.  On appearance grounds alone, the Obama administration should not be embracing and legitimizing the Bush-era Chief Psychologist of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.  Is there really nobody in the White House who was able to come to that realization on their own, or is this part of some twisted “reaching out” effort to show that they view bygones as bygones when it comes to the war crimes our leaders committed and whom the Obama administration continues to protect? Whatever the explanation, the symbolism here is as ugly as the mindset underlying it.”
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/25/james/index.html

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