Jun 18 2008

Broken Laws, Broken Lives: A report on medical evidence of torture by the United States military

Doctors and mental health professionals working for Physicians for Human Rights published a report presenting evidence that 11 former detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and at Abu Ghraib in Iraq were tortured emotionally, physically and sexually.

According to this report, the 11 detainees were released by the US without being charged with any crimes, after being tortured.

To read the report click here.

We need to pay attention to this story.

As a country, we have prided ourselves on the humane treatment of prisoners during former wars.

However, we too have a history of uneven and inhumane treatment of African Americans and other minorities within our own country even while we fought for the humane treatment of prisoners captured during the time of war.

In his book, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, James Wormser talks about how German prisoners held in the south during World War II were able to go into town and eat at restaurants, sit in the front of buses and in general treated with the privalege of other whites.

Sadly, African Americans living in the same southern towns were not allowed to eat in those same restaurants, sit in the front of buses and were denied the privileges offered to German prisoners of war.

These issues present ethical concerns for mental health professionals. I believe there were psychologists and other health professionals present during these allaged torture incidents.

Were those professionals acting in accordance with their own professional and personal ethical standards?

My guess is that history and maybe some courts of law will have much to say about this part of our American history.

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