I welcome the opportunity to respond to Dr. Fleming's letter. In the
president's column that he cites, I made it clear that my intention was to"
recognize and support the health care personnel—psychiatrists,
other physicians, nurses, psychologists, and others—stationed at
The issues that Dr. Fleming raises are relevant and important. The media
have addressed them extensively in this country and abroad. The health care
personnel, especially psychiatrists, have not been recognized enough or at
all. As APA president, I thought that it was important to pay respect to our
APA members—and, for that matter, other health care personnel—who
are assigned to or served at GTMO.
Having said that, from a personal perspective I want to underscore that I
fully endorse and support the position taken by APA last year against
psychiatrists' participation in interrogation of detainees at GTMO or in any
other place. I am also against the operation of GTMO and violations of human
rights anywhere in the world. Additionally, I oppose the military occupation
of any country by any government without demonstrated evidence of the
As Psychiatric News readers can see by my response, I am not
afraid to address the political, legal, and ethical issues pertaining to GTMO.
Personally, I fully share Dr. Fleming's views on this matter. However, as APA
president, the well-being of even one APA member is as important to me as any
political ideology, including my own.