The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, may be the next person fired or forced to resign in the wake of the Walter Reed outpatient care scandal that has already cost the jobs of the Secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey, and Walter Reed's commander, Maj. Gen. George Weightman.
It was Harvey's appointment of Kiley, who essentially brushed off for years concerns about the squalor and degrading care facing Walter Reed's outpatients, to replace the fired Weightman that helped trigger Harvey's forced resignation on Friday.
The only question on Kiley's future is this: Will he be fired before the week's out, after he testifies before Congress, or will he keep his job until assorted independent reviews and panels finish their work investigating outpatient care and issue their scathing critiques?
But the Walter Reed scandal isn't the first time that Kiley has covered up abuses. He was a point person for the Army's coverup of the torture and degrading treatment of detainees by health professionals, including psychologists, at Guantanamo and other unaccountable military detention sites. He commissioned whitewashed "studies" of the problem that concluded that there wasn't any abuse abetted by health professionals -- even though his investigators never talked to any detainees or their attorneys.
The problems were so widespread that the American Psychiatric Association banned its members from being involved in interrogations, but the American Psychological Association allowed its members to continue to aid military interrogators. (The American Prospect and Salon, among others, helped publicize these issues in the last two years.)
Even so, Kiley appeared last year at the psychologists' conference to plead for its continued involvement, while blithely downplaying the impact of coercive interrogation strategies.
As I reported recently in The Washington Monthly, opening my article on the psychologists' role in torture with a presentation by Kiley:
At around six-foot-eight and clad in combat fatigues, Kevin Kiley, the army surgeon general, cut an imposing figure. It was August 2006, and Kiley was in New Orleans to address the governing council of the American Psychological Association (APA) on the subject of psychology in the war on terror. For over a year, the organization had been under fire from human-rights groups and many of its own members, because psychologists had been tied to coercive interrogations and abuse at Guantanamo Bay and other places. Now, many APA members wanted the organization to draw up a firm policy -- one that mandated adherence to international standards barring abuse -- to prevent psychologists from participating in such practices again.
Art Levine is a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly, and a fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute. He has also written for Mother Jones, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon and numerous other publications.