Well, this is disheartening. Following the release of the outrageous details outlined by CIA Torture Report, The Washington Post says that a majority of Americans believe torture was justified after the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. The post conducted a poll in conjunction with ABC News and this is what they found:
By an almost 2-1 margin, or 59-to-31 percent, those interviewed support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying they produced valuable intelligence.
In general, 58 percent say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified ‘often’ or ‘sometimes.’
We’ve known about the “enhanced interrogation” program for many years, but with torture report we were given very specific details of how far the CIA went and its complete lack of oversight. You hear a lot more people using the word TORTURE instead of using euphemisms to describe the CIA’s actions.
Critics of the program often say that it portrays a false image of America to the rest of the world. They say that this isn’t who we are and that we have to be sure our policies align with our fundamental values as a nation. Senator John McCain said it explicitly on the Senate floor:
But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said … that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.
The use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights.
If this poll is correct and Americans really believe what we did was right and justified, then the fact is the torture program does correctly represent who we are to the world.
It seems fairly certain that no one will be held accountable for these atrocities, and that virtually ensures that they will happen again. As Darius Rejali, a professor of political science, tells the New Yorker, “Nothing predicts future behavior as much as past impunity.”
There is something wrong with this country at its core, and that will have to change before our policies can reflect a nation that isn’t racist, violent and in perpetual fear of the other.
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