So, how did America react to the Senate torture report? Well, I certainly got a chuckle out of Fox News host Andrea Tantaros proclaiming that torture made America “awesome” and all, but the problem is that’s exactly what America thinks.
Six in 10 Americans say the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists was justified, more than half think it produced important, unique intelligence – and 52 percent say it was wrong for the Senate Intelligence Committee to issue a report suggesting otherwise.
Those results in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll underscore the public’s sense of risk from the threat of terrorism, and specifically the extent to which majorities support controversial measures to combat it. Indeed just two in 10 flatly rule out torture in future cases.
A plurality, 49 percent, believes the CIA did in fact torture suspected terrorists; 38 percent think its actions did not amount to torture, with the rest unsure. Regardless, the public by a broad 59-31 percent also says the agency’s interrogation actions were justified.
One reason is that 53 percent think these interrogations produced important information that could not have been obtained any other way. Just 31 percent reject this claim, a focus of the recent debate.
So yeah, solid majorities in favor of “enhanced interrogation techniques” because “they work”, and “got us intelligence we could not have otherwise gotten”, and that the Senate Democrats should never have released the damn report at all.
Also, 47% found the report unfair to the CIA, and 57% think there should be no charges against those responsible (only 1 in 3 want to see prosecution.) Hell, even 46% of self-identified liberals and 46% of registered Democrats believe the CIA actions were justified.
The majority of the country is no different from Dick Cheney in this respect. Some 13 years after 9/11, we’re still a nation of bloodthirsty monsters. Politically this issue is a loser for team D and they know it, and you’d better believe we’ll hear over the next two years how those weak, Neville Chamberlain liberals should never be allowed to be in charge of foreign policy anymore. This report is going to go away very, very quickly.
Yay Team Torture! America is firmly a charter member, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
What kind of headline is “Six in 10 See CIA Actions as Justified As Many Question Committee Report”? How about “Polls show media has utterly failed in its duty to inform the public about the basic fucking facts of the torture program”?
Somedays I really just hate most people.
You forgot to put cowardly in front of bloodthirsty monsters. Ask those same people if they’d risk harm to protect America and you’ll hear a lot of feet moving in the opposite direction.
Dick Cheney has won. He will go down in history as a hero, as Himmler would have, I suppose, if Germany had won WWII.
And don’t forget, all the firebaggers and glibertarians will blame Obama.
Yep. At least they didn’t ask “should we increase the use of torture?”
In defense of the public, that is what MSM has told them. Truth be known they had the information on Osama, but didn’t pursue it, because the information was not gained through torture.
@C.V. Danes: Giving up already? I’m not.
Dick Cheney may as well run in 2016, seeing as how so many Americans share his views.
I’m 65, and as long as I can remember, polls have shown solid majorities opposing most elements of the Bill of Rights (2nd Amendment excepted, of course!). Truth is, constitutional democracy requires more hard work and risk than people are willing to accept. Hell, even voting is too much work.
Really haven’t much respected or trusted most neghbors for a while now. The 9-11 torture thing, that’s repeatedly been a searchlight on their moral foundations, The policing thing recently has joined it. One does rather expect a degree of self-indulgence and deliberate protective ignorence, but the levels the AmPublic reaches? Not only horrifying: shaming and frightening. Grubby. Because they repeatedly choose to be so ignorent, and on so many subjects, when the facile ignorence is 98.generally to their short-term benefit.
I’m willing to bet that many people who approve of torture do so because they consider it a just punishment. It’s American vindictiveness and it makes America look so awesomely immature.
This is why we need to keep talking about the report. The report refutes those claims about the torture being effective. We need to take a point from the Republicans, too, and talk about it FOREVER. 40 years from now we need to be still talking at every opportunity about how Cheney, etc. were evil liars who let Bin Laden kill 3,000 Americans and then chose to be evil torturing monsters rather than do interrogations that would catch him. Catching him and killing him was done by the Obama administration, partly because they *didn’t* torture.
Say it every day, in every way.
I would suggest that in your discussions (or rants) with unsympathetic relatives over the holidays, you focus like a laser on those 26 innocent people they tortured. Much like so many discussions of the death penalty, this one got derailed by philosphical hypotheticals, rather than the dirty, ugly, actual facts.
Could ANY crime ever warrant the death penalty? Could it EVER be justified to torture someone? Most people are going to answer both of these questions yes, and even if you disagree, they’re not monsters for thinking so. I think Eichmann got what he had coming, and if you actually had someone who knew the location of nuclear ticking time bomb, I’d agree you could take the gloves off if necessary.
I think that’s pretty much what the 52% are saying, because they didn’t get enough of the facts to go beyond the hypoethetical. But instead, you had a bumbling George W. Bush team–remember, the Katrina folks?–who tortured dozens of people based on misinformation or mistaken identity, tortured some people for weeks without even trying to interrogate them due to poor organization, and let at least one innocent guy freeze to death after forgetting him chained to a cement floor. Do you want the government to do this again? That’s the way I’d frame it.
Mr Stagger Lee
@Shirt: Too many people have Jack Bauer fantasies, and remember the same majority has no problems with the state of our nation’s prisons(until one of their own is thrown in). The stories of those imprisoned in far off lands under brutal authorities and the tortures are just that to John Q. is that, stories.
Americans have a naive thinking that are government is well…. just different from those governments.
Americans have been told they’re perfect citizens since birth. The idea that the Constitution was created by men who knew damn well nobody’s a perfect citizen and strove for a framework to account for that is not emphasized, because it neither sells crap to citizens nor gets them to vote for Sides A or B.
We don’t need to keep talking about it, we need to prosecute the people who were involved, convict the ones who are guilty and send them to prison.
That’s what a country that respects the rule of law does, and not just when it’s politically expedient to do so. The more Cheney talks, the more he makes a mockery of any pretense to justice in any other sphere.
@Shirt: Of course. Justifications for torture, like those for being “tough on crime” always begin by assuming that only the guilty are subjected to it.
Case in point: McLaughlin’s “we made some terrorists uncomfortable,” one of the sickest statements in this whole foul parade.
Beyond breaking treaties, moral convention and international and domestic law, the often unsaid result of a pro-torture policy is an open floodgate to the torture of our own captured troops. Who could support that?
On my TV, torture always works. it doesn’t make good tv when the hero tortures someone and they give the wrong information just to make it stop. I wonder if our security apparatus is self-aware enough to keep track of how many dead ends they tracked down just because of bad intel from torture
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
― Benjamin Franklin
@JMG: Exactly. This country panicked on 9/11 and ever since we’ve been lashing out blindly like a frightened, cornered animal.
When I was growing up in the 80’s and crime rates continued to soar, there were a lot of folks, who blamed it on Miranda Rights and if cops could crack a few skulls together, like they could in the “good old days”, all the criminals would be in jail and crime would go away.
The difference between our society pre- and post- 9/11 is that pre-9/11 the people in charge had a bit of decency and felt government should not just give into the Id of the loudest mob.
Bush & Co decided to egg the mob on.
If a wingnut gets in your face about this, just ask:
“So you thought the IRS reviewing applications for tax exempt status was a gross abuse of government power, but you’re fine with the CIA torturing and killing innocent people?”
If “enhanced interrogation techniques” aren’t torture and, in fact, are effective, shouldn’t we enact federal and state statutes to allow the FBI and state and local police use such methods.
I have long felt that the America died during the prior administration. One day, we will pay an awful price for our rejection of due process and fundamental human rights.
Gin & Tonic
@cahuenga: I posted in a late-night thread a couple of days ago, that a friend of my wife’s is a recently retired high-ranking US military officer. From what I’d seen of his FB comments since he retired, I’d just assumed he was a reflexive wingnut. Yet a couple of days ago he posted what I can best describe as an anti-Cheney diatribe, with a degree of venom I’d never yet seen.
@Brian R.: Nicely done.
We executed Japanese officers for waterboarding US soldiers in WWII. Page 1,059 of the Judgement of the International Millitary Tribunal for the Far East lists locations where the Japanese military conducted water torture (waterboarding):
As you can see it was quite extensive but was only one of many forms of torture for which members of the Japanese military were sentenced.
This might not be a good idea of national Dems to pursue, but I know on the local level it can be a fairly large win for those opposed to torture.
I have a significant number of Republicans and total wingnuts on my FB feed (grew up in Midland texas, went to Texas A&M, in the Marines for 6 years) and they have not uttered a peep about this new report. One reason might be was because I was vociferous in calling them out when torture first came to light. There are non-zero number of them that are also opposed to torture.
Maybe this country’s motto should be changed to “Just shoot me.” It would be entirely fitting on so many levels,.
I think you give far too much credit for how many conclusions are arrived at via reason and information vs. emotional reactions.
I think most of that 52% could read about how innocent people were tortured and either a) have a “well that’s too bad but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” reaction or b) insist that they were probably guilty of something because otherwise why were they captured in the first place. Or possibly both. I’ve already had these conversations.
Similarly the fact that no good information came of it would be rationalized – the report is a lie put out by Democrats to smear Republicans (a response I’ve already had to deal with) or the CIA or Bush or whatever. The ones who don’t think it’s a lie will put forward that even if they didn’t get anything this time, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t keep trying. Again – I’ve already had these conversations.
They want to believe that the USA can do no wrong, so when shown that the USA is in the wrong they spin themselves around in circles to get the world to conform to their desired emotional state. This is also how Ronald Reagan was elected – after decades of the USA being conclusively on the wrong side of history, people spun themselves into circles to justify everything that had been done in Vietnam and call it a good thing.
It’s why I suspect we will get another Republican president in either 2016 or 2020 – because a large majority of this country are sick of feeling bad about what America has been doing and will want to vote for someone who tells them its okay and that it isn’t monstrous when America does it.
Gin & Tonic
@JKC: This country panicked on 9/11
I do not recall that. I recall a sober and measured reaction in the immediate aftermath, with the whipping into a frenzy only starting later.
Have you considered that many of us really are that ignorant and not because we chose to be? As that paragon of American character review, Blazing Saddles, informed us, “you know, morons.”
@Gin & Tonic:
Not surprising. Torture is also prohibited by the Army Field Manual for a reason. What goes around comes around.
Given how involved Saddam Hussein was with carrying out the 9/11 attacks, how else would we get that information?
@Gin & Tonic:
He recognizes that he had served his country for decades and Chenny and his followers had thrown him under the bus.
@Ruckus: I’d expect true ignorance to have less of a bias in short term benefits. Seems to be a little backbone put into it. Gramted, the bar for sapiens-squared intelligence may be closer to ‘recognizes self as such in mirror” than I once assumed.
I’m glad my parents aren’t alive to see this ‘majority’. They would be ashamed of us.
“A bit of decency”? “The people in charge” have been ordering up torture for decades. It hardly began with 9/11. If you are not familiar with the “KUBARK” and “HRE” programs, look them up (the first is even mentioned briefly in the Senate report). These and other CIA methods stretch all the way back to the Agency’s inception, and then some.
Let’s cut right to the chase: These abuses were carried out against brown people. Muslim brown people. Ergo, who gives a shit.
That pretty much sums up this poll.
@Gin & Tonic: What really dealt the death blow to “America” was not 9/11 itself, but the way the Bush administration and the media conspired to use 9/11 as the pretext to launch the criminal invasion of another country.
@beltane: Needs more Latin.
Most people are blood thirsty and have to think about that position to effect a change. Survival at any cost to others is a very strong instinct and only analyzing about the ways justifying the means will change that. That requires reflection, empathy and logic, three things that many are short on.
I’d really like one of the wankers who keep saying this is a Christian nation to kindly explain to me why their founder who was declared an enemy of the State while innocent and then stripped naked, tortured, and killed, would suddenly be okay with America declaring an innocent man guilty, stripping him naked to humiliate him, beating and torturing him, and leaving him to die.
If they cannot do that, they can kindly go fuck themselves.
See my post at #41
@Ruckus: I’d add long-term v. short-term thinking to the list.
...now I try to be amused
A lot of those people believe in a vindictive god and torture as punishment in the afterlife. In that sense, torture is literally Hell on Earth.
@Comrade Dread: Because Jesus wasn’t awesome like America is. Fuck yeah!
@jonas: Exactly. White America mostly approves of the gunning down of non-white American children, it’s not like they’re going to care if some innocent brown people abroad are ass-raped by the CIA. As a white person, I have had to accept the fact that most other white people I have to deal with are sick, perverted scum who rank among the worst specimens of humanity our species has ever produced.
@beltane: And then there is the Pakistani Taliban
O/T but a big f***ing deal as Joe Biden would say:
President Obama in talks with Raul Castro to re-open US Embassy in Havana, normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Cuba has released American prisoner Alan Gross, and the US has released three imprisoned Cuban nationals.
Marco Rubio is pouting.
Don’t even suggest that, not even in jest! Yes, the majority of American’s would gladly allow police to use torture to gain evidence to convict criminals. They never imagine themselves under the water personally just ‘those bad guys’. Look at how many support short circuiting the appeals process so people can be put to death quickly even though there are a huge number of proven false conviction on death row. We live in a land of small-minded, ignorant assholes quaking in fear who do not deserve the marvelous government the founders created because they can’t be bothered to think.
@D58826: That’s one of my least favorite quotes, because really it makes no sense. It’s not logically true and morally kind of bone-headed.
It’s really all humans.
We are all horrible Nazis, Maoists, Stalinists, Ku Kluxers, Radio Hutu, Khmer Rouge, Lords Resistance Army, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda mofos.
That’s just a small selection of bums from the last 100 years or so.
You are right. We should never forget the struggles the average Bubba McLardass must endure to survive. The pulling oneself off the couch and away from the big screen TV. The arduous walk through the climate controlled house to the garage. The exertion needed to climb into the SUV. The drive through hostile territory where black and brown people might be laying in wait. The line at the drive-through. The need to roll down the window and expose oneself to possible Muslim attack. The troubling thought that the over-paid minimum wage worker at the drive-through got your order wrong and failed to super-size your meal. Starvation looms. It’s a jungle out there. Only the rugged and the ruthless can survive.
excellent writing, thanks.
@raven: If it had been a US military strike on the same school with the same death toll, many of us would be back to patting ourselves on the back with out awesomeness. We are no better than anyone, but we are more hypocritical than most.
@JohnnyB: Oh, we’re going to get back there eventually. It wasn’t that long ago that we were beating confessions out of people or whipping them with hoses or sodomizing them with plungers or even skipping the trial and going straight to hanging them from trees.
We are a bloodthirsty, violent people with a thin veneer of civility. .
@beltane: Don’t forget the near ubiquity of torture we observe in the non-human animal kingdom. Because torture is all about actual survival, rather than all about preserving the illusion of doing something or the delusion of still being in control.
@beltane: yea yea
Awww, poor babies. After nearly 10 years of EIT’s being referred to as “torture” by Democrats in government and the media, a majority of the American people are wise enough to know it wasn’t. And do you know why? Because nobody was prosecuted for committing actual torture.
Face it, your anti-American agitprop didn’t work. I could suggest that all of you do a little self-reflection, but I won’t since “progressives”/regressives/Democrat terrorist-enabling appeasers don’t know how to do that.
Not just that, but torture of our own people. If the CIA can get away with it, then what about the FBI?
They attacked the proces which took place in a congess with abysmal ratings and not the content. Of course they’ll win the argument. Dems need some better debate coaching or something
The banality of evil. I have often wondered what a day in the life was like for the good people Ottstedt, living close enough to see the trains, to smell the smoke, probably to provide rest and relaxation to the guards. “Good and decent” Christian people who must have known, could not have not known, what was going on just a mile or so down the road. What lies did they tell themselves, what fears did they allow themselves to be cowered by? I have no doubt they were exactly like me and all my neighbors in most every way, nobody would suggest they were evil . . . and yet there they were, the very heart of evil.
The last 15 years have shown me how easy it would be to get to that place & time.
I expect that the answer is a hearty no.
Where’s my foam finger? I’ll show you. Darn nattering nabobs of negativism. America is awesome and you’re just upset because not everyone wants to bash America like you do, America-hating hippie scum.
WE’RE NUMBER ONE IN TORTURE LIKE WE ARE IN EVERYTHING ELSE.
@Comrade Dread: Acccording to Reza Azlan Jesus most definitely was an enemy of the state. In fact, Jesus was an enemy of most everything most Christians nowadays seem to hold near and dear to their hearts.
I’m curious about how they collected this data and what the demographic breakdown is. I have a distinct feeling that having melanin in one’s skin skews the results more towards the “no” category.
I’m more concerned about the number of liberals who think torture “works”. The hell did they find those people?
69% of Americans supported Rusty Calley, including then-Governor Jimmy Carter, after the slaughter at My Lai became public knowledge.
Too often we’re an ugly, bloodthirsty people.
@Cacti: Since Cuba is our mortal enemy, this is good news for John McCain.
@JMV Pyro: Old people, even liberal old people, who watch cable news all day are going to be frightened and misinformed. I’ve seen people in my own family, liberals all, gradually become transformed into worse people due to the concerted efforts of the media, and that includes NPR and the Snooze Hour.
I guess you’re right. Stuffing a feed tube up someone’s ass against their will might more properly be defined as rape. So we’re rapists instead of torturers. I can sleep easier now that it’s been cleared up.
@SteveAR: Fuck you, you sadistic little coward. I don’t care if 98% are in favor of torture, it is still wrong.
You fuckers can tase me, beat me, hang me from the ceiling, and fill me full of bullets. It won’t change a damn thing. I can go to my grave and it will still be true. I’m right, you’re wrong, and you goddam well know it.
we’re sick, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better…if it does get better…
The generation that grew up with TV doesn’t know fact from fiction. And bloodthirsty monsters is a good description for a lot of them.
@C.V. Danes: We’re also Sodomites. Not a particularly good reputation to have, but some among us will take pride in just about anything.
Well that is one small piece but the other piece, to pick just one, waterboarding, has been defined as torture even before WWII. As noted repeatedly the US military tried and executed Japanese soldiers after 1945 for the very acts Americans today see as simply “Enhanced Interrogation”. The Nazi’s were right, nobody questions the victors.
@JPL: The usual suspects are already pissing and moaning that Obama’s new approach rewards the evil Cuban government. (sigh) we have been trying the Rubio approach since 1960 and it hasn’t worked so maybe we might want to try something a bit different in 2014. Besides if we can make nice with Vietnam, China and Russia, none know as human rights havens, then I think we can survive talking to the Cubans.
And then there was the CIA’s Phoenix program, in which one saw — for example — young Vietnamese women — unarmed civilians — disemboweled and slowly killed, stinking and steaming in front of their sisters — spreading its own insanity in its wake. And the so-called men who followed orders from the Phoenix? Some like William Calley were prosecuted and quickly pardoned; others were awarded medals; one winner of the Bronze Star even became a Senator and sought the Presidency of the United States.
In short: the atrocity that happened on 9/11 was, and is being, used in an attempt to justify our own further atrocities, but did it somehow catalyze an entire CIA torture program into existence? Of course not.
@C.V. Danes: But SteveAR and his cohortAR as revealed in the full flabby glory of their moral underoos are totally ok with Rape. Gay marriage, that’s an abomination: Christian warriers threaten to rape people’s mothers in front of them.
Does this mean that Cuba will now be open to American tourists? Will there be direct flights?
Tell me more about your “self-reflection.” It interests me strangely.
Rob in CT
That’s from the poll. Democrats are 46-45 for/against (while agreeing 63-29 that what was done was torture. So that’s a lot of “yes, it was torture and I’m fine with it”). That’s atrocious. Even self-described liberal Democrats can only muster up a modest majority against torture. Republicans, of course, are predictably gung-ho pro-torture, with Indies (“principled libertarians” and “true leftists” all, I suppose!) inbetween.
Those poll results really, really suck. I doubt poll results regarding doing this stuff to Germans in 1944 would’ve looked much better. At lot of the time, people suck.
@Schlemazel: I don’t think white America’s support of state violence, whether that violence is perpetuated by the CIA or state or local police, has anything to do with fear. It’s just a love of violence when that violence is directed at racial, ethnic, or religious groups white Americans don’t like. Similarly, Germany didn’t kill 6 million Jews because they feared them. They did it because they hated them and grew to love executing them en masse.
Does anyone doubt that if a Republican Presidential candidate advocated laws to give complete immunity to state and local police officers, their departments, and the states or municipalities who employ them to use any type of violence they deem fit, that the candidate wouldn’t soar to the top of the polls and his suggested policies earn their enthusiastic support?
Last night saw Mike Morrell, former Deputy Director of the CIA being interviewed by Charlie Rose. He’s obviously a smart guy, emphasized repeatedly that he was looking out for former agents. He comes off almost sounding reasonable, but at a certain point (probably about the tenth time he said that agents were just following orders) I realized he could probably have justified almost any behavior in his mind. I think that Dick Cheney was lucky to have a guy like Mike Morrell on his team. The country was unlucky enough to have both of these creatures serving at the same time.
When I see polling results on torture the only thing I conclude is that Americans don’t deserve America!
@beltane: It sounds like that will be one of the things that US and Cuban diplomats will discuss going forward. The embargo will remain in effect because Congress codified it into law in 1996. The ABC report is that we will open an embassy in Havana.
How many prisoners did Cuba torture in the last 13 years?
@GregB: Well, I am a horrible Nazi, or Maoist, or Stalinist, or Ku Kluxer, or Radio Hutu, or Khmer Rouge, or Lords Resistance Army, or Boko Haram, or Al Qaeda mofos. All the good ones get in.
How many people STILL believe that Iraq had something to do with 9/11?
I guess the good news is that it doesn’t take much to be in the moral elite in this country.
@Rob in CT: Agreed. People like the idea of inflicting harm on The Enemy. Like EconWatcher was saying earlier, the frame that helps most is probably “torture of innocent people by mistake,” and even then if the innocent people are suspected terrorists or terror-adjacent, you’ll still get a lot of poll respondents saying that even that’s justified because They are bent on harming Us by any means at their disposal.
@shelley: Many, many people. First of all, the average American, even many semi-educated ones, thinks that all the tens of millions of “those people” are all part of some indistinguishable mass anyway so what difference does invading the wrong country make. It reminds me of all those people who, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, made threatening phone calls to the Czech embassy because they assumed the Czech Republic=Chechnya and who cares because all foreigners are scary and bad.
@? Martin: I’m sure quite a few but if that is to be the metric by which we establish diplomatic relations then the number of US diplomats will fit into a phone booth.
So where are all those people who were telling me I was so condescending to blame American voters for having their heads up their asses?
They hate us because most of us are fucking assholes.
@? Martin: I’m sure it was much fewer than the United States.
Rob in CT
I’ve pointed out the innocence of people detained indefinitely and/or tortured before, with limited success. It works better, I guess, than arguing flatly that torture is simply wrong (which it is) and corrupts us (which it does, or perhaps better to say it hands power to the worst of us). But it still doesn’t work very well. Plus, it has a serious problem at its heart: someone can just agree that yes, that was bad and shouldn’t be done, but the rest of it was a-ok.
Results like this make me feel the way I felt after the election in ’04. A mixture of despair and disdain. It’s not a good feeling, and it certainly isn’t useful. But I can’t fight it off right now.
@Rob in CT:
Look at how people thought about the invasion of Iraq in 2003; see what they think about it now.
It takes work and sacrifice and many people hurt meanwhile — but opinion can be shifted.
Kryptik, A Man Without a Country
@Rob in CT:
Between this, the rush in the aftermath of Garner, Brown, and Ricer to declare Cops just super fucking awesome and blacks honorary enemies of the state, and the fucking election, it really does feel like this country is just on an unstoppable backslide of apathy and hate. And god help me, I don’t want to see where the bottom is, if we get to the bottom any time soon.
Surprised we aren’t waiting for Fidel to die to do this.
Also, this shows weakness by Team Obama, as the Cuban government owes American firms billions of dollars and I bet Obama’s not going to stick up for American business, as he’s as much of a Communist as Castro. / wingnut
@shelley: Just because there is no proof doesn’t mean that they were not involved.
Rob in CT
@Kryptik, A Man Without a Country:
Right, those things play into my mood too.
I know all of that. I do. I just don’t *feel* it at the moment. I’ll come around.
@Rob in CT: Glad to hear it.
Torture is one of the defining characteristics that we use to identify tyrannical governments. When government officials torture, and the rest of government acquiesces, in violation of law and the Constitutional prohibition against cruel punishment, we have a tyranny.
What are you personally going to do about it, besides complaining on a blog?
As Paul Simon sad in his song “The Boxer”, “…a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Rob in CT
What do you suggest?
Protests? Ok, sure. Not that it did squat when millions protested Iraq!, The Sequel.
Revolution? That basically never works out well.
Vote, vote, vote. Write your congresscritters. Argue with people, on the ‘net and off. Keep on it. That’s all I got. It isn’t much, but then I suspect it’s as good or better than your ideas (whatever they might be).
There are only two things driving those poll results, depending on the person: actual ignorance and simple refusal to confront the truth. I’d venture that for every one citizen who read the full panoply of NYT articles in the wake of the report’s release and was appalled, 20 people have gotten their information regarding the report solely from television or radio outlets. We all know how thorough and committed to a sober laying out of all the facts those outlets are, of course. I witnessed, for instance, a moment on NPR last week, during a top of the hour news break, where Dave Mattingly presented but two stories, one of which was replaying a couple of Dick Cheney’s venomous Faux News interview quotes, with no pushback or context whatsoever.
Those who have actually grasped a glimmering of how bad this is, how poorly the CIA behaved in our name, and how worthless and poorly managed the program was, are by and large being willfully obtuse because the alternative is too hard. The more we talk about it the more they think haughty liberals are shoving their own complicity in their face, and the more they close up about it because they feel shamed. This is no different than their resentment of what they felt came across as triumphalism in 2004, when we were shouting I told you so’s about Iraq. In 20 years, they may on their own come to the conclusion that this was a bad thing and a shameful episode in American history where we betrayed our better angels, but only because by that point it’s so removed in time that their sense of having been involved, their own complicity, is lessened.
We need to keep talking about the report now, not so much to convince people of how we signed off on evildoing, but to lay the groundwork for them to come to that conclusion, on their own, years from now. If the report is buried with no fanfare, they’ll never think back on it in 2030.
True. So true.
@Rob in CT:
As I recall from a poll a few years ago, more catholics as a percentage supported Gitmo than atheists. Nothing surprises me anymore about people.
So now what? Are we going to negotiate with Japan to figure out how much money the US government owes to the Japanese soldiers we prosecuted for torture during WWII? After all, that apparently wasn’t torture. Or if it was, they apparently had every right to do it as I understand the dwarfed logic of my fellow Americans.
It will be fun to watch us lecture other countries for human rights violations…
Big Picture Pathologist
@Gin & Tonic: would love to see it if you got a link.
Just watched Monday’s TDS which featured Chuck Tawd kind of pressing Cheney on the torture memo and specifically bringing up Japanese water torture of US GIs and Cheney fucking lied to Chucky and the cameras that it wasn’t true. He goddamn well knows that they did the identical thing and it was a war crime punishable by execution then, and nothing has changed making it less of a crime today.
“The real torture is what was done to three-thousand Americans by nineteen jihadis armed with boxcutters on nine-eleven.”
I don’t have the vocabulary needed to adequately describe Cheney’s level of evil.
@trollhattan: Cheney’s very name will do going foreward.
Based on the extremely limited sample of my Facebook feed, I think that the punishment angle is a big factor. There’s also a pretty heavy leavening of “they’d do the same to our people” in there, too.
Whatever Jesus may have said about “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the Old Testament “eye for an eye” still appeals to a lot of people.
@Bobby Thomson: That’s what I’m thinking as well.
I don’t think Americans as a whole are any better or any worse than citizens of any other country. However, what makes the opinions of those troglodytes more scary is that they have a party dedicated to carrying out their fevered dreams of revenge. See for example, Iraq
Pro-torture? You should not be tolerated.
If you believe that “they” had torture coming because “they” attacked “us” on 9/11, or because “they” chop off “our” heads, you are psychotic and sociopathic and should not be free to walk the streets, much less sit on juries or vote or drive a car or hold a job that a perfectly sane unemployed person needs.
If you diminish the exquisite horror of torture — if you think sleep deprivation and blasting loud music into victims’ ears and solitary confinement and stress positions and mock executions and beatings are not “really” torture — I want you locked up, the key thrown away, never to be heard from again. You are not fit to be near children or animals.
You may enjoy it for the first fifty years or so, but then you’ll find it starts to get old.
At least prior to gitmo, we had some moral high ground…Now we apparently tortured innocent people.
No, we were not on any moral high ground “prior to [G]itmo.”
I suspect that many, perhaps most, of the public don’t think of this as torture at all. Rather, it is revenge. Revenge against the Muslims of the world for 9-11, for IEDs in Iraq, for every American killed or wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq. As such, it is, in their minds, completely justified. After all, the Bible says “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” And 100 Muslims for an American.
This is why the Obama Administration didn’t prosecute the torturers. They’d never get a conviction. And that would only cement the “legality” of torture in the “minds” of the GOP.
Tree With Water
Seriously twisted implications were in the cards when the democratic party first allied itself with those republicans who plotted and launched the Iraq War. Their subsequent behavior (“impeachment is off the table”; “Let us look forward, not back”) merely served to embolden the party of rule or ruin. Those poll results shouldn’t shock a soul.
You are right. Let’s not forget how we helped overthrow the democratically elected government of Chile. Or how about Iran.
That would make sense if those folks were consistent. But these same folks pick and choose what they believe in their precious bible.
No, I think this is a larger group than the 15-25% solid fringe right-wing. This includes ordinary people who aren’t concerned with the religious, political or ideological, just the emotional. Sure, they’re sometimes inconsistent too; aren’t we all?
Sure, they’re sometimes inconsistent too; aren’t we all?
Of course. But you can for sure count me out when the inconsistency involves torture and murder of other human beings. I guess that’s where I, unlike other folks, draw the line…
well as I have always heard the History books are written by the winners
Hope the thread isn’t dead, just in from work.
I think, or at least I hope you understand that I wasn’t equating Johnny lardass getting another Red Bull and container of cookies from the kitchen with survival. But that is the instinct that drives that, even if constantly stuffing one’s face isn’t necessary for survival an in fact is harmful of course. Had a friend who claimed he’d only run if chased. Told him if he didn’t practice and stay in shape his lard ass wouldn’t be running faster than the person chasing him. You know like being faster than the bear, it’s not necessary, you just have to be faster than your buddy. He hadn’t thought that far ahead.
@Gin & Tonic:
link? I too would love to read your friend’s diatribe.
So the “proof” it didn’t happen is that nobody got prosecuted. By that standard, Christ didn’t get crucified because Pontius Pilate didn’t get fired. The sheer gall of twisting logic like that to call other people “appeasers” … well, all I can say is that I’d like to hear SteveAR squealing when they do it to him.
As others have noted, the media has been pretty terrible reporting on all this (with some notable exceptions). If that were not the case, the numbers would probably look quite different.