Sunday, April 10, 2016

243.8 - Outrage of the Week Number 2: Nearly 2/3 of Americans approve of torture

Outrage of the Week Number 2: Nearly 2/3 of Americans approve of torture

What could be as bad or even worse than that? Try this:

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken the end of March, nearly 2/3 of Americans - 63% - believe that torture is "often" or "sometimes" justified when directed "against suspected terrorists to obtain information about terrorism." That's an increase of 19 percentage points from a 2014 survey by Amnesty International. Only 15% of respondents rejected torture. And yes, while more GOPpers than dumcrats endorsed torture, still a majority of the party of our Nobel Peace Prize prez said "sure, waterboarding, maybe pull out a few fingernails, what the heck."

Those numbers put us in the same general territory as Nigeria - which is fighting a seven-year-old insurgency that has displaced 2 million people and killed thousands - and Kenya - which has been the target of a series of lethal attacks launched by the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

What is wrong with us? How did we become such a timorous, frightened, trembling people?

How did we come to throw away our sense of morality, our sense of simple decency, our very humanity, in support of forms of brutality that don't even work?

No, torture does not work. Period. Not only are there numerous studies both historical and psychological, even our own US Senate knows it. A 2014 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee determined that the torture - the "enhanced interrogation" - used by the CIA in the years following 9/11 was essentially useless.

Even the 20 examples the CIA came up with to claim that torture was not totally useless were found by the Committee to be wrongly characterized.

The best you can hope for with torture is that it's useless - rather than being counterproductive by both being useless and increasing anger toward us and so creating new terrorists.

This should be old news - it is old news. So why are so many people in the "home of the brave" huddling in the corner, sucking their thumbs, clutching a security blanket?

It has become difficult for me not to be ashamed of being an American.

You know, back in December their was a brief fuss when the New York Times revealed allegations that back in 2012 Navy SEALs had tortured detainees in their care in Afghanistan. When Army soldiers who witnessed it reported it to their superiors, not only did the SEALs receive no serious discipline, the brutal methods continued until an innocent Afghan man died after less than a day in their custody - and the whole thing was hushed up, hidden away, concealed.

It appears now that in the future they needn't go to the trouble of hiding it - or even stopping it. And that is an incredible outrage.

Sources cited in links:

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