Torture: It is “Who We Are”

CIA Torture was “contrary to who we are”

— Barack Obama 


Well, it was just a matter of time till the pollsters revealed that yes, it is who we are. And this is how the rest of the world sees us.

In a WaPo-ABC News poll out today, it appears that the subversion of American morality has been completed:

A majority of Americans believe that the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were justified, even as about half the public says the treatment amounted to torture, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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.”

This is a sad day for America, and those Americans who disapproved of our military “strategy.” Our chickens will inevitably come home to roost, as any nation of torturers will eventually pay the price for its evil. Today I am not proud to call myself an “American.”


  1. On a related note 1400 likes 18 dislikes.

  2. JC, given the education system, the news system, the entertainment system (see comment above), I don’t know how you could possibly expect a different outcome. There are tens of millions of smart, sentient and thinking Americans, but out of 330 million you’re always going to be disappointed by polls.

    • JC

      I didn’t expect a different outcome. In fact the polls were a bit of confirmation bias for me. It’s one thing for me to say our country is full of a bunch of torture supporters and deserves to be held accountable by the world community. It’s another thing when the WaPo/ABC News MSM folks confirm that we are ok with torture.

      So sure, our CiC can assure those abroad, and those who want soothing pablum at home, that our actions do not speak to our values. But when it is confirmed that there is a disconnect between the official propaganda line, and polling, then we can point to the propaganda coming from Obama and show that he has no more integrity than the president that came before him.

      It’s like the final nail in the coffin for me. There is no return from the depths of executive overreach and administrative totalitarianism that we have succumbed. And the militarization of the police is just another symptom. It will only get worse until we are stopped by outside forces.

  3. Descartes walks into a fast food joint and orders a burger, The young woman behind the counter asks if he’d like fries with that. He replies “I don’t think so ..” and *poof*, he disappears.

    I don’t think this poll proves that Americans “favor” torture at all. What it does prove is that we remain terrified (as a people) of uncertainty. We want to ‘know’ and we want to be ‘right’ as in ‘correct’. That’s why juries don’t work anymore, Grand or otherwise. That’s why voting doesn’t work anymore. Only those who are certain can actually control anything. The media narrative, as Mark suggests, is geared entirely towards keeping the people uncertain. That’s the appeal of being “fair and balanced”, “we report, you decide”. It relieves the burden of uncertainty, a malaise that Swede has certainly never suffered from.

    There was next to no public outcry when the news was released that Ray Rice had punched his fiancée/wife into unconsciousness, plead no contest in court and was duly sentenced. There was somewhat more when his corporate employer that we all love didn’t take strong enough action against him to appeal to our mundane but more certain sense of justice. It wasn’t until the elevator video was released that most people could state with certainty “wow, that was wrong!”. I suggest that until video is released of a feeding tube being shoved up someone’s ~ahem~ rectum, the public will continue to err on the side of ‘certainty’ about this torture. And please note, nowhere in this poll was it asked about people later determined to be innocent being tortured. That was in the report, but no one seems to talk about it (except Dick Cheney and he knows what he’s doing.) I wonder what the response would be if folks were asked: “What do you think of the country torturing innocent people as part of systemic program of ‘enhanced interrogation?”

    • I am no student of philosophy, so I don’t gets the Descartes joke. But here is one I do get: Sartre is in a coffee shop, and asks for tea, without cream. The waitress says “I am sorry sir. We are out if cream. Would you like it without milk”

    • Damned IPad. Anyway, my thinking about thought control is not so crude as you imagine. People are not suseceptle to foreign concepts, and so have to be schooled their entire lives before they adopt a whole program of propaganda such as ours. It is lifelong, and reinforced by schools, news and entertainment. You can’t even go to a baseball game without getting a dose.

      But deeper down, people hate other people, not as individuals, but as groups, and so can easily be led into horrid treatment of others if given proper stimuli. TV is an excellent hate tool. Mustachioed demons, supposed hijackers with evil faces flying jets into buildings, create a climate where hatred is OK. And ergo torture.

      • Mark, no one here is missing your point. It’s a good point, whether we agree with your extended conclusions or not. Did you read my last post? You and I are not disagreeing as much as you seem hopeful that we are.

        • I am not “hopeful” about disagreeing, but do react when you characterize my views in a manner that shortchanges them. If you want to understand management of public opinion, you’ve got to go back to the early twentieth century, the progressives, some work by French scholars (Trotter, LeBon) on crowd behavior and that of individuals in groups, and then on the Committee on Public Danger (an outgrowth of the British effort to get the US into the First World War), along with Lippmann and Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Bernays. The consensus of that time, which led to the sophisticated propaganda regime we live under today, was that two things were critical in management of public opinion: 1), that people must believe they have a voice, and 2), that public opinion is studiously ignored, as the public is stupid.

          Will read your piece today as we travel the roads of Montana.

        • S/B “Committee on Public Information,” a group whose whose work was so effective that anti-German hatred brought about book burning even in little Lewistown Montana, and other places.

  4. Lets all gather around Hillary and what she said a few weeks ago.

    “This is what we call smart power: using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security, and leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect, even for one’s enemies, trying to understand and insofar as psychologically possible empathize with their perspective and point of view — helping to define the problems, determine the solutions, that is what we believe in the 21st Century will change. Change the prospects for peace.”

    • “What she said” are words of a politician running for office, designed to influence certain constituencies. Such words are of no value. She did not write them, but they are crafted to appeal to liberals and progressives, who she needs to be elected. In the meantime, she has aligned herself with the Neocon faction. It is shaping up as a contest between another Bush and another Clinton, two Neocons, lose-lose, typical of American politics.

  5. steve kelly

    As we look about noticing things we’re supposed to notice, even the “BIG” news of the day, there are huge cyclical events happening in the global currency/finance sector. Not a peep. Hillary, Bush(s), even Cheney are common soldiers to the powers that settle country-to-country accounts.

    Where’s the poll asking distracted, and yes, fearful beyond reason, Americans if they want to be part of a new global currency system?

    Senator Tester, another foot soldier, serves on the banking committee. Anyone think he’s going to hold field hearings in Montana?

    • JC

      Yep, JC Collins at PhilosphyOfMetrics is doing some great work on this stuff. Just started reading him, and Jay’s Analysis.

      Tester, in his fights against community banks and for wall street during the FinReg battles in the banking committee really showed his colors. He’s about as corrupt as they come. Even moreso than Conrad Burns in some ways. At least Connie would tell you straight up what he was going to do.

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