Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Americans like their torture

By Michael J.W. Stickings

According to this Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans think that "the use of harsh interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects was justified."

Which is to say, 55 percent of Americans support the use of torture.

Now, it's possible that many Americans don't quite understand the nature of "harsh interrogation techniques." If they haven't been paying attention -- and who can, with American Idol down to its final five? (Go... well, I don't really like any of them this year. Go Matt or Kris, I suppose, or maybe Allison) -- they might not know just what Bush and Cheney authorized. It's also possible that many Americans simply don't want to believe -- ignorance is bliss, of course -- that their oh-so-beloved country tortured.

So it's somewhat promising that 51 percent of Americans, another majority, "favor... a government investigation into the use of harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects." Perhaps, just perhaps, as more comes out, as more people come to understand that "harsh interrogation techniques" is a euphemism for torture, and that the U.S. did in fact torture, perhaps the tide will turn against "harsh interrogation techniques" for good.

Simply put, Americans deserve to know -- we all deserve to know, I would argue -- just what happened under Bush and Cheney. Ultimately, Americans should be able to make up their minds not in blissful ignorance but with a full understanding of what happened, that is, they should be able to do so under the influence of the truth, not of the lies of Cheneyesque propaganda.

Even then, will many Americans still support the use of torture. Yes, alas, I fear they will. But at least we will have a more accurate picture, should the truth come out, of the extent of America's pathological bloodlust, including of the bloodlust that drove Bush, Cheney, et al. to do what they did.

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