A new survey of global public opinion [PDF] reveals the appalling truth. Americans are now among the people on earth most supportive of government's torturing prisoners. The United States is in the same public opinion ballpark as some of the most disgusting regimes on the planet:
Support for the unequivocal position was highest in Spain (82%), Great Britain (82%) and France (82%), followed by Mexico (73%), China (66%), the Palestinian territories (66%), Poland (62%), Indonesia (61%), and the Ukraine (59%). In five countries either modest majorities or pluralities support a ban on all torture: Azerbaijan (54%), Egypt (54%), the United States (53%), Russia (49%), and Iran (43%). South Koreans are divided.
So America's peers in the fight against torture, in terms of public opinion are Azerbaijan, Egypt, Russia, and Iran. This is what America now is: a country with the moral values of countries that routinely torture and abuse prisoners, like Egypt and Iran. Even the Chinese, living in a neo-fascist market state, oppose torture in all circumstances by 66 percent, compared to Americans where only 53 percent do! More horrifying: a higher percentage of Americans - 13 percent - believe that torture should generally be allowed than in any other country save China, Turkey and Nigeria. And in the last two years, as the American president celebrates and authorizes the torture of people who have not been allowed a fair trail, support for torturing terror suspects has increased from 36 percent to 44 percent.
The only other countries where support for torturing terror suspects has grown are India, Nigeria, Turkey, South Korea and Egypt. In all other developed countries, support for an absolute ban on torture has actually risen in the past two years. America is now leading the way in legitimizing and celebrating torture as a legitimate tool for governments.
This is the Bush-Cheney legacy - to be continued under McCain-Palin. McCain was once a torture victim, but since 2006 has supported the torture of prisoners by the CIA. In fact, prisoners across the world who have been tortured by the CIA in the last two years can, in the terror of their cells, know that John McCain made it possible, by caving into the war criminals in the White House in 2006.
How can the country that pioneered the Geneva Conventions now be a nation more supportive of torture than any other developed nation on earth? Of course, it matters that we have had a president and vice-president actively endorsing and campaigning for the use of torture, and torturing prisoners routinely in jails where there is no escape and no due process. But the key segment of the pro-torture enthusiasts are evangelical Christians. Yes: evangelical Christians are now the greatest supporters of doing to prisoners what was once done to Christ.