Americans Against Torture

Voc_war_pris_1_pic_abu_ghraib_2

From a political science symposium:

Many journalists and politicians believe that during the Bush administration, a majority of Americans supported torture if they were assured that it would prevent a terrorist attack….But this view was a misperception…we show here that a majority of Americans were opposed to torture throughout the Bush presidency…even when respondents were asked about an imminent terrorist attack, even when enhanced interrogation techniques were not called torture, and even when Americans were assured that torture would work to get crucial information. Opposition to torture remained stable and consistent during the entire Bush presidency. Even soldiers serving in Iraq opposed the use of torture in these conditions…a public majority in favor of torture did not appear until, interestingly, six months into the Obama administration.

The conclusion:

The people who had the most accurate perception of public attitudes turned out to be the people nobody believed or supported throughout the Bush administrationthe 29% who were most opposed to torture.

This strikes me as a classic example of how much of the political class simply assumes the worst of the American people and acts in morbid fear of the far right, when fear is utterly unjustified. The contemporary right's politics of total war - in which there is no accountability for the past, relentless focus on slogans, and extreme positioning - has intimidated non-authoritarians.

The right response to bullies is always courage - and argument. And yet the Democrats and decent Republicans too often reflexively adopt the defensive, cowardly crouch. It's wrong and it empowers the bullies.

(Hat tip: Sides)

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Just In