Americans Supported Torture Because They Were Deceived into Thinking that it was a Necessary Evil → Washingtons Blog
Americans Supported Torture Because They Were Deceived into Thinking that it was a Necessary Evil - Washingtons Blog

Monday, May 11, 2009

Americans Supported Torture Because They Were Deceived into Thinking that it was a Necessary Evil

I have written numerous essays documenting that torture doesn't work (see this, for example).

In response, many people have commented by saying:

"Who cares whether or not it works? It is illegal, unethical and unacceptable".

Well yes, of course it is. But it is in one sense even more important that it does not work (and that it reduces our national security).


Because - as president-elect of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Roy Eidelson, points out - most Americans supported the use of torture because they were deceived into thinking that it works and was a necessary tool in a life-or-death war on terror.

For example, Eidelson points out that a nationwide poll run in January 2009 asked a national sample of Americans, "Do you think the use of harsh interrogation techniques, including torture, has ever saved American lives since the September 11 (2001) terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?" The results: 45% "Yes" and 41% "No" (with 14% responding "Don't Know"). In other words, almost half of Americans think torture "works."

Indeed, Eidelson notes out that the administration conducted a sophisticated propaganda campaign to "sell" Americans on the use of torture.

The fact that torture is illegal, unethical and unacceptable is not enough to convince the majority of American people that those who ordered it should be prosecuted.

It is vital to spread the facts, because only the truth that torture does not work will wake the public up and lead to prosecutions.


  1. Good point. There are so many important arguments to be made - and we need to make them all.

    I'm sure Jack Bauer played no small role in convincing Americans torture works as well.

  2. . . . and also because (the ones that supported it) they wanted to have someone else do their thinking for them, and if those people said torture was necessary, they did not want to question it. They wanted to be saved by someone and they didn't care how (or even if there was a real thing to be saved from).

  3. If most Americans believed for whatever reason torture was ok , deceived or not , they should not have even considered the argument. It was plainly against the law and the Geneva Convention clearly states a Nation cannot change the definition for any reason.

    As for the Shrinks saying we were deceived includes them as they showed by the vote at their convention supporting it. Oh Yeah I forgot, they were present when some of this happened.

    Are there a large number of them live, yep , in the south, what religion why of course Evangelical (God's little people).

    For Shrinks, MD's, Ministers, General's to be participants in these crimes bring shame on all of us and prosecution in the only cleansing agent.

  4. I'm surprised that the usual clear thinking on this blog gave way to nonsense with this post. 45% does not constitute a "majority of Americans," the pollster concludes Americans were mislead instead of capable of forming an opinion in favor of torture.

    I agree that torture is morally wrong and should not be used. My own non-scientific conclusion is that you're going to get one and only one outcome from a poll conducted by a group named Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

  5. What a LAME excuse! americans supported torture because we don't give a shit! Unless it directly affects us personally, we don't give a fuck about nuthin! You know it, I know it, the world knows it.

  6. Uh, if The Grey Tiger can't tell the difference between the membership of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and "the Shrinks" who were involved in the torture program, or if Grey Tiger thinks that membership of PSR were in any way involved in the torture, then I would advise Grey Tiger to remove cranium from rectum before commenting further.


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