Skip to main content

Poll: Most Support Torture Of Terrorism Suspects

A new poll released on March 30 shows that 63 percent of Americans support torturing people who are suspected of terrorism, which means they have not been tried or convicted of terrorism in any court of law.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 63 percent of Americans support of this policy "against suspected terrorists to obtain information about terrorism."

Reuters notes that this level of support for torture is normally seen in countries such as Nigeria where militant attacks by groups such as Boko Haram happen frequently.

The Nigerian government has its own long and horrific history of human rights abuses.

"The public right now is coping with a host of negative emotions," Elizabeth Zechmeister, a Vanderbilt University professor, told Reuters. "Fear, anger, general anxiety: [Trump] gives a certain credibility to these feelings."

According to these feelings, about 25 percent of those polled support the use of torture "often," 38 percent "sometimes" support torture and 15 percent would never support torture.

When broken down by parties, 82 percent of Republicans support torture "often" or "sometimes," while 53 percent of Democrats felt the same way.

There are currently U.S. and international laws -- Geneva Conventions/UN Convention on Torture -- against torture, as well as the Eighth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution that protects U.S. citizens, including potential terror suspects, from "cruel and unusual punishment."

If the majority ruled instead, every U.S. citizen could be tortured at any time regardless of guilt or innocence without any legal recourse. 

The New York Times noted in 2014 that the report on CIA torture by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence consistently undercut CIA claims that torture had produced important information in the war on terror.

The effectiveness of torture was also debunked and strongly questioned by former Gen. David Petraeus in 2007, the FBI in 2003, Maj. Gen. Thomas Romig (former Army JAG) in 2007, Matthew Alexander (Special Operations interrogation team leader in Iraq) in 2008, FBI Special Agent Jack Colonna in 2008, the Senate Armed Services Report on Detainee Treatment and Abuse in 2008, FBI Director Robert Meuller in 2008 and Glenn L. Carle (retired CIA officer) in 2002, reported ThinkProgress in 2009.

Sources: Reuters, The New York Times, ThinkProgress / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Popular Video