Americans Prefer Torture And Indiscriminate Bombing? Red Cross Poll Suggests Nearly Half Of U.S. Citizens Condone Inhuman Interrogation Techniques In The Name Of Security

Americans don’t mind torture and indiscriminate bombing as techniques to safeguard the security of the nation, revealed a global survey conducted by Red Cross. Surprisingly, United States citizens outnumber those from several war-torn nations and every other member of the United Nations Security Council, when it comes to condoning the barbaric techniques that are banned across the world.

Nearly half of the Americans in a survey, conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), are OK with harsh interrogation techniques, including torture. Worryingly, more Americans and other Westerners than ever, have a much higher tolerance for the inhuman techniques than citizens of war-ravaged countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine, reported the Washington Post. Similarly, the United States, in general, appears to be more comfortable with torture, the poll indicated. Needless to say, these two key findings reported by the ICRC on Monday, in a report highlighting global perspectives on war, are an eye-opener, noted ICRC Director-General Daccord,

“In the U.S. in the last 15 years, torture seems like something which is accepted, as something that you use as a tool to get information, whereas the military interestingly enough will tell you this is not at all the tool you need to use. Not only is it not good for human dignity, but it doesn’t provide you with the right information.”

Current international law prohibits torture under any circumstances. It is considered a war crime. But respondents from America to the survey conducted between June and September 2016 seem to have an opposing perspective. They were among 17,000 people spread across 16 countries, including many nations that have long been the victims of war or have been slowly recovering from the ill-effects of armed international conflict. The survey intended to gauge public opinion about the laws of war.

Incidentally, the survey actually used the word “torture,” instead using ambiguous Bush-era terms like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Some of the most common forms of interrogation that are considered torture are water boarding, ice baths, and sleep deprivation.

Shockingly, 33 percent of the respondents from the United States said they believed torture was a part of war. In other words, the inhuman interrogation technique was a given, when nations go to war. What’s even more concerning is that 46 percent agreed that a captured enemy combatant could be tortured to obtain information. In general, just over half of American respondents thought torture was wrong, while a small percentage either declined to answer or claimed they did not know. In stark contrast, majority of the respondents from Afghanistan and Syria indicated torture was wrong.

Americans appeared to be more accepting of torture than all the five permanent member nations of Security Council, which include Russia, China, Britain, and France.

While Americans might have a more lenient perspective about torture, majority of the people in other parts of the world strongly believed torture and any attacks on unarmed civilians are never an unavoidable component of war. However, many nations clandestinely still engage in these tactics, hinting at the disparity between public opinion and government policy, noted ICRC in a statement about the report,

“There is a disconnect between public opinion and the policies and actions of States and armed groups. Violations of the laws of war – including the targeting of civilians, humanitarian workers and hospitals – continue. Yet the survey results clearly show that the majority of people understand that these practices are wrong and that civilians and health-care workers and facilities must be protected.”

The poll about opinion on torture matters because Americans recently voted with a set of ideals in mind, some of which appear to border on radical. Interestingly, Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense, retired four-star Marine General James Mattis, recently informed him that he’d gotten further with a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, rather than applying pain, reported the New York Times.

[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]

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