This will be my last post, for a while, commenting on the Senate Torture Report. At this time, with the headline above, I have little left to say.
It has now been one week and one weekend since the report was issued, and the American public have greeted it with a big yawn. This time we Americans cannot use ignorance as an excuse for condoning the depravities perpetrated by our Government.
Above (from the WaPo) are extracts from the latest Pew polling on the subject, and below that I have given a few links to various news analyses of the Senate Report. The best summary of the 600 page report is the Washington Post article “20 key findings about CIA interrogations”
A new poll from the Pew Research Center is the first to gauge reactions to last week’s big CIA report on “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what agency critics call torture.
And the reaction is pretty muted.
The poll shows people says 51-29 percent than the CIA’s methods were justified and 56-28 percent that the information gleaned helped prevent terror attacks.
The word “torture,” it should be noted, isn’t mentioned in the poll, but it has been associated with much of the coverage of the issue. And the numbers align nicely with polls on the use of torture, which shows that relatively few Americans are concerned about it — especially when you bring the prospect of combating terrorism into the mix.
That lack of real concern about what the CIA was doing is also reflected in the amount of interest in the story. While newspapers and broadcast news across the country devoted a huge amount of coverage to the Senate intelligence committee report last week, just 23 percent of Americans say they are following the story “very closely,” while 50 percent are following it “not too closely” or “not at all.” That ranks it behind the Ferguson/Eric Garner protests and stories about the U.S. economy.
And it’s not just that people who aren’t concerned about torture aren’t tuning in. Those who have followed the story the most, in fact, approve of the program 59-34 percent.
Even Democrats are pretty split on the justification for the program. While 37 percent say it was justified, 46 percent say it wasn’t. Liberal Democrats disapprove 65-25 percent, but moderate and conservative Democrats approve 48-32 percent.
Given the images that were conjured by the report — “rectal feeding,” etc. — that’s not much of a reaction. Indeed, this is not the kind of public outcry that demands big changes to how the CIA conducts business.
And Democrats who pushed for the release of the report in hopes of changing how the CIA does business have to be frustrated.
Press Comments on Torture Report:
New York Times, Bush and C.I.A. Ex-Officials Rebut Torture Report, Dec 7 2014
NYT Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Terrorism Interrogations Mazetti, December 9 2014
Washington Post, 20 key findings about CIA interrogations, Staff report, Dec. 9, 2014
Washington Post, Searing report unlikely to put a dent in CIA’s power, Greg Miller and Dana Priest, Dec. 9, 2014
Washington Post, A grim portrait of CIA tactics, Report details brutality, pattern of deception, Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Julie Tate, Dec. 9, 2014. A
Huffington Post, Senate Report Says Torture Program Was More Gruesome, Widespread Than CIA Claimed, Ali Watkins and Ryan Grim, Dec. 9, 2014.
Fusion, The CIA paid other countries millions of dollars — in cash — to house secret prisons for their interrogation programs, Brett LoGiurato, Dec. 9, 2014.
Esquire, The Torture Report, Part Two: What It Means, Charles P. Pierce, Dec. 9, 2014.
AP via Yahoo News! UN officials demand prosecutions for US torture, John Heilprin, Dec. 10, 2014.
Salon, Torture report’s hidden fiasco: How Mark Udall revealed a little-noticed smoking gun, Heather Digby Parton, Dec. 11, 2014.
HuffPost Live, Obama’s Cowardly Response to Torture Revelations, Alyona Minkovski, Dec. 12, 2014.