Poll Numbers on Torture

Tue Dec. 6, 2005 8:36 PM EST

A growing number of Americans think torture and physical abuse are acceptable tactics in the war on terror. A newly released Associated Press poll finds that a shocking sixty-one percent of Americans think the use of torture can be justified to obtain intelligence from suspected terrorists. Assuming the polls and methodologies are comparable, that marks an increase over last year, when an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that only thirty-five percent of Americans thought torture was a justifiable policy.

Americans are apparently not alone, according to the AP: A majority of those surveyed in South Korea, Britain, France and Germany agreed that torture is a useful tool in the war on terror, in addition to large minorities of 37-49 percent in Canada, Mexico, Italy and Spain. However, allies abroad differ with Americans over secret detention centers. While a striking sixty-three percent of Americans said they would support the secret detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects for intelligence, in each of the foreign countries previously mentioned large majorities would oppose such U.S. operations on their soil.

That disagreement is a continued sore point as Secretary Rice travels through Europe to sell a difficult diplomatic message that neither confirms nor denies recent allegations that the CIA is operating secret interrogation sites on former Soviet facilities. Meanwhile, according to a recent ABC report, the US has already moved the detainees in Eastern European detention facilities to undisclosed locations in Northern Africa, completing the relocation quickly before Secretary Rice arrived in Berlin for a four-day effort to rehabilitate US-European relations.

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