A little dose of skepticism never hurts anybody when they’re reading media reports about what millions of people think. If you fall for every poll that comes down the pike you’re going to end up in that hell with cynics & misanthropes who see the majority of people as “sheeple”.
Last week, the world was aghast at descriptions of unspeakable CIA torture including waterboarding, anal rape, prolonged solitary confinement. So it should give pause that the headlines a week later are triumphant, not even horrified in reporting that a majority of Americans polled approve that torture. If that can be shown beyond dispute, we’re talking psycho nation. The next thing we’ll hear is that people want a front row seat at Guantanamo like the psychos in the hills of Sderot overlooking Gaza.
Christopher Hitchens wasn’t the most ruthless of social critics but nearly thirty years ago he did a rather derivative investigation of public polling. The research then was overwhelming that polls are chock full of bias in the way questions are formulated. If you look at the questions from the several polls on CIA torture, there is not a single word about the actual torture methods. Poll subjects were not asked “Do you think it proper for the CIA to inject food up their butts & anally rape prisoners to extract information from them?” “Do you think waterboarding should be used & do you know how waterboarding is done?” Do you think prisoners should be told their families will be raped & killed if they don’t supply information?” “Do you think prisoners should be stripped & chained to the walls of their cells for hundreds of hours or do you think that’s depraved?”
Instead, in the Pew poll they were asked “Overall, do you think the CIA’s interrogation methods in the period following the September 11th terrorist attacks were justified or do you think they were not justified?” & they were asked “Regardless of whether or not you think the CIA’s interrogation methods were justified, do you think they provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks, or don’t you think so?”
The Washington Post-ABC News poll asked “As best you can tell, do you think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists did or did not produce important information that could not have been obtained any other way?” & they were asked “All in all, do you think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists was justified or unjustified?”
You have got to be kidding! Using those questions to claim the majority of people in this country favor the unspeakable & depraved methods of the CIA is a frigging mockery & insult to intelligence. Circulating those polls like they’re the gospel truth is arrant political manipulation & an attempt to demoralize the actual majority of us who are bereft & horrified that our government is run by psychopaths who use such methods on other human beings.
Enough with the polls! Use them for toilet paper. Better yet, use them to educate on the inventiveness used to convince us we’re living in a land of psychos & perverts indifferent to human suffering. Nothing brings down solidarity faster that misanthropy.