You guys are all really smart people. So here’s a quiz. What’s wrong with this picture?

I know. Too easy: Gallup apparently decided to poll who was winning the battle of torture public opinion.

And forgot to poll public approval on the actual torturers!

I don’t have the crosstabs or actual questions, but by all appearances, Gallup asked, 

Do you approve or disapprove of how each of the following has handled the matter of interrogation techniques used against terrorism suspects?

  • Barack Obama
  • The CIA
  • Democrats in Congress
  • Republicans in Congress
  • Nancy Pelosi

I’m sorry to be crude, but was it Crazy Pete Hoekstra or Dick Cheney himself who sucked your dick, Gallup, to persuade you to do this poll?  Because there’s really no other legitimate excuse for this poll. You didn’t poll on approval on the "handling of interrogation techniques used against terrorism suspects" for:

  • Dick Cheney, the architect and main apologist of the torture program
  • James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the contractors who had no experience in interrogation, but nevertheless made big money off of torturing prisoners
  • John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, who wrote crazy legal opinions to pre-authorize torture
  • The torturer who said he used more water than legally permitted because that made the whole process "more poignant and convincing"  
  • Alberto Gonzales, who was giving daily, meticulous approvals for torture even before it had been declared "legal"

Instead, Gallup polled on a bunch of people who weren’t involved in the actual torture. Hell, even the CIA’s significantly off the hook, given that contractors did the torture, and people like George Tenet and Jose Rodriguez who oversaw it are retired.

What’s your opinion of the handling of the members of Congress who were illegally not briefed before the torture started? What’s your opinion of those chump Democrats who tried to make the Army Field Manual (for all its faults) the standard for interrogation? What’s your opinion of a bunch of dead-ender Republicans who are clinging to some political scandal to stay relevant?

But not, "What’s your opinion of Dick Cheney, who tried to get an Iraqi tortured so he could claim there were ties between Iraq and al Qaeda that had long since been discredited?"



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.