Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Poll on Torture.

The results of this recent AP-Ipsos poll come to me a bit as surprise:
In the United States, 61% of those surveyed agreed that torture is justified at least on rare occasions. Almost nine in 10 in South Korea and slightly more than half in France and Britain shared that view. (LATimes)
In Canada, Mexico and Germany people are divided on whether torture is ever justified. Most people opposed torture under any circumstances in Spain and Italy. (The Guardian)

My take is that by "rare occasion" most people think of cases à la "24" - would you torture a man to save New-York, London or Paris? For some reason, I tend to think that reality is probably quite different. In any case, I still wonder what explains the differences between Italy and Spain on the one hand, and France and Britain on the other hand. The fact that France used torture during its colonial wars may have something to do with it, who knows?

Now this, however, won't help Ms Rice much since:
two-thirds of the people living in Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Spain said they would oppose allowing U.S. officials to secretly interrogate terror suspects in their countries. Almost that many in Britain, France, Germany and Italy said they felt the same way.


At 17:24, Anonymous Abie said...

Abour the 24-style scénario, I read this interesting "Modest proposal".

BTW, there seems to be an awful lot of modest proposals on the subject: see here and there.

(sorry about the URLs, but Blogger told me :
Impossible d'accepter votre texte HTML: Reference " http:" is not allowed

At 17:26, Anonymous Abie said...

Hum please edit ou the previous comment from "sorry"
I had a stupid syntax problem

At 20:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked my students about torture this week (we just watched Godard's "Le Petit Soldat") and they were more than ready to participate in the discussion. It seems that many of them have been discussing this topic in their freshmen ethics courses. Interestly enough, the students represented both sides of the argument rather well. In the end, it was left up to one fresh face to summarize the arguments up to that point. "Alors, she said, peut-etre que l'on ne doit jamais justifier la torture, meme si elle est parfois necessaire." I think that about summarizes the paradox of torture. Morally, one should never try to justify it, even though in practice it is sometimes necessary.

At 08:55, Blogger Joker & Thief said...

Good links Abie, thanks.


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