Republicans overwhelmingly support post-9/11 interrogation tactics

Largest demographics opposed are women, those with college education, Pew Research Center finds.

The US Capitol building in Washington. (photo credit: REUTERS)
The US Capitol building in Washington.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Democrats were divided, but Republicans overwhelmingly approved of tactics used by the CIA after 9/11 to interrogate suspected terrorists, a poll found this week.
Those tactics – waterboarding, unendurable stress positions and anal feeding, among others – have been labeled torture by US President Barack Obama, his administration and, as of last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, after detailing a large report on the CIA program following the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Republicans said the tactics were justified, with only 12% of party affiliates dissenting. Among Democrats, 37% considered the program justified and 46% viewed it as unjustified.
Within those figures is an age gap: The large majority of those polled above the age of 50 approved of the tactics.
College graduates were more inclined to disapprove of the program than those only with high school degrees.
And while 57% of men considered the controversial methods justifiable, only 46% of women polled agreed.
Regardless of its approval at home, Obama has called the program immoral, inconsistent with US values and law, and damaging to the country’s image abroad. One of his first actions as president was to end the program in 2009.
The release of a several hundred-page executive summary of the Senate report, the White House said, is emblematic of the country’s ability to reflect on its sins and correct course.
But Dick Cheney, vice president during the program, has disagreed vehemently with that assessment.
Enhanced CIA interrogations successfully protected the country during a time of constant, imminent threats, he said in a series of media interviews.
The poll of 1,001 adults living in the United states was conducted between December 11 and December 14 and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.