The question that lingers in my mind after hearing the show is: why do we (USA) as a society show by our actions and by what we are willing to tolerate that we do, in fact, condone torture, even though Darius Rejali quotes a poll saying that the majority of US citizens don't approve of it?
My own answer: because we, as a society, support those values of which torture is a natural consequence.
My entire life (almost 60 years), the US has treated anything that wasn't under the control of the US government as a threat. Every war the US has fought in my memory, starting with the Vietnam war, has been about making sure that this or that country did things the way we wanted. In my view, what really traumatized people in the US about the September 11 attacks was not the loss of life (which was less than one year of auto accidents), but the attack on our sense of inviolability: that sense that we were in control enough that nobody could do anything to us.
In my view, torture is really an attempt on the part of the torturer to feel in control of whatever fear it is that the victim represents. That's why torture is such a common "solution" in so many movies and TV shows. If you feel that being in control of all threats, real or imagined, is more important that moral qualms (which is the prevailing view in public life in the US), then it's hard to really put your foot down about what is really just a more extreme form of keeping control.
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