Nearly half of Americans in a global survey said they believed an enemy fighter could be tortured to extract information, according to results released Monday. That finding puts respondents in the United States in contrast with citizens of many countries and at odds with international law, which prohibits torture under any circumstances.
The results were part of a poll carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which surveyed 17,000 people in 16 countries, including many nations in conflict or recovering from conflict, to gauge public opinion about the laws of war.
The findings on torture were among the starkest. Among Americans, 46 percent said torture could be used to obtain information from an enemy combatant, while 30 percent disagreed and the rest said they did not know. On a more general question, one in three said torture was “part of war,” just over half called it “wrong,” and the rest said they did not know or preferred not to answer.
Torture is a war crime, according to international law. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said recently that she had reasonable grounds to open an investigation into allegations of torture by American forces in Afghanistan.
Read more: New York Times