The Corner

Americans Support Waterboarding

Those poll results must be incredibly disheartening for opponents of waterboarding. Not only do 58 percent support it, another 12 percent aren’t sure. That means 70 percent of Americans either support waterboarding the Christmas bomber or think it’s an open question whether it’s necessary. For the record, I’m in the against or not-sure camp. I’d want to know for sure whether other techniques couldn’t get relevant information and I’d want a better sense that this guy knows about an imminent threat. Marc’s right to note that only three captives were waterboarded for a reason: It should be a last resort. My hunch is that at least some of those 30 percent opposed to waterboarding Abdulmutallab oppose it for the same reason. And I’d bet that if this was a more dramatic ticking-bomb-type case the numbers supporting waterboarding would go up.

This is after two years of glowing speeches from Obama and a relentless media campaign to treat waterboarding as cruel and unusual torture. I think opposition to waterboarding is an honorable point of view, just like opposing the death penalty. But I think opponents to both are going to have to live with the fact that the American people disagree with them now and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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