Andy McCarthy has it right in his excellent article, “It’s the Enemy Stupid.” Scott Brown spoke out forcefully in favor of enhanced interrogation, and won — in Massachusetts. He said of waterboarding, “I do not believe it is torture. America does not torture . . . we used aggressive, enhanced interrogation techniques.” And his own top strategists say their polling shows his victory was not in spite of this public stance, but because of it.
As I point out in Courting Disaster, polls show the American people are with us on terrorist interrogation.
An April 2009 Pew Poll found that 71 percent of Americans said there were circumstances in which they would support the use of enhanced interrogation (“torture” they called it, of course, but that makes the number even more stark). A recent Rasmussen poll found that 58 percent of Americans say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day. Just 30 percent were opposed.
A Resurgent Republic poll in May 2009 found that a majority of Americans believe that enhanced interrogations were effective (55 to 39 percent); that the Obama administration has tied the hands of the CIA in fighting terrorism by limiting interrogators to the Army Field Manual (51 to 42 percent); and that the Obama administration made a serious mistake in releasing memos from the Bush Justice Department on enhanced interrogation techniques (54 to 41 percent). It also found that most Americans oppose criminal investigations of those responsible for authorizing or conducting those interrogations (62 to 32 percent).
Yet most Republicans have been hesitatant to speak out because they fear being branded as supporting torture. As I explain in the book, enhanced interrogation is not torture. It stopped terrorist attacks. And as Scott Brown’s election shows, Americans understand this — and rally to candidates who are willing to speak the truth.