Time and time again, whenever allegations of abuse and torture by US troops appear, we are told that it is just the actions of a few "bad apples", and that such treatment "does not reflect the nature of the American people".
A survey by the Pew Research Center in October showed that 15 percent of Americans believe torture is “often” justified, and another 31 percent believe it is “sometimes” justified. Add to that another 17 percent who said it is “rarely” justified, and you have two out of three Americans justifying torture under certain circumstances. Only 32 percent said it is “never” justified, while another 5 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.
So, two-thirds of the American public (and slightly more Catholics) are sadists - and we they wonder why we see scenes like this or this or this when they go to war. I don't think there's any reason to wonder: American torture is the poison fruit of a poison tree, the result of toxic social attitudes which tell people that it is acceptable.
Meanwhile, I think that the differential religious results - Catholics are significantly more likely to approve, "secularists" significantly less - ought to put paid once and for all to those Christian myths about religion, morality, and the valuing of human life.