This week, ICRC launched its People in War survey, which asked 17,000 people in 16 countries about their attitudes on a variety of issues such as the protection of civilians, attacks against hospitals, treatment of detainees and the role of the international community in ensuring respect for the rules of war. Survey participants were living in countries in conflict, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as powerful countries fighting wars, like the United States and Russia. We even took to the streets on Washington, D.C. to get a better understanding of attitudes around these critical issues. The results were fascinating, and got a lot of people talking. For more about the report, click here.
For this week’s roundup, we take a look at some of the conversations and discussions happening around the People on War Survey as portrayed by the media and other online outlets.** This is just a few highlights; you can see the full coverage here.
Torture Can Be Useful, Nearly Half of Americans in Poll Say (The New York Times)
Somini Sengupta writes that 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. One a more general question, one in three said torture was “part of war,” just over half called it “wrong,” and the rest said they didn’t know or preferred not to answer.
Red Cross Poll: Americans Warm to Torture and Indiscriminate Bombing (The Daily Beast)
Kim Dozier writes that rising numbers of people, especially Americans and Britons, said they are willing to accept less humane practices if it means winning the fight faster. Yet the survey also showed that people in places like Syria and Yemen believe the laws of war are needed, in an almost wistful expression of hope for a humanity that is absent in two conflicts that have killed civilians by the hundreds of thousands.
Ryan Goodman writes that the survey results provide extraordinary insight into questions about how violations of humanitarian norms might become normalized (in some countries but not others), how exposure to war can deepen—rather than erode—one’s faith in international law, the extent to which taboos such as the torture prohibition in the United States can easily collapse, and the extent to which States’ military practices have become disconnected from the preferences of their domestic populations.
More Americans support torture than Afghans, Iraqis and South Sudanese. Why? (The Washington Post)
Kevin Sieff reports that the United States has a higher tolerance for torture than any other country on the U.N. Security Council, and Americans are more comfortable with torture than citizens of war-ravaged countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine.
Maya Rhodan reports that almost half of Americans see torture as a useful way of getting information out of enemy combatants during times of war, according to a new survey. Americans’ views on the issue of torture, a war crime, differ from those of people in many other countries, including Afghanistan.
Tom McCay writes that almost half of United States citizens believe it is morally acceptable to torture captive enemy combatants for information, putting them in sharp disagreements with their counterparts across the world and decades of international and domestic law.
Journalism is Disappearing from War Zones (Bob Schieffer’s About the News Podcast)
From CSIS: week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released its new survey, the “2016 People on War report.” Drawing on the views of 17,000 people in 16 countries, the report provides important insight into how war is perceived around the world. We spoke to ICRC Director General Yves Daccord, a former journalist, about the new study and about how war is being reported on globally. Critically, we learned that journalism is disappearing from war zones and we discussed the impact fake news and propaganda has on war and perceptions of issues associated with war.
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**The usual Intercross disclaimer: Just because something is featured here, doesn't mean we endorse or agree with it, and the views expressed on the platforms we're highlighting don't necessarily represent those of the ICRC.**