Pew Poll on Obama, Terror, Torture and Warrantless Spying

Obama Faces Familiar Divisions Over Anti-Terror Policies - No Change in Views of Torture, Warrantless Wiretaps

Excerpts, Fair Use:

By a wide margin (59% to 25%), the public says that his administration’s policies will make the chance of another major terrorist attack on the United States less likely rather than more likely. However, while majorities of Democrats (76%) and independents (62%) say that the Obama administration’s policies will make another terrorist attack less likely, just 29% of Republicans agree. Nearly half of Republicans (47%) say Obama’s policies will make another attack more likely.
Similarly, views have remained stable about whether the use of torture is justified in order to gain important information from suspected terrorists. More than four-in-ten say such tactics are often (16%) or sometimes (28%) justified; a majority says torture is rarely (20%) or never (31%) justified. Public attitudes regarding the use of torture against suspected terrorists have been largely unchanged since 2004.

There are continuing partisan differences over both warrantless wiretaps and torture of suspected terrorists. By greater than three-to-one (74% to 23%), Republicans say it is generally right for the government to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists without prior court permission. By contrast, a majority of independents (56%) view this policy as generally wrong, as do half of Democrats.

Opinions about the use of torture against suspected terrorists also differ widely by party, as has been the case over the past four years. While 43% of Democrats say torture is never justified, 15% of Republicans and 30% of independents hold that view.

Republicans and Democrats also disagree about whether the government’s anti-terror policies generally do not go far enough in adequately protecting the country, or go too far in restricting civil liberties. As was the case a year ago, a plurality (42%) says that anti-terrorism policies have not gone far enough to protect the country, while 36% say they have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. Nearly six-in-ten Republicans (59%) say anti-terrorism policies have not gone far enough to protect the country, compared with 38% of independents and the same percentage of Democrats.
No Change in Perceptions of Terrorists’ Capabilities

As with opinions about policies aimed at dealing with terrorism, the public’s assessments of terrorists’ abilities to launch another major attack against the United States have remained relatively stable over the course of the last few years.

A majority of the public (61%) believes that the ability of terrorists to launch a major attack is about the same (44%) or greater than (17%) it was at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Only about a third (35%) says that terrorists’ capabilities are less now than at the time of the attacks.

At the same time, the majority of the public (71%) continues to say the government has done very (22%) or fairly well (49%) in reducing the threat of terrorism. A year ago, 66% gave positive ratings to the government’s job in reducing the threat of terrorism.

How to Reduce Terrorist Threat

The public is evenly split as to whether increasing military operations against terrorist networks (41%) or stepping up diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries (41%) would be more effective in reducing the threat of terrorist attacks on the United States.

More than six-in-ten Republicans (62%) say it would be more effective to increase military operations against terrorist networks, while just 22% support increased diplomatic efforts. In contrast, by about two-to-one (57% to 28%), Democrats favor increased diplomatic efforts over expanded military operations. Independents, mirroring overall public opinion, are nearly evenly divided (41% favor military operations, while 38% say diplomatic efforts).
As has been the case since 2006, more Americans believe decreasing – rather than increasing – the U.S. military presence abroad is the more effective way to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks on the United States. Half of Americans (50%) now believe that decreasing the U.S. military presence overseas would be the more effective policy, while just 31% say an increased presence would be more effective.

A majority (62%) of Democrats say decreasing the U.S. military presence overseas would have a greater impact in reducing the terrorist threat; half of independents agree. By contrast, 48% of Republicans say that increasing the U.S. military presence abroad is the more effective way to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks.

loose nuke personal commentary:

From what I’ve discovered by researching 9/11, “al Qaeda” (to the extent it is actually composed of disaffected Muslims pissed off over US foreign policy, and not just witless patsies, stolen identities and double agents managed by the CIA, Mossad and other intel agencies), couldn’t have pulled off 9/11 w/o a LOT of inside help.

Complete 9/11 Timeline

If there’s another attack in the US, like a nuke/chem/bio attack that prime suspect Cheney recently threatened the US with, it will likely have to have even more help- or are the Feds only doing warrantless spying on dissidents? That said, I do think reducing US military presence in Muslim nations, and dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a balanced manner, is likely to reduce the number of Muslims that hate the US, and reduce the number willing to sign up to be a patsy-martyr.

Those who think terror is the best policy should consider Emad Salem’s example instead; he taped the FBI ordering him to get the patsies to use real explosives in the 1993 WTC bombing. If some provocateur’s suggesting violence, get it on video and expose them on youtube.

Why the FBI got away with the first WTC bombing By Jerry Mazza

And see how this rock-throwing cop got stopped by an alert, experienced activist:

Stop SPP Protest - Union Leader stops provocateurs