Rasmussen Releases Biased Poll on War Crimes to Scare Obama

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    Bob Fertik
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GOP pollster Scott Rasmussen conducted a poll about prosecuting Bush for war crimes (see below). Naturally, the poll produces the worst possible results because the questions are in a Republican "frame."

"War crimes" is a legal term, and few Americans know what it means; even fewer understand how it might apply to Bush's actions. 

Torture is one kind of war crime, and Americans are firmly opposed to torture under any circumstance, according to a Pentagon Post poll on 1/16/09:

Oppose? D R I Tot
Yes 71% 42% 56% 58%
No 28% 55% 43% 40%

The Post followed this question with one about investigation: "Do you think the Obama administration should or should not investigate whether any laws were broken in the way terrorism suspects were treated under the Bush administration?"

Investigate? D R I Tot
Yes 69%   45% 50%
No   69% 53% 47%

Of course the Post didn't inform its survey audience about the abuse of prisoners. Waterboarding is one legally-prosecutable form of torture - but George Bush and Dick Cheney insist it isn't. Beating a prisoner to death is also torture, and at least 30 prisoners have been killed. But Bush and Cheney won't admit it, and the U.S. Corporate Media won't report it. So how are voters supposed to form judgments when they haven't been told the facts?

Even so, a majority of Americans supports an investigation, even though the Washington Elite are adamantly opposed, as Glenn Greenwald points out.

Why did Rasmussen release this biased poll? Obviously to try to terrify President Obama and Democrats into not investigating or prosecuting Bush's war crimes, including torture.

Unfortunately, prosecution is required by our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, which was signed by Ronald Reagan. If we don't prosecute Bush and Cheney, 140 other civilized countries might - or the U.N. So here's a question Rasmussen didn't ask: Would Americans prefer to put Bush and Cheney in the U.S., or have another country do it?

Rasmussen Poll:

1. Do you believe President Bush and senior members of his administration are guilty of war crimes?

  D R I Tot
Yes 44% 4% 21% 25%
No 28%     54%

2. Do you believe bringing Bush Administration officials to trial for war crimes would be good or bad for the nation?

  D R I Tot
Good       19%
Bad 53%     70%

3. Should Congress hold hearing to investigate possible government wrongdoing during the Bush years?

  D R I Tot
Yes 57% 9% 38% 36%
No 27%      

4. Should Congress hold hearing to investigate possible war crimes during the Bush years?

  D R I Tot
Yes       28%
No       60%

Update 1: Using the PoGlenn Greenwald