The latest reminder that the nutroots’ mindless anti-torture absolutism, in all circumstances and regardless of countervailing considerations, isn’t quite as “reality-based” as they wished. As intriguing as this result is, note how much higher the numbers are in opposition to investigating Bush officials.

Six in ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday believe that some of the procedures, such as water boarding, were a form of torture, with 36 percent disagreeing.

But half the public approves of the Bush administration’s decision to use of those techniques during the questioning of suspected terrorists, with 50 percent in approval and 46 percent opposed.

“Roughly one in five Americans believe those techniques were torture but nonetheless approve of the decision to use those procedures against suspected terrorists,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “That goes a long way toward explaining why a majority don’t want to see former Bush officials investigated.”

Fifty-seven percent of those questioned don’t want Congress to investigate Bush officials who authorized those harsh interrogation procedures, with 42 percent calling for action by lawmakers. Fifty-five percent also don’t want a similar investigation by an independent panel.

Like Karl says, interrogation investigations are a farce; fortunately, thanks to numbers like these, they’re not in the offing. One thing I can’t figure out, though: The left swears, up and down, that the ticking-bomb scenario conservatives always use when arguing this subject would never, ever, evah happen in real life. That may be true in the most literal sense — time bombs aren’t a favored weapon of jihadists — but counterterrorism agents typically wait as long as possible before swooping in to make arrests of suspected terrorists in order to gain as much incriminating evidence as they can. Why is it so hard to imagine the CIA discovering that terror cells are in motion to carry out a plot, intercepting a member on his way to the scene of the attack, and having to decide whether to rough him up to extract information that might disrupt the plan?

To illustrate just how confident the GOP is that this issue is a winner for them, here’s the latest ad from Senate Republicans — followed, just for good measure, by the DNC’s latest dig at the opposition. I think both are lame. The first one’s simply too far over the top thanks to the music, and the second one’s a clever concept without any ultimate point. How can it be that our parties’ message brain trusts have devolved this far? The Conservatives 4 Palin people are operating on a budget of near-zero dollars, I’d imagine, and even they’re more clever than this.