Saturday, May 9, 2009

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

TV News is abuzz over something called "enhanced interrogation techniques".

Enhanced = to increase, to heighten
Interrogation = to ask a series of questions
Techniques = methods

In other words, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques = torture.

Why in the hell do broadcasters and journalists insist on using the government's Newspeak term for it? It's torture. Let's call it that.

Would we want to be waterboarded while someone asks us questions ? No. Why not? Because it's torture.

In darker times, when The Church wanted information or merely wanted to strike fear into the peasantry, those accused of heresy would be "submitted to the question". The idea was that if one was innocent, God would give you strength to withstand the pain. But if you ever, ever confessed to anything, no matter how ludicrous, your confession was binding. You then became a victim of The Inquisition for a long, long time.

I saw the movie "Goya's Ghosts" last night. Great, great movie. In this scene, a wealthy merchant whose daughter has stumbled into the clutches of The Inquisition turns the tables on a priest who defends the practice of torture.

Does anyone out there believe that those who approve of "enhanced interrogation techniques", but disapprove of "torture", might change their tune if they were the ones to be waterboarded subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques ?

I have no idea how I would respond in one of the ticking bomb scenarios. And if my daughter was kidnapped but I had custody of an accomplice to the crime, I wouldn't hesitate to bring out vice grips, cutting torches, needle-nose pliers, hammers, tongs, and perhaps dachshunds.

"Enhanced Interrogation Techniques". What a ridiculous euphemism for such a horrible practice in such an idiotic dispute.

Let's call it what it is.


Mister Fancy Pants said...

Ah, the dachshund ... the most feared of the AEITs (Animal Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.) After several hours of intense gnawing, they often break the skin, causing injuries almost as bad as those incurred when falling off a child's bicycle at low speed. Horrific!

Pa Annoyed said...

"Does anyone out there believe that those who approve of "enhanced interrogation techniques", but disapprove of "torture", might change their tune if they were the ones to be (waterboarded) subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques?"

Obviously not. Because the techniques were developed for the SERE courses, which US soldiers use to prepare for the risk of falling into enemy hands, and which we subject thousands of our own (entirely innocent) troops to. They're all volunteers, and because they knew they were going to undergo them themselves, they specifically designed them to fall short of being "torture".

The main people who "approve" of the techniques - the ones actually applying them - have almost certainly already undergone them all themselves. And it hasn't apparently changed their tune.

To define "torture" a line has to be drawn somewhere. (Such is the tyranny of the discontinuous mind.) It is entirely reasonable to disagree with where somebody else has drawn the line, but that is different from accusing them of either not drawing it at all, or of deliberately stepping over it. Or, for that matter, denying the possibility that anyone could honestly hold to any definition but your own.

It is also convenient for someone if the West can be put in the same rhetorical box as the theocrats and terrorists. If panties on the head are "torture", there are no word left for what the Islamists do. This use of language is an example of the 'moral equivalence' technique. It appears to be working, too.

Dr Ralph said...

My own theory as to why the news industry continues to use the NewSpeak term, "enhanced interrogation techniques," has to do with their complicity in reporting this whole horror show initially.

Some may disagree, but a case can be made that the so-called mainstream media looked the other way and gave the Bush administration a free ride on a whole slew of abuses of power in the years that followed 9-11. To now start calling it for what it was --torture-- begs the question: why weren't you calling it that when it first came to light?

The answer is, of course that they allowed cynical spinmeisters such as Karl Rove and the White House apparatchiks, as well as the whole of the Fox News propaganda machine to define the context of the debate. The same people gave us the Patriot Act and co opted the telecoms to monitor our phone calls.

I have a suggestion for SMU -- they should treat the Bush Presidential Library like Chernobyl: seal it in thick concrete shroud to hide the horrors within.

Deciding how to deal with this steaming pile of excrement is going to be a bigger problem for Obama than anything the economy has to offer.