Sunday, November 08, 2009

Trying to restore meaning to "torture"

Heather Mac Donald writes:

Liberal and left-wing critics of Bush’s “war on terror” have brandished the word “torture” to refer to every stressful interrogation practice that soldiers in Afghanistan and Guantanamo desperately and clumsily evolved in their effort to gather intelligence on presumed terror networks. But when an argument requires describing the actual torture practiced by more ruthless regimes, suddenly American interrogation practices are demoted to “abusive interrogation,” say, so as to recover and redeploy the original meaning of the term (officially defined as the intentional infliction of severe mental and physical pain and suffering) heretofore lost in the ecstatic (and sometimes justified) denunciation of Bush’s anti-terror policies.

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