Why are we debating the use of torture? The Associated Press recently reported that Senator John McCain while arguing against torture used the term “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”. I find it surprising that nobody in the government or the military seems the least bit embarrassed when using this innocuous sounding euphemism in front of the press or the American people. Don’t they know that we know why they say E.I.T. instead of “torture”?
I mention John’s name, not in a vain attempt to embarrass him, but because he was a victim of torture himself. Maybe after thirty-odd years the word torture is still too much for him to bear and so it needs to be diluted and updated so as to sound more scientific and impersonal, and what sounds more scientific and impersonal than Techniques, and Enhanced ones at that?
This may seem dishonest to some, but think of the possibilities this kind of evolutionary and revolutionary “thinking” can stimulate in other sectors! A sales seminar on “Enhanced Selling Techniques” could include holding a gun on a family while selling them a vacuum cleaner. An educational conference on “Enhanced Field Trips” could recommend that children experience a day-trip that includes fourteen hours of labor in a tannery. Or a Senate resolution called “Enhanced Filibuster Techniques” could allow a single Senator the right to filibuster without a time limit simply by showing up in a fashionably wrapped dynamite vest to hold both the floor and the rapt attention of his fellow members. The possibilities are endless.
If I were “torture minded” (a.k.a. insane) I would have preferred to see them skip the slow step-by-step changes in what torture is euphemistically called and package it the way it should have been packaged in the first place by calling it “Enhanced Twenty Questions.” Then it could have been sold to Parker Brothers as a semi-board game in which kids could start with insects and spiders, then their parakeets and hamsters before finally working up to little brothers and punks at school. Think of it, by the time they reach military age they’ll have already acquired advanced enhanced interrogation techniques that the military currently wastes time and money teaching our children.
The above Associated Press report states that “Sen. John McCain…also rejected the argument that any form of torture is critical to U.S. success in the fight against terrorism.”
Even though John apparently doesn’t want to use the word torture, he is arguing with people (real human beings who hold power?) who advocate skinning people alive (I can use euphemisms to describe torture, too) to fight against terrorism. I think somebody needs some real counseling here, and I’m not talking about John or even the people he’s arguing with. I’m talking about you, you who are drinking your coffee and reading your newspaper and saying, “Oh, yeah, they torture people. We torture people. What can I do, and besides, who cares? I’ve got a softball game this afternoon.” Society at large needs counseling. It doesn’t need torture
And I have an idea how to get rid of it. Let Congress and the President and the head of the C.I.A. put their hookahs aside and lie down together and debate the use of torture while the Army waterboards them. And tell them that the circus will never end unless they agree to never again use torture on fellow human beings. End of debate.