Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Enhanced interrogation"

Ring, ring, ring.
Karl, it's for you.
Seems like "Genius Boy" Rove and company haven't been answering the clue phone: Any time you're doing stuff that compares unfavorably to what the Nazis and the Soviets did, you have a problem. When it's about torture, you've got a serious problem. That's where we're at with "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

Today's NYT has a front page piece called "Interrogation methods criticized" with this in the third graph:
experts say … interrogation methods … are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.
Ouch. And it gets worse: People talk about this stuff violating "American values, call it "immoral", etc.

And then Andrew Sullivan has a big piece comparing current US practices to what the Nazis did, here. Turns out, the Brown Shirts used the phrase "verschärfte Vernehmung" for their 'harsh' techniques. Sullivan makes a deal out of how that's German for 'enhanced interrogation' — it fits the actual sense, but you probably won't find 'enhanced' for verschärft in a German-English dictionary. ('Enhanced' is one of those sleazy political euphemisms.) What's frightening is that the Nazis apparently initially didn't allow some things that Bush and Rumsfeld have, like hypothermia.

Josh Micah Marshall said this on Talking Point Memo:
There are way too many facile comparisons of whatever group or individual we dislike to Nazis. But when the shoe fits.
Part of what's striking here, of course, is how many mainstream folks are now drawing these comparison.

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