From Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish for Tuesday (link via TPM):

The phrase "Verschärfte Vernehmung" is German for "enhanced interrogation". Other translations include "intensified interrogation" or "sharpened interrogation". It's a phrase that appears to have been concocted in 1937, to describe a form of torture that would leave no marks, and hence save the embarrassment pre-war Nazi officials were experiencing as their wounded torture victims ended up in court. The methods...are indistinguishable from those described as "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the president. As you can see from the Gestapo memo [reproduced in the article], moreover, the Nazis were adamant that their "enhanced interrogation techniques" would be carefully restricted and controlled, monitored by an elite professional staff, of the kind recommended by Charles Krauthammer, and strictly reserved for certain categories of prisoner. At least, that was the original plan.

Torture is the most outrageous of the outrages foisted upon this nation in the last five years.

Torture is wrong.

Sanctioned use of torture violates the Geneva Conventions and rushes the entire world back to the days when there were no protections for any prisoner of war, combatant or non-combatant, against inhumane treatment. (See the excerpt from The Enormous Room that I posted here Monday.)

Sanctioned use of torture puts us in the wrong in the eyes of the world.

AND torture does not work. (24 is a fantasy!!!)

See this morning's NYTimes:

WASHINGTON, May 29 — As the Bush administration completes secret new rules governing interrogations, a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.

The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.

While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods — possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda — are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.

Some of the study participants argue that interrogation should be restructured using lessons from many fields, including the tricks of veteran homicide detectives, the persuasive techniques of sophisticated marketing and models from American history.

Outmoded, amateurish, and unreliable.

So really enhanced interrogation might be at least as smart as the American marketers.

So here we are, a nation that likes to think of itself as the most clever and innovative in the history of man, and we can't do any better than the Spanish Inquisition or, shudder at the word, the Nazis, when it comes to getting information out of people??

Give. me. a. break.

Cross-posted at Sherry Chandler.


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