Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Bush Directive Forbids Torture (*wink-wink*)

Remember when Clinton said "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is..." when asked if he was schtupping Monica Lewinsky? It was pretty clear to the nation that he was playing word games to weasle out of a tough spot.

Well, The Decider is playing his own word games now. Under international pressure, he's just issued an Executive Order prohibiting the CIA from using "torture." The problem is that what he means by "torture" remains his and the CIA's little secret. We know from the public five-page EO that torture has something to do with "mutilation or cruel or inhuman treatment," and that "sexual humiliation" and acts denigrating religion are out. Short of that, though, we're given little idea of what the Bush team thinks the term means. Everything is vague--and deliberately so. As CIA Director Michael Hayden puts it, "the information developed by our program is irreplaceable," with the information developed by our program being bureauspeak for torture and irreplaceable meaning "we're not stopping."
We should also note that there's no significant difference between this EO and The Decider's long-standing insistence that he and he alone will be the one who decides how to define the word "torture."
So, does the US government torture? It depends on what the meaning of the word "torture" is. Rings just as false as Clinton's testimony, doesn't it? Except that this time, we're not talking about blowjobs. Wonder if the nation will go as ballistic over this transparent dishonesty about torture as it did over a lie about a bit of hanky-panky in the White House?