Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report': Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report': Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing

Long before I knew him, undergraduate Fisk laboured at his university linguistics course, where Chomsky’s work first alerted me to the pernicious use of language. Hence I condemn at once the vile semantics of the Pentagon and the CIA. Not just that old, wolfish, obscene phrase “collateral damage”, but the language of torture.

Or, as the lads who torture on our behalf call it, “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Let’s take a closer look at that. “Enhanced” is a word of improvement. It suggests something better, more learned, even less costly. For example, “enhanced medicine” would presumably involve a more streamlined way of improving your health. Just as “enhanced schooling” would suggest a more worthy education for a child. “Interrogation” at least gives a hint of what this is all about. Asking questions and getting – or not getting – a reply. But “techniques” beats the lot. A technique is a technical skill, is it not? Usually, so my dictionary tells me, in artistic work.

So the “interrogators” have special skills – which implies training, learnt work, application, the product of brains.

Comments

SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA