17 November, 2005

CNN Has No Business Covering This Story

Bruce Barry over at PITW points out the latest from CNN about torture in Iraq.

I hate the idea of torturing another human being under any circumstances. It is base, animalistic and does not honour Christ.

However, I have no desire to hear CNN grandstanding about it now. They were the ones who kept quiet about rape, torture and murder under Saddam's regime because they didn't want to lose their front-row seat to events in Iraq. It was the ultimate journalistic triumph of style over substance. Now that they know the new boss ISN'T the same as the old boss, they've got religion and bold-faced headlines.

It's disgusting.


At 2:06 PM, November 17, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(wading into murky waters here)

"I hate the idea of torturing another human being under any circumstances. It is base, animalistic and does not honour Christ."

Agreed. In my mind there is almost never a reason for torture. I say "almost" because I have to regrettably conclude that it might be justified in the worst-case scenario of a ticking nuke hidden in NYC (or London, or, even Nashville). Justified in the self-defense, guy-breaks-into-your-house-and-has-a-gun-to-your-spouse's-head kind of way. In this case I have a hard time buying the "if we stoop to their level we're no better than them" argument. (I get that you're not making that argument here).

It gets murky when you try and define what "torture" is, and I have come to the conclusion that the "torture" that's being reported is anything but. Feeding someone feet-first into a shredder? No question. Yanking fingernails out with pliers? Again: not acceptable. Making them stand without sleep for 24 hours? That falls squarely on the side of "classical interrogation". Scaring them with the threat of dogs or menstrual blood? That's just using natural fear and cultural bias against them to extract information. If I said that my culture considers the existence of a free media to be an abomination, does that de facto make CNN's broadcasts torture? I think not.

Torture vs. Interrogation is a murky topic, but the opponents of the war (most of the media and the democrat/liberal pary) have described a ludicrously limited field of acceptable behavior, and they are primarily doing this for political gain. I've no doubt that some honestly feel this way, and I can respect that, but your example of CNN changing its stand when it suits them is a clear indication that their current thinking regarding torture is opportunistic.

When an opponent (and I'm lumping CNN into this camp since they have an obvious bias against the current administration) gets to define the terms of the argument, they have a huge advantage. After all, they've succeded in defining the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan as "insurgents" when they're nothing close to the accepted definition of the word. They even have defenders of the war referring to "the insurgency". I, for one, would like to see the administration permanently change its syntax and start calling them "the terrorists".

Words matter.



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