The New York Times Finally Uses the Word Torture!

The truth finally, and without Newspeak. Thank you.

It’s so good not hearing from the New York Times the Orwellian phrase “enhanced interrogation” in a serious news article, especially when what went on was torture:

Col. Harold E. Fischer Jr., an American fighter pilot who was routinely tortured in a Chinese prison during and after the Korean War, becoming — along with three other American airmen held at the same prison — a symbol and victim of cold war tension, died in Las Vegas on April 30. He was 83 and lived in Las Vegas.

Oh my Gawd! Did you see it? Torture.

Of course, the New York Times wasn’t talking about Bush era war crimes, but the word torture did make it into a news story.

Isn’t that exciting?

Let’s see how the New York Times describes this man’s torture:

From April 1953 through May 1955, Colonel Fischer — then an Air Force captain — was held at a prison outside Mukden, Manchuria. For most of that time, he was kept in a dark, damp cell with no bed and no opening except a slot in the door through which a bowl of food could be pushed. Much of the time he was handcuffed. Hour after hour, a high-frequency whistle pierced the air.

And:

Nine months into his captivity, Captain Fischer managed to escape by digging a hole through the wall of his cell. He was re-captured at a railroad station. Relentless interrogation, led by a guard named Chong, began.

“He wanted me to admit that I had been ordered to cross the Manchurian border,” Captain Fischer told Life magazine. “I was grilled day and night, over and over, week in and week out, and in the end, to get Chong and his gang off my back, I confessed to both charges. The charges, of course, were ridiculous. I never participated in germ warfare and neither did anyone else. I was never ordered to cross the Yalu. We had strict Air Force orders not to cross the border.”

“I will regret what I did in that cell the rest of my life,” the captain continued. “But let me say this: it was not really me — not Harold E. Fischer Jr. — who signed that paper. It was a mentality reduced to putty.”

Yes, this sounds like torture to me, and not “enhanced interrogation.” But it is also less torture than what the Bush administration appears to have routinely administered to terror suspects. And yet the New York Times calls Bush era methods “enhanced interrogation.”

Go figure. 

And notice that the Chinese interrogators reduced a man to “putty” and got him to make false statements. In other words, torture yielded no valuable intelligence—but may have yielded “confessions” for use in propaganda.

Wasn’t there an article recently about the Bush administration trying to get terror suspects to “confess” to links between Iraq and 9-11? It might have helped the president make his “case” to go to war in Iraq, wouldn’t it?

If Barack Obama, the Congress, and the New York Times sweep Bush era crimes under the rug, they’re complicitious, aren’t they?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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