Best Defense

Worst euphemism of the decade: ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’

Dick Cheney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on “This Week” yesterday that, “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques.”  That phrase strikes me as a terribly misleading euphemism. Would people support it if they knew that interrogation professionals like retired Army Col. Stuart Herrington and Chief ...

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Dick Cheney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on “This Week” yesterday that, “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques.”  That phrase strikes me as a terribly misleading euphemism. Would people support it if they knew that interrogation professionals like retired Army Col. Stuart Herrington and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Groseclose consider such techniques to be degraded and counterproductive interrogation techniques? Enhanced, my foot. A Best Defense demerit to Karl for not pinging him on this. Enhance your interview technique, Jonathan.

Speaking of Cheney, I like Politico but I think Vandenhei, Harris and Allen have built him into more than he really is. He ain’t no savant. He has a lot of amateurish mistakes to answer for, most notably his unfounded but official embrace of torture. At this point, Cheney strikes me as a cranky, bald version of abdicated Gov. Palin. 

Politico has a lot of good days. But on its bad ones, it reminds me of the people who were attacking FDR around 1934. I would say that Cheney reminds me of Charles Curtis, but I think that is unfair to Hoover’s vice president, and to Native Americans generally.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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