Wednesday, June 09, 2004

You want semantics? I'll give you semantics.

It's amusing to see Republicans, having had conniptions over Bill Clinton's "It all depends on the definition of the word 'is'", taking semantic distortions to whole new heights, a good example being the current controversy over whether the detainees at Abu Ghraib were really "tortured".

Naturally, some are saying, well, it's not really, you know, "torture" per se -- just, um, well, mistreatment, with a little abuse thrown in for good measure. But not "torture". No way, not that.

And in a June 8 article in the New York Times (new motto: "The worst newspaper ever."), available here, we have more semantic tap-dancing:

"If you walked down through the wing of the prison where they were being held, they would have them strip down naked. Sometimes they would stand on boxes and would hold their arms out. That happened almost every night - having them naked. I wouldn't say it's abuse. It's definitely degrading to them."

Ah, so it's not even abuse, just degrading. If you close your eyes, you can just see these people, poring over their thesauruses.

When they start quibbling over the definition of the word "is", you'll know things have reached rock bottom.

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