An explanation

Why do Americans visit the bathroom so often. Is it to have a bath? No, what they mean is a toilet and using the word bathroom instead of toilet is what in English is know as a euphemism. Another way in which words are avoided in favour of another word or phrase is in the use of jargon. These are special words or phrases which groups or professions use to confuse the outsiders, make it hard for others to understand. The most prominent group to use jargon are lawyers for which group I offer “inter alia” as jargon for “among other things”, closely followed by doctors but some governments are close to the top of the list. As an example of this I give you EIT or “enhanced interrogation techniques” to give it the full name. Just in case you have been visiting a distant planet recently or have been held is solitary confinement without access to the news, EIT is the euphemism used by the US government to avoid the real word which is, of course torture. Just like a child who is guilty but wants to change reality, the use of EIT provides the opportunity for denial, an attempt to change reality.

As studies of torture have shown (actually, studying the results of torture is rather a tricky area since torture is mostly illegal (accept when it is EIT of course), it is mostly futile. Torture victims tend to say anything, to admit to anything to make the pain stop. So why torture at all when what comparative tests of interrogation techniques there have been indicate that friendly discussions and soft questioning works where brutality fails? Generally the answer lies in the character of the torturer or those ordering it. In the specific example of the torture suspected organisers of the of 9/11 atrocity I think we can say that so traumatic was the attack, that something, anything had to be done to make the victims, in this case most of the US population, feel better. In this context, persistent near drowning or invading Iraq are one and the same. Somebody had to suffer.


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