WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The CIA operates secret prisons abroad for holding key suspects in the war on terror, President Bush acknowledged Wednesday.George Orwell, from "Politics and the English Language:"
Though Bush said the United States never tortures suspects, "alternative" interrogation methods are used to glean information from them. These procedures "were tough, and they were safe and lawful and necessary," he said.
Bush's acknowledgement came as the president announced that he was sending legislation to Congress that would authorize military tribunals for terror suspects and set clear rules to protect U.S. military personnel from facing prosecution for war crimes.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.It would be justice if there were some lively alternative interrogation awaiting Georgie and Dickie and Rummy and Condi. It won't happen, but it would be justice.