Andrew Sullivan, in his excellent blog The Daily Dish, reports that the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by Bush administration to describe its torturing techniques is equivalent to the German phrase “Verschärfte Vernehmung”, “concocted” by the Nazis. Not only are the phrases used to describe the techniques the same, but many of the actual “techniques” employed are the same.
A number of Nazis were sentenced to death by post-WW II war crimes tribunals for employing such “techniques” on non-uniformed enemy combatants.
“The phrase ‘Verschärfte Vernehmung’ is German for ‘enhanced interrogation’. Other translations include ‘intensified interrogation’ or ‘sharpened interrogation’. It’s a phrase that appears to have been concocted in 1937, to describe a form of torture that would leave no marks, and hence save the embarrassment pre-war Nazi officials were experiencing as their wounded torture victims ended up in court. The methods, as you can see above, are indistinguishable from those described as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ by the president. As you can see from the Gestapo memo, moreover, the Nazis were adamant that their ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ would be carefully restricted and controlled, monitored by an elite professional staff, of the kind recommended by Charles Krauthammer, and strictly reserved for certain categories of prisoner. At least, that was the original plan.”
Sullivan completes his report with:
“Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I’m not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture – ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ – is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.”
War criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, and their legal advisers, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, who justified “enhanced interrogation techniques”, in part arguing that the “enemy combatants” were non-uniformed, will unfortunately likely never suffer the justice visited upon the Nazis war criminals.
Sullivan’s report is well worth a read.