Here’s a bit of fancy prose out of the Times Washington bureau today:
Waterboarding might be an excruciating procedure with deep roots in the history of torture, but for the C.I.A.’s Office of Medical Services, recordkeeping for each session of near-drowning was critical.
What exactly is the semantic import of that first clause? Is it: “Waterboarding has been around for a long time, but the CIA wanted to keep records anyway”? Or perhaps: “Even though waterboarding is torture, the CIA figured it better keep records”?
And what’s the difference between “torture” and “an excruciating procedure with deep roots in the history of torture”? An enhanced interrogation technique that, thanks to careful CIA monitoring, should no longer be considered torture? I’m thinking a lot of editorial back-and-forth went into this sucker.