Thursday, April 24, 2008

Forcing vs. Pouring?

From a diary at Kos by Elsinora... transcript from Dan Froomkin's column

Ashcroft: "Now, listen here. You're comparing apples and oranges, apples and oranges. We don't do anything like what you described."

Elsinora: "I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we still use the method of putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water down their throat. . . . "

Ashcroft: "'Pouring'! 'Pouring'! Did you hear what she said?: 'Putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water on them.' That's not what you said before! Read that again, what you said before [about the Asano case]!"

Elsinora: "'The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach.'"

Ashcroft: "You hear that? You hear it? 'Forced'! If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring. . . . Does this college have an anatomy class?

If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring. . . . "

v 1: cause to run; of liquids
move in large numbers; "people were pouring out
of the theater" [syn: swarm, stream]
3: pour out; of wines or sherry [syn: decant, pour out]
flow in a spurt; of liquids
supply in large amounts or quantities: "We poured
money into the education of our children"
rain heavily; "Put on your rain coat-- it's
pouring outside!"
pelt, stream, rain cats and dogs, rain buckets]

v 1: to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by
physical, moral or intellectual means :"She forced him
to take a job in the city" [syn: coerce, hale, pressure]
2: urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or
[syn: impel]
3: move with force, "He pushed the table into a corner"
[syn: push] [ant: pull]
4: impose or thrust urgently, importunately, or inexorably;
"She forced her diet fads on him" [syn: thrust]
5: squeeze like a wedge into a tight space; "I squeezed
myself into the corner" [syn: wedge, squeeze]
6: force into or from an action or state, either
physically or metaphorically; "She rammed her mind into
focus"; "He drives me mad" [syn: drive, ram]
7: do forcibly; exert force; "Don't force it!"
8: cause to move along the ground by pulling; "draw
a wagon"; "pull a sled" [syn: pull, draw] [ant: push]
9: take by force; "Storm the fort" [syn: storm]

I guess if it will ease Ashcroft's mind semantically, we can agree on using some variation of forcibly pouring, or poured by force. However, the words and phrases emphasized above should have sufficed.

And, perhaps Knox College will, in future, make sure that the distinction between pouring and forcing is added to their anatomy curriculum. [/sarcasm]

Image: "Waterboarding in Vietnam,"
from Stop Torture: the Harvard anti-Torture Coalition


Jim White said...

Thanks for this, Karen. For too long, Bush and his minions have believed that by hiding behind false parsings such as this that they will stay out of jail. I suspect that they are wrong. Ashcroft's tone and increasing agitation suggests that they are worried.

mikeinportc said...

The Force is with us. Gravity, that is . As long as the person being poured on is face up , and not in control, then gravity forces the water in. The laws of physics still work in the reality-based world. Wishing it, or pretending, after the fact, doesn't make it otherwise.

Frankly, my dear, ... said...

mikeinportc preempted my comment, but he's absolutely right. Take any container with liquid in it and pour the liquid out. Which way does the liquid go? The liquid is forced to move in a certain direction by the forces acting on it, primarily the force of gravity.

Frankly, my dear, ... said...

Oh, ... and Ashcroft is a boob — which is probably why he's so afraid of them.

John Cowan said...

Oh, come on! If you drop someone out of the window, it's an abuse of language to say you "forced him to hit the ground". Causing people to splat is quite bad enough without it having to involve forcing them.