With that mordant spareness that marks his prose, TRB explains:

First, there's no such thing as a government policy of "torturing terrorists. " There's only a policy of torturing people the government thinks are terrorists. Many of the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, subjected to agonizing stress positions, turned out not to be terrorists--not because the soldiers who captured them were venal, but because they were human.

Second, torture is designed to force prisoners to provide an answer the interrogator already knows. The torturer relents when his subject provides the "correct" answer. Intelligence gathering, by contrast, is designed to garner answers the interrogator does not already know.

All of this is obvious. The reason this debate is occurring at all - and in such bizarrely convoluted ways - is because defending the indefensible is always hard, even for smooth liars like Rove. And the English language is usually the first victim. Clear prose - as Orwell understood - is always the strongest weapon against lies. And Orwell would love the current TRB.

(Bonus non-Orwell, Sully fandom points for best use yet of "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!").

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