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A Rhetorical Analysis of Krauthammer’s “The Truth about Torture”


In “The Truth about Torture,” first published circa December 2005 in The Weekly Standard, syndicated columnist and conservative political commentator Charles Krauthammer argues for a concession to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA). Introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the DTA effectively prohibited any and all forms of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of those in the custody of the United States (Krauthammer 1). However, Krauthammer asserts that, in “two very circumscribed circumstances”––(1) the ticking time bomb and (2) the slower-fuse high-value terrorist––exceptions to the McCain amendment’s no-torture dictum should be allowed (7). Throughout his essay, Krauthammer rarely makes use of pathos, since his target audience of government policymakers and The Weekly Standard’s readership––which consists of the elderly, affluent, and politically active––tend not to be receptive to arguments that cater to the tender-of-heart, preferring instead the educated, empirically permissible conclusions of men of logic and science. Read the rest of this entry

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