28 April 2009

Cartoon: A Can of Worms

Cartoon by Gary Varvel of The Indianapolis Star-News published on 24 April 2009.

This cartoon is about the interrogation memos from the Bush era that President Obama decided to release. These secret memos describe the “enhanced interrogation”  techniques used by the CIA and the intelligence gathered from the interrogations.

The political left wanted the memos released in hopes of creating anger against what they called torture. The political right wanted the memos released to show that these techniques did reveal valuable information that kept America safe. It has caused a real debate in the American media but the release of these memos hasn’t really had the desired affect that either side wanted. The debate seems to be taking place more in the media than among the public.

The cartoonist is saying the Obama has opened a can of worms.  This means that Obama took a political risk by releasing these memos. A can of worms is a common expression in English used to describe a situation that is very complicated and risks becoming troublesome. To open a can of worms means that you do something that will cause a lot of problems and is probably going to cause more trouble that it is really worth.

There is a caterpillar (une chenille) in the cartoon because one of “enhanced” techniques involved placing a prisoner, particularly one afraid of insects,  in a “confinement box” with an insect he was told could sting him. In reality, the interrogators put a caterpillar.

Read more in the news:

- Bush Administration Interrogation Memos: The Techniques (Telegraph.co.uk)
- The Torture Controversy (American Thinker)
- Misconceptions About the Interrogation Memos (The Wall Street Journal)
- Cheney Calls for Release of Memos Showing Results of Interrogation Efforts (Fox News)
- Interrogation Memos Detail Harsh Tactics by the C.I.A. (The New York Times)
- In CIA Visit, Obama Defends Interrogation Memo Release (CNN)
- Controversy Erupts Over CIA Memos (Fox News)

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