And Now for Our Next Extraordinary Rendition…

No, Virginia, “extraordinary rendition” is not a description of how the Boston Symphony performed Beethoven’s Fourth.

As it turns out, “extraordinary rendition” is how the CIA describes in comforting legalspeak the shipping off a captured Muslim terrorist assassin to some ally for “aggressive” interrogation: the kind of questioning that highly sensitive congressmen far from the killing fields find shocking, shocking! Presumably the ally lives in a country that prefers survival to white-hat rules when dealing with people who think blowing up Mom and the kids and decapitating Christians and Jews is okey-dokey.

Lexicographical research shows that this official spinspeak derives quite legitimately from legal usage: to render is to hand over.

There may also be a close connection with culinary usage: to render is to melt fat over low heat.

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