Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition—except the Bush Adminstration

Monty Python once riffed on the catchphrase “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” What was funny on the Flying Circus doesn’t seem so amusing after Steven G. Bradbury, who serves in an acting capacity in the Office of Legal Counsel for the Justice Department, testified before Congress about how the administration keeps tabs on “rough interrogation” by the CIA. When it came to simulated drowning, the technique, Bradbury reassured a subcommittee (according to Dan Eggen in the Washington Post), did not resemble the “water torture” of the Spanish Inquisition. Thanks to “strict time limits, safeguards, restrictions,” he opined, “the only thing in common is, I think the use of water.” That’s a relief. By the low, low standards of the Spanish Inquisition, our methods aren’t so bad after all. For one thing, we have stop watches.

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