The question of how many times it is necessary to subject a human being to torture is not a new one in human history. We've covered this ground some more in the systematic and repeated brutal torture of Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed along with countless others. One of the more (pathetic? chilling? disturbing? absurd?) stories of the last news cycle was Fox News' insistence that Zubaydah was not actually strapped to the waterboard 83 times, but suffered only 83 "pours." Michael Goldfarb jumped on this story with his customary aplomb:
Yes, this man was the spokesman for torture survivor John McCain in the last campaign. (Every now and again, I remember that and wonder what happened to the universe.) But we shouldn't be surprised that this kind of casuistry is not new in human history. Thanks to an ex-Jesuit reader, I came across the following phrase:
I still have some Latin but the following context helps explain Fox News' insistence and is a critical historical precedent for the Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury memos:
Those who know no history are condemned to repeat it. But America? And the Inquisition?