Quoting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s statement at a May 13 Senate hearing that “one of the reasons these techniques have been used for about 500 years is that they work,” Robert Parry (Consortium News, 5/16/09) explains that this is “implicitly endorsing the Spanish Inquisition’s brutal treatment of Jews, Muslims, Protestants and other alleged heretics from the 15th to 17th centuries,” and posits that “in a normal world, one might have expected national outrage over a prominent U.S. senator speaking favorably of the Spanish Inquisition, which pioneered innovations in torture… including the water torture now known as waterboarding“:
Beyond the inhumanity of the Inquisition, there is the troubling fact that the torture tactics did “work” only in the sense that they extracted many false confessions and got victims to implicate other individuals who were, in turn, persecuted, tortured and put to death for their religious beliefs.
But Graham’s praise for the efficacy of the Inquisition’s torture tactics passed largely unnoticed–and without any perceptible criticism–in the American news media. The Washington Post article on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing didn’t even mention Graham’s extraordinary remark; a brief New York Times article about the hearing mentioned it only in passing.
Remarking on how “Graham is still considered a Republican ‘moderate’ regarding BushÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s ‘war on terror’ policies,” Parry notes a stark “contrast to the quiet acceptance of GrahamÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s views on the InquisitionÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s torture tactics” and how “Washington news media flew into near hysteria over House Speaker Nancy PelosiÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s tortured explanations of what she knew about Bush’s torture policies.”