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Gene Lyons: The shaming of America

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In a 2002 advisory, Jay S. Bybee, subsequently appointed to the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush, notes dryly that the practice of "waterboarding" -- recognized as torture since the Spanish Inquisition -- "constitutes a threat of imminent death," but says it's nevertheless legal because it doesn't cause "prolonged mental harm" in a psychologically healthy subject.

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