If anyone doubts how much harm has been done to the reputation of the United States by President George W. Bush's support for the legality of waterboarding, they need only consider the history of the Spanish Inquisition.
Ever since the Inquisition, its record of torture and execution has been used by enemies of the Catholic Church and against the reputation of Spain.
One can even perceive as a tourist that Spaniards are ashamed of the tortures of the Inquisition era and also those of the Franco regime. I remember the first time I visited the great Prado gallery in Madrid: all paintings depicting heretics burning at the stake were placed in dark corners.
The Catholic Church suffered in its reputation as much from the Inquisition in Spain as from the English martyrs of Queen Mary's time. Nobody now says that burning heretics is acceptable if it is done in a good cause.
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