BOLTON NEVER EXPECTED THE SPANISH INQUISITION…. Spanish Magistrate Baltasar Garzon continues to look into possible charges against the “Bush Six” — Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, William J. Haynes II, David Addington, and Doug Feith — for their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantanamo Bay.

John Bolton, Bush’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and one of the nation’s least credible but most recognized neocons, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post urging President Obama to intervene to protect the former Bush administration officials.

That wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, were it not for Bolton’s choice of words. (thanks to reader M.J. for the tip)

Behind-the-scenes diplomacy is often the best, and sometimes the only, way to accomplish important policy objectives, and one hopes that such efforts [from Obama administration officials] are underway. But in this case, firm and public statements are necessary to stop the pending Spanish inquisition and to dissuade others from proceeding.

Does Bolton really want to throw around, “Spanish inquisition” in this context? It seems pretty ironic since the actual Spanish Inquisition was when waterboarding was put to extensive use — the very torture technique that’s proven to be so problematic for the Bush Six.

Bolton added, “I believe strongly that criminalizing policy disagreements is both inappropriate and destructive.” But as should be obvious by now, we’re not talking about criminalizing “policy disagreements”; we’re talking about criminalizing crime.

The real Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century and the Bush administration in the 21st century embraced the same torture technique. This problem goes well beyond a “policy disagreement.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.