A woman is sentenced to be whipped ten lashes for . . . drumroll . . . driving a car. That might have made for a fairly typical week in Saudi Arabia. After all, the kingdom’s 20 million subjects and 5 million immigrant laborers are under constant surveillance by the mutaween, the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a police force several thousand strong that enthusiastically enforces Saudi law.
Whipping is a common punishment, so much so that our Saudi allies carefully regulate it: When the authorities impose hundreds of lashes, the sentences are carried out over weeks or months, no more than 50 strokes per session. Maybe the CIA should have consulted the enlightened sheikhs to ensure that waterboarding terrorists was as humane as whipping drivers.
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