Why is John Oliver’s latest biting critique about torture? After all, you might be thinking, didn’t President Obama bring that to an end? For one thing, as Oliver points out, the only restriction we currently have on “enhanced interrogation techniques” is an executive order signed by the president in 2009. That order can be easily overturned once he leaves office, unless the Senate passes the ban recently proposed by John McCain and Dianne Feinstein. One obstacle to passing that bill? The fact that most Americans still believe that torture provides reliable intelligence—something we can blame on Jack Bauer.
So in order to emphasize just how terrible the U.S.’s interrogation practices have been, Oliver enlisted the vocal talents of none other than Dame Helen Mirren to read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 500-page report on torture—and not even she could make the graphic description of “forced rectal rehydration” sound appealing.