In her Op-ed piece “Remember Sept. 12” (Sept. 9), Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster contends that torture is an abomination that can never be condoned. Imagine that U.S. intelligence agencies, in the early days of September 2001, knew that a catastrophic terrorist attack was imminent, but did not know the when, where and how. At that time, Zacarias Moussaoui, later to be identified as “the 20th hijacker,” was already in our custody and he knew the when, the where, and the how. If we knew he possessed that vital information, Kahn-Troster seemingly would insist that we question Moussaoui and, if he refused to answer, simply return him to his cell and hope that perhaps he would answer us on another day.
And on September 12, 2001, the day after over 2,900 innocent people were killed by a terrorist attack that went unexposed, Kahn-Troster, who wrote “we do not have the right to engage in abominations in order to ensure our safety,” seemingly would have declared, “Yes, we did the right thing by not torturing Moussaoui to obtain the information that would have saved those thousands of lives.” There are words to describe such lofty idealism. And they are not “lofty idealism.”