Nancy Pelosi’s “contemptible hypocrisy” on the torture issue tells us a great deal about the “moral calculus” behind the issue, writes Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. “Our jurisprudence has the ‘reasonable man’ standard,” he argues, which asks a jury to decide what a reasonable person would do in urgent circumstances. Post 9/11, Pelosi, and many Americans, decided torture was a reasonable response to the terrorist threat.
Even Nobel Peace laureate Yitzhak Rabin once OK’d torture in a “ticking time bomb scenario.” So if the no-torture rule isn’t inviolable, we have to think about when it would be acceptable. Pelosi, and the American people (“who by 2004 knew what was going on” and “strongly reelected” President Bush anyway), decided the threat of another 9/11 justified torture. And, Krauthammer concludes, “They were right.”