To the editor:
"Condone: to pardon or overlook voluntarily" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online). If that is not exactly what Sen. Roberts is doing in saying that terrorists should be made to fear the unknown, and that is why he did not vote against torture by U.S. troops.
I never expected in my lifetime to see my senator condone U.S. torture on the pages of my local newspaper. It has been said, "If torture is not evil, then nothing is." There is no point raising issues of right and wrong for someone who condones torture.
However, there are practical issues that can be raised. First of all, people will say anything under torture, true or false, whether they know the answer or not. (Interestingly, the article's introduction says terror "suspects" have information they could be tortured for. It's not clear if Sen. Roberts would condone torture of those who just might be terrorists, or if this is a reporter's slipshod paraphrase.)
Second, use of torture on our part opens our soldiers and citizens to torture on the part of other powers, and gives us no moral high ground, no possibility for the use of international law. Finally, there is the terrible effect of torture on the torturers. I suppose Sen. Roberts does not plan to do the torturing himself. What happens to our servicemen and women who come home having learned to override their consciences and inflict pain when convenient? Is turning idealistic men and women into torturers something else Sen. Roberts condones?