Perhaps a more realpolitik-minded generation: Teens today are more likely than their parents to think torture techniques are acceptable. That's the conclusion of a new American Red Cross study that The Daily Beast brought to our attention, which found that 59 percent of American teenagers believe that interrogation methods like water boarding or sleep deprivation are "sometimes acceptable."
In contrast, 51 percent of adults in the survey came to the conclusion that "there are times when it is acceptable to torture the enemy." This is an interesting finding, and depending on which research is used to make stereotypes about millenials, either fits neatly in "they have less empathy than generations past" file or stands opposed to the "they're more civically minded than you think" studies.
One of the starkest contrasts between youth and adults in the Red Cross survey was on the topic of whether or not it's acceptable to kill enemy prisoners if the enemy has been doing the same to Americans. 56 percent of teens who've grown up with a decade of Middle East wars under their belt said that they do believe killing enemy prisoners in retaliation is acceptable. Only 29 percent of adults, their parents, felt the same way.
One possible reason teens took these stances? "Surprisingly, the survey shows that almost half of American youth have never even heard of the Geneva Conventions or international humanitarian law," the Red Cross concluded.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.