Why We Need Humane Education: 60% of Young People Support Torture

When we think of a humane world, torturing "the enemy," or murdering and dismembering civilians aren't usually on the list. Two recent news stories remind us why we need humane education:

As reported by The Daily Beast (with a h/t to GOOD), a survey conducted by the American Red Cross revealed that nearly 60% of young Americans "believe there are times when it is acceptable to torture the enemy" and more than half believe that "there are times when it is acceptable to kill enemy prisoners in retaliation if the enemy has been killing American prisoners." Is this due to increased media coverage of interrogation techniques? Is it an increasing lack of empathy? Is it Jack Bauer's fault? Is it because we raise our children in a culture that accepts and condones violence as commonplace and necessary?

And, lauren, founder of the Food Empowerment Project, recently blogged about a story from Rolling Stone about the horrific incidents of American soldiers killing Afghan civilians (including a 15-year-old boy), mutilating the bodies, and taking photos to share around. Officials are pointing to the culprits as "bad apples," but most acts of evil don't occur in a vacuum. As one of the perpetrators said, "None of us in the platoon – the platoon leader, the platoon sergeant – no one gives a f**k about these people."

As with most issues, there is no simple answer and no simple solutions, but there is a reminder to us of the importance of humane education, and the need to transform systems that perpetuate such unconscionable violence and a culture that raises our children to think that torture has a place in our world.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of isafmedia via Creative Commons.

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