Mat Morgan from The American Red Cross e-mails a response to this Dish reader:
Our recent survey includes surprising results on how youth understand the rules of war, and we are grateful for the high interest and debate these results have spurred about the importance of these rules and values. We would like to emphasize the American Red Cross position on these findings and also clarify survey methodology. Many media outlets and blogs have provided their opinion on the meaning of the results. However, as characterized in our press release, our take-away is a simple one:
1) Only 1 in 5 American youth understand these rules, which are extremely relevant to current events.
2) Many don’t even know that they exist. By contrast, 4 in 5 youth – the vast majority – would like schools to teach students about International Humanitarian Law before they can vote or enlist in the military.
3) Youth can learn about the dilemmas in war through exposure to the free, nonpartisan Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) curriculum. This high school curriculum is used in all 50 states, but to reach more schools, we ask for help in promoting this curriculum to local teachers.
In response to discussion about our methodology, the survey was conducted and reviewed thoroughly by ORC International. It is important to point out that the statistical difference between 51% of adults who believe that torture is sometimes or always acceptable and 59% for youth is significant at the .01 level, based on a z-test of differences of proportion. This is only one statistic from the survey, and we encourage discussion and analysis of the full survey results.