Saturday, August 3, 2013

Parker versus Math

In a 2009 column, Kathleen Parker condemned President Barack Obama's disapproval of waterboarding.  Instead, Parker championed the reasoning of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, who still defends harsh treatment of defenseless captives.  Parker insinuated that Obama's rejection of waterboarding reflected his relative youth and naïveté.  In contrast, Parker characterized Dick Cheney as "an old timer with decades of experience."

Parker was wrong to think the rejection of torture is popular among young adults.  Compared to younger generations, Americans born before 1940 are more likely to say torture is "never justified."  In fact, in 2004, Pew Research Center found that the younger the respondents, the small the percentage that rejected torture as "never justified."  
Check page 9 of this 12-page pdf, labeled page 48.  The popularity of torture among young adults probably derives from the corrosive influence of popular culture.  

Parker advised us to heed the advice of elders with decades of experience.  Dick Cheney was born in 1941.  US Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona), however, was born in 1936.  McCain condemned waterboarding as torture, and torture breaks the law and hurts the efforts of the nation that resorts to it.

General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell was born in 1937.  Powell also condemned the harsh treatment of captives.

Senator McCain and Secretary Powell have decades of military experience.  Dick 
Cheney does not.  
Cheney is not the old timer with decades of experience.  
Dick Cheney is the young whippersnapper who thinks rough treatment of prisoners gets what he wants, despite the better judgment of his elders.  
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