Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Militarism and Video Games

The other night I attended a lecture and demonstration in which one of the software engineers for the US Army outlined how video game technology is being put to use. The lecturer mentioned, for example, that the update for "America’s Army," a full fledged video game, will be available soon and serves as a recruitment tool. Video game technology is used in other instances as a means of thinking through various scenarios so that the troops will be prepared when confronting a similar situation overseas. The Army, he says, doesn’t want the soldier to discern a difference between the video game scenario and the actual event itself. Once one has become suitably brainwashed, he/she reacts in ways that have been predetermined, in other words.

One scenario duplicated what was meant to happen in Mogadishu, that is, a number of soldiers entering a structure and kidnapping a terrorist leader. The scenario goes much smoother than what occurred in Black Hawk Down; in fact, once the troops get pinned down by a sniper in a building, they call in an airstrike from an A10 Warthog circling overhead, allowing the equivalent of a Bunker Buster to destroy the entire ten-story building and everyone else inside.

Most depressing of all is that the lecturer disclosed that he is currently working on video game scenarios that won’t be released for another four years. One clip revealed that the US Army expects to remain in the Middle East for much longer than has been disclosed in the corporate media at least. This revelation duplicates the ideas expressed today at the Information Clearing House where the article Corporate Globalization and Middle East Terrorism argues that Cheney and Rumsfeld articulated their intentions six years ago in a white paper “call[ing] for permanent military bases throughout the [Middle East]…[because] America has no intentions of leaving until the last drop of oil runs dry, and Iraq’s [and Iran’s] natural wealth has been privatized.”

Don’t let your children download and play “America’s Army.” Don’t be tempted to purchase a copy when the updated version is released for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 in a few more months. Boycott militarism and vote to make a difference in November (assuming, of course, that our votes count and that the election hasn't been decided by the voting machines already in place).