Monday, April 04, 2005

War as a game

I had no idea that it costs $18,000 to recruit one high school student into the military. I’m not easily shocked but that bit of information did the trick. The LA Times has published an article by Jason Felch entitled, Recruiting our high school students: From video war games to signing up for Army. Here’s an excerpt:

Tim Casper, a crew cut-sporting 15-year-old from Victorville, peered into the computer monitor and hunched slightly as he maneuvered the video game's soldier into a flanking position.

Using a keyboard, Casper ordered the soldier to lob a grenade, then slap a new magazine into his assault rifle. Creeping past the burned-out shell of a Humvee, the soldier fired a quick burst into the back of what looked like the enemy.

"That's me, dude," said Jeremy Donnelly, 15, looking up from a video screen across from Casper.

The classmates, both Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets at Victor Valley High School, were playing "America's Army," a realistic, multiplayer combat video game designed by the Army as a recruiting tool.

But this game does not show what real wounds look like. The very idea that real war can be compared to a video game is repulsive. But how can our young people know what it’s really like? We aren’t being shown what the military people look like who come back horribly maimed. We aren’t being shown the insanity of severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Lives are being ruined and our young people are seeing the unspeakable horror that is war presented as a game.

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