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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:32 PM
Original message
US Military Recruits Children
US Military Recruits Children: "America's Army" Video Game Violates International Law

Wednesday 23 July 2008

by: Michael B. Reagan, t r u t h o u t | Perspective



In May of 2002, the United States Army invaded E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. At the city's Convention Center, young game enthusiasts mixed with camouflaged soldiers, Humvees and a small tank parked near the entrance. Thundering helicopter sound effects drew the curious to the Army's interactive display, where a giant video screen flashed the words "Empower yourself. Defend America ... You will be a soldier."(1)

The Army was unveiling its latest recruitment tool, the "America's Army" video game, free to download online or pick up at a recruiting station, and now available for purchase on the Xbox, PlayStation, cell phones and Gameboy game consoles. Since its release, the "game" has gone on to attain enormous popularity with over 30,000 players everyday, more than nine million registered users, and version 3.0 set for launch in September. "America's Army" simulates the Army experience, immersing players in basic training before they can go on to play specialized combat roles. Most of the gameplay takes place in cyberspace where virtual Mideast cities, hospitals and oil rigs serve as backdrops for players to obliterate each other. As a "first person shooter," the game allows players to "see what a soldier sees" in real combat situations - peek around corners, take fine aim, chose weapons that replicate those actually used by the US Army.

For the game's commercial developers, realism is one its strongest selling points. Console version programmers were shipped to military training facilities in Wyoming, where they ran boot camp obstacle courses, fired weapons at the shooting range and got whisked around on helicopters. Back at hip, safe San Francisco Bay Area game companies, Army weapons specialists worked with developers to ensure aim, fire, sound and reload functions for all of the game's weapons were as close to the real thing as possible. The Army also ensured that players learn real weapons skills such as breath control and the reload time for a M4 carbine. And in order to edge closer to the Army's goal of "realism" and "authenticity," several of the game's missions are based on actual combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the training simulators and firing ranges are modeled on the real life versions at Ft. Benning, Ft. Lewis and Ft. Polk. In a 2005 press release, Ubisoft, the multimillion-dollar publisher of the console version of the game, wrote that "America's Army" is the "deepest and most realistic military game ever to hit consoles," hoping that it gave players a "realistic, action-packed, military experience."(2)

But behind the fun and games is an attempt, in the words of a military booklet on "America's Army," "to build a game for Army strategic communication in support of recruiting." The Army spent $6 million to develop the game at the Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation Institute (MOVES) before handing it over to private companies for adaptation to the console formats in 2004. As the name implies, the MOVES Institute is the military center for creating virtual training environments and simulators. A MOVES Institute booklet proclaims a later version of the game, "America's Army: Special Forces," was developed specifically to increase the number of Army Special Forces recruits. "The Department of Defense want to double the number of Special Forces Soldiers, so essential did they prove in Afghanistan and northern Iraq; consequently, orders ... trickled down the chain of command and found application in the current release of 'America's Army.'"(3)

more . . . http://www.truthout.org/article/us-military-recruits-ch...
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LSparkle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:34 PM
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1. Oh. My. God.
I don't have kids, but if I did, that's one game I'd NEVER, EVER
let them get their hands on.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I wonder if it is this game
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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Heh, it's free now?
They've been doing this for years...and I suspect it's quite successful.

I seem to be the anomaly- a military family gamer who would like to be a soldier...but is too smart to be. I don't sign on to work for people who can change the contract at will, but can throw me in jail for attempting to leave said broken contract.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. Army recruitment Humvees have XBOX in the back.
With large screen TV and loud as hell subwoofers. You see them at county fairs and at high school campuses.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I posted an article about a month ago
about a group in Wisconsin that got rid of that at their county fair.
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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. And...
The Army sponsors a Drag Racing team as well. Think $2-3 million a year. Of your tax dollars.

http://www.shoeracing.com /

Click on the pic of Tony "Sarge" Schumacher.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Anyone else find it kind of sad
that the military has to launch PR campaigns?
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Snarkturian Clone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
7. Oh, BFD.
Have you seen what other video games look like? First of all, the game itself is crap. Second, this is old news, the game has been around for years. Third, there was already a thread about this, use search. Fourth, BFD!
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. 5th
Thanks for kicking my thread! :hi:
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