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The Military United States Games

Military Personnel Weigh In On Being Taliban In Medal of Honor 171

SSDNINJA writes "This is a feature from gamrFeed that interviews nine US service members about playing as the Taliban in the upcoming Medal of Honor. One soldier states that games like MoH and Call of Duty are 'profiteering from war.' Another says, 'Honestly, I don't really see what the whole fuss is about. It's a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don't really care about what side you're taking, just as long as you win. I don't think anyone cares if you're part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.' An excellent and interesting read."
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Military Personnel Weigh In On Being Taliban In Medal of Honor

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  • It's just a game (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nick ( 109 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:32PM (#33319188) Journal
    Get over it.
  • Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:34PM (#33319206)

    profiteering from war is bad?

    Except for all those nice upstanding defense contractors and other related service companys we give billions to....

    Damm... now i'm confused.

  • Ha! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:34PM (#33319208) Journal

    One soldier states that games like MoH and Call of Duty are 'profiteering from war

    Oh boy, if that soldier only knew who was REALLY profiteering from war.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:36PM (#33319244)

    There was always something wrong with the kids who wanted to play indians. And how dare they fight back.

  • It isn't me. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:41PM (#33319288)

    Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
    Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
    And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
    Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son.
    It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no,

    Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
    Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
    But when the taxman comes to the door,
    Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
    It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no.

    Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
    Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
    And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
    Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,

    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
    It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one.

    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no,

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <dnaltropnidad>> on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:45PM (#33319332) Homepage Journal

    I don't think anyone cares if you're part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.'

    just like real life.

    Haliburton profits from war. Churches profit from war. The Boy Scouts profit from war. Flag makers profit from war. That soldier profited from war.

      Games just wrap the same thing in different skins. If you put modern equipment skin on Halo, then it's profiting from war?

  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:51PM (#33319406) Homepage Journal

    During military wargaming exercises, it's pretty much always Red vs. Blue.

    But I guess Halo covered that already.
    http://redvsblue.com/ [redvsblue.com]

  • Seriously... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stms ( 1132653 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @04:59PM (#33319490)
    Why do these people continue to try to make controversy around games. They're just going to make the game more popular. I remember the first time I heard about GTA was on the news about the controversy surrounding it and I remember thinking wow that game sounds really cool. If they don't like the game and don't want people to buy/play the game they should shut their mouth. Doing things in games that you can't do in reality is just part of what makes them fun.
  • Re:Profit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Manfre ( 631065 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:02PM (#33319544) Homepage Journal

    Unless the soldier is declining his paycheck, then he's profiteering too.

  • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <<imipak> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:08PM (#33319618) Homepage Journal

    Well, yes. Profiteering in wartime is usually taken as things like smuggling operations, black markets, people trafficking. War stories, war comics, war movies - when they edge into propaganda and black propaganda - are questionable, but people expect heroes and villains in stories. However, in no context are they remotely profiteering. My guess is that the soldier in question has played many a FPS and probably many a wargame of other sorts. I doubt he had any problems with those.

    I would also guess that he - and probably many other soldiers - bought weapons for their family after 9/11. Gun merchants who rely on fear by their customers are far closer to profiteering from wartime. Games are not bought out of fear or panic, they don't rely on scare tactics (such as a Democrat getting elected), if their sales alter during a conflict it is because of increased interest and nothing more. But if you asked those same soldiers if gunshops should be penalized for profiteering, there's no way on this planet they would agree. If they even accepted that that is what it was (unlikely), they'd tell you that weapons are a fundamental right (which they're not, since there are many classes of people in the US who cannot own one) and that it doesn't matter if profiteering takes place in a free society (dubious, but of all the arguments it's the most convincing).

    So why are games a problem? Ah, well, you see the game itself is NOT the problem. Neither, I suspect, is the fact that you can play a bad guy. (Certainly hasn't hurt game sales where you can only play the bad guy.) I suspect the problem is that the military is extremely good at dehumanizing and that makes it very difficult to connect with a game that starts from the assumption that neither side is less human than the other.

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:15PM (#33319672)

    No, he's not. Making a profit from and profiteering are not the same thing. The soldier is not taking advantage of the war to make extra profit, he's simply doing the job he was hired for and being paid his standard wages.

  • Counter-Strike? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:19PM (#33319712)

    I've enjoyed (mostly) playing Counter-Strike for years, and one of the two teams is "Terrorists" whose purpose is to shoot police to death and plant explosives. I've played along side numerous soldiers and marines and they don't seem bothered.

    I think the difference is the nebulous nonspecific "Terrorists" vs the specifically named Taliban, which strikes a much deeper tone.

  • by Anomalyx ( 1731404 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:29PM (#33319790)
    I think somebody mis-vocab'd

    Profiteering is bad, but definitely didn't happen here.

    There's nothing wrong with Profiting. The game profits from the war, the soldier profits from the war, the citizens profit from the war (hopefully).
  • Re:Ha! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:54PM (#33319952)
    It's simple. Outspoken hysterical military moms [slashdot.org] and spouses can only be criticized by (ex-)soldiers. Soldiers can only be criticized by other (ex-)soldiers.

    And while the U.S. military does cater to some of the stupidest people you have ever met, many of them are surprisingly intelligent. You don't get to do much besides walk and carry a rifle unless you can think for yourself.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @06:26PM (#33320176)

    "That soldier profited from war."

    To a certain extent, you are correct. Military people off fighting wars do indeed make good money. We get tax-free wages while in war zones. We get lots of freebies as well: Free food, lodging, movie rentals, MWR - all while still earning our full paycheck. We also get hostility pay, separation pay (if you're married) and many other interesting bonuses. A few friends of mine just got back from Afghanistan a while ago and were treated to full paid vacations to Disney for themselves and their family. It's a perk, to say the least. Profit? I guess.

    That all sounds very nice. But the pay sucks. The free food is rarely that good. The lodging tends to suck (to what degree depends largely on your branch of service). The movie rental selection isn't that great. MWR... well, they do a really good job with what they have, but MWR facilities rarely measure up to civilian counter-parts. Hostility pay / danger pay is a pittance for the risk. Separation pay is a pittance. The perks help make rough situations easier. But I'd be really wary of listing them as selling points.

    As an aside - I remember the yearly report coming out that quantified all the perks to civilian dollar amounts. They were a joke. I know, for example, my local MWR gym was nothing like any of the health clubs in the nearby (small) town yet the report counted it as a perk in my salary comparison. No wonder we had congresswomen complaining about military housing as over-priced little Peyton Places (she was probably shown the best examples of officer housing). And Shades of Green? Nice. But a cut below even the mid-level Disney resort.

  • Re:Profit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spiralpath ( 1114695 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @06:39PM (#33320276)
    You don't think there are any intelligent, committed people willing to sacrifice themselves for an ideal? I don't deny that both bloodthirsty murderers and naive idiots join the military, but do you really think that's all there is?
  • Backgrounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c_jonescc ( 528041 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @08:09PM (#33320828)
    I'm not that curious how 9 random soldiers feel about playing as the Taliban. What I am curious about is how 9 soldiers that have been in combat against the Taliban feel.

    Just as I'm more interested in an interview with a WWII soldier about WWII games than in anybody else's sense of the emotions. Everyone else is only anticipating offense or ambivalence.

    As far as I can tell from a skim of TFA, there's no indication of these soldier's backgrounds, other than rank. Have they been in combat? Was it in this conflict? It's lazy reporting to ignore the detail, or to not make the effort to find people with an actual experience to found things on.

    I worked on a grant from NASA. Are you going to expect special insight from me about the emotions surrounding the Columbia disaster? I'd hope not. I don't have any more connection to it than a shared high level boss.
  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @08:33PM (#33320972)
    They can do what they want. I don't care. It's a damned VIDEO GAME. And I'll play it, too, regardless. There are much more offensive things than then Taliban in games right now.
  • There have been computer games that let you play as the "bad guys" almost as long as there have been computer games, in eras ranging from pre-historic times, through to the World Wars, Cold War, Vietnam and even fictional SciFi enemies such as the Sith.

    I realize Custer's Revenge was a primitive game but the 1980's were hardly prehistoric times. I don't think those cave paintings in the south of France count as video games.

  • Re:Profit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @09:37PM (#33321284)

    You are being overly cynical. You take something that may be partially true and inflate it into an entire worldview.

    He's just being a fuckhole.

  • Re:Profit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:31PM (#33321464)

    > No one fights for freedom, they only fight to make the rich richer

    How sad and cynical that you think this is true. It's clear to me you've never known a real American soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine. If you had, you wouldn't make such a foolish and insulting statement.

  • Re:Profit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:37PM (#33321730)

    Sure. And a game company is not taking advantage of a war to make extra profit; it's simply focusing on its core mission of developing engaging games with themes people care about, and one thing they care about is the ongoing war.

    Let me guess: When a newspaper (back in the good ol' days) sold Extra! editions of a day's newspaper because of developments in a war, is that "war profiteering"? Or, I don't know ... maybe just telling people up-to-date information they want to know about?

    You're an idiot, but sadly, not alone.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hairyfish ( 1653411 ) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @12:51AM (#33321950)
    "In the end, it wasn't worth it." It wasn't worth it in the start either. It was never worth it. At no point was that debacle ever worth it. But you still got paid for doing it, and no-one forced you to do it, so ultimately you are partially responsible for it.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.