Thursday, May 7, 2009

The US Army Recruiting Deception

The US Military has invested some $20 Million, $8 Million to develop and merchandise a very violent video game called America’s Army, (a top ten online action video game that is used to motivate our youth to enlist in the military), and another $12 Million to set up a facility with high tech equipment to recruit children as young as 13.

Taking advantage of the children’s youth and formidable intellect, the Military recently expanded its application to console Xbox and Xbox 360, which has now attracted more than nine million players who have gone on more than 380 million virtual missions.

The game extols the virtues of the military and its wars, and is in effect brainwashing our youth to become a part of the military war complex. Just as the helmets of our soldiers carry the drumbeat of war “Kill, Kill, Kill We Will” drummed into the ear of the soldiers facing combat, so does this game carry the message of war to our youth and the excitement of killing a virtual enemy, effectively desensitizing our children to the horrors of war and death.

The Army has just opened, 14,500 square foot army video arcade in Philadelphia called The Army Experience where our youth can waste bad guys from the simulated life-size Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, and armored Humvee that grace this high-tech facility.

Make no bones about this, this is a recruiting station in disguise and is aimed at children as young as thirteen and is located conveniently only yards from a popular skateboard park. Army "greeters" (active duty recruiters, dressed not in uniforms but in polo shirts and khaki trousers) are there and obtain contact information from the children, and the site is a very successful recruiting station able to attract the same number of recruits as five traditional recruiting centers in the area surrounding Bensalem, the Philadelphia suburb where the Franklin Mills Mall facility is located.

Enthusiasts are welcome to avail themselves, free of charge, of the Helicopter and Humvee simulators and the seventy-nine educational and motivational "gaming stations that include nineteen brand new XBOX 360 consoles and sixty custom-built, high-performance Alienware. The army web site boasts, "gamers can play the latest, most popular gaming titles, go head to head in tournaments, or just enjoy an afternoon as a virtual soldier." Hosts (also recruiters) are available to help, answer questions, talk of their personal experiences in the military, or just engage in friendly banter with the gamers.

If the video games and simulators are intended to enable young people "to get educated about the Army" and gain insight into what to expect should they join the military. Then the army should include a few additional "games" that would enhance learning and make the experience more authentic.

Perhaps the Army should consider adding the Stop Loss Game in which players are prevented from leaving the Experience Center despite having completed their tour of the facility and instead, are forced to play repeatedly against their will.

And how about a PTSD Game in which four out of ten players will relive the "game" experience for the rest of their lives, or become virtually homeless, or a substance abuser, or commit virtual suicide?

On the other hand, perhaps the VA Maize Game would be enlightening, in which players must negotiate endless bureaucratic red tape and indifference as they attempt to receive care for their virtual war injuries.

Finally, I think that the addition of the Military Rape Experience, an interactive and violent game in which every third female and every 10th male who plays is sexually assaulted, would provide players a more accurate understanding of what lies in store should they decide to enlist in the military.

What is clear is that these games profoundly affect the way our children think and see the world and that the military is utilizing this technology to manipulate our children first to view the military positively; second to encourage them to enlist, and third to program them to kill.

Whatever one's particular point of view regarding military service, to morally object to this influencing of our children is not to be anti-military or even anti-recruitment. Rather, it is to be anti-deception, anti-manipulation and pro-honesty. A moral society and concerned citizenry should not stand idly by while its children are being manipulated into making choices they may not completely understand or otherwise have made - choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives. In this new era of transparency, truth in recruiting is not radical, nor too much to expect. It is a moral obligation.

Jack Ferm has written several books which can be downloaded from his web presence at They include: “Goliath Must Fall”; “Project MKUltra”; and “Into the Darkness”