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Op Ed

CNET Australia - Anders Breivik, video games and the militarisation of society.
Both critics and supporters of games and gaming, it seems, are unable or unwilling to address the big picture: that Western societies are undergoing a process of militarisation.

Militarisation is the social process through which societies are organised in ways that allow for the production of violence. According to the feminist writer Cynthia Enloe, militarisation describes a process through which individuals come to view militaristic ideas and military needs as being significant and the norm.

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35 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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35. Re: Op Ed May 1, 2012, 12:57 space captain
 
mandatory service needs a mandatory benefit and also mandatory agreement with govt policies

it may work for small countries, but not for large ones completely enmeshed in the bullshit rape and pillage economy

its basically a pipe dream, like most utopian ideas

the real problem is people - they cant hack.. they are not really much different from apes when it comes to big picture thinking, long term planning, objective reasoning, etc. .. still way too concerned with eating, sleeping, fucking, territory, etc - thats really all it boils down to
 
Go forth, and kill!
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34. Re: Op Ed May 1, 2012, 10:17 avianflu
 
The article uses confused logic throughout. But the real problem is that he extrapolates from one occurrence of a psychopath to a major global change in attitude. Just not a great argument.  
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33. Re: Op Ed May 1, 2012, 07:54 TheVocalMinority
 
Well done people, you have restored some of my faith in humanity (but only a little bit )  
Assley Putz
"Was vocalminority assley putzs most recent handle?"
-nin May 16, 2012, 10:52
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32. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 22:34 Draugr
 
eunichron wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 22:13:
Draugr wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 21:13:
Yeah, but if we had the draft think about how much more seriously going to war/being in war would be taken to some people.

It doesn't matter as long as those in power aren't affected by it. I highly doubt a Congressman cares about whether or not the son or daughter he is sending off to war volunteered or was selected from a list. With the nature of today's asymmetrical warfare even if there was a divide where only volunteers held combat arms positions, and draftees were only allowed to hold supply/clerical positions, the finance clerk sitting at a desk in a trailer at Bagram AFB is just as likely to get blown apart by a random katyusha rocket as the infantryman is by an IED while on patrol.

Yup, people are in danger, with or without the draft, more than just the front-line people being vulnerable to harm doesn't change my position.
When people need to start involuntarily sending their children away to fight a war it might not change the mind of the congressman, but it will effect the people who vote for them. I didn't mean to imply it would fix everything, but it would certainly have an effect. I certainly don't disagree with what you said.

Mandatory service (civil or military,) like what cutter mentioned, is also something I could get behind, for the same reasons.
 
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31. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 22:13 eunichron
 
Draugr wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 21:13:
Yeah, but if we had the draft think about how much more seriously going to war/being in war would be taken to some people.

It doesn't matter as long as those in power aren't affected by it. I highly doubt a Congressman cares about whether or not the son or daughter he is sending off to war volunteered or was selected from a list. With the nature of today's asymmetrical warfare even if there was a divide where only volunteers held combat arms positions, and draftees were only allowed to hold supply/clerical positions, the finance clerk sitting at a desk in a trailer at Bagram AFB is just as likely to get blown apart by a random katyusha rocket as the infantryman is by an IED while on patrol.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 22:08 Cutter
 
Hey, plenty of countries around the world still have mandatory 2 year conscription - or 2 years of some sort of public service. I personally don't think that's a bad thing in of itself if it makes citizens more aware of their personal responsibilities in their own country.

The down side is, of course, what happens when you don't agree with the current adminsitration's goals? As a hypothetical, would you have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan as a conscript - as opposed to a volunteer. I know I certainly wouldn't have. Which is why, so long as people have the option of doing domestic public service as an alternative I'd be ok with a draft.

Overall, I get where the authour was coming from. He's simply concened about the put-your-fist-in-it-if-you-don't-understand-it mentality. Let's face it, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan should have never happened in the first place. Yes, you know the public is going to be reactionary after something like 9-11, but we all recall that there were massive protests - in the US and all over the globe - opposing it even as the US was ramping up for it. That's what's always bothered me about the whole "support the troops" mentality where it's you're either for them or against them sort of thing. To my way of thinking supporting the troops has always meant putting them in harms way only if there is no other alternative. And we should be grateful for that many people still feel that way or we would have likely eneded up in WWIII with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Good lord, can you imagine if someone like Dubya had been president then instead of JFK? *shudder*

Edit: I just wanted to say it's nice when we can have an intelligent, civil discourse about this sort of stuff around here. Well done, gents.
 
Avatar 25394
 
"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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29. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 21:49 jacobvandy
 
Lol, but you'd actually have to declare war to call a draft, wouldn't you?  
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28. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 21:13 Draugr
 
eunichron wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 20:25:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 19:57:
Also, the author missed a big opportunity to look at empirical data. This chart shows that conflicts between countries are on the rise, yet the number of deaths from those conflicts is falling. What to make of that?

I would chalk that up to more advanced weaponry (guided munitions; laser and GPS specifically, as well as advanced reconnaissance and visual systems like infrared and thermal). It's much easier to pinpoint a strike with less error today than it was 10-15 years ago. In addition to that battlefield medical technology. We learned a lot about battlefield medical treatment in the 90s with the first Gulf War and especially Somalia, almost all of our current military medical treatment knowledge comes from direct study and analysis of what happened in Mogadishu. As a result more soldiers survive engagements, but there is also a higher ratio of permanently injured, disabled, and amputee soldiers. It's a never-ending cycle, the best business a corporation can get is a government contract, and right now the money is in the military and law enforcement sector.

What pains me is that while this article purports that video games are militarizing our society, as a veteran who has been home for 5 years it seems to me that the public is increasingly distancing itself from our military, and I know I'm not the only one that feels that way. I saw a recent editorial in the Washington Post that said, "One percent of the nation has carried almost all the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest of us essentially went shopping. When the wars turned sour, we could turn our backs." The editorial was an argument for bringing back the draft, which I don't agree with, but that line right there was a point that really hit home for me.

Yeah, but if we had the draft think about how much more seriously going to war/being in war would be taken to some people.
 
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27. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 20:25 eunichron
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 19:57:
Also, the author missed a big opportunity to look at empirical data. This chart shows that conflicts between countries are on the rise, yet the number of deaths from those conflicts is falling. What to make of that?

I would chalk that up to more advanced weaponry (guided munitions; laser and GPS specifically, as well as advanced reconnaissance and visual systems like infrared and thermal). It's much easier to pinpoint a strike with less error today than it was 10-15 years ago. In addition to that battlefield medical technology. We learned a lot about battlefield medical treatment in the 90s with the first Gulf War and especially Somalia, almost all of our current military medical treatment knowledge comes from direct study and analysis of what happened in Mogadishu. As a result more soldiers survive engagements, but there is also a higher ratio of permanently injured, disabled, and amputee soldiers. It's a never-ending cycle, the best business a corporation can get is a government contract, and right now the money is in the military and law enforcement sector.

What pains me is that while this article purports that video games are militarizing our society, as a veteran who has been home for 5 years it seems to me that the public is increasingly distancing itself from our military, and I know I'm not the only one that feels that way. I saw a recent editorial in the Washington Post that said, "One percent of the nation has carried almost all the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest of us essentially went shopping. When the wars turned sour, we could turn our backs." The editorial was an argument for bringing back the draft, which I don't agree with, but that line right there was a point that really hit home for me.
 
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26. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 20:03 Asmo
 
avianflu wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 10:01:
Australia's far right political conservatism is always surprising to me. It's in the middle of nowhere strategically and no one on the planet wants anything that it has. It is not a particularly religious country. And yet they are successfully passing more and more laws restricting content in the marketplace.

Umm, people are lining up down the block for our mineral wealth, to invest in our relatively stable economy which still actually has an interest return worth talking about etc... =)

Our societal conservatism is driven from the top down in response to the loudest complainers, mostly older people trying to hang on to our conservative past. Most Australian's are apathetic about politics, and both major parties display a disturbing lent towards authoritarianism to satisfy the minority who want to legislate everything, ie. ISP level internet filtering which the government has been proposing since 2007 and still hasn't axed.

The left (Labor) are currently ruled by the right wing faction of the party which believes in big government. The right (ironically named the Liberals, in a coalition with the aptly named Nationals) are supposed to believe in small government, but are socially conservative and aren't afraid to entrench that in law. The third option, for what it's worth, are the Greens who are basically Labor coalition members.

Back on topic, I'll just repost my comment from the article:

Ummm, this sort of casual correlation is the worst kind of way to support your hypothesis. There is no attempt to explore the role of the United States/USSR arms race and cold war, the first gulf war and 911 (both prior to the advent of high realism FPS games) which have resulted in an ongoing requirement for huge global military presences. You don't address the bizarre need for Australia to try and match the US in quality (if not quantity) of military hardware (Abrams tanks, F35's etc), or to send our forces in to engagements which have zero to do with us, which would account for our ridiculous expenditure.

Further, you don't address why our armed forces numbers haven't swelled dramatically since these games came out, or why casual people (such as myself) who have played these games for years aren't gun nuts or wannabe soldiers.

Anders Breivik may well be sane, but he's not a balanced individual. He's an extremist and a terrorist. What he used those games to accomplish is a symptom of his psyche, not a result of the game making him in to a killer.

What can be stated with some degree of certainty is that violent people are attracted to violent media, including violent games. Violent media does not necessarily make violent people, and none of the wowser 'studies' presented thus far that I have perused have come close to conclusively proving this.

edit: typos
 
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25. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 19:57 jdreyer
 
Wow, great comments in this thread, esp Flatline, Cutter, and Eunichron.

People have always had a military fascination. Look at how popular Westerns and WW II movies and novels were in the 60s and 70s, and how popular Rambo and Arnold and Delta Force were in the 80s. When I was a kid we played soldier, had bb gun wars, and built model tanks and battleships. The interest is the same today, just the medium has changed.

A big influence on the current US militarization is the government and megacorporations. Gov't plays the fear card in order to consolidate power, while corporations lobby and buy influence to be able to sell more weapons. We spend as much now or more on the military than we did during the cold war, yet the USSR was a much more formidable opponent than Al Queda.

Also, the author missed a big opportunity to look at empirical data. This chart shows that conflicts between countries are on the rise, yet the number of deaths from those conflicts is falling. What to make of that? What to make of a poll (I can't find the link right now) that showed Americans are much more in favor of using torture than Iranians? Games don't even involve torture, so where did this attitude come from? Obviously, this is a huge subject to delve into with a wide variety of vectors to consider, but I just don't think it's really that different than the past.
 
Avatar 22024
 
"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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24. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 19:36 Prez
 
Both viewers and reporters of news papers and news media, it seems, are unable or unwilling to address the big picture: that Western news media are undergoing a process of retardation.

News hoaring is the social process through which news organizations are organized in ways that allow for the fringe to get airtime. According to the gamer Yosemite Sam, retardation describes a process through which individuals come to view the fringe ideas and actions as being significant and the norm.

Wow, "the gamer Yosemite Sam" is a goddammed prophet. I totally agree with his post. If people only realized how the media plays them like fiddles, pitting groups of people against others over stupid shit. And it works time and time again without fail.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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23. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 19:30 Ruffiana
 
Popularity of our entertainment is a reflection of our society...not the other way around. Media and news drives militirisation more than our games, largely because every day we're told about how we're on the brink of war with Iran, China, N.Korea, or dozens of other countries around the world.

Majority of people probably believe we're headed for some sort of global crisis. World war, economic meltdown large enough to disrupt vital services on national levels, natural disaster, Mayan apocalypse...something.
 
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22. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 17:12 Cutter
 
Welp, that's what happens with an apathetic public that doesn't get political. It's not like this stuff can't be changed.

 
Avatar 25394
 
"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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21. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 16:11 eunichron
 
Flatline wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 16:02:
Cutter wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 11:04:
The author needs to read more history. This is nothing new. And like everything else in life, it's cyclical. In fact, all that militarization has already been declining the last few years an continues to do so. Even the dumbest, staunchest military supporter realizes that a military is of no use if there's nothing to protect. Couple with all those people leaving the military and the focus becomes spending on jobs, education, infrastructure, etc. where it should be.

To be fair, there is one sector that is militarizing that spooks me and that's law enforcement.

There are police forces with tanks and missile launchers and high-end military weaponry. Military contractors pump hundreds of millions of dollars a year in high-end military equipment for pennies on the dollar to police departments. The Occupy movement crackdowns showed, among other things, that police are having the same difficulties with social unrest that the military does because more and more police are equipped with military weaponry.

Links to what I'm talking about:
Salon

The Atlantic

Forbes

Indeed. I spent 12 months in Iraq as an infantryman and watching how the law enforcement sector has progressed since I got out is sickening. No-knock warrants, SWAT raids on families in the middle of the night. It has become shoot first, ask questions later, and the cult of the brotherhood makes sure it stays covered up. I'll be the first to admit that the military isn't much better in that regard, especially when you get into combat arms positions like infantry, tankers, and cavalry, but there is a difference between war and public service. What the law enforcement community is doing now is turning public service into a war on American citizens.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 16:06 Yosemite Sam
 
CME World - Yosemite Sam, news hoaring and the retardation of society.

Both viewers and reporters of news papers and news media, it seems, are unable or unwilling to address the big picture: that Western news media are undergoing a process of retardation.

News hoaring is the social process through which news organizations are organised in ways that allow for the fringe to get airtime. According to the gamer Yosemite Sam, retardation describes a process through which individuals come to view the fringe ideas and actions as being significant and the norm.
 
Avatar 21539
 
CIV4 MOD http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=326525
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19. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 16:02 Flatline
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 11:04:
The author needs to read more history. This is nothing new. And like everything else in life, it's cyclical. In fact, all that militarization has already been declining the last few years an continues to do so. Even the dumbest, staunchest military supporter realizes that a military is of no use if there's nothing to protect. Couple with all those people leaving the military and the focus becomes spending on jobs, education, infrastructure, etc. where it should be.

To be fair, there is one sector that is militarizing that spooks me and that's law enforcement.

There are police forces with tanks and missile launchers and high-end military weaponry. Military contractors pump hundreds of millions of dollars a year in high-end military equipment for pennies on the dollar to police departments. The Occupy movement crackdowns showed, among other things, that police are having the same difficulties with social unrest that the military does because more and more police are equipped with military weaponry.

Links to what I'm talking about:
Salon

The Atlantic

Forbes
 
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18. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 15:55 killer_roach
 
eunichron wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 15:48:
If game developers are using former and current military as advisers on their projects, why are the games still so unrealistic?

Because realism isn't fun. Full stop.
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 15:48 eunichron
 
If game developers are using former and current military as advisers on their projects, why are the games still so unrealistic?  
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16. Re: Op Ed Apr 30, 2012, 15:22 Darks
 
avianflu wrote on Apr 30, 2012, 10:01:
Australia's far right political conservatism is always surprising to me. It's in the middle of nowhere strategically and no one on the planet wants anything that it has. It is not a particularly religious country. And yet they are successfully passing more and more laws restricting content in the marketplace.

Hey, one person wants Australia, Lex Luthor.
 
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Creator of the Neverwnter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.

http://www.moddb.com/mods/eye-of-the-beholder-ii-ledgend-of-darkmoon
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