Army Recruiters' Video Arcade Draws Fire

Simulations ignore 'reality of war itself:' Pulitzer winner Chris Hedges
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2009 5:26 PM CDT
A protester Mdemonstrates against the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Army Experience Center in Philadelphia—a sort of video arcade/recruiting center—has numerous detractors, and those opponents have an influential ally. “This is just a new version of an old attempt” at recruiting, Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges tells dscriber. The simulations at the center demonstrate “the empowerment of firing those weapons, but without the reality of war itself,” he says.

Games like “America’s Army,” available on consoles and for download, don’t penalize players much for, say, getting shot. Nor do they convincingly re-create the experience of killing. And nowhere, Hedges says, is “the reality of war itself, which is fear.” The games are “an attempt to socialize people toward industrial violence,” Hedges continues. “And of course to recruit them into the military" without "explaining honestly the reality of war.”