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Jennifer Merin

Full Battle Rattle And the U.S. Army's War Games

By August 30, 2008

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In Full Battle Rattle we get an insider view the Army's elaborate Iraq War simulation--several Iraqi villages set up in the Mohave desert for the purpose of training troops before deployment.

Now, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Army's establishment of a 14,500-square-feet virtual reality Recruitment Center in Franklin Mills Mall--a shopping mall. The center, targeted at teenagers, features unique gunnery games and "Disney-grade simulators that immerse visitors in missions aboard helicopters or a humvee. Visitors are briefed on their missions at the tactical operations center (TOC), which looks like a set from a Tom Clancy thriller."

Your tax dollars at work!

Of course the Army's virtual reality military thriller trips avoid simulating Iraq-related experiences such as those chroniced in Body of War, the story of 22-year old Tomas Young who was completely paralyzed after serving in Iraq for one week, or in Standard Operating Procedure, in which U.S. soldiers guarding military prisoners are encouraged to torture them, then punished for doing so.

Just what is this military virtual reality really about? Is the Army deploying not-so-subliminal messages that war is just a real life version of a video game, where violence is fun and anything goes when it comes to winning the battle, accomplishing the mission, or just scoring the highest point--or body--count? What do you think?

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