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#51 Posted by R3DT1D3 (198 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: Depending on the severity of PTSD, a number of triggers can "set the person off." In this case, when ArmA no longer has glaring presentation issues, could it potentially be too realistic for PTSD or war vets in general to play.

#52 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@R3DT1D3 said:

@MordeaniisChaos: Depending on the severity of PTSD, a number of triggers can "set the person off." In this case, when ArmA no longer has glaring presentation issues, could it potentially be too realistic for PTSD or war vets in general to play.

I know how PTSD works, trust me. Just saying "arma" and "PTSD" means nothing though, without any context.

I'm going to tell you right now, it won't be much more likely to trigger PTSD than Medal of Honor, because it's just not going after that "presentation" value. It's a pretty cold interpretation of warfare. And not as accurate as people make it out to be. It's really just a sandbox that gives people a place to meta game to such an extent that realism emerges.

You aren't going to see the incredibly graphic power of a "small" rifle round tearing through flesh, you aren't going to have the slightest concept of the real volume of war, and you're going to be stuck in this very rigid character that doesn't really give you natural options for play. It's more realistic than Call of Duty, but I wouldn't say it is so much more true to the experience of combat that it will make a difference.

#53 Posted by Fallen189 (5050 posts) -

War games have never really appealed to me regardless, besides feeling like a contrived arcade shooter style game. But I've never had to murder anyone either, so I guess my view is different to someone who's been there

#54 Edited by sparks50 (373 posts) -

Interestingly enough, DCoE is testing out a simulator similar to VBS/Arma for the purposes of treating PTSD. So while they aren't causing PTSD on their own(who would want that?) they can recreate somewhat similar situations to the ones causing the disorder and help service members to talk about it and treat it.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsz16r_virtual-reality-system-tackles-ptsd_news

As someone who often plays military simulators in a social setting, I do not see any use in discussing the "100% realistic game" where you get killed if you loose. Its a dead end which isn't very productive to talk about. The question is how many % of punishment is viable to use for different gamers.

You can introduce "harsh" punishments in Arma, like a 30 minute wait when you die and wait for your buddies to fail or succeed in the mission. It makes you hug that cover so much more and it makes you terrified whenever you hear the sonic crack of a bullet being fired in your general direction.

If you crash in Iracing, or even get taken out by somebody else, you might loose rank and fall down to a lower class of racers next time you want to race. And again it works to a certain degree, rewarding people for not driving like mad men.

I like to differentiate between feeling authentic and being realistic. Games like COD can feel authentic with its high-budget campaigns, which Arma often lacks with its cheap rigid animations. But when it comes to realism, Arma has a much bigger potential.

#55 Edited by Jack_Lafayette (3429 posts) -

I think a lot of it comes down to where a person draws their own line, past which stuff gets "offensive." A developer making a game that they want to (or more likely, one they believe will sell) doesn't anger me, because I figure most people are mature enough to understand that nothing can appeal to everyone - especially if it's trying to mimic some the most reviling aspects of human experience.

But when the marketing starts to get really cynical, and it seems like the consumer's habitual need to advertise a gold-leaf patriotism is being counted on for revenue more than the actual quality of the creators' product, I get fucking mad. Mostly because I already believe advertising is 99% total garbage and in these cases it actually damages whatever major or meager artistic value the game possesses. Also, though, because I do feel that soldiers are being cheaply and relentlessly idolized without consent by these sorts of tactics, and that they don't often enough have the public platform that they deserve to discuss that exploitation. Obviously, neither do I, but if my protests help at all to bring attention to the opinions of the troops themselves - whether or not they agree with my assessment - then I have no reason to stop.

P.S. - You fucking rock, dude.

#56 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

I think a lot of it comes down to where a person draws their own line, past which stuff gets "offensive." A developer making a game that they want to (or more likely, one they believe will sell) doesn't anger me, because I figure most people are mature enough to understand that nothing can appeal to everyone - especially if it's trying to mimic some the most reviling aspects of human experience.

But when the marketing starts to get really cynical, and it seems like the consumer's habitual need to advertise a gold-leaf patriotism is being counted on for revenue more than the actual quality of the creators' product, I get fucking mad. Mostly because I already believe advertising is 99% total garbage and in these cases it actually damages whatever major or meager artistic value the game possesses. Also, though, because I do feel that soldiers are being cheaply and relentlessly idolized without consent by these sorts of tactics, and that they don't often enough have the public platform that they deserve to discuss that exploitation. Obviously, neither do I, but if my protests help at all to bring attention to the opinions of the troops themselves - whether or not they agree with my assessment - then I have no reason to stop.

P.S. - You fucking rock, dude.

I know it might not count because it's a documentary. But Restrepo is literally the best way to see what soldier stuff is like and it doesn't feel exploitative at all. Some footage was even cut that might have made good cinema to maintain good taste. That film is the example.

#57 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4469 posts) -

This was a great read, my only issue is how EA tosses around the word "authentic" when it's obviously just a sleazy marketing tagline.

#58 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@Colourful_Hippie said:

This was a great read, my only issue is how EA tosses around the word "authentic" when it's obviously just a sleazy marketing tagline.

I think it's how you approach that. There are small details that I can excuse that. There are small details in MOH: Warfighter like perfect use of jargon, certain tactics and really small things like dudes wearing Mechanix gloves, the choice shooting gloves for a lot of operators. EA has taken real world events such as the invasion of Afghanistan and created fictional tales that are believable (and probably go on in reality) like taking out high valued terrorists with powerful weapons. It's all in how to approach the word "authentic". Regardless, always approach it with a grain of salt.

#59 Posted by impartialgecko (1699 posts) -

This whole controversy reminds me in a weird way of the booth babe arguments going on, because we never get the perspective of the people the media is actually talking about. Glad you could provide some insight into what someone who has experienced the real thing thinks about this one. A good read to be sure.

#60 Posted by AndrooD2 (224 posts) -

Well written, Steven. Thank you.

#61 Posted by Giantstalker (1713 posts) -

I've served with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar as a LAV crewman, and I can't agree more with the OP.

Games are about tactical scenarios, tools, and strategic context related to war. They never can be, nor ever really try to be, as grueling as the actual endeavor. Accept these games for what they are and just have fun, people.

I know I do. Thanks for posting this, Steve. Followed.

#62 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@Giantstalker said:

I've served with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar as a LAV crewman, and I can't agree more with the OP.

Games are about tactical scenarios, tools, and strategic context related to war. They never can be, nor ever really try to be, as grueling as the actual endeavor. Accept these games for what they are and just have fun, people.

I know I do. Thanks for posting this, Steve. Followed.

I saw a couple of your guys in KAF on my way out! What's up with the round brown hat?

#63 Posted by SSully (4276 posts) -

This is a fantastic post. Make sure to throw this in any portfolios or whatever it is they ask of writers these days. Well done duder.

#64 Posted by Giantstalker (1713 posts) -

If it's the floppy bushcap, as we call it, could've been anyone (standard issue, comfy, if a little odd looking). If it was a beret, it might have been CSOR (of which I am not a part).

Or maybe you were talking about these

Next to Leopards, and crazy Quebecois NCOs, hat variety is one of my favorite things about the Canadian military!

#65 Posted by Phished0ne (2532 posts) -

Great Post Steve!

I would love to hear your opinions on Spec Ops: The Line. It brings up a lot of interesting ideas and meta-commentary about the nature of action games and FPS shooters.

#66 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

@EpicSteve:

So I'm sure you've heard about the reaction to Medal of Honor. I've taken issue with some of the criticism of the game because it feels to me as if people are bringing things that aren't inherent with the game and laying them at the feet of the game as if it were the game's fault. One of the things that has really amazed me is this idea that the game is bad because you're a white guy, or some people drop the race thing and just focus on the fact that you play as an American, killing non-white people or simply people from other countries. The reason I think this is a silly complaint is that the game takes place in a modern setting following US military men and women. Their current activity, outside of the game, is in middle eastern countries. Medal of Honor is simply trying to portray that reality in a game. So getting upset about this 'issue', if we would like to call it that, speaks more to the current state of the US foreign policy and military actions and less to do with the actual game itself.

What are your thoughts on these complaints? What would you say to these people or to me if you can understand where they are coming from?

#67 Posted by Starks94 (27 posts) -

Does anyone remember Shellshock: Nam 67? Yes it was widely considered a poor game, but I remember the intent of the game being focused on the atrocities of war. There was one part of the game where the infamous My Lai massacre and its still stuck with me to this day. It wasn't the most thrilling war game but it always stood out to me from the rest.

#68 Edited by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

@EpicSteve:

So I'm sure you've heard about the reaction to Medal of Honor. I've taken issue with some of the criticism of the game because it feels to me as if people are bringing things that aren't inherent with the game and laying them at the feet of the game as if it were the game's fault. One of the things that has really amazed me is this idea that the game is bad because you're a white guy, or some people drop the race thing and just focus on the fact that you play as an American, killing non-white people or simply people from other countries. The reason I think this is a silly complaint is that the game takes place in a modern setting following US military men and women. Their current activity, outside of the game, is in middle eastern countries. Medal of Honor is simply trying to portray that reality in a game. So getting upset about this 'issue', if we would like to call it that, speaks more to the current state of the US foreign policy and military actions and less to do with the actual game itself.

What are your thoughts on these complaints? What would you say to these people or to me if you can understand where they are coming from?

Those complaints are stupid. A lot of people can question why these works of fiction depict you fighting muslim men, but that's just the reality of the situation. I've met a lot of terrorists and they're all brown and muslim. There aren't a lot of white christians living in Afghanistan. It's like saying a WWII game is racist for having you shoot a bunch of German speaking white people. Remember when some people made a fuss about RE5's enemies all being black? Buuut you were in Africa, so I don't get it. People can get really stupid sometimes. That just goes back to the whole point of this post with me being really pissed off at people just looking for controversy.

#69 Posted by Rohok (554 posts) -

Great read. Shipping out to basic training on monday, MOS is 35M. Got a couple of friends in Afghanistan right now and they feel the same way you do about misguided controversy and the overly defensive, but vocal minority. It seems like people just feel the need to protect others, even when they haven't asked for help. I remember when the movie Blindness came out there was a lot of controversy about how they treated the blind people in that film, and all the people who could see were getting up in arms to defend real blind people in real life. I mean it's just a movie! Likewise, these are just video games, and they're just for fun. Let up and relax!

#70 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

Good post.

For me, shooting games are first and foremost about the quality of how it feels to move a cursor and time a button press when that cursor is in the optimal area. I don't care if the fiction says I'm using a magic wand to shoot self-esteem into depressed teenage girls, 'aim the reticule' is still a pretty core bit of gameplay that is pretty evergreen, as much as 'time the jump to cross a chasm' or 'arrange the numbers to win the RPG fight'.

I understand people are sick of the modern military setting (I am too) but I don't understand why so many people have a stick up their ass, primarily about Warfighter. It looks like a totally competent One Of Those Games, and I was actually kind of impressed by how good it looked on the 360. There's absolutely some Follow the Leader going on, but without that we also wouldn't have Silent Hill, Symphony of the Night, Gears of War, Icewind Dale, Saints Row or World of Warcraft. I guess it's my main confusion with all gamers; if you preemptively dislike a game, why are you infuriated rather than indifferent?

#71 Posted by lord_python (96 posts) -

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

#72 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

yeah I agree with the idea that people should stop running around and looking for something to be offended by. I guess "speaking out" on the current fashionable topic is much easier than getting out in the world and doing something constructive.

But, as a counterpoint, my father was a vet rep for many years before retiring. he was a vet himself, being drafted for vietnam and doing his time. His stories and the condition of many of the vets that came back were absolutely horrific. Think of all the stupid shit people do and say, then put them under extreme pressure, then hand out weapons. Just so much dumb, violent, embarrassing, vile, random nonsense.

#73 Posted by prestonhedges (1965 posts) -

My father was in the military. Am I allowed to get offended? Is he? What if he's never shot anyone? What if he's shot someone, but didn't kill? What if he's only killed one person? What if he's never seen a jeep explode? What if he's seen TOO many jeeps explode? It's hard to tell where the line is, sometimes. With music, I obviously have to have sold as many records as the artist if I want to criticize their music, but video games? I have to do some serious stuff...

#74 Posted by Generic_username (633 posts) -

This is a really great post, it's nice to get different perspectives. Even I get caught up in the media shitstorm of controversy-spottting sometimes, it can be hard to pull yourself away.

#75 Posted by SgtSphynx (1537 posts) -

Steve, you seem to be a far more eloquent man than I, so I will just say that I enjoy reading your thoughts on these subjects.

#76 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

#77 Posted by YOU_DIED (703 posts) -

@EpicSteve said:

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

As someone who has been studying middle eastern/near east culture, history, and relations with the US for a decent amount of time, I can say with certainty that the majority of US citizens knowledge of the region is limited to movies and/or video games. You correctly stated that these are generally cartoonish or contrived versions of the real thing. My only problem with this is that more often then not, people act on this misinformation. This comes in the form of voting for political candidates who like to get the US involved in conflicts in regions that the average voter has no real context of. The alarming reality I have experienced: most people I have surveyed about the 'war on terror' seem to think that the insurgents hate us and want to kill us because of things like alcohol consumption, higher education for women, etc.

#78 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

@YOU_DIED said:

@EpicSteve said:

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

As someone who has been studying middle eastern/near east culture, history, and relations with the US for a decent amount of time, I can say with certainty that the majority of US citizens knowledge of the region is limited to movies and/or video games. You correctly stated that these are generally cartoonish or contrived versions of the real thing. My only problem with this is that more often then not, people act on this misinformation. This comes in the form of voting for political candidates who like to get the US involved in conflicts in regions that the average voter has no real context of. The alarming reality I have experienced: most people I have surveyed about the 'war on terror' seem to think that the insurgents hate us and want to kill us because of things like alcohol consumption, higher education for women, etc.

You got any sources or anything that would substantiate what you said?

#79 Edited by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

@YOU_DIED said:

@EpicSteve said:

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

As someone who has been studying middle eastern/near east culture, history, and relations with the US for a decent amount of time, I can say with certainty that the majority of US citizens knowledge of the region is limited to movies and/or video games. You correctly stated that these are generally cartoonish or contrived versions of the real thing. My only problem with this is that more often then not, people act on this misinformation. This comes in the form of voting for political candidates who like to get the US involved in conflicts in regions that the average voter has no real context of. The alarming reality I have experienced: most people I have surveyed about the 'war on terror' seem to think that the insurgents hate us and want to kill us because of things like alcohol consumption, higher education for women, etc.

You got any sources or anything that would substantiate what you said?

It's a safe bet your average person has no context to the environment I've operated in. Thankfully, there are a lot of great documentaries and books available. i tell folks stories of the extreme conservative situation in The Stan. For instance, they don't let their women outside so we don't look at them. Not in a sexual way, but a lot of Afghans still believe that if a woman is gazed upon in an innocent manner, it's her committing adultery. If we need to address a woman it's a big goddamn deal that requires us to find a female soldier. We shake the men's hands with our gloves off, and take off our eye protection when addressing them in conversation. The best way for me to explain to people why that country is so fucked up is that imagine this, you got tribal men that have never experienced indoor plumbing, when another man 100 miles down the road has Facebook.

#80 Posted by themisfit138 (25 posts) -

@Rohok: Good choice of MOS. I was a 13R we had one 35M per radar set in my TAB(Target Acquisition Battery).

#81 Edited by YOU_DIED (703 posts) -

@EpicSteve said:

@JasonR86 said:

@YOU_DIED said:

@EpicSteve said:

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

As someone who has been studying middle eastern/near east culture, history, and relations with the US for a decent amount of time, I can say with certainty that the majority of US citizens knowledge of the region is limited to movies and/or video games. You correctly stated that these are generally cartoonish or contrived versions of the real thing. My only problem with this is that more often then not, people act on this misinformation. This comes in the form of voting for political candidates who like to get the US involved in conflicts in regions that the average voter has no real context of. The alarming reality I have experienced: most people I have surveyed about the 'war on terror' seem to think that the insurgents hate us and want to kill us because of things like alcohol consumption, higher education for women, etc.

You got any sources or anything that would substantiate what you said?

It's a safe bet your average person has no context to the environment I've operated in. Thankfully, there are a lot of great documentaries and books available. i tell folks stories of the extreme conservative situation in The Stan. For instance, they don't let their women outside so we don't look at them. Not in a sexual way, but a lot of Afghans still believe that if a woman is gazed upon in an innocent manner, it's her committing adultery. If we need to address a woman it's a big goddamn deal that requires us to find a female soldier. We shake the men's hands with our gloves off, and take off our eye protection when addressing them in conversation. The best way for me to explain to people why that country is so fucked up is that imagine this, you got tribal men that have never experienced indoor plumbing, when another man 100 miles down the road has Facebook.

Yes, much of the middle east is still tribal.

The main reasons for the jihad against western nations including the United States are clearly outlined here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Osama_bin_Laden's_Declaration_of_War. The reasons include but are not limited to:

- United States support of Israel in the face of continued hostilities towards Palestine by Israel. This is a really big one, see this for more information on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

- United States military presence in Saudi Arabia (a tyrannical state with one of the lowest democracy indexes in the world) and support of the Al Saud. Many see this as an 'occupation' of the land of the two holy mosques (Medina and Mecca). To help understand why we are actually in Saudi Arabia, read up on the oil crisis in the 70's.

- Miscellaneous 'crimes' against muslims in the middle and northern east countries "Massacres took place in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, Philippine, Fattani, Ugadin, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya and in Bosnia-Herzegovina" - there are many videos on YouTube of mujahideen fighting in these countries, like the one seen here (warning: graphic).

There's a lot more detail and nuance to it than what I outline here, but you get the gist of it. Additionally, much of the animosity towards the west coming from Iran (and thus the region) is due to the installation of the Shah after the western engineered coup in the 50's, and more importantly his reign of tyranny. Adam Curtis of the BBC did really excellent article on the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis here which everyone should read.

To say that we have been attacked because we have things like women's rights is not only factually incorrect, it's also arrogant. Our 'depravity' in the west (as they describe it) is often among the rhetoric coming from the Salafists (fundamental Islamists), but it isn't the reason 19 hijackers (15 of them were Saudis, do you really think that's a coincidence?) flew planes into our buildings on 9/11. I think this guy says it best, he was tracking Bin Laden for the CIA in the 90's:

#82 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6999 posts) -

Great post.

#83 Posted by makari (600 posts) -

This particular brand of western political correctness and sensationalist finger-waving can hurt more than it helps. Intelligent people don't get mortified by flippant remarks and assuming that someone in a group, be it military soldiers, racial minorities or people who enjoy playing badminton is instantly emotionally scarred and must be protected from any remark that have even an iota of possibility of hurting their feelings is an insult to the intelligence and freedom of thought of the individuals in it.

Good read, stay safe.

#84 Posted by ch3burashka (5179 posts) -

Great to hear from someone who has actual authority to speak on the subject.

I've heard/read McShea's views on Gamespot, and as a mostly liberal person I would tend to agree with him on the topic of these publishers' "exploitation" of soldiers in action, it's interesting to see an actual soldier argue for the opposite. I don't have any 'service under the belt' either, and I see your point Steve (I wouldn't appreciate people speaking for me either), but I wouldn't discount McShea's idea that EA is in the process of 'expoitation' specifically. Unless the MoH team was made of soldier programmers, soldier modelers and soldier consultants, I imagine the team had a specific vision they set out to make which may or may not have been influenced by real-life events or fictional portrayals. In this sense, the "exploitation" comes not from exploiting real stories for profit but of the situation as a whole, and a cynical perspective urges one to think that MoH was made to "capitalize" on the war fever (or the aversion to one, I guess). On a personal level, I'm happy to know that despite your experience, you're able to sit down and enjoy either CoD's craziness or MoH's relatively "realistic" approach and appreciate it for the video game entertainment product it is - as do so many other people who don't have your experience. Years of military shooters have desensitized me and people like McShea to a point where they seem boring, and the fact that portrayals of strife can be shown to be boring is the real crime here - to make something important seem bland and mind-numbingly approachable. Hopefully my mini-rant has an identifiable grain of truth - just want to further explain why people who haven't been in active duty seem to assume responsibility for its portrayal in media, and the reaction to it as well. Then again, maybe we should shut our traps and defer to people who actually know a thing or two about a thing or two.

#85 Posted by Orbitz89 (229 posts) -

Great read. Thanks Steve, I admit to being one to stand up for soldiers who are fighting overseas when I probably didn't need to.. I guess it's because I know for certain that being a soldier is a tough life and I personally don't think I could handle it. But it's good to know all these shooters aren't leaving a sour taste in the mouths of people who actually live this stuff day in and day out.

I read an article in the Macleans Magazine a while back, it's a Canadian publication, from a Canadian soldier who said the same thing you are saying.. That soldiers don't need civilians to stand up for them.. they can do that just fine on their own.

#86 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@CH3BURASHKA said:

Great to hear from someone who has actual authority to speak on the subject.

I've heard/read McShea's views on Gamespot, and as a mostly liberal person I would tend to agree with him on the topic of these publishers' "exploitation" of soldiers in action, it's interesting to see an actual soldier argue for the opposite. I don't have any 'service under the belt' either, and I see your point Steve (I wouldn't appreciate people speaking for me either), but I wouldn't discount McShea's idea that EA is in the process of 'expoitation' specifically. Unless the MoH team was made of soldier programmers, soldier modelers and soldier consultants, I imagine the team had a specific vision they set out to make which may or may not have been influenced by real-life events or fictional portrayals. In this sense, the "exploitation" comes not from exploiting real stories for profit but of the situation as a whole, and a cynical perspective urges one to think that MoH was made to "capitalize" on the war fever (or the aversion to one, I guess). On a personal level, I'm happy to know that despite your experience, you're able to sit down and enjoy either CoD's craziness or MoH's relatively "realistic" approach and appreciate it for the video game entertainment product it is - as do so many other people who don't have your experience. Years of military shooters have desensitized me and people like McShea to a point where they seem boring, and the fact that portrayals of strife can be shown to be boring is the real crime here - to make something important seem bland and mind-numbingly approachable. Hopefully my mini-rant has an identifiable grain of truth - just want to further explain why people who haven't been in active duty seem to assume responsibility for its portrayal in media, and the reaction to it as well. Then again, maybe we should shut our traps and defer to people who actually know a thing or two about a thing or two.

I'd be naive if I said this stuff isn't technically exploitative. But that word carries such a negative weight to it. The greatest war movies are ultimately there to make money off an event that wouldn't have happened without a ton of good people dying. I've seen this conflict take lives but I can move past that because I still really enjoy war movies/games. So long as this stuff relatively can be executed without being horribly offensive, it's ok. What is really terrible and exploitative are celebrities getting pictures taken with wounded soldiers in hospitals to get put into magazines. That's a thing that actually happens and that's the kind of thing you should get mad about.

#87 Posted by Ramone (2976 posts) -

Have you seen Generation Kill Steve? I've got no first hand knowledge but that seemed like a fairly accurate representation of war from individual soldiers' perspectives.

#88 Edited by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -

I agree with this post, however at the same time, idk.... There are a lot of families out there that have lost loved ones to this war, and they're the ones that become offended. Logically they shouldn't, but at the same they do since obviously emotions take over and not logic. So I can understand them getting a little pissed, but like I said, I agree with your post but I will acknowledge those that have lost loved ones and games like these bring that pain back.

When it comes to realism.... I recently watched someone shoot an M240B from the hip in Battlefield 3..... Yeah.... I double dog dare you to try that shit in real life.... That fat bitch will knock you on your ass. Oh and I wish... I WISH that my M9 would never jam.....

EDIT: And that I could perform parkour and never become tired, while in my IOTV, MICH, with 256 rounds of ammo on me.

#89 Posted by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

@baconbits33 said:

I agree with this post, however at the same time, idk.... There are a lot of families out there that have lost loved ones to this war, and they're the ones that become offended. Logically they shouldn't, but at the same they do since obviously emotions take over and not logic. So I can understand them getting a little pissed, but like I said, I agree with your post but I will acknowledge those that have lost loved ones and games like these bring that pain back.

When it comes to realism.... I recently watched someone shoot an M240B from the hip in Battlefield 3..... Yeah.... I double dog dare you to try that shit in real life.... That fat bitch will knock you on your ass. Oh and I wish... I WISH that my M9 would never jam.....

EDIT: And that I could perform parkour and never become tired, while in my IOTV, MICH, with 256 rounds of ammo on me.

I've fired a 240B without support, just holding it. It doesn't knock you on your ass, but it's unlikely you'll hit anything...

@Ramone said:

Have you seen Generation Kill Steve? I've got no first hand knowledge but that seemed like a fairly accurate representation of war from individual soldiers' perspectives.

Generation Kill is amazing and is the best way to see into the GI's mind. It perfectly captures the relationships between lower enlisted, NCOs and Officers. The military has a weird way of having one of every type of person you see in that show in a unit. I can related to every event in that show and I have literally had almost every conversation that takes place in that show, in reality.

#90 Edited by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -

@EpicSteve said:

@baconbits33 said:

I agree with this post, however at the same time, idk.... There are a lot of families out there that have lost loved ones to this war, and they're the ones that become offended. Logically they shouldn't, but at the same they do since obviously emotions take over and not logic. So I can understand them getting a little pissed, but like I said, I agree with your post but I will acknowledge those that have lost loved ones and games like these bring that pain back.

When it comes to realism.... I recently watched someone shoot an M240B from the hip in Battlefield 3..... Yeah.... I double dog dare you to try that shit in real life.... That fat bitch will knock you on your ass. Oh and I wish... I WISH that my M9 would never jam.....

EDIT: And that I could perform parkour and never become tired, while in my IOTV, MICH, with 256 rounds of ammo on me.

I've fired a 240B without support, just holding it. It doesn't knock you on your ass, but it's unlikely you'll hit anything...

@Ramone said:

Have you seen Generation Kill Steve? I've got no first hand knowledge but that seemed like a fairly accurate representation of war from individual soldiers' perspectives.

Generation Kill is amazing and is the best way to see into the GI's mind. It perfectly captures the relationships between lower enlisted, NCOs and Officers. The military has a weird way of having one of every type of person you see in that show in a unit. I can related to every event in that show and I have literally had almost every conversation that takes place in that show, in reality.

Wait, where you firing down by your hip or on your shoulder? Cause I attempted on my shoulder and I almost completely fell over..... Probably shoulda taken off my Aid Bag (Originally said Med Pack but realized that that joke only works with my friends...) but meh....

#91 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

These games never have innocent men, women and children that get caught in crossfire or other allies for that matter so they will never be an accurate portrayal of the War. Just look at the Military propaganda ads they play during UFC all explosions, helicopters and big ass guns this game is just another extension of that to get people out of high school fighting wars they don't know the reason behind.

#92 Posted by Chumm (245 posts) -

@YOU_DIED said:

@EpicSteve said:

@JasonR86 said:

@YOU_DIED said:

@EpicSteve said:

@lord_python said:

Thanks for this informative piece. However, I would like to say that although soldiers may not mind these types of video games being made, and that these games may not be disrespectful of soldiers in anyway, there's still the danger of war being glorified. The large majority of controversy surrounding video games is bollocks, but there is an argument to be made, in a wider scope, and in subtler ways that war games can contribute to war being viewed differently through playing war games. Reading a New Scientist article, I learnt that everything that people know is biased and determined by a variety of influences which include upbringing and media which has been manipulated by the powers that be to meet their ends, which includes the obvious advertising to the more clever right wing propaganda that is fox news, the fact is everything can influence you. The video game "Americas Army" was basically a recruitment tool for American army that changed the minds of many gamers into participating in war itself, which I think is one of the strongest arguments about the affect of video games on groups. There still needs to be a study into the affects of war games into the public's perception of War (into whether it is okay under less extreme circumstances, whether they'd be okay with participating, whether drones can be used etc etc), but I believe that because we live in a world of bias and mind tricks, there has to be some affect from war games on the minds of the population.

I like to think people can separate game from reality. Videogames are so cartoonish for the most part, I really hope people can. Even in movies that are based on true events like Black Hawk Down. That isn't a typical day in a combat zone by far. This is again why I point everyone wanting a visual image of today's war to go watch Restrepo.

As someone who has been studying middle eastern/near east culture, history, and relations with the US for a decent amount of time, I can say with certainty that the majority of US citizens knowledge of the region is limited to movies and/or video games. You correctly stated that these are generally cartoonish or contrived versions of the real thing. My only problem with this is that more often then not, people act on this misinformation. This comes in the form of voting for political candidates who like to get the US involved in conflicts in regions that the average voter has no real context of. The alarming reality I have experienced: most people I have surveyed about the 'war on terror' seem to think that the insurgents hate us and want to kill us because of things like alcohol consumption, higher education for women, etc.

You got any sources or anything that would substantiate what you said?

It's a safe bet your average person has no context to the environment I've operated in. Thankfully, there are a lot of great documentaries and books available. i tell folks stories of the extreme conservative situation in The Stan. For instance, they don't let their women outside so we don't look at them. Not in a sexual way, but a lot of Afghans still believe that if a woman is gazed upon in an innocent manner, it's her committing adultery. If we need to address a woman it's a big goddamn deal that requires us to find a female soldier. We shake the men's hands with our gloves off, and take off our eye protection when addressing them in conversation. The best way for me to explain to people why that country is so fucked up is that imagine this, you got tribal men that have never experienced indoor plumbing, when another man 100 miles down the road has Facebook.

Yes, much of the middle east is still tribal.

The main reasons for the jihad against western nations including the United States are clearly outlined here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Osama_bin_Laden's_Declaration_of_War. The reasons include but are not limited to:

- United States support of Israel in the face of continued hostilities towards Palestine by Israel. This is a really big one, see this for more information on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

- United States military presence in Saudi Arabia (a tyrannical state with one of the lowest democracy indexes in the world) and support of the Al Saud. Many see this as an 'occupation' of the land of the two holy mosques (Medina and Mecca). To help understand why we are actually in Saudi Arabia, read up on the oil crisis in the 70's.

- Miscellaneous 'crimes' against muslims in the middle and northern east countries "Massacres took place in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, Philippine, Fattani, Ugadin, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya and in Bosnia-Herzegovina" - there are many videos on YouTube of mujahideen fighting in these countries, like the one seen here (warning: graphic).

There's a lot more detail and nuance to it than what I outline here, but you get the gist of it. Additionally, much of the animosity towards the west coming from Iran (and thus the region) is due to the installation of the Shah after the western engineered coup in the 50's, and more importantly his reign of tyranny. Adam Curtis of the BBC did really excellent article on the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis here which everyone should read.

To say that we have been attacked because we have things like women's rights is not only factually incorrect, it's also arrogant. Our 'depravity' in the west (as they describe it) is often among the rhetoric coming from the Salafists (fundamental Islamists), but it isn't the reason 19 hijackers (15 of them were Saudis, do you really think that's a coincidence?) flew planes into our buildings on 9/11. I think this guy says it best, he was tracking Bin Laden for the CIA in the 90's:

I want to echo this excellent and well-sourced post regarding the underlying causes for the broader Arab-Western conflict. To answer Jason's question about how Americans have been prepared to villify Arabs and Muslims and see them as violent, backwards people, I recommend Jack Shaheen's excellent documentary Reel Bad Arabs:

Sorry for the enormous quote train.