Video Games For Military Recruitment

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Video games as recruitment tools for the military

Video games as recruitment tools for the military


The success of video games as recruitment tools for the military can be attributed in part to the new video games and graphic novels aimed at America's youth. It may sound like the US military has solved a major recruitment problem, but there may be a high cost. In another first, suicides among US soldiers have hit a post-Vietnam War high for the fifth year in a row. Though the record suicide rate cannot be traced to a single causal factor, specialists cite the psychological trauma of killing, an American culture of denial, financial difficulties, failed relationships, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder as main contributors to the trend. Despite the five-year span, Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli admitted recently the US Army was still short the 300 substance abuse counselors and 800 behavioral specialists needed to cope with the problem (Intihar, 2007). Though the US military professes concern for the psychological health of its service members, this personnel gap is just one example of the strong evidence to the contrary. The discussion will explore this area through the elaboration of three themes. The first theme is the use of Video games and the usage of World War Two as an inspirational tool. The second theme that the discussion will present is that which pertains to video games and defense conservative political ideology. Finally, the discussion will elaborate on the relationship between video games and the presentation of military force in a positive light.

Video games and the usage of World War Two as an inspirational tool

World War II has been imbued with ideological meaning ever since it passed from current event into history and collective memory. In contemporary politics, it has frequently been employed as a favored metaphor of the right, symbolizing the necessity of aggressive military policy as protection against evil. President Bush in particular has used World War II as a justification for the current war in Iraq, comparing Middle Eastern terrorists and totalitarians to the armies of Nazi Germany (Allison, 2010). Of course, much has changed in the world since the 1940's, and comparisons to WWII are rarely appropriate, at least in a literal sense (the United States is certainly no longer threatened by another world superpower). Rather, these WWII metaphors serve a distinctly ideological purpose, making a case for the continued support of the military and helping to foster patriotism in the United States and in other former Allied nations.

At the same time, World War II has had a consistent and pervasive presence in Western popular culture. The military genre, in cinema, television, popular fiction, and most recently video games, has prominently featured narratives and images from WWII combat, ranging from the beaches of Normandy to the dogfights of the South Pacific. In the past decade, such popular texts as Saving Private Ryan, HBO's Band of Brothers, and the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor ...
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