America's Army as a Recruiting Tool: Nothing Changes

America's Army as a Recruiting Tool: Nothing Changes

It may not be surprising that a federally-funded videogame promoting the Army life is looked at somewhat askance, but the fact is that it's a long way from a concerted effort to turn children into the dead-eyed, remorseless killing machines of the future.

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I've never understood why America's Army gets such incredible flak for being a recruiting tool, when the CoD, MoH and all the other tired WWII assembly-line crap are designed to do the exact same thing: Promote America's military to the gamers. What better way to recruit people than to bombard them with a heroic story of the army "that you too can be a part of today!" ridding the world of repulsive evil.

In that documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated (a must-see documentary), one thing that gets revealed is that any Hollywood moviemaker who wants to portray "real" army equipment must get that equipment from the Pentagon, and after the movie is made it gets screened for the Pentagon, and if they don't like the way the military is portrayed in the film, they can actually block the movie's release by pulling license on the materials used. So, no Hollywood producer will ever green-light a film that portrays the military in a negative light, because of the risk that they will block its release. Now, I don't know for certain if those rules apply to the gaming industry, but given how much the government is cracking down on dissent, I wouldn't doubt it for a moment.

As an "outsider" (= not American), i always found the marketing campaingn of the US military somewhat...dubvious. Interestingly, i find that AA is more like the base of the iceberg. While that at least shows to some degree the dangers of being a solider, the "it's like your favorite game/movie!" banners and ads that i see sends shivers down my spine.

Maybe it's because in Germany, our army (that does not necessarily jumps to the front lines in every war there is, but is involved in some warzones nevertheless) is more advertised as being about camaraderie and being a helpful hand in times and places of crisis than about being "a cool hero" (wich seems to me is the message of US-Ads)
What is interesting in the german advertising also is, that War and fighting NEVER gets mentioned. There are even some videogames, but all of them are about rescue missions or recon training. That seems like it would conceal the core and the risks of being a solider, but at least it does not trivialize War.

So in the end, while i don't think that AA is a tool to turn kids into obedient killing machines, i always had the feeling that this game, along with the US-Military-Marketing Campaign tends to show thier actions and war itself as a much more harmless and "cooler" experience than it actually is.

The one gripe I have with AA is that its taking gaming TEENANGERS and putting the in the army. Lets be honest here, most gamers are not millitary material. But AA and other games give them the illusion that they are going to heroes and when they sign up a man hungry military say "sure come on" even though they may not be fit for service.

Well thats just my opinion, you can argue but honestly i still think most gamers are not fit for military service.

1st post, hello everyone.

Look I've been playing America's Army, on and off, for over 2 years. I am Aussie, and I agree with everyone... to some degree.

Yes it is portraying the US Army as the heroes, like every other game and movie out there. BUT there is one big difference to that of games like MoH and the Call of Duty series; life. In MoH and CoD, you could take about 50 bullets before someone really took you down. You could take those bullets then patch yourself up real quick or just stay out of battle for a while and you'd be fine. Hell even if you do die, you can't progress dead! You'll have to go back and fix that wrong! Your the hero, you can't die!

America's Army? You take a bullet to the head, or 2-3 to the chest, maybe 3-4 in arms and legs, and your dead. Does it really matter? Nope. Does everyone weep at your death? Nope. Can you go back and fix the past by not dying? Nope.

The one thing about America's Army is that it makes you feel like a hero when your in a team, but you will die if your alone, and the world will not be effected too much if you die.

If anything, America's Army teaches you that you are vulnerable. No matter how great our technology may be in all areas, including weaponry, armour and health, you are still vulnerable. You wont be breathing if your not careful.

America's Army is still a recruiting tool, and its quite a good one. It shows what your going to do (Some of it anyway) when you tryout for the Army. It also shows that you can die very easy on that battlefield, it takes teamwork, strategy and skill to come out alive.

Maxpayne5th:
Yes it is portraying the US Army as the heroes, like every other game and movie out there. BUT there is one big difference to that of games like MoH and the Call of Duty series; life. In MoH and CoD, you could take about 50 bullets before someone really took you down. You could take those bullets then patch yourself up real quick or just stay out of battle for a while and you'd be fine. Hell even if you do die, you can't progress dead! You'll have to go back and fix that wrong! Your the hero, you can't die!

So why is Jack Thompson so up in arms over America's Army when a whole nother game is a much more valuable recruiting tool? I don't see how anything that guy does can make sense even to him.

If were you, I wouldn't enlist until they get racks of these:

image

You, player, have to defend the frontier country from Xur Ossama and the Kodan armada Taliban army.

Frybird:
As an "outsider" (= not American), i always found the marketing campaingn of the US military somewhat...dubvious. Interestingly, i find that AA is more like the base of the iceberg. While that at least shows to some degree the dangers of being a solider, the "it's like your favorite game/movie!" banners and ads that i see sends shivers down my spine.

Maybe it's because in Germany, our army (that does not necessarily jumps to the front lines in every war there is, but is involved in some warzones nevertheless) is more advertised as being about camaraderie and being a helpful hand in times and places of crisis than about being "a cool hero" (wich seems to me is the message of US-Ads)
What is interesting in the german advertising also is, that War and fighting NEVER gets mentioned. There are even some videogames, but all of them are about rescue missions or recon training. That seems like it would conceal the core and the risks of being a solider, but at least it does not trivialize War.

So in the end, while i don't think that AA is a tool to turn kids into obedient killing machines, i always had the feeling that this game, along with the US-Military-Marketing Campaign tends to show thier actions and war itself as a much more harmless and "cooler" experience than it actually is.

The "a cool hero" image you see has been around much longer than America's Army. John Wayne was a big influence for people to go join the military during Vietnam. There were even instances of around 60 people being wounded due to hot headed recruits trying to imitate John Wayne's quickdraw like in his cowboy movies. So instead of "it's like your favorite movie" has been around longer.

I have to ask... whats wrong with Recruiting?? I'm a prior service soldier, I joined before AA came out, and I didn't join because of some "hero" image. I was a 19 yearold who needed a way to jump start my civilian IT career. So I joined the army, spent my few years in and did some time in Iraq, and then came home to the states to make 50$K a year as an IT contractor... Now, I'm an IT contractor in Iraq making 150$K a year, and all thanks to the army.

I'd say the army was OK by me, and I honestly recoemend it to almost anyone, especialy young stupid teenagers. It streightens them up, teaches them disciplin, and gives them expereince they need to move on with the rest of thier life.

Sure, there are some kids (the minority) who join because they have some hero image in thier head... they didn't get it from a video game... or a movie... the simple truth is far more basic... There's just no cure for the common stupid.

Most of us join the army because we need a way to get our lives started, we want college money, we want a place to stay (other than with our parents) we want medical coverage and insurance, we want experience so we can build a resume. The army offers these things.

We need recruiting because we have an all voulenteer army. And while people love to dramatize it that the kids are going off to be killed in some murderus dessert meat grinder the statistics are far more favorable, and the life style offered is much better than that available to the working poor. Its a good place for young men to go and get thier lives started on the right path.

As for those statistics...
While there have been almost 3000 deaths in the last 5 years you should keep in mind that more than a million US soldiers have been in Iraq and Afganastan. And, many (if not most) of those soldieres have been here more than once and more than a year a time. Even rounding up to the highest rates thats still less than 1 in 300 troops dying while each spending 1-3 years in Iraq. Those are pretty good odds that I'd take... infact, I did take... and I took again... I'm in Bahgdad right now by choice. and before its all said and done I'll probably be back here again.

I think most of us are rather aware that only a small procent of the american soldiers going to was these days die. No, i think that the biggest gripe is that you take part of an organisation that kills people.

yes. we kill people... and it doesn't bother me a whole lot.

let me tell you a short story with a good moral. Its a true story, and it is from my own life experience... in Iraq specificly.

When we first crossed the Border from Kuwait into Iraq in 2003 we drove through a town... the streets were crouded with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people cheering, saluting, blowing kisses, and throwing money at us... literaly. But, as we drove deeper into the town the crowd got closer and we couldn't help notice that even though they were glad we were there... they were so desperate and hungry that we thaught they might eat us if we got out of our humvees. We had orders not to stop for anything... but some jack ass up in the front of the convoy stopped... probably because the towns people used children as road blocks (litteraly) and the driver, being a good man, didn't want to run over soeones 5 year old baby. When the convoy stopped the crowed rushed us. They grabbed at everything they could, they tore mirrors of the trucks, water cans, fuel cans, they reached through our windows and grabbed at the glasses on our faces and tried to take the things from our hands... now, when this happened, I was locked and loaded I flipped it off safe and I shoved the muzzle of my M16 in the nearest mans face... and an amaxing thing happened. HE STOPPED. and no body messed with my door, and I wasn't hurt. The man sitting behind me, when his door was opened reacted more passivly... he dropped his weapon on the floorboard and fuaght with the people to keep his door closed. He lost... and only hi seatbelt kept him from being dragged out of the humvee before the convoy was moving again.

So, the leason of the story... You don't have to kill someone to protect yourself, but if your ready and willing to kill you'll find its alot easier to protect yourself. Violence is the ONLY universaly understood authority. Desperate people, fanatics, lunatics, criminals, even animals understand violence.

When you deal with someone who refuses to compromise, refuses to reason, refuses to admit you don't arbitrairly deserve death... when you deal with these people, you need to be ready to kill, because thats the only thing you can show them they will listen to. This is as true on convoys as it is in international politics. This is why every country, even pasafict Japan, has an army. We kill people so you don't have to.

Pendaelose:
yes. we kill people... and it doesn't bother me a whole lot.

let me tell you a short story with a good moral. Its a true story, and it is from my own life experience... in Iraq specificly.

When we first crossed the Border from Kuwait into Iraq in 2003 we drove through a town... the streets were crouded with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people cheering, saluting, blowing kisses, and throwing money at us... literaly. But, as we drove deeper into the town the crowd got closer and we couldn't help notice that even though they were glad we were there... they were so desperate and hungry that we thaught they might eat us if we got out of our humvees. We had orders not to stop for anything... but some jack ass up in the front of the convoy stopped... probably because the towns people used children as road blocks (litteraly) and the driver, being a good man, didn't want to run over soeones 5 year old baby. When the convoy stopped the crowed rushed us. They grabbed at everything they could, they tore mirrors of the trucks, water cans, fuel cans, they reached through our windows and grabbed at the glasses on our faces and tried to take the things from our hands... now, when this happened, I was locked and loaded I flipped it off safe and I shoved the muzzle of my M16 in the nearest mans face... and an amaxing thing happened. HE STOPPED. and no body messed with my door, and I wasn't hurt. The man sitting behind me, when his door was opened reacted more passivly... he dropped his weapon on the floorboard and fuaght with the people to keep his door closed. He lost... and only hi seatbelt kept him from being dragged out of the humvee before the convoy was moving again.

So, the leason of the story... You don't have to kill someone to protect yourself, but if your ready and willing to kill you'll find its alot easier to protect yourself. Violence is the ONLY universaly understood authority. Desperate people, fanatics, lunatics, criminals, even animals understand violence.

When you deal with someone who refuses to compromise, refuses to reason, refuses to admit you don't arbitrairly deserve death... when you deal with these people, you need to be ready to kill, because thats the only thing you can show them they will listen to. This is as true on convoys as it is in international politics. This is why every country, even pasafict Japan, has an army. We kill people so you don't have to.

Well, of course, if our sympathetic rich governments would, one day, accept to spread wealth and ressources a tad more equally, you may, one day, not have to be sent in a country to kill people in advance because they're perceived as a menace.
Besides, sorry for tackling the question, but you talk about defense, and how Iraqi climbed into your car. I can only imagine the fear and tension there. Anyone in that crowd could have actually attempted to harm you, or even openly attack you with weapons which would have nothing of amateurs.
Yet, did in any Iraqi "climb into" your country?

Lets not turn this into a flamewar.

Your example showed a bit from both sides, naturaly your threat of violence kept from even more chaos breaking out. But those people were desperate for a reason, maybe from his point of view he was just trying to get food for his family?

sammyfreak:
Lets not turn this into a flamewar.

Your example showed a bit from both sides, naturaly your threat of violence kept from even more chaos breaking out. But those people were desperate for a reason, maybe from his point of view he was just trying to get food for his family?

It's not an open letter for a flamefest. It's just that he's talking about self-defense in an environment where he's actually the intruder.
There's a good chance for this to derail into why the war happened and blah blah, and honestly, there's a shit load of hypocrisy on all sides, because of dubious decisions made more than a decade ago.

Still, bumping that thread fooled me. I thought it was fresh news, and read it. It started with Jack Thompson slamming that Team America game for its recruiting tool essence.
I found that very funny that, part of Thompson's sudden water muddying, it would seem that he'd actually find support from the gamers and even intellectuals themselves.
Amusing, very, to see how Thompson suddenly played a funny new game here. His positions were most of the time very stupid, but the man is far from being retarded.
Makes him all the more dangerous imho.
Instead of fighting an uphill battle he's obviously not winning, he decides to alter his speech and use tricks. This is far more insidious.

Absolutly, I'm not arguing why they was desperate. Without a doubt most were just after food or things they could sell.

But, its important to note they were desperate long before we got there, and its the disparity between our abundance at home and thier absolute desperation that give extra enoucuragment for so many of them to truely hate us.

While most of those people were genuenly good people pressed by hard times there is no shortage of others that want revenge on me, and you, and every other person who has food on his plate. The "terrorist boogy-man" is very real, and I promise he doesn't just want the blood of american soldiers... he'd like it even more to kill civilians, and not just americans. Europope has suffered far more terrorist attacks than the US, and in no small part because of the new (post WW2) pacifist aproach to politics.

and btw,
"Yet, did in any Iraqi "climb into" your country?"

Yeah, we normaly call it 9/11 for short. but do keep in mind that the subway bombings in Spain and several other incedents in Europe over the last few years (pre-Iraq-war as well) are rolled up into that same group of incedents.

And while you complain about a lack of "distrobution of wealth" I draw you attention to 2 things.

1. The middle east has several of the richest countries in the world because of thier oil... and you'll notice that all that money was spent on golden toilet seats in Sadam's Palaces, or on projects such as diverting the rivers to intentionaly starve and kill the Shias in southern Iraq. Did you realize that in 1991 Iraq had the worlds 4th largest army? Iraq had tons of money, but it wasn't distributed to the people at all. Its very foolish to try and blame that on the US.

2. No country gives more foriegn aid money than the US. Additionaly, I seriously doubt any country has a foriegn aid budget by % even close to what the US spends.

Pendaelose:

and btw,
"Yet, did in any Iraqi "climb into" your country?"

Yeah, we normaly call it 9/11 for short. but do keep in mind that the subway bombings in Spain and several other incedents in Europe over the last few years (pre-Iraq-war as well) are rolled up into that same group of incedents.

That is why I point to the problems largely predating even those events.

As for 9/11... big topic. I don't recall hearing there were any valid links between Iraq and the attacks on the economical and governmental buildings. Do you?
I just see tools and fools here.

And while you complain about a lack of "distrobution of wealth" I draw you attention to 2 things.

1. The middle east has several of the richest countries in the world because of thier oil... and you'll notice that all that money was spent on golden toilet seats in Sadam's Palaces, or on projects such as diverting the rivers to intentionaly starve and kill the Shias in southern Iraq. Did you realize that in 1991 Iraq had the worlds 4th largest army? Iraq had tons of money, but it wasn't distributed to the people at all. Its very foolish to try and blame that on the US.

It was only powerful on the paper, and quite exaggerated (poor and non standardized equipment, unqualified troops, no real military geniuses). It didn't last long at all against the Coallition either.
Besides, it's not like the first war didn't have its hoaxes and false excuses to tip the balance in favor of war, but at least, the invasion of Kuwait was solid enough back then to warrant a military response. Of course, it would be na´ve to think that it was done for the sole purpose of Kuwaitis.
What matters is what happened after the regime was defeated.
There was an impressive deployment of forces then, and it's precisely back then than real political measures should have been taken to enhance the lives of the Iraqis, not leave president Saddam Hussein in place and keep oil deals going on. Kurds were ready to move in and topple Hussein. A pity that they didn't get support. A pity that the Coallition wasn't used back then.

The more they would wait, the worse it would get. Which is precisely what happened.
It brought us to the old questions about what you should do to drop a tyrant, should it be done at all, and how to deal with the consequences?
You know that a tyrant keeps all affairs quiet under a strong iron grip, and those countries lack the social infrastructure needed to listen, for example, to minorities and treat them equally.
The tyrant is almost the failsafe keeping the dirty bomb quiet. The more you let the situation rot, the worse it gets.
I also know that there are Iraqi who are satisfied with Hussein's demise, but can only collect the ruins of their former homes. They're part of a sacrified generation.

Although it's very cynical, actually giving power to local "forces of freedom", and then steamrolling over the country with a new coallition, would have spared the US many deaths.

2. No country gives more foriegn aid money than the US. Additionaly, I seriously doubt any country has a foriegn aid budget by % even close to what the US spends.

Obviously, this money doesn't end in the right hands. So there's something wrong there, and it's been going on that way for quite some time now.
I look at the tobin tax and its variants. Less greed, more equity, a better worlds. Sounds like an ad, but it can't get any simple.
The few people who put billions of dollars per week in their pockets, like for example at the expense of the Nigerians, don't need that much money.
It's pure avarice and cynicism which fuels most of the crap that happens on that planet.
But as long as there will be people willing to fight for governments which don't care about such ideas, which they dub as hippie shit, the likes of you will keep being sent elsewhere, far from your homes, to kick some ass for Uncle Sam.
It's very funny that wars are caused by fat asses who have probably never held a gun in their life.
Yeah, good.

Why is it America's role in the world to give the most?

If America didn't invade Afghanistan who would of? The Germans? The Spanish? Going to Iraq was a mistake but that was not the biggest one. The biggest mistake was that it as so poorly run many soldiers and civilians lost their lives, when they hadn't had to.

ANyway, Thompson is a stupid ass. AA is a fun game with a different perspective to say CoH. And it is going to be fun to see how Obama screws up the country next (because at the end of the day, they are all as bad as each other).

Oh, PS, look at Somalia, is it America's job to help them now? You send the army in again and both civilians and soldiers will die. Dont and more civilians die? It's not all cut and dry.

 

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