War is Virtual Hell

I’ve seen Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11. Very disturbing in so many ways that I won’t go into – whether you agree with Moore or you don’t, this film is not likely to change your mind. But one thing in particular, peripheral to Moore’s arguments, jumped out at me.

The film shows an American TV ad recruiting people for the national guard. The ad uses computer-generated characters, both men and women, looking very heroic and Lara Croft-ish as they morph between uniforms and street clothes, handling high-tech equipment, flying planes, etc.. Elsewhere in the film, Moore interviews tank soldiers in Iraq, who describe with gusto how their tanks have music systems which allow them to pipe music right into their helmets. “We put this disc on” (showing a black CD with white print, couldn’t quite see the name), “it really gets the adrenaline pumping.”

These two scenes seem to show that the US military is training its people to treat war as a video game – complete with soundtrack! You can roll along a Baghdad street, guns blazing, and not even realize that those are real people you’re killing.

But real people do die, on both sides, and several of the soldiers Moore interviewed commented on how grim and grisly the reality was. Had no one told them, in all their training to kill, what dead bodies look like?

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