Information Warfare: Posturing Politicians Endanger The Troops

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September 8, 2010: A truly bizarre game of political posturing, and ignorance of military affairs, is playing out over a video game (“Medal of Honor”) that has scenarios involving American troops fighting Taliban in Afghanistan. Many politicians have taken up the idea that this is unpatriotic. Yet, for over a century, U.S. troops have been playing wargames where some of them portray the "enemy" and try to kill U.S. soldiers. These highly realistic video games are no different, and they are very popular with the troops, both for entertainment, and professional training.

For over a decade, U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has been using these games for training, and using the feature that allows you to play either side. The basic advantage of this is that you get better insight into how the enemy operates if you fight the war from both sides. But this ancient practice seems to have been lost on the politicians and pundits calling for such games to be banned. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) which runs most stores on military bases (including those overseas) has joined in the madness, and banned the sale of “Medal of Honor”. No big deal for troops in most places, who can get it off base, but for those stationed in Afghanistan, they have to mail order it now. With all this posturing, no one seems to ask the troops who play these video games what they think.

 

 


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