Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Shooting for Fun and Profit,
The Salute
(Fall, 2009)

Final trouncing of The Salute: In an economy that is tanking, young people are as vulnerable as fish in a barrel in places like the Army Experience Center (AEC):

"Young men and women pour daily into a storefront in Philadelphia's Franklin Mills Mall. Once inside, they battle enemy forces from helicoptor and Humvee simulators, play a variety of X-box and PC games and work together to accomplish mission simulations and team exercises in a tactical operations center. Is this some high-end video arcade? No.

"This is the Army Experience Center [AEC], where potential recruits or anyone interested in the life of a Soldier can come to play and learn. ..."

The image of pulling drunks out of bars in Shanghai flashes through Ranger's experienced mind. Ranger, like his Army fellows, has shared the Army Experience and it is more than shooting fun guns off of simulators.

What also gives us the heebie-jeebies is the fact that this scenario is a little too close for comfort. I mean, aren't we trying to discourage people from opening fire in malls? It just seems at the very minimum, bad taste.

The military come-on of mall shooting mock-ups has been around for awhile, but usually in discreet chair simulators or through free online game downloads, like
America's Army. GamePolitics.com reports today that in testimony before Congress, the Army reported that game was a more effective recruitment tool than “any other method of contact.”

The picture tells all you need to know about today's Army. Are we generating a force that shoots people from vehicles? Is this what
The Salute calls "defending friendly countries"?

Further, a Washington Examiner story
(Video Game Veterans and the New American Politics) quotes an Air Force Colonel, Commander of a Predator drone squadron, as stating that though the younger, videogame generation were naturals at piloting the remote-controlled aircraft, he thought that the same group suffered when attempting to consider the consequences of their actions:

The video game generation is worse at distorting the reality of it [war] from the virtual nature. They don't have that sense of what really going on. It [videogames] teaches you how to compartmentalize it.

The Salute goes on to laud the fun and games as being superior to the dour routine of "Army recruiters spending long hours cold-calling or going door-to-door to find the next generation of Soldiers".

"Now they have a hi-tech, multimedia environment where they can foster an experience of the Army, as opposed to just talking about it."

"In an Army that has always prided itself as a learning institution,
the AEC is just another example of education, where people can learn about the Army in a relaxed environment (this is truth in advertising?) . . . [the] entertainment draws people in, but they leave with a deeper understanding of their Army and a greater openness to serve."

Do we really think it's cool to recruit kids in a play center? Well, maybe since we just found out that
Baby Einstein doesn't work (Wait, Baby Einstein Won't Make My Kid a Genius?) . . .

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Anonymous barcalounger said...

It must work. The Army hit its recruitment goals for '09 (link here).

I'd like to see an economist come up with a study of how the Recession has affected military recruitment and retention.

When you actually sit down and think about what a soldier in the combat arms does for a living and how they have to live, I'm surprised that anybody enlists in the service at all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 10:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bacalounger, my son is a 2nd Lt in the Army and he is in combat arms.

Why did he opt for this? A large part of the decision was financially based. He didn't want to burden his family with the cost of college. So he obtained a full ride on ROTC scholarship. Additionally, he realized that in this economy there are many capable recent college grad.s who are flipping burgers for a living. He didn't want that. He wanted a career with good pay and upward potential. He also wanted respect and to be around a good bunch of guys with the freedom to cuss and look at skirts (things you can't do these days in an office).

I was all for his decision, but I urged against combat arms; to no avail. You know, young, dumb and full of cum......I suspect there are many his age who made the same decisions for the same reasons.

My daughter, who is enlisted in the Navy, went in because she is seeking a free ride through nursing school. Somehow she ended up with an intelligence MOS. Go figure.......again finances played a big role in her decision.


Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 7:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

With teen unemployment rate at 25% plus is it any wonder that the recruitment goals are met?

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the same thing happened in rome when marius began to enlist the capti censi.

at that moment, the whole idea of military service for the romans had changed.

gone were the days when there was a requirement of property ownership and a means test (armor was provided by the legionaries themselves, expensive stuff). no longer was service in the legions something that was done by the "best" people as a duty.

with the creation of a professional standing army the requirements for rome going to war also changed.

no longer would the senate meet, debate the whys and wherefores of an action, then go about the nuts and bolts work of putting together the money to equip, train, and feed the legions before they marched out to meet a specific tangible threat.

i would rather see our "warrior" chiefs having to explain themselves and their wars to a bunch of pissed off surly draftees.

i don't fear that our military will turn on our nation, like the praetorians, mamalukes, jannisiearies, or other armed forces which ended up taking the very nation they were conceived to defend.

i do worry, that like an incompetant bank or insurance company, the armed forces might become "too big to fail" and have too much of an economic footprint to ever be downsized.

we have seen that already at work, where senators will hold other legislation hostage in order to keep building an expensive bomber that we don't really need anymore because the foundation of a district's economy is in that building.

it's a dangerous path we walk.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

While the Army met it's recruitment goals It did so by once again lowering enlistment standards...Having a large standing Professional Armed Forces is getting a little alarming...Loyalty to the Service is taking precedence over Loyalty to the Constitution. Just look at sites like SOCNET if you want a good example of this. How else can you explain service members praising a coke sniffing war dodger and his 5 draft deferment chicken hawk VP over someone who is doing his best to end both conflicts...

You want to end the wars? Bring back the draft...When rich folks kids HAVE to (there are exceptions though rare) follow orders Then these wars would be over in a heartbeat...

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 1:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen
Try this on for size.
"Officers owe their loyalty to the President etc...and so forth... "
John Eisenhower Retd BG Son of Dwight. Reported pg 13 The Week Mag/nov 20/09
This is what I fear, a cult of personality that does not place the Constitution as the center piece of our system. I seem to remember that our taxes support this system and somewhere there should be loyalty to our wishes and legitimate desires.
I agree that a draft /and /or public service would be beneficial to our society. But that sure would screw up career curves of a lot of our leaders, or should I say would be leaders.
I don't know how it's possible to dumb down the Army when we used to have PM pams that were comic books, I guess that was for the Socnut types, so they wouldn't get confused with big words like buffer group etc...

If memory serves the Wehrmacht had to pledge personal fealty to Adolph H. Have we made much progress??

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 1:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Ranger Hazen said...

"If memory serves the Wehrmacht had to pledge personal fealty to Adolph H. Have we made much progress??"

With all due respect Jim this is a classic straw man argument... All of us including the President swear an oath to the Constitution

I understand your concern but the last time an officers loyalty oath had any serious bearing on the fate of our country above was our Civil War...
No matter what World Net Daily... Limbaugh... and Beck might say... We are still galaxies away from any kind of takeover from any kind of "group"

On side note get "Blazing Saddles" from Net Flicks...

Mel Brooks best social satire filmed in 1974 and look how prescient it is! LOL
A much better zeitgeist view of the right than Beck...

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
The Blazing movie has a scene where the character threatens to shoot himself, this is a perfect metaphor for the PWOT.
I was in the Army when Nixon was up for impeachment and my o6 called me in and asked what I would do IF Nixon were impeached AND failed to step down. Until today I think he was feeling me out and there was an actual coterie considering this option.
I also believe that most Officers equate loyalty to the President as being loyal to the Constitution.

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:27:00 PM GMT-5  

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