Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Game

September 4, 2007 -
Even among some military veterans, support for the war in Iraq is dwindling.

As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, veterans of the war gathered to protest recently at the Missouri Black Expo. The focus of their attention was a display of the America's Army video game:
About 90 Iraq war veterans, dressed in black shirts, stood in formation Saturday afternoon in front of military recruiters at America's Center and shouted their protest message three times: "War is not a game!"

They were referring to the large military simulation game set up by Army recruiters... The group of veterans, known as Iraq Veterans Against the War, were in St. Louis for their annual meeting this weekend when they decided to stage a brief demonstration at the Expo.

America's Army was created several years ago by the Department of Defense. The PC version, a first-person shooter using simulated military weapons, is given away for free by the Army as a recruitment and public relations tool.

Here's the video of the IVAW protest:


Re: Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Game

Ok this is so blown way out of porportion its silly YEs this is a recruitment tool, so what. Without a military America is weak. In this modern society we need a tool to recruit todays youth, we dont have the feeling of nationalism we had in the early part of the 20th century, the radical anti war movements of the 60's killed that. I joined out of sence of National pride, served my country proudly, as have my brother and sister ( both active and in country). Fact is this game is not going to recruit kids who dont want to go into the military period. Those who are inclined to go in will with or with out this game, it does however offer a look into the types of schooling available.

 The shooter part of the game is just that a game. Any kid who doesnt realize that being in the military is dangerous is not the sort of kid who passes boot anyway. Anyway quit whining and about all of this and show some national pride, whether or not you like war or a political canidate isnt a reason to bash your own country.

Re: Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Game

The funny part is a piece of my soul, life and body are left in iraq. Make a game that takes that from you and i am sure the people will be so excited to play it

Re: Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Game

A lot of my buddies in AA are vets.  'Nam to the present.  I frequently play with an AA  clan run by a former Navy SEAL with 35 years of experience.  Believe me, all of the guys I know love the game.  Of course none of them would even think of equating it with combat, but they do seem to appreciate the teamwork  and fairly realistic tactical strategy involved.

Hmm...getting close to the end of the day...wonder how that hearing is going for old Cowboy Jack?

Two years in the hot sand and I agree with all of you that say a game cannot prepare nor should it be the basis of your decision. You cannot teach the harsh realities of war through game or really even through conventional means.
Watching your buddies die, and killing. These are things you have to experience to understand.

@ Baramos

You'd be surprised the number of first person shooter games they play. I play America's Army when I get bored. While it's not a true realistic battle simulation game, it is fun and there are over 10,000,000 people world wide that play this game. It has been ranked as one of the top 10 online games every year since 2002.

BTW, those of us that play AA, play Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and others.

Well, that's Grossmans' 'theories' knocked on the head by the very people who were allegedly trained using War Games.

Personally, I've always been inclined to agree with them, that the idea of pretending that real combat is anything like a Video Game is wrong, and people who claim otherwise are doing a dis-service to those who have fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I disagree. In fact, I think more Departments should make games based on their departments.

For example, the Department of Justice should release a game based on firing Prosecutors just because they won't toe your party's line. The game ends when the public and Congress gets so pissed off with your lies and question-dodging that you have to resign in shame.

Or what about games based on illegal wiretapping or setting up illegal prisons, all in the name of counter-terrorism?

I don't believe this is so much over comparing real combat with a video game or the silly proposition that you can train on one.

According to one of the protestors in the article, the reason for the protest is the misrepresentation of military life by this game. "We want people to know the truth about military service and that it's not always what they say,"

I agree, and think that America's Army is a pretty cynical and underhanded way of trying to get young people to sign up, when as far as I know, recruitment targets are not being met. Trying to make military service seem cool when in fact it's probably one of the most difficult, and with the current political climate, dangerous jobs going.

"Dougherty said many potential recruits may not realize the consequences the prolonged war in Iraq may have on their service — increased chances of repeated deployment, extended tours of duty, a call back into war even after a contract expires and difficulty accessing benefits upon return.

"People who are considering joining the military should know the truth so they can make an informed decision," she said."

You can't make life decision based on a video game. Video games are a big part of my life but they do not effect any other aspect of my life. I could play a war game but no matter how much of a bad-ass I was made seem in the game, no matter how much they sugar coated the experience and made it seem like the right thing to do, I would never join the armed forces. Anyone who would make a decision to join the army based on a video game should really have their head examined.

I made this point on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings four years ago. Glad to see that the military's finest finally agree with me.

Hooah! Jack Thompson (This Century's Nostradamus ;) )

@Shoehorn, I understand what you're saying, my statement is more around the fact that people seem to assume that someone who is good at America's Army is somehow cut out to be a soldier when in truth a lot of the job is public relations and NOT reaching for your gun the moment you feel challenged. The whole idea that Violent Video Games are training tools for soldiers suggests that many people have a 'Rambo' conception of the US military, something that is over-exaggerated outside of the US and really shouldn't be fortified with something like America's Army.

That in part is why I take exception to the idea that Video Games are used to train soldiers, obviously it's partly around the fact that no game can prepare you for a real battle zone, where people you talk to and joke/argue with every day can die in horrific manners, but also the assumption that being a Soldier is ONLY about leapfrogging around a battlefield looking for things to shoot. Many soldiers in the coalition died not because they were fighting the enemy, but because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To elaborate further, as has been pointed out time and time again, games can't train you for killing because games are not realistic, warfare has been described as 'Long periods of boredom followed by short periods of terror', no game can ever, or will ever prepare you for that, games are more like fairground rides, where you choose to scare yourself in a nice, safe environment without any danger, they have little, if anything in common with reality.

Anyway, reading your statement, I agree, it's basically about conditions and contracts and the fact that they are glossed over during recruitment.

@ Jack Thompson:

"I made this point on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings four years ago."

You made the point that video games are in no way representative of real life? Or that you cannot train on a video game? Surely that's against everything you have been saying up til now...

@ Jack Thompson

I honestly believe that you failed reading comprehension when you going to school.

The 90 Iraq war veterans were protesting the war in Iraq, not the game.

Practice what you preach: Grow up and get a life.

@ Jack

This century's Nostradamus?

1. Aren't you a Baptist? If so, why believe in that Nostradamus crap?

2. Is that why you're so vague when you make your predictions, so that you can say, like Pat Robertson, "well, see, it was KIND OF like what I said, so I was right"?

3. You actually take Nostradamus seriously?

Hey. You ARE this century's Nostradamus! A fear-mongering, anti-social dingbat with nothing better to do than run around trying to convince people that you're right and everyone else is wrong, even though normal people know better.

I'm gonna go with he's one of the fake Jacks. Something just seems off with that post.

I'm going to have to go with thats a fake jack, mostly because i can't see him actually knowing how to use a smiley (however he may have asked his son, i don't know)

It's the ';)' thing, I've never seen Jack use a smiley before, that's why I'm willing to accept it's either not Jack, or Jack being tongue-in-cheek.

however, upon further inspection, it was made just before the his post in the story underneath this one (Dennis commented in his post which leads me to believe it's the real jack), so actually I'm somewhat inclined to believe it is him

GP: Yeah, it's him.

@Jack Thompson
Stop coming on these boards to masturbate to your inflated sense of self worth. If I claimed I knew what was responsible for people killing other people, I could go on talk shows and lie to America too.

As for these 'veterans' I wonder how many really are veterans and how many are just your typical war is bad and games are bad retards. I don't know a lot of veterans who came back from Iraq complaining, no matter how much they got fucked up.

Now, I DO know a lot of guys who complained while they were there, but that's due to a "second verse, same as the first" lifestyle.

As to Jack Thompson's claim that this is the military's finest, it's utter bullshit. The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta (more commonly known as Delta Force) is the finest, and they also are smart enough to know that this kind of thing is bullshit because the premise is flawed. They also don't complain, and all have degrees (mainly in psychology).

In conclusion, never say HOOAH again Jack, you slimy little bitch.

Austin Lewis.

So those military who don't agree with you and are currently still serving aren't the "the military’s finest"?


@ GoodRobotUs

You do remember his spurt of Caps Lock euphoria, don't you?

@ BearDogg-X

That's just what i was going to say. He said it wasn't a true application of real-life. That does NOT mean he said War games = Murder Simulators.

I'm glad considering America's Army is total propaganda.

@DavCube, I remember a lot of Thompson's antics. Maybe I'm just in a good mood today, but I really can't get myself energised enough about Thompson's comments to drop to his level.

Besides, if Thompson is going to claim that Real Life is something completely different from a computer game, I'm not going to disagree with him.

@Jack Thompson.

You have a point there. However millions of people have already said that. Don't act like you're humanity's last hope.


Also, you would actually do something to help if you told the US government that. As recruitment for the Armed Forces dwindles, the State is starting to advertise war to gamers.

I'm saying its not the finest because the finest don't complain. People who come back and piss and moan are the low end of the totem pole, and often people who made their own experience in Iraq worse via compaining or being a complete douche.

Also, people from Aircav and Infantry units aren't the finest. SF units are the finest, and if you can't figure that out then you need to learn about the military.

If they're going after America's Army because "war is not a game" then I've got two different statements to make:

1. War is, effectively, a game played with real lives. It may not seem like it but it has all the strategizing of a game. Planning, executing, backup moves, etc., are all elements of a game. It doesn't look like a game, but in reality you could consider it as much of a game as Tic-Tac-Toe. Therefore, saying 'war is not a game' is illogical, because what else can you call war? We can't just call it "war" because that's too vague. What is war, then? A sport? A hobby? An international pasttime? Is it research? What is it? Since War isn't a game, what just -is- war?

2. If you're going to go after America's Army for being a game based around the real U.S army, you may as well just go after every First-Person Shooter that has to do with any War in general. Even fake wars. Why? Because "war is not a game." If it's not a game, then why can it be made so easily into a game? Do fictional wars count? Or is it just war entirely in general? If war is not a game, then why do we have games ABOUT war?

Lastly, their protest does absolutely nothing due to the lack of impact they certainly have. Saying "War is not a game!" is so vague that no one would ever give it serious thought. It doesn't account for, well, anything at all. It doesn't mention any games about war, it doesn't try to mention anything even related to the war. I just wonder, have these people even looked at America's Army? Or rather, any game that uses real military firearms as weapons?

Wow! 90! Thats almost as many US attorneys Clinton fired (@las, Attorney)

As for the issue, the idea of training on a video game for military service is questionable. Unless Im going into battle with a 360 controler and a Shield that recharges im not inclined to chance it.

@ T5 and Ias
If you work in the White House or for it, you are employed at the president's pleasure. This means you can be let go for any reason at any time.
These particular people who were fired were supposed to be looking into the 04 elections to investigate voter fraud. Instead, they did little to no work but still drew a paycheck. This is the reason they were fired.

Hey lads, where's that picture of Cowboy Jack?

@Austin Lewis

I understand that fully, i just wanted to show that firing of US attorneys for any reason is nothing new, Clinton fired 93, Bush 8. It was to merely poke holes in his argument and show the absurdity of the fact that this became an issue at all.

Well, America's Army was not made as a training tool as much as what Dennis says to be, "a first-person shooter using simulated military weapons, is given away for free by the Army as a recruitment and public relations tool." I think too now that this is kind of propaganda for getting the young to join the armed forces, oy. If you don't come to similar terms with my opinion (if it is), then just tell us in as rational a way as possible.

@ Jack Thompson

Because it can't be stressed enough, especially with regards to this article, stop using "Hooha!" you asshole! It's an insult to these soldiers and everyone else in the military who visits here.

Enjoy your little jab while you can. If I recall, don't you have a disciplinary hearing to go to today? I can play Nostradamus too. I predict today's going to be a really bad day for you.

@ Jack

Of course your this centuries Nostradamus. Your predictions are only right when interpreted incorrectly or by the ignorant. Any intelligent person can see right through your lies.

Also I find you agreeing with these people that "War Is Not a Game" funny considering your stance on games.

Could you please clarify that point.

John Bruce Thompson-get back to chasing your massacres, which is the only thing you have proven to be good at, since you are too inept to win any legal fights you pick with the video game industry.


Nostrodamus was almost never right, he gained noteriatey because his vague ramblings were numerous enough to statistically hit at least once, the rest were shoddily interpreted to mean any old events, he was a quack, much like you.

And yeah, you missed the point that these veterans are there saying actually killing is nothing like a video game, way to ginore the fatcs for the umpteenth time.

lol thompson just go away, nobody cares.

"And yeah, you missed the point that these veterans are there saying actually killing is nothing like a video game, way to ginore the fatcs for the umpteenth time."

He picks and chooses all of his facts. He'll say anything if it supports his argument for the moment, even if he contradicts himself.


The comment was directed a JT, not you.

Also, if you think that SF are only the "finest" then I think you have a very skewed view of the military in my opinion. Remeber its all those who you don't consider "The finest" that get the SF to their locations to do their jobs, from the intel guys, to the mechanics, pilots etc. I am not knocking SF in any way, I applaud their efforts in what they do but there are tons more out there in harms way everday doing the job just as well.

America's Army is not about "training" on a video game or desensitizing you or whatever the hell else Thompson and Grossman say, it's about making military service seem great. When you see a commercial for the military it's the same thing, you aren't being trained simply by watching people slide down a rope from a helicopter you're being made to think that joining the military will be an exciting and beneficial venture. So this has nothing to do with whether or not video games are training devices, they're not, it does however have to do with whether or not one could use a video game for propaganda, in which case the answer is a resounding "of course they can," you can use a poster for propaganda that doesn't mean we should think any less of paper. I applaud these vetrans in their fight against the pretty cheap tactics by the military recruiters of taking advantage of an extremely popular medium to paint a false picture of military service, this has nothing to do with whether or not you support video games or freedom of speech or what have you, only whether you support false and dangerous advertising by our government.

I can understand their concern with the military using a free video game as part of their recruitment attempts. Still, I doubt playing that game has made anyone want to join the military. It may have done the opposite. What gamer actually wants to be placed in some of the scenarios they've played? Turok? Resident Evil? Call of Duty? Thanks for the offer, but no.

@ Jack Thompson

That's awesome! We can just choose a few choice words from a statement, rearrange them and make a new statement to quote? So THAT'S how you do it all the time! This is a great new technique that I plan to enact immediately

So, in other news: Ebert believes games are art, Jessica Alba and I are married, fried foods build strong muscles, and the South has 10 of the 15 top states with the lowest obesity rates. Good knight, everyone. This has been Gameboy reporting. Think I'll go eat some fried chicken, now.

@ BaronJuJu
Actually my good man, there are specific groups that work with them, and are 'attached' to them, which means, for the time being, they become a part of the SF unit.
As to getting them to the fight, that's either the AirForce job or the job of the 160th SOAR.
I do however understand your point.

"I made this point on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings four years ago. Glad to see that the military’s finest finally agree with me."

Did... did he just try to make a war protest about all about himself?


I feel ill.
That's poor taste even by Thompson's standards.


Nostradamus... pfff

I think JT missed the point of the article entirely:

From the article:
"We want people to know the truth about military service and that it's not always what they say," she said.

Dougherty said many potential recruits may not realize the consequences the prolonged war in Iraq may have on their service — increased chances of repeated deployment, extended tours of duty, a call back into war even after a contract expires and difficulty accessing benefits upon return. "

Now this I can understand, folks wanting all the facts about service life getting to the folks looking to join. I am all for that. They weren't protesting the game at all but the fact the recruiters were only highlighting the certain parts. Americas Army is only one of their recruiting tools that just happen to be on display there at the time. Is ol' JT seriously thinking that if the game wasn't there that they wouldn't have protested? Please.

I am working on my 16th year of military service and when folks talk to me about possibly joining I give them all the info, both the good and bad. No need to sugarcoat or hide facts from them, they deserve to know the whole story and make an educated decision from there.

Nostradamus Jack? Well the greatest quote I've ever heard regarding Nostradamus is that he shoots an arrow at a wall, and leaves it to the conspiracy artists to draw a bullseye around it.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves here Jack. You shouldn't try to predict the future when you don't even know whats going on in the present. Like you constantly referring to the Alabama case as though you weren't tossed out on your ass.

This is more of a generational thing, once again. Current soldiers laugh at the idea of recruiting/training with video games. I had the opportunity to visit with an old friend, a currently active soldier who is waiting to be re-deployed, over this weekend. After many rounds, I inevitably start talking about video games/politics. He said, that for soldiers, video games are a fun down-time, and that is all. He also said, that using them for recruiting isn't really that great, because video games can't in any way prepare a recruit for even simple basic training. So any recruit that comes in because of their penchant for 'realistic' war games, has plenty of chances to bail/fail out before being flung into active duty. This is well and truly a non-issue.

@ Gameboy

The game is a great idea as a recruiting tool. The game isn't meant to change the way people think of the army its meant to grab someones attention who is interested and acctually bring them to the recruiting office.

Whether it is ethical or not to use the game as a recruiting tool is another issue. I say it's no different than the ECA telling gamers on ads here on GP that, "If the government has their way, you won't be able to play half the games on this website." It's all propaganda imo. Everyone has their right to say what they want to say though.

War is not a movie either...

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