In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video Game-Fueled Recruiting Road Show

June 25, 2009 -

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is no fan of the controversial Virtual Army Experience, a traveling, high-tech, video game-driven military recruiting program.

As GamePolitics reported in March, Kucinich urged the House Armed Services committee to eliminate funding for the project, charging that it "give[s] participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of soldiering..."

In addition, Kucinich has taken the debate over the VAE to the floor of Congress. A C-SPAN video posted yesterday on YouTube shows the former presidential hopeful once again expressing concern over the recruiting program. Engaging in a colloquy with House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO). Kucinich said:

Children as young as 13-years-old are participating in the Virtual Army Experience, which paints an innaccurate picture of war by glorifying it while sanitizing the real effects. More than a mere video game, it includes interactions with real veterans, who appear to be in perfect health. It also requires that the user, regardless of age, share personal information as a condition of participation...

 

I think we can agree that the Virtual Army Experience video game must be revalidated to ensure that its age-appropriate rating is accurate in the context of how it's being employed; that the Virtual Army Experience content should be reviewed to ensure it accurately reflects the consequences of war; and that there must be increased transparency with regard to how the personal information of the participants, collected during participation, will be used by the Army.

Skelton's response is of interest in that he didn't exactly disagree with Kucinich:

I support the VAE. At the same time, I know it can be improved. And I would be happy, of course, to work with this gentleman to address the issues that you have so aptly raised.

GP: At this point we're not entirely sure when Kucinich made the remarks in the House; given that they just hit YouTube, we assume that they are recent. Any GamePolitics reader input on the timing of Kucinich's comments will be gratefully accepted.

Thanks to: GP correspondent Andrew Eisen...


Comments

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

He's right.  You know, next time I go to a job fair, I think the plumber's booth should smell like shit and mildew, the roofer's booth should have a guy in a full body cast from falling off the roof, the police booth should have a cop's widow speaking, etc.  Recruiters for every job should have to highlight all the negative aspects of that line of work and emphasize how awful it is, because the sole responsibility for what job a person chooses to take obviously lies with the recruiter, not the person choosing the job.

Or wait, maybe that's only for jobs I have some political beef with.  I get so confused sometimes...

I find this kind of condescending, paternalizing bullshit to be truly offensive.  The VAE is supposed to attract recruits.  That's what it's for.  There are plenty of other places where people can read, see, and hear about the negative aspects of being in the military, if they make even a basic attempt at researching the job to see if it's right for them.  People are not as stupid as this guy seems to think he is.  They do not live in a vacuum where the only information they have, or can have, about being in the military comes from the VAE.  They are not instantly brainwashed into believing the military is their one true dream career from the moment that joystick touches their hand.  I, for one, still believe in personal responsibility, and I refuse to let shmucks like this try to shift that responsibility elsewhere.  If I join the military, or take any other job, without doing any research beyond what the guy promoting that job has to say, then that's my own fault and nobody else's.  It is not the recruiter's responsibility to talk me out of it.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

 

This is where I draw the line on Military recruiters. We should all know by now, don’t believe a lick of what they say and to actually talk to Veterans where you can get mixed reviews. The Armed Forces can be the best thing to ever happen to you or your family or it can be the worst. In the Armed Forces you put yourself last and service first.

To apply Xboxes and such in recruiting stations like yeah once you get in you get all these perks? It’s not like that at all. It’s hard. But some recruiters go the extra mile and they tell people to lie when joining the Military, to just rush them through to get their numbers. Recruiters don’t get paid for each person they recruit the only perk about being a recruiter you live whoever you want, and get a free car as long as you get in your numbers.

I’ve seen a lot of people go in for the wrong reasons in the Marine Corps. I have seen a lot of people freak out in Boot Camp and end up in RSP which is still boot camp but your there for a year in boot camp. Some people get sucked in for the wrong reasons now these people are adults. They choose to join and to serve which is honorable.

But know your limits before you join. Don’t join if you can’t clean you room, make your bed, do hard labor when your parents ask because believe me you join the Marines you better know how to sow. If your like that don’t make these same mistake I made, get paid to be on vacation join the Air Force you’ll most likely get stationed in Germany,

I love our Military but I feel recruiters should be held to a high standard and forcing them to get a certain number just makes them do things and recruit people who are not well enough to serve.

I would love too see some of our great writers in the Industry who made a 1st person shooter likeBioshock have such an amazing story write for this man’s armed forces.

Most off us do not know what loss is like and what hardship is like. A writer or director can make a moving story and I think this is the best place to start when it comes to this because once your in the field you need to know how to hack it.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

I think we should outlaw America's Army. Not because it's falsely portraying the US Army, but because it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

That's the most intelligent thing I've heard ANYONE say on this topic!!

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

Wrong post

 

 

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

Isn't this the same guy who claims he saw Aliens? Dennis Kucinich is far to the left, very far but he does pick up good causes as well.

Now I am the biggest advocate against the far left anti Military and those who hate their country except when their guy is in charge and we must all blindly follow him and of course video game legislation.

What he says does have merit. Having went through Marine Corps Boot Camp I can say very fairly some people go in for the wrong reasons. As a teen and a young adult especially growing up in a safe country like America you think nothing can hurt you and everything is butterflies and green trees like your Liberal Grammar school Teacher tried to tell you the world is.

People join, and then there is a good chance of death or finding out you were not meant for this life. As an adult you do make a choice and take a risk but to train children that War is easy and you can just respawn well, I hate to break it you. War never changes and war is hell.

If anything American’s Army should also add in a story feature to it. To show the average person what a typical mission entails. Give them a powerful epic story as a well a shooter about life and the powerful feeling of what is it like to lose a comrade in battle. People who never served or lost a loved one find it hard to understand why people in the Military take TAPS so seriously. It’s simple, when your an honor guard at a Military funeral seeing a fellow friend off, it’s hard and we all go through it one way or another.

I don’t think we need to get rid of America’s Army, maybe edit it to give it a powerful story. Let the recruit know what it is like to lose a friend and what it is like to save lives. I just think this game would be better off as a promotional tool to show how it feels to be a Solider, Airmen, and Marine and the pains they go through so you can live in la la land and not worry about the very cruel world that is out there.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

..... I am.... Speechless..

For once, if you sanitize the right wing stupidity from his comments, Kefka is right..

This "Experience" doesn't really show the reality of war. It doesn't show what it is like in training, the brutal (but necessary) drills they go through, and it sure as hell doesn't show you what it is like to lose a friend or squadmate to an enemy. It also doesn't show you the mental illness that many, many servicemen and women recieve as payment for thier heroic serivce. (PTSD, if my comment was too subtle)

All this crap does is invite children, who haven't had the time to truly find something they like, play this game and go "Oh, this is cool! I want to have this Cool Job when I graduate!"

If anything, this VAE crap is intentionally misleading the teenagers of this country into taking a job that many of them probably aren't suited for, and that has high chance of resulting in them coming home in a bodybag..

Also, Kefka.. Considering this comment was actually on point, relevant, and mostly heartfelt (again, not counting the moronic right wing rhetoric), I've come to the conclusion that you, against all odds, are actually a real person.. Which, considering I had you pegged as a satirical troll for quite a while, surprises the hell out of me.

And, on that note, I now realize you actually believe everything that you type, which scares the crap out of me, considering that you prove that there actually are people out there who believe the nonsense you spout, and that they can actually vote. Which is both depressing and frightening.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

The only thing in the past week on the House's Floor Debate Schedule which comes close is yesterday's entry which began consideration of H.R. 2647 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010).

While I know you gratefully accept the information, if you could express that gratitude in the form of an ECA t-shirt, key-ring, bumper sticker, or other such trinket, I'd gratefully accept that.

Re: In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video ...

I don´t know what to think about people bitching about videogames, other than "publicity stunt" or "I want to be relevant talking about sh1t I don´t have any clue".

What career doesn´t use some degree of "inacurate picture" anyways for self-promotion? Just because they are using games is why he is bitching about.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

 
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