Anyone who’s seen Casualties of War (1989 w/ Sean Penn and Micheal J. Fox..look it up) knows that war sucks.
It is to no one’s great surprise that the Wikileaks video of Young Americans giggling as they waste people has created an uproar of aghast commentary online… This piece in the NYT is a good counterpoint.
I too was taken aback when I read the transcript of the offensive words. I haven’t seen the video but I don’t have to. I own Modern Warfare 2 and so I know what it feels like to have the power to terminate the enemy with impunity from afar as if playing a video game. And believe me, the current state of gaming technology really delivers a visceral experience that gives one pause. The thrill of being a virtual soldier is always tempered by a lingering discomfort: I can’t help but think of all the souls that have been dispatched in such a manner. The fact that the visuals of the game so accurately reflect the Youtube videos that began to surface a number of years back depicting the realities of modern warfare really adds to the experience. And make no mistake, the discomfort helps define the thrill. It is a guilty pleasure. It’s complicated. And so is this whole business of warfare. (more…)