Wednesday, February 25, 2009

13-Year Old Vows to Honor Geneva Convention in World War Two

Despite the minor fact that the majority of the Geneva Conventions did not exist in World War II, a chubby 13-year-old has convinced his parents to allow him to play "Call of Duty" on the conditions that he honors the guidance contained in the 1949 agreements.

This kid's parents think they're being responsible; in fact, they're merely showcasing their ignorance. It's quite impossible to break any Geneva Conventions in the game; characters have no chance to torture, execute prisoners, or launch attacks against civilian populations, although they get to witness those acts in graphic cinematic sequences.

The scoundrel's only possible chance to tread a fine line is to fire a finishing shot into an already mortally wounded opponent; and this would probably be justified by the fact that many of those opponents will planning to make a "last stand" attack where they draw a pistol and blaze away until they run out of ammunition, or until they get shot again.

Still, gory and realistic though this game is, it's hardly an educational training ground for learning the nuances of International Humanitarian Law. What it really represents is an opportunity for out-of-shape American youth to exercise their bloodlust without endangering themselves.

If young Evan Spencer really wants to learn something about war, there's plenty of hot-spots in the world where another teenage meat-puppet could make themselves useful as a bullet sponge.

What do you think, Dear Readers? Is ol' Cleitus being too hard on today's callow youth? Is it in fact, the reverse - not that we have too many gratuitously violent games and movies here, but not enough over there? Would Chechens and Russians, Azeris and Armenians, Serbs and Kosovars, Israelis and Palestinians be less likely to fight if they could just sit down around an X-Box and kill electronic simulcrums of each other?


Diodotus said...

Hmm... I don't know, I think the father's knowledge of the game is sketchier than of the rules, and his heart is in the right place. But I think he missed a chance to follow through: parents like this fellow need to lobby the gaming market to produce games that include an ethical incentive structure similar to that of actual battlespaces. In the absence of that, as you say, the "follow the rules" rule is pretty moot.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that if you take a walk through internet cafes where children representing the opposing groups you mentioned play video games, you'll see that they are hardly less likely to fight. They play the same games; only the enemies change dependent upon the market.

Seeing Arabic children playing first-person shooters that depicted US and coalition forces being killed was surreal for me. And sobering.

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