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Iraq War Veterans Protest America's Army Title

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the lots-of-choices dept.

Games 216

Via GamePolitics, a story reported by the St. Lois Post-Dispatch of frustrated war veterans protesting America's Army . Roughly 100 veterans of the Iraq war marched near an elaborate demonstration of the military-funded game, outside of an expo center in Missouri. Their shouts of 'war is not a game' must have contrasted sharply with the elaborate simulator the Army had set up to publicize their (already very popular) FPS title.

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216 comments

Well, kind of.. (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470019)

Wars we are currently fighting are not a game.

Medal of Honor? Bring it.

Wolfenstein, too. I'm not gonna roll over for no Nazi robots...

America's Army (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470057)

America's Army [goarmy.com] doesn't appear to have evil robots.

Re:America's Army (2, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470119)

America's Army doesn't appear to have evil robots.
Query: Can a robot actually be classified as evil?

Re:America's Army (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470357)

Only if it is a thinking robot. Without artificial intelligence I don't think it can be evil. Now - as to what morals a robot should have.. hrm.. it has to be nice to other robots?

Re:America's Army (2, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471537)

As evil bender once said:
Hey Sexy Mama, Wanna Kill All Humans?

Re:America's Army (2, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470125)

Yeah, but it's just a free game. If they added robot then they could probably get money for it.

Never underestimate the selling power of Nazi robots, guys. That's the first thing they taught me in business school.

Re:America's Army (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471035)

And Zombies. And Ninjas. And of course Pirates!

Just think of the possibilities!

Re:America's Army (2, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471195)

"America's Zombie Ninja Pirate Army?"

Oh, man. I'd buy two copies of that and throw one of them at Jack Thompson.

Re:America's Army (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20473083)

Oh, man. I'd buy two copies of that and throw one of them at Jack Thompson.

That brings up an interesting question. I think it's safe to assume that Jack Thompson is completely against this game. Can we then turn around and ask him why he hates America so much? ; )

Re:America's Army (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470163)

And why not? If the purpose is to recruit people to serve in tomorrow's army, they are doing themselves a great disservice by not including robots.

After all, as the Commandant of the great military academy Rommelwood told his graduating class:

The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots.

Re:America's Army (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471737)

If they start releasing games that have the same controls and abilities of UAVs and armed ground robots like Talon Swords, think of what they will have. Kids start training in elementary school, by the time they turn 16 they could be ridiculously skilled with the use of remote operated war machines. Heck, the upgrades for the machines could well come from the feed back from the kids playing the game. It could be very like the end of "Ender's Game" real battles could be remotely won by kids thinking of it as playing a tournament.

http://www.foster-miller.com/lemming.htm [foster-miller.com] http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=12 2 [af.mil]

no evil robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20470697)

unless you count the DIs. ;)

[Drill Instructor]

Re:Well, kind of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471019)

Wars we are currently fighting are not a game.
Yeah, but wars currently-in-progress can certainly be a movie [imdb.com].

Good news, everyone! (4, Insightful)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470097)

FTA:
One onlooker told the protesters they should support their country. Another passer-by snapped back at him: "That's exactly what she's doing."

That might be the most embiggening thing about the entire episode... that people (who are not just typing it on their blog) are starting to realize that.

Re:Good news, everyone! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20470425)

That comment was very cromulent!

The Fuck? (2, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471045)

A random member of the public told AN IRAQ WAR VETERAN to support his country?

Re:The Fuck? (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471279)

Yep how sickening is that. Not shocking though, just about everyone I know who still at this point in the game supports Bush is so jaded they would say that. Bush has gone out of his way to make his followers believe that actually participating in Democracy is anti-American.

B-b-b-but we're 'at war'! (2, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471373)

The WW2 generation and their children have a sickening level of governmental trust. I heard the "we are at war" line from some old guy in the grocery store, but we are NOT AT WAR. The playtime in Iraq police action wasn't important enough to merit a declaration of war from Congress, nor a draft! I dunno about you, but I don't think we really need to be in Iraq. We should have kept in Afghanistan and found Osama, even if we did have to invade our 'allies' the Saudies.

Re:B-b-b-but we're 'at war'! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471503)

Um, no. The WW2 generation members I remember would have told Bush to get bent. I see just as many whippersnappers using that argument.

Idiocy is not a generational thing.

Anecdotal Evidence isn't the best. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471843)

Yeah you are right, it would be wrong for me to draw that conclusion based only on my experiences. But hey, my 'gut' says that the older generations are more trusting of government, especially given the "we are at war" fallacy that they have, in my experience, bought into.

Re:B-b-b-but we're 'at war'! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471625)

Seconded. The constant we're at war litany drives me crazy. People: we are not at war!

Re:The Fuck? (-1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471615)

Yep how sickening is that. Not shocking though, just about everyone I know who still at this point in the game supports Bush is so jaded they would say that. Bush has gone out of his way to make his followers believe that actually participating in Democracy is anti-American.

Well, as a Bush supporter, I see it as the opposite. Democrats, or more accurately, the left wing, have convinced their followers that opposing America is somehow patriotic. They say America was formed through descent. That is not true. America was founded on revolution, not protests.

Also, as a former soldier who spent some time in the deserts of the Middle East, I say that these soldiers need to get over it. America's Army is a recruiting tool disguised as a game!

Re:The Fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471907)

So instead of peaceful protest, you are advocating an armed conflict between the protestors and the authority? Sounds much better. . .

Re:The Fuck? (3, Insightful)

tburkhol (121842) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471981)

They say America was formed through descent[sic]. That is not true. America was founded on revolution, not protests.

I suppose it depends on what aspect of America you mean. The people who emigrated to the colonies in 1650-1750 were dissenters of the Church of England, the arbitrary rule of the European monarchies, and the rigid social hierarchy or their mother countries.

They regularly protested excessive taxation, trade restrictions, and various other laws [wikipedia.org]. The Revolution was a long time coming.

The people have not given up their protests, either. We have protested the keeping of slaves, the consumption of alcohol, the prohibition of alcohol, denying women a voice in government, every war ever fought, and the periodic failure of various government institutions to serve their purpose.

If there is one idea that our country holds above all else it is that "Everyone is entitled to his opinion." Everything after that is an attempt to reconcile the valid opinions of occasional wack-o's against the popular opinions of the rest of the sheep. Everything after that is an attempt to prevent dissent and protest from building up to a second Revolution.

Re:The Fuck? (3, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472029)

Lying to recruits about the realities of what they're going to be asked to do once they join up is dishonest. If the Army is unable to recruit, perhaps it should reexamine what it does with its recruits? Or perhaps it should take the money used to pay the America's Army contractors (I know one; they're paid *handsomely*) and add it to Pvt. Smith's signing bonus?

Furthermore, I think you confuse "opposing America" with "opposing the current use of America's armed forces". There's a whole hell of a lot more to this country than the military.

Re:The Fuck? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472383)

are you suggesting participation in an armed resistance against the federal government? indeed watch your words comrade, there are ears and eyes everywhere.

Re:The Fuck? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472413)

Well, as a Bush supporter, I see it as the opposite. Democrats, or more accurately, the left wing, have convinced their followers that opposing America is somehow patriotic.

And since what they're actually opposing are the policies of the President, you have proven that Bush supporters have been convinced that opposing George Bush is the same as opposing America, and that supporting George Bush is supporting America.

Just like every time in the last six years somebody has said "support our troops!" what they actually meant is "stop questioning George Bush!"

Here's a hint: George W. Bush is not America. If I'm against how Bush's policies because they are ruining America, it's because I'm for America. If I'm against how Bush is wasting our soldiers' lives, it's because I'm deeply concerned about our troops.

Oh, and I think the fact that AA is a recruiting tool disguised as a game is part of their complaint.

Re:The Fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472735)

Hahaha, "...opposing America...". Give me a fucking break. You've been packed full of so much shit its coming out of your mouth. You must have made a great soldier, though. Taking orders and fulfilling the role of mindless simpleton unable to question anything. God bless you and your service to America, Soldier!

P.S - America was pretty much founded on protest. You may remember a tiny event called the Boston Tea Party? No Taxation without Representation and all that jazz? Maybe you skipped that day in American History class to go and join up in the service. Anyways, BTP played an integral role in sparking the American Revolution. Boycotting is a form of protest.

Re:Good news, everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471861)

I agree, some people are starting to realize that patriotism does not mean: support your leader, but: support the people of your country. In related news, in a week from now -on the 6th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks and the start of the War on Terrorism (and on civil rights, apparently)- there will be a General Strike [strike911.org]. Join it!

Games and Reality (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470201)

It's my position, and one that I see echoed in many online communities, that games don't impact actual behavior. That laws seeking to limit or restrict games based on content are out of line. That lawsuits blaming violence on games are completely out of line. So - while I understand the emotions driving these folks, from a logical stand point, I think they are wasting their time and the army is wasting money.
 
If someone would like to argue that the game preps youth for war and predisposes them to join the army, then they would seem to be arguing that gta prepares and predisposes players to crime and violence, etc.

Re:Games and Reality (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470683)

Well, to briefly restate a position I've written here before -- I don't believe that video games affect the conceptually related real-life behavior, unless that person is mentally equating the game with the real-life behavior. In the case of someone who becomes violent playing GTA, that mental equation is a result of mental instability and derangement, which is basically a requirement for equating stealing cars and shooting cops in GTA with doing so in real life. If you can't separate reality from fantasy, then yes I do believe a game could affect your real life behavior, but that's the fault of whatever caused the mental deficiency in the first place, not the game.

By the same token, sometimes we create such a connection on purpose. The difference between a military-style video game and a military training simulator isn't so much accuracy and detail. The difference is that when practicing on a training simulator you are deliberately, explicitly, and with the support of your superiors trying to equate the simulated action with its real-life counterpart. I think it's worth noting that even when conflating games with real life in order to train someone to kill is the explicit goal, still a large portion of soldiers find that when push comes to shove and they're faced with the actual chance to shoot someone that they are unable to pull the trigger. Yet that portion is much smaller than before we started training soldiers to be comfortable shooting a person, starting back when we replaced normal firing range targets with person-shaped ones.

Now what about America's Army? While it isn't an explicit combat trainer, it is a game called "America's Army" put out by the U.S. Army itself. It's not just any video game, it's official advertising for the Army, their P.R. for what being in the Army is like and what kind of exciting things you'll be able to do. Look at how in the game no matter which team you are on, your side is always the U.S. Army and the other side is the evil terrorists.

What I'm saying is that AA has an implicit reality claim intended to create a connection between the game and reality. It is implicitly a brochure for what you can experience in the Army, going to foreign lands and shooting the "bad guys" for the sake of your country. The Army wants you to form a connection between the game and the real-life choice of joining the Army.

It certainly isn't the same as explicit military training simulators, and I doubt any peacenik nerd playing AA for fun is going to rush out to join the military, or much less so run out and buy a gun to start shooting people. I'm just saying that there is a definite connection between the game and reality that doesn't exist in other games and thus causes more of an effect on people. BF1942 is in no way ever presented as showing how you could be a WWII soldier. GTA has no connection to real-life crime outside of the minds of the deranged. Yet if the next sandbox/crime game were to be produced by the mafia for purposes of recruitment, then I do think you would see a much stronger connection between the game and real-life crime.

Long story short: unlike other games, America's Army is designed to make you think about the real-life Army while playing the game, because otherwise there wouldn't be any reason for it to exist.

Re:Games and Reality (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471701)

I don't think intent impacts the outcome. That's why I think the Army is wasting their money on this. From everything I've read - I've never played the game - the degree of accurate detail is low. I don't see how it could be any other way due to the limitations of the platform if nothing else.

Re:Games and Reality (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472159)

I don't think intent impacts the outcome. That's why I think the Army is wasting their money on this. From everything I've read - I've never played the game - the degree of accurate detail is low. I don't see how it could be any other way due to the limitations of the platform if nothing else.

It's not about intent, it's about the connection between in-game actions and real-world actions. Conditioning occurs between a person's actions and the consequences. Without any connection to reality, video game consequences can only condition video game actions. It is when the video game consequences is paralleled with real world consequences that real-world actions are affected. A soldier is told that their training simulations represent the same things they will be doing in real life -- killing people. A crazy person believes that GTA is like real life. One is intentional, one not, but the point is that in both cases the person sees a connection between their video-game actions and real-life actions and thus psychological conditioning can occur. The Army knows this and uses this to train soldiers to be able to kill people.

The degree of detail doesn't really matter -- when the army switched from square targets to torso-shaped targets there certainly wasn't any detail at all, just a flat green board in a bathroom-door caricature of a man. Yet despite the fact that the only realistic part of this exercise -- the actual firing of the rifle -- was the same, training with torso-shaped targets resulted in a greater portion of soldiers firing on live human targets when the time came. Because due to the explicit connection between the cardboard torso and their goal of firing on real people, they were able to condition themselves to do so.

I don't think AA is all that successful as a recruitment tool, but I really don't know what metrics they use and what kind of return they expected. I'm just addressing your original point -- that saying AA could affect people means that GTA could too. I'm saying that doesn't follow, because there is a huge difference between AA and GTA, specifically the explicit and government-sanctioned intention for players to want to translate the in-game actions into real-life actions. There is a connection to reality in AA that simply doesn't exist in any other game.

Re:Games and Reality (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472603)

You'll have to help me out here. I'm not trying to be a smart ass - but here is how you start: "It's not about intent" and here is part of the next to last sentence: "specifically the explicit and government-sanctioned intention" and I know I'm just grabbing a little piece - but this just confuses me.
 
Detail does matter. Not every detail - the import details. To learn to hit a target, the target doesn't need to have a lot of detail. But there is no substitute for firing a real weapon. This game does not provide a significant level of detail in any aspect and so (and I think here we will just have to agree to disagree) I think that it is much like gta and most any other video game that involves some form of simulated violence. No pc or console provides an experience that is going to reinforce these behaviors in a meaningful way.

Re:Games and Reality (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20473077)

You'll have to help me out here. I'm not trying to be a smart ass - but here is how you start: "It's not about intent" and here is part of the next to last sentence: "specifically the explicit and government-sanctioned intention" and I know I'm just grabbing a little piece - but this just confuses me.

It will help greatly if you start dealing in complete sentences. My first sentence: "It's not about intent, it's about the connection between in-game actions and real-world actions." The next to last sentence: "I'm saying that doesn't follow, because there is a huge difference between AA and GTA, specifically the explicit and government-sanctioned intention for players to want to translate the in-game actions into real-life actions."

The important thing is the connection between the game and real life. This connection can be unintended, or it can be intended, but its existence is what matters. In the case of AA the connection is undeniable because that connection is the intent of the game, but what matters as far as conditioning occurs is that the connection is there.

If a bowling ball falls on your head from thirty feet up, it doesn't matter whether it rolled off something or was dropped. The physics and the result on your cranium are indpendent of the two cases. Intent could explain why the bowling ball fell on your head, but changes nothing regarding the effecsts.

Detail does matter. Not every detail - the import details. To learn to hit a target, the target doesn't need to have a lot of detail. But there is no substitute for firing a real weapon. This game does not provide a significant level of detail in any aspect and so (and I think here we will just have to agree to disagree) I think that it is much like gta and most any other video game that involves some form of simulated violence. No pc or console provides an experience that is going to reinforce these behaviors in a meaningful way.

Detail does not matter. It does not matter in firing practice where only rough outlines of humans are used with the target dead center in a human (no extra points for head shots or heart shots). It does not matter in AA. Because in both cases the behavior that is being reinforced is the willingness to see humans as the enemy who should be killed, to think of them as targets not people, and the U.S. Army as the executor of justice. The goal of AA is not to create recruits who don't need to be taught how to fire a gun, it's to create willing recruits. The connection between the game and reality is ample for that.

Re:Games and Reality (4, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470881)

If someone would like to argue that the game preps youth for war and predisposes them to join the army, then they would seem to be arguing that gta prepares and predisposes players to crime and violence, etc.
Actually I would argue that the "America's Army" game preps youths for war and does prep them to possibly join the army. Anyone who has played the game and gone through the "basic training", they get a fairly good idea of what to expect at real basic training. In other words classes on identifying dangers, targets, vehicles, friend and foe and classes on basic medical procedures that might just save your life or the life of someone else. It lets you see what some of the courses are like that you will need to be able to physically tackle, and how the gun qualification and sniper qualification systems actually work (you won't get to be trained as a sniper unless you already are proficient with the weapons and can shoot fairly well to begin with, so if it is your life's dream to be a sniper in the Army, well, you better go and practice before you join up, because you will not get the training unless you can already shoot very well to begin with). This is what the game can attempt to simulate.

Now does "Grand Theft Auto" train people to be a good car thief? Hell NO!. Now it COULD, however that would include teaching you how to bypass car alarms, pick locks, hot wire the ignition circuits, get past fuel line cut-off mechanisms, economics of the black market, what cars and car parts are currently worth, how to easily spot and recognize potential easy targets. But, it doesn't do that. It just lets you run around and get in the car and hit a button and you have stolen it, doesn't let you know how to actually do that stealing, which I believe is the reason why the game is fun to play, not tedious and hard work. I mean, if you had to know how to by-pass a proximity based keyless entry and ignition system for a car in the game by needing to either get and obtain (or make) a fake master key or intercept someone's key's code and clone it with another device, well, you should be out working as either a security expert at one of the said car manufacturers or something else, but you wouldn't be playing a time consuming game...

I would say that the shuttle astronauts play "video games" as well. Simulators can and are "games" in a sense. Heck go to any game store/website and there will usually be a category of games called "simulator". These simulate an environment and actually can teach the players important things. The more realistic the simulator (not just realistic graphics, but realistic physics, realistic environmental interactions), the more that the person using the simulator can actually learn. This is why airlines and aircraft manufacturers create "simulators" for their new planes and designed to train their pilots before they even enter a real plane. In fact, they create the simulator "before" they even build the first prototype and have pilots test things out and tweak things while in the design stage (i.e. moving a control to a different location, changing which information is located on what display, changing the orientation of a switch or knob, or control stick, moving a petal, etc., etc.).

"they get a fairly good idea of what to expect" (2)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471405)

"...at real basic training"

Really? Have you been in the military and done basic training?

Re:"they get a fairly good idea of what to expect" (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471725)

heh - if it were like real basic - nobody would make it through - they'd get bored and quit. by all accounts - this game is no simulator, it is a game.

Games and My Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471063)

"It's my position, and one that I see echoed in many online communities, that games don't impact actual behavior. That laws seeking to limit or restrict games based on content are out of line. That lawsuits blaming violence on games are completely out of line. So - while I understand the emotions driving these folks, from a logical stand point, I think they are wasting their time and the army is wasting money."

Something to think about then. Since games can't affect actual behaviour, then that means that games can't be used for positive things either.

Re:Games and My Reality (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471661)

I think that at worst games can be a waste of time, at best they are art. They can engage the mind - but this does not translate directly to actions. They do not create mindless zombies out to kill. I don't think they 'trick' kids into enlisting in the army. I don't think they even make kids more likely to want to join or fight in a war. Their ability to do good falls within the same restrictions, yes.

Hm.. (1)

Zekasu (1059298) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470217)

So they want the game to be more realistic?

More stress disorders?

Trying to get healthcare in a VA Hospital after having a leg or hand amputated?

Being able to play the role of an evil dictator sending armies into war?

There's a very well and good reason games are considered games, and a very fishy reason that a military of any country would put out a game "simulation" of actually being deployed. "Hey Joe, this game is fun! Let's join the army/marines/navy/airforce!" ... Somehow... And yet, somehow, still, ...

Re:Hm.. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470561)

and a very fishy reason that a military of any country would put out a game "simulation" of actually being deployed
 
hamas does it, the us army does it. i don't think it does for either what they are hoping it will do.

Re:Hm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20473105)

You've nailed my pet-peeve regarding so-called "realistic violence" in videogames. Does America's Army show people losing limbs (realistically)? Going into shock? When you're wounded, do you have to be evacuated, then wait in a hospital or be operated on, depending on the severity? Can you be crippled? Funny how all of that gets glossed over.

Yes, if anything, this game should be made as realistic as possible.

I know why you slashbots hate America's Army (0, Troll)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470223)

You can't steal it. I bet that just chaps your hide, doesn't it?

BitTorrent (2, Funny)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470419)

Yeah, but we can download it with BitTorrent. That makes it feel like stealing. Comcast will still screw with our connection.

Re:BitTorrent (1)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20473003)

Well, there you go then. If you want to push your point, try to torrent America's Army, get blocked, and file a complaint and/or lawsuit claiming that they are preventing you from downloading U.S. military recruitment material. Then you have patriotism on your side.

What are we fighting for? (1)

bitRAKE (739786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470233)

As long as wars are profitable and corporations are making the decisions, marketing spin will follow. If the morale needs to be pumped from the top-down then maybe the cause is not just, or has not been communicated.

Re:What are we fighting for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471751)

wars are profitable
Wrong. The long term results of war can be (but certainly aren't always) profitable. The wars themselves, though, never are. (Except for certain invested individuals; the rest of the economy is raped.) Thinking otherwise is a delusion, as you'd learn, if you were to take even an introductory economics course, usually even before learning the truth about minimum wage, price fixing and rent control.

But you are correct in saying that the corporations rule the world. For example, the relationship of our government, the "terrorists", and Big Oil is so fucking convoluted and obscene that it can take hours to explain, not counting overcoming initial disbelief and skepticism. This "War On Terror" is about oil. Plain and simple. Always has been (and it goes back way before 9/11), always will be... until the oil runs out and/or nuclear fusion becomes widespread and cheap. Then it'll be about something else. Establishing a global police state, maybe.

Re:What are we fighting for? (1)

bitRAKE (739786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472281)

Of course, I mean profitable to the corporations, or rather the small group of people steering the corporations.

What are we confused about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472903)

"As long as wars are profitable and corporations are making the decisions, marketing spin will follow."

I guess schools have stopped teaching history. Wars have been "marketed" since man started organized warfare. You don't need profit nor corporations to have "marketing". You just need a public to draw upon, and the need to convince them that your war is the one they should be part of. And in a lot of cases you don't need even that.e.g. draft.

Not a game... (1)

Triggnus (738288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470243)

I couldn't agree more. It's not a game, It's a joke.

A war won, is still diplomacy failed.

Wimps and commies. (0, Troll)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470467)

Diplomacy is for wimps and commies. What would make you think diplomacy would ever have worked? The ultimate solution to any argument is who can kick who's ass. Only intellectuals seem to miss this truth. Just because we are reasonable, intelligent, people does not mean others are. If someone hates you, you can't talk them out of it but you can kick their ass so bad they're scared to mess with you. Simple truth of life.

Re:Wimps and commies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471325)

If someone hates you, you can't talk them out of it but you can kick their ass so bad they're scared to mess with you.

Well, one way of looking at it is that diplomacy is how you form an alliance big enough to be able to kick their ass.

That is, establish a pattern of treating people as nice as possible whenever possible and then, when the time comes to kick some ass, you'll have enough friends who trust you to be able to work together to successfully kick the necessary ass.

Re:Wimps and commies. (1)

Triggnus (738288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471623)

Well, I'm glad that you think of me as an intellectual. As to missing the truth, I never said that we ("we" as a people, not "we" as in you and me) were any more reasonable, intelligent or otherwise enlightened than this, somewhat ambiguous, enemy. And if, as you seem to suggest, that the best solution is to sink to the level of the lowest of the low in order to defeat those who hate us, then I'm afraid that you've contradicted yourself.
By the way, fear is the breeding-ground of hate. Simply getting your enemy to fear you is a sure way to get more hate directed at you. Governments have toppled (violently) because they thought that they could rule with fear.

Re:Not a game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20470541)

And? When diplomacy fails, what choice is there? Say screw it and give up?

Re:Not a game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472505)

And a war lost is Vietnam failed...now we can add Iraq to the list of military embarrassments that the U.S. has suffered.

They're Within Their Rights (4, Insightful)

$lingBlade (249591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470253)

They're well within their rights to protest the game as far as I'm concerned, the VA and/or local commanders may have other views. I however, do not agree with them and believe part of making an informed decision about joining the military should not in the least be influenced by playing an "Army Simulation". Get information from every source you can about joining BEFORE your sign up, choose a path that suits you and your talents and go from there. War is not a game, it's not a joke, but it exists regardless of whether you want it to or not. The game exists and whether or not it is designed to be a "simulator" which with today's technology could only loosely be called a "simulation", or just a game for fun's sake, is beside point. I say let it go...

Re:They're Within Their Rights (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470459)

The game exists and whether or not it is designed to be a "simulator" which with today's technology could only loosely be called a "simulation", or just a game for fun's sake, is beside point.


It is, in fact, designed to be a recruiting tool (or extended advertisement), more than a simulation for the sake of accuracy or a game for the sake of entertainment.

Not always what they say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20470265)

FTA: "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.

Let's get real here. When has the ARMY ever been what the recruiters said? Increased chances of repeated deployment, extended tours of duty, a call back into war..., difficulty accessing benefits..., sounds like it's the same as it has always been. If a potential recruit doesn't know all of this already then they simply haven't been paying attention.

ARMY recruiters are no different than most job recruiters. They make the same types of fantastic promises that simply never come to pass.

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470517)

One nice thing is, though, that enlisting always involves a contract - that spells everything out. Anyone who joins the military and later complains that the recruiter lied -- didn't read the document that mattered. Those people, by and large, are idiots. I met tons of them when I was in the military.
 
I say by and large - because it is within the realm of possibility that someone could have their contract altered after they signed it, but I've never seen it. It would be too much work because most of these folks do no research, just listen to what some e-5 or e-6 tells them and signs on the line without even reading what they've just signed.

Re:Not always what they say... (2, Insightful)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470827)

The military is, at the very least, being disingenuous and misleading when it advertises and recruits. Recall the old National Guard slogan? No? Probably because they stopped using it... "One weekend a month, two weeks a year." Sounds like a sweet deal "Come on, the National Guard doesn't do shit! At best you work a couple months and get paid well!" It was the NG's big selling point in advertisements and television for years. That was until the Iraq war when the National Guard was required to stay for excessive and extended tours of duty... soon it wasn't enough to convince people that the "Easy" National Guard was just a couple months of training and work.

Absolutely, the military doesn't LIE and it spells out exactly what you may potentially be asked to do... but they're very good at using semantics to mislead people. In this case it is a Kickass(tm) action game meant to entice children to join the military.

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471589)

Like any other marketing team - they are going to push what they think will sell. Have you seen the commercials on t.v. for floam? My kids bought some and it sucks. It isn't like the commercials at all. We through it all out and they learned a very good lesson. As my 6 year old said, "They say that just to get your money".
 
For years the reserves, gaurd etc. was easy money. I was in the Naval reserves for 4 years following my active duty and the hardest part about it was the boredom. (Though some of it was pretty cool - just depended on where I was.) I think one guy from my reserve center got called up for the first desert storm.
 
Disingenuous, misleading? I can't say it's not - but not any more than most other advertising. So we're back to idiots getting suckered - anyone with half a clue should know the score.

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470575)

People who believe fanatastic, unlikely, promises deserve to get screwed. I get pissed off at those people I know that have been accepting paychecks from the government all these years and then start bitching about actually having to earn them when the war started. I could have used some spare cash too but I didn't sign-up because I didn't want to go fight in a war. It's obvious that they're not giving you cash for the hell of it. Of course when there is a war you're expected to go fight. Doh.

I do think it'd be nice if it was easier to find more realistic information on what being in the military is like. So that people that are interested can get a real picture of how things are before joining.

Re:Not always what they say... (3, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471211)

> Of course when there is a war you're expected to go fight.

Forever. Until you die or go crazy. None of this "limited tours of duty" crap that we did with WW2, no sir. It's Warhammer 40K in the corps: life is war, war is life, venerate the immortal emperor.

That's what joining the army now means. Army Strong means huddling in a corner when someone drops a book behind you.

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471397)

Yeah, personally I'm all for sending the next generation of draft dodgers (Both sides had 'em back in the day) straight into combat. Maybe the National Guard will actually be able to produce something better than burned out ex-frat-boy next time we go digging through their retirees for a leader. (OK Clinton at least wasn't entirely burned out... apparently still had a little juice left in him!)

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471433)

I would hardly make the assumption that the generally state controlled national guard is going to be fighting in other countries.

Of course they are supposed to help in the case of disaster reliefe within our borders too (too bad they arn't here any more).

Re:Not always what they say... (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20473047)

That is a good point. I do think that the National Guard should not be deployed outside US borders. IMO they are here to protect the US in case of attack and to help with disastors etc. They should not be used like the Army Reserve. But that comes down to reading the details when you sign-up I guess.

Not always what they download... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472111)

"People who believe fanatastic, unlikely, promises deserve to get screwed."

2006 is the year for desktop Linux.

AA vs. Real Violence (4, Insightful)

internic (453511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470475)

Any time America's Army comes up, I always think about how insane it is that on the one hand many people and politicians in the U.S. are hysterical about video games supposedly causing violent behavior, while at the same time I hear no real objections from these people to their tax dollars being used to develop a game whose explicit point, AFAIK, is to persuade kids to take part in actual violence (by becoming soldiers).

I am not a pacifist, and I don't object to people serving in the military. My father served in the military and so did his father. I think that, whatever the realities, there are some good, noble reasons to become a soldier. I just don't think that "killing people is fun" is one of them.

I also don't really think (in the absence of convincing evidence) that video games generally lead to violent behavior. I do think, though, that a game put out by the Army that touts its realism can shape the ideas of what combat is like in impressionable minds, so I definitely have an ethical problem with them using it as part of a recruiting effort with people who are just coming into adulthood.

Re:AA vs. Real Violence (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20470669)

I also don't really think (in the absence of convincing evidence) that video games generally lead to violent behavior. I do think, though, that a game put out by the Army that touts its realism can shape the ideas of what combat is like in impressionable minds, so I definitely have an ethical problem with them using it as part of a recruiting effort with people who are just coming into adulthood.
 
Do you have an ethical problem then with all war games? Or are you saying it is unethical to use it to recruit even though you don't believe it will have any influence on the actual actions of the intended audience?

It is unethical because it is a LIE. (2, Interesting)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471057)

It's unethical because it is a lie.

In this simulation (I had a chance to play it because I used to work where they designed it.), the players are veritably invincible. The only thing realistic about it is that they are ambushed by a terrorist force of surprising size and ferocity. IEDs are blowing up all over and no players get hurt or die in any way. Also, these HMVs that you are riding in are apparently made of duranium alloy and surrounded in a force field, because the HMVs were not even affected by nearly constant rocket fire.

It supports the idea that our Army is invincible and if you join it, you will be, too. That is why it is unethical.

Re:It is unethical because it is a LIE. (2, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471629)

So in an ethical game - a player should go out on a mission - and if they get wounded or killed, the game should be over and they should never be able to play it again.
 
I can't imagine that any sensible person would play a game like you describe and then decide that they are impervious to rockets and gun fire. Shoot- A-team tried to teach me that and I made it through o.k. But anyway - everybody is keying on this 'simulation' thing and how this is different from every other video game because the army pays for the development and I say nope. It's just another first person shooter - and it is wrong to say that somehow this game is bad but all the others are o.k.

Re:It is unethical because it is a LIE. (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471821)

You're misrepresenting the previous poster. My reading is that a better game would have convoy ambushes possibly wipe out players inside vehicles, with all the game consequences that has (wait for respawn, fail the mission, etc). Providing completely unrealistic behaviour in a recruiting tool is less than ethical, but you would allow some things for the sake of the game. Respawning is okay, but a pretense of invulnerability at certain times is not.

Who says "Join the US Army! Our convoys are invulnerable and if an ambush happens, you can just sit tight in perfect safety until the bad guys run out of ammo" ?

The point about the US Army using this as a recruitment tool is that it should reflect reality as much as possible while still being a game. Failing to do that is one of those 'truth in advertising' things.

Re:AA vs. Real Violence (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471005)

I also don't really think (in the absence of convincing evidence) that video games generally lead to violent behavior. I do think, though, that a game put out by the Army that touts its realism can shape the ideas of what combat is like in impressionable minds, so I definitely have an ethical problem with them using it as part of a recruiting effort with people who are just coming into adulthood.

Yeah, to me the difference between America's Army and all these games that supposedly corrupt our youth is that there is an actual connection between the in-game violence and real-life violence. The makers of the game, the U.S. Army, want to recruit you to join them and shoot people in real life, and America's Army is part of their advertising. Rockstar has never suggested that people go out and do what GTA portrays in real-life, but the U.S. Army is saying not just that they want you to do what the game portrays, they're willing to pay you to do it too.

I don't really think it's all that bad; I can't call it "unethical" any more than their usual rosy sales pitch to underprivileged youths is. I'm just saying I see a difference between it and all the games morons are trying to ban, and the difference isn't to AA's benefit.

Re:AA vs. Real Violence (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471087)

Now, now, the key here is that you become a soldier for your country.

Remember when Muhammad Ali decided he's ok with beating people up but he doesn't really enjoy killing them and the US thought he's a hypocrit? Makes sense, he was beating up others for his own fun and profit, but the country would've liked it rather if he killed them for their fun and profit.

That's what it's all about. All is fair and no crime if it's done for your country.

Re:AA vs. Real Violence (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471655)

I do think, though, that a game put out by the Army that touts its realism can shape the ideas of what combat is like in impressionable minds, so I definitely have an ethical problem with them using it as part of a recruiting effort with people who are just coming into adulthood.

One of the first thing the Nazi's did when they came to power was to ban book like "All Quiet on the Western Front" because it portrayed combat in a bad light. The German army was the first to come up with the concept training of having soldiers actually shoot silhouettes of men rather than bull eye's target (to be fair this was not a Nazi creation but something from WWI) in which the belief you could desensitize soldiers to actually shooting the enemy by having them practice on man like objects first so that it would be a recorded hand eye movement so they didn't have to think of the killing.

Speaking of which... There was a study done by the US military that during WWII that only 1/3 of GI's actually shot at the enemy when given the choice. From what I've mostly read that most combat casualties on all sides (barring accidents, exposure to the elements, and starvation) in the war were via artillery, machine guns, or air attacks so it could that all sides simply had to use indirect fire to inflict casualties most of the time.

Given the nature of the game, it could be that AA would help in dehumanizing the enemy if the other side is seen as a video game opponent.

I just had a weird idea (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471121)

Next time some senator wants to censor games, how about sending him a copy of AA and ask him for a comment?

Oh Right! (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471135)

I knew I forgot to download something! Thanks protesters for reminding me!

But really, saying the game isn't like war is like pointing out real life doesn't have a "respawn" key. It also ignores the quite probable fact (I don't know this for sure, I don't have any data to back this up, this is just what I think is probably true) that plenty of people play FPSs... including AA... without ever intending to join the army or pick up a real gun.

Plus, let's say it WAS very close to the real thing as a virtual game could get... I don't think anyone who died even once in the game would want to try their luck in the real army...

Re:Oh Right! (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472303)

My best example of this is paintball. You take the very best macho winner paintball champion, and see how often he "dies" on a tournament weekend. Extrapolate that to actual combat, and you see that surviving an engagement is incredible luck as much as it is skill or equipment. War is no game at all.

I worked on America's Army (2, Interesting)

freshmayka (1043432) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471253)

I worked for the America's Army team when they were located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. I wanted to get some more game industry experience on my resume and it was the only local job of its nature. It was a cool bunch of people working on the game, your typical bunch of gamers and artists. The only major difference was that we were all working on a piece of major recruitment propaganda for the Pentagon.

You had these guys in military uniforms talking about how great it was that this game saves them hundreds of millions of dollars in recruitment costs. How it has gotten millions of downloads and been very successful in weeding out people who sign up for service without knowing what they are getting into. Instead you get guys like FPS Doug who might be thinking "hey, war is just like FPS, so why not sign up for the military and get paid to goto college!"

After two weeks I couldn't take it anymore. The job was great, the environment was great, the people were friendly, and the product was encouraging young Americans to sign their lives away and be sent off to Iraq. It bothered me too much so I staged my own little protest, I just walked out of the office and never went back. Not like I was crucial to the team, but I didn't want to have something on my resume which I completely morally objected to.

Re:I worked on America's Army (1)

jtev (133871) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471441)

I'm sorry that you have a problem with this. You should have known that what you were doing was going to be a specific attempt to attract FPS Doug and the like. I'm sorry, but I can't say that I feel particularly much sorrow for your moral quandary. You knew the score going in. It really just drives me nuts when people complain about things like this. If you were working for a company that then took the contract, then I could understand the problem, but if you're working for the Navy, then, you know that your work is about killing people. And one of the most important things the military does to kill people, is recruit the people to do the actual killing.

Re:I worked on America's Army (1)

freshmayka (1043432) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471577)

Actually no, I did not know the score going in. I was going to work for their Virtual Reality department at the Navy school. Mind you, this is a place that does lots of advanced 3D and VR work, not all directly related to killing people. Much of it is true defensive work.

So yes, I knew that I was working for the government. But when I was instead put on a project that was literally just a piece of propaganda used to attract young Americans into the dangerous post 9/11 wars that had been started. That is when I said "this isn't what I am hear for" and walked out.

Re:I worked on America's Army (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472223)

Good thing you walked out.. Nobody needs dipshit cowards like you working for them because of your own guilty conscience and hippy dippy morals.

Re:I worked on America's Army (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20472529)

Yeah, how dare someone go into something without having any moral qualms, but after reflecting on the reality of the situation come to decide that they cannot support it! That's like... changing your mind based on experience! No, wait, that sounds rational and good... I mean, that's flip-flopping!

He quit the job, what more do you want? For every one of him there are two dozen people who take the job and never feel any moral qualms at all. I hate it when people dismiss someone else's experience just because that person didn't already know everything that they supposedly learned from the experience. If it weren't for this attitude that forming a new opinion is the same as admitting that you were wrong in the first place and that this is unacceptable, then maybe GWB wouldn't have been given a second term by all the people who refused to admit Iraq was a bad idea.

Video Games Make Great War Simulations (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471409)

Contrary to the opinions expressed by others here, I think that video games make a great contribution to educating young people about the realities of war. In your average war game, the fighting begins with no real purpose (indeed, such things are often considered irrelevant by the players) and the only real costs of mounting casualties are to the players' egos, and to the effectiveness of their side as they begin to "win" or "lose". How does this not reflect the attitudes and outlooks of the people who lead us to war ? The analogy goes further - at the conclusion of each match, the contestants (whether they have won or lost) are encouraged, by pride and by their own excitement, to "try again", perhaps on a new battlefield with a familiar group of people but a different set of alliances and opponents. The modern war video game is in many ways a most accurate model of modern warfare, and I think it behooves parents and leaders alike to encourage young people to play these games, and to reflect for themselves on what the games might mean to them.

Jack Thompson weighs in (4, Funny)

meglon (1001833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471467)

...And ask for his comments, Florida anti-gaming lawyer Jack Thompson took a moment to share his views with us:

"This is not a situation in where the ESRB will be blind-sided by hidden or embedded content. This game promotes the killing of innocent people.

The goal is to make it such a negative thing that the retailers won't carry it. This thing hasn't really reached critical mass as a public relations problem yet; that's what I'm trying to do.

Towards that goal, I have half a mind to sue the Department of Defense and get this whole thing scrapped."



On a related note, 96% of the 1081 people polled agreed with Mr. Thompson. As one person stated: "Of course it's obvious, Jack Thompson has half a mind."

Probably get modded down for this, but.. (1)

sorphin (14046) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471703)

It's St. Louis, not St. Lois. :-)

Re:Probably get modded down for this, but.. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20473075)

It's St. Louis, not St. Lois. :-)

Super! With attention to spelling like that you must be a Clark.

Mixed feelings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20471771)

As a military member, I agree with a lot of what these veterans are saying. War is NOT a joke, it is NOT a game, and its consequences are very real. I've been injured in the desert, and getting health care from the Army-- even while I'm STILL on active duty-- is a very difficult task. I don't know that these elements are covered by the game. I'm also wary of the government spending taxpayer money on a video game-- I certainly don't consider it the *wisest* use of my tax money, but then again, I think the same thing about OIF.

That said, I have no desire to see the game discontinued because it might-possibly-theoretically-kinda-sorta convince a kid that joining the Army is something worth doing. The Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps all offer something to those willing to take up the challenge-- whether it be educational benefits, travel opportunities (eight countries and counting), or just a steady job. For a lot of people, these are great opportunities. If a video game provides people with a more detailed view of military life, and helps somebody decide that they want that life, then I'm not sure it's such a bad thing.

(I would also like to note that military recruiters in EVERY branch are known for not showing "the whole truth" to recruits. I've seen tons of recruitment videos, pamphlets, and presentations that show the same above-listed benefits and opportunities-- while showing none of the downsides. It's the nature of the recruitment machine. If we want to change it, perhaps we should start with the top, and institute reforms throughout the recruiting corps-- not just the video game.)

The game is propaganda, and we should recognize that and make sure that our kids who play the game realize it, too. Once we've done that, we have to allow the next generation to make their own decisions about whether or not to enlist. For those who do-- I thank them for their service and wish them the best. For those who don't-- I thank them for their consideration and wish them the best, as well.

Meandering thoughts. (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20471865)

This is kind of an aside; just recollecting what's been floating though my mind for the last few days. It seems to me that the leadership of the United States of America is losing it's way. As a frightening parallel in history, in Germany the Nazis rose to power by gradually placing more and more control into the hands of selected capitalists. We called it Fascism then. The same can be seen in the USA today, war profiteering is being funneled into the wealth of those who made the decision to war in the first place! An old-boys network such as this sadly is a fact of life but what strengthens the parallel between the Nazis and the current USA is that the leadership is also paying less heed to the wishes of the people they claim to represent. I hope that those who are ignorant of history don't drag the rest of us through it. Again.
If you read a book called Earth by David Brin, he describes his vision of the near future as basically including a war where the bankers and anyone on their records are shot - cleansing the parasitism from societies fabric.
What do you think? Because in the age of Information you can make a difference!

Conditioning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472429)

There's a pretty interesting psychological component to this game and others like it that a lot of people seem to be missing. While violent games themselves don't lead the avereage 14 y/o to commit mass murder, it does condition them to be able to pull the trigger. Historically, about 90% of the casualties inflicted in war (after you've taken away those caused by indirect fire like artillery) are inflicted by only about 2% of the combatants. Killing another human being is not something that is instinctual and most people find the idea repugnant, to the point that even when there own life is threatened, they can fail to commit an act of violence in their own defense.

There area couple of books, "On Killing" and "On Combat" by Dave Grossman that have been making the rounds in military and law enforcement circles for several years now that can offer a lot of insight on the subject. They are well worth the read even if you aren't in either field as the author looks at how video games whether funded by the government or by EA can condition people to commit violent acts easier.

Erik

It's the same as every other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20472907)

All SHOOTAN GAEMS are the exact same. If you're protesting America's Army, you're protesting Half Life 2, Counterstrike, Weapons Factory, Team Fortress, Quake, Doom, Blood, Duke Nukem, Sin, Black, Medal of Honor, Gears of War, OH GOD FUCK IT THE LIST WILL BE INFINITE IF I COMPLETE IT

But hey... yes, protest the SHOOTAN GAEMS genre. They're the opposite of innovative
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