War: It’s all in the game

ArmyTo develop strategies for combat, the U.S. Army conducts war games. It also uses war games (the video kind) to recruit soldiers—a task that is becoming increasingly difficult with all the live action in Iraq and Afghanistan. At AmericasArmy.com, game players get a free shot at becoming a virtual Green Beret without the risk of shrapnel wounds or post-traumatic stress disorder. Ubisoft, the company that created the game for the Department of Defense, has added a group of women gamers called the “Frag Dolls” to the coalition of the willing. While no one would ever accuse an advertiser of using sex to sell, male gamers of the targeted enlistment age have hardly failed to notice the attractive powers of the Frag Dolls. Naturally, this recruiting subterfuge has also attracted a critic or two. “In its quest to find recruits, the military has literally turned war into entertainment,” notes blogger Sheldon Rampton at the Center for Media and Democracy. Hey, buddy, you got a problem with that?

—Posted by Richard Williamson