War crimes and other light reading


After getting my ass beaten mightily in Battlefield the other day, I pulled myself away to stave off my impending rage-induced aneurysm.  I decided the best course of action would be something healthy, so I reached for the nearest can of Mountain Dew and some Camel menthols and decided to check out the news.  I get caught up in the gloomy world of news from time to time, but my anxiety needs to feed off the bad news and ever present dangers in order to live.  So instead of checking out the newest cases of mass murder and Haley’s Comet count-down clockery, I decided to find something that would make me mad in a more positive way.  My mood always bolstered  by arrogant condescension when I stumble across something mock-worthy, I found a bizarre article about how the Red Cross was in Geneva, Switzerland discussing how video games may be in violation of the Geneva Convention, i.e. the act that proscribes war crimes.  As stated in the article, “While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL (international humanitarian law)“.

War crimes? Bitches love war crimes.

And I find all this wonderful.  Because when the Red Cross is busy discussing war crimes against pixels in computer games, only then can we know we’ve achieved world peace.  I mean, obviously if there were problems in countries like Syria or instability in North Korea they would be more concerned about protecting those populations instead of my video game character.  That character, by the way, seems to have been blessed with the gift of either immortality or irritating persistence, considering he resurrects himself over and over again throughout the duration of each game.  But all that aside, I’m not sure which war crimes they’re so concerned with, or how they anticipate we incorporate international conventions into video games.  I imagine it is the widespread use of hollow-point bullets, which were made illegal for military use in 1899, that has them so upset.  We could change the rounds to jacketed rounds and the game would look…well exactly the same.  I’m sure there are other examples that are more pressing.

Sherman's March to the Sea famously used scorched-earth tactics, as seen here in the detailed historical reenactment, "Farmville"

Well, maybe you checked the article and realized I jumped the gun a bit.  It is stated that the Red Cross doesn’t necessarily want games to comply with the Convention as much as they want the Convention mentioned, especially when it is being violated.  I honestly think it is a great idea.  Far too often I’m gearing up for a sick Sub-Zero fatality when I think, “This really does seem pretty illegal.  I just wish I had a reference point.”  As a side note, it is Articles of War, §6, II. 33-2-133 “If the Netherrealm has declared Mortal Kombat upon the Earth Realm, all signatory combatants must strictly comply with all proceeding articles not limited to those indicating allowed and proper methods of Kombat procedure.  This includes, but is not limited to, §17 and §18, but excluding those “fatalities” not listed under §12, i.e. Spine Rippage.”  Seriously though, does the Red Cross think that a War Crime Warning™ will somehow make the neck-bearded masses more conscious of the Convention rules, thus translating into a more “humane” war in the Sudan?  I’m not sure I understand the thought process behind this.  And I’m pretty used to confusing thought processes, considering I’m writing this article.

Animal Crossing took a dark turn on Thursdays

My sardonic and borderline-insensitive sarcasm aside, it seems this is actually a real issue in some ways.  What prompted the discussion in the first place was the use of violent video games to train soldiers.  If video games, used in that context, were to allow war crimes to be committed freely, it is theorized that conceivably the commanders and trainers could be charged with war crimes if one was to actually be committed in real life.  According to one article, “a soldier trained on a computer or by any other means to shoot wounded enemy combatants would probably not be the only one to be prosecuted as it is primarily the responsibility of his commander to train, educate and to give him lawful orders…in other words…military training that violates the Geneva Conventions is still a crime – even if that training is virtual.”  And this I understand.  Training should include what to do and what not to do, considering that’s pretty much the definition of training.  And I think everyone would agree that preventing war crimes is an admirable goal.  But to take a valid point and then implicate 600 million gamers (i.e. all of them) in the committee discussion description opens the Red Cross up to mockery.  And honestly, not a moment too soon, because I’m feeling better already.

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3 Comments to “War crimes and other light reading”

  1. Reaching for the NEAREST can of Mountain Dew and some Camel menthols and you’re blaming your aneurysm on Battlefield???

    Razor sharp wit today, dude. You put a smile on my face.

  2. neck-bearded masses

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