Peace Matters Index

of medals and beacons

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- of medals and beacons
- remembering hiroshima
- welcome to warmongering wales
- the new military balance
- 1933 -2010 white poppies for peace
- jean giono
- feminism and war

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went on sale the day before Remembrance Day last year and was promptly criticized by Keith Vaz MP who was ‘absolutely shocked’ by it. ‘It contains such scenes of brutality that even the manufacturers have put warnings within the game’. In response fellow Labour MP Tom Watson set up the Gamers' Voice group to counter such criticism. The game went on to become the biggest selling video game in the UK.

Soon to launch this year is Medal of Honor, a game already breaking pre-sales records; it has got our very own Defence Secretary Liam Fox a bit excited. What with worrying about how to pay for replacement for Trident, these must be testing times (a piece of advice: scrap Trident). Liam Fox is of course ‘disgusted’.

The Press Association quotes Fox suggesting that the game should be subject to a retail ban: ‘It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban. At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.’

Let’s run that again: At the hands of the Taliban and the coalitions, including British troops, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It is incredible that any citizen of our country would wish to make British men and women cause such misery.
Electronic Arts’ spokesperson responded to the criticism saying that: ‘For one, Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers. British troops do not feature in the game.’ The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has distanced itself from Fox's remarks, describing his comments as a ‘personal view’. So that’s all right then

Unsurprisingly most people’s reaction that appeared in the media has been to ridicule Fox’s comments – he should not be wasting time with piffling, irrelevant comments when he has a more important job to do. Some of us might add that, coming from a man who is begging for extra money to upgrade city-destroying weapons, it is a bit rich.

Missed by ‘knee jerk’ commentators is the dissonance between his ‘job’ and his disgust at ‘Medal of Honor’. Missed too is society’s general acceptance that pretending to kill, rape and generally cause mayhem has no effect whatsoever on the world around us. If as a society we found such violent games abhorrent might we not also be less tolerant of the state sponsor, taxpayer-funded wars that Tony Blair, parliament, the armed forces and all their suppliers foisted on millions of people in several distant countries?

Jan Melichar

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