ACLU Criticizes Military Recruitment, including America’s Army Game

A report issued yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union criticizes US miltary recruitment practices, including the use of the popular America’s Army game franchise as a tool to attract potential recruits.


In Soldiers of Misfortune , The ACLU maintains that the US has:



…failed to uphold its commitments to safeguard the rights of youth under 18 from military recruitment and to guarantee basic protections to foreign former child soldiers… U.S. military recruiting practices… target children as young as 11…


The ACLU’s claims submitted to the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child. the group oversees compliance with a U.N. protocol which requires countries to shield those under 18 from military recruitment. The ACLU’s Jennifer Turner said:



Military recruitment tools aimed at youth under 18, including Pentagon-produced video games, military training corps, and databases of students’ personal information, have no place in America’s schools…


Of America’s Army, the ACLU report says:



The Army uses an online video game, called “America’s Army,” to attract young potential recruits at least as young as 13, train them to use weapons, and engage in virtual combat and other military missions… According to Army personnel testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the goal of the then-new recruiting effort that included the “America’s Army” video game was to penetrate youth culture.. the Army’s video-game development team found that about 60 percent of recruits had played… more than five times a week, and four out of 100 said they had joined the Army specifically because of the game.


The full ACLU report is available here.

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57 comments

  1. j0k3r says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle

    YES.

    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  3. Anonymous says:

    All lawyers are Jack Thompson, just like everyone in the military is Lynndie England?

  4. Stinking Kevin says:

    America‘s
    Army is rated “T” (not “M”).

    (And there you go again, telling people what they can and
    can’t say….)

  5. Stinking Kevin says:

    I am grateful that there are soldiers who protect our
    country for foreign attacks. I am also grateful that there are lawyers who
    protect our First Amendment rights from people like you.

  6. Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    America’s Army is a simulation.  It does teach about guns in the way you can learn a lot about cars from Forza but not so much Ridge Racer.  I do think the ACLU is incorrect in their interpretation of this UN rule, though.  It doesn’t seem to ban promoting the military to those under 18, only actually signing them up.

    The essential objection here is that they are trying to get people to get people to sign up for the military because it’s cool without really thinking about the implications.  If you saw the police trying to recruit kids in high schools, maybe they’d object to that as well.

    CAPTCHA sucks by the way, it took me multiple tries to get the characters right

  7. GryphonOsiris says:
    Anti-ACLU, not really. Anti-short sightedness maybe, a firm believer that “freedom isn’t free” without a doubt, and convinced that “A soldier, not a lawyer gave us our right for free-speech.” Not to mention that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
     
    Mind you, I’ve been bothered by things like supporting the rights of a Nazi group to parade through a neighborhood of holocaust survivors, as that IMHO falls under the clear and present danger clause on the first amendment. It’s also cruel and sadistic, and qualifies to me as being emotional and psychological torture to the victims of intolerable crimes against humanity. But that’s a tangent to best be avoided.
     
    The freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, it lets us voice our discontent about politicians, governments, and policies, however it also carries a heavy responsibility. That is why things like libel, ‘clear and present danger’, and slander are not covered by the first amendment.
     
    As you probably know, opinions are based on observations on past actions of an individual or group. So when I say that my opinion of how some people may/or may not view our servicemen is what it is, it was founded upon how they’ve treated them in the past, as well as how they are treating them now. After all, opinions are based on how someone perceives the data before them, and are based on objective perception. Making them neither right, nor wrong.
  8. GryphonOsiris ( User Karma: 0 ) says:
    Point to be made. Police officers have been known to kill people in self defense and to defend others, does that make them killers? Should one stop recruiting for police officers because we don’t want people to become ‘killers’ as you say.
     
    As many have pointed out, this is an “M” rated game, not “E” or “T”, so be design ‘children’ should not be playing it at all. And considering that the game is no where near as violent as, say, Halo, Crysis, Gears of War, or even the Call of Duty series it barely even meets the requirements for “M”. There are also no Muslim or Communists in the game, as you called them. There are OPFOR, as in Opposing Forces, who have covered faces, wear generic fatigues and speak a language akin to Simish. The only thing they have in common with the two groups you mentioned is that they use AK-47’s, but they again, there are over 3 million AK’s out there, at a street value of $65 – $125 each in most third world nations.
     
    Is it a crappy game? Probably, I did like the fact that in order to use certain equipment or talents you had to go through training and take some rather informative tests (the first aid one mirrored the one I took many years back). It’s not some multi-million dollar blockbuster designed to sell hardware, that’s for sure.
     
    And FYI, as a matter of courtesy and fair play I will enlighten you on this. Never call a soldier a killer or murderer to their face. It’s rude, cruel and is a good way to find out exactly what the limit of their patience is.
  9. GryphonOsiris ( User Karma: 0 ) says:
    Point to be made. Police officers have been known to kill people in self defense and to defend others, does that make them killers? Should one stop recruiting for police officers because we don’t want people to become ‘killers’ as you say.
     
    As many have pointed out, this is an “M” rated game, not “E” or “T”, so be design ‘children’ should not be playing it at all. And considering that the game is no where near as violent as, say, Halo, Crysis, Gears of War, or even the Call of Duty series it barely even meets the requirements for “M”. There are also no Muslim or Communists in the game, as you called them. There are OPFOR, as in Opposing Forces, who have covered faces, wear generic fatigues and speak a language akin to Simish. The only thing they have in common with the two groups you mentioned is that they use AK-47’s, but they again, there are over 3 million AK’s out there, at a street value of $65 – $125 each in most third world nations.
     
    Is it a crappy game? Probably, I did like the fact that in order to use certain equipment or talents you had to go through training and take some rather informative tests (the first aid one mirrored the one I took many years back). It’s not some multi-million dollar blockbuster designed to sell hardware, that’s for sure.
     
    And FYI, as a matter of courtesy and fair play I will enlighten you on this. Never call a soldier a killer or murderer to their face. It’s rude, cruel and is a good way to find out exactly what the limit of their patience is.
  10. Grunty Thirst 713 says:

    There is nothing wrong with the Army advertising the Army with a videogame.  An armed forces is essential for any modern nation to protect the country and the country’s interests elsewhere and it’s their job to attract recruits to carry out that purpose.  And the game is not targeting children.  It’s targeting people at ages 17 or older, people who are close to enlistment age.  Besides, anyone who has played this game and joined the Army had probably seriously considered joining long before even touching the game.  No one would be stupid enough to join the Army because of a game.

    “it really hurts to write this but.. Some things are just plain wrong, please think of the children. Wow, I really hate myself for writting that.”

    I really hate you for writing that too.

    “Bottom line: make games not propaganda. Let kids be kids, and soldiers be soldiers.”

    You seem to be forgeting that most gamers age anywhere from 18 to 45 years.  The game isn’t targeting kids.

     

  11. Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I have been
    an member of the ACLU for well over a decade now, and I am a little bothered by
    some of the posts here.
    IMO, “sorvin,” you’ve edged out contenders like “JimK,”
    “thefremen,” and “GryphonOsiris” for the most ignorant,
    backward, anti-ACLU comment on this board so far. (And considering the
    competition, that’s really saying something!)

    It may be
    different where you live, but where I am from, using “communist” as a
    general insult became passé back when we won the cold war. Like, 20 years ago. McCarthyism
    just isn’t as funny as it used to be to some of us, I guess.

    Much more
    importantly, the ACLU is about as diametrically opposed to the tenants of
    communism as possible. Communism is about serving the community’s wants and
    needs, even at the expense of the individual’s rights. The ACLU is about
    protecting the individual’s rights from the wants and needs of the community.
    If you are actually against communism, and not just using it as a blanket
    insult, you should love the ACLU.

    Yet I do encourage
    you (and all the other ACLU bashers here) to object to this report, and to the  ACLU in general, as strongly and as actively as
    your conscious demands, so long as you are honest and truthful. If you resort
    to ignorant, off-the-cuff insults, however, or insist on propagating your own
    misunderstandings of what the ACLU does and stands for, someone ought to call
    you out on it.

  12. Stinking Kevin says:

    It’s not
    about advertising to private citizens by a private company, it’s about recruiting underaged people by the state. You
    may see a difference between these two, or you may not, but if you are serious about
    wanting an explanation, please read the report.

  13. morelup says:

    To correct somone before, you can join the military before 18 (seeing as there were 17 year olds in my tech school)

    And i loved AA, for the simple fact that they A) made you do boring ass training to get to do anything other than basic grunt work and B) realistically showed how boring the training can be (have you ever done the medical training in the game? it’s actually educational)

    My only problem when i played AA, was that you had to use the iron sights to be able to shoot accuratly. Unlike most other FPS’s that the crosshairs are usually quite accurate, AA actually would show the correct way to use a weapon (not that, that means you’d be actually able to hit anything with a real one)

  14. Freyar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The ACLU might be misguided in some cases, but it sure as hell isn’t “Communist”. It helps a great deal in a few things that even we video game nerds care about too.

  15. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    I’m so glad that all you have to do to fire a gun is press the aim button, put the floating aiming reticle over the target, and press R1.  -GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

  16. Andy says:

    everyone knows America’s Army is supposed to be a recruiting tool…it just ended up being a really good game too. I’ve pumped in nearly 1,000 hours of the game and I have no intentions to join the army once I turn 18.

  17. illspirit says:

    Hmm.. Does this UN protocol really ban advertisement though? I’ve
    not read the thing yet, but from the ACLU’s own description, it sounds
    kinda like it only bans having 16 year olds sign a recruitment
    contract. Someone correct me if I’m wrong here.

    But, yea, if this
    so-called civil right really is meant to “protect” the children from
    pro-military speech and/or propaganda, does this mean we need to ban
    parades with military bands, history books, Air Force and Navy air
    shows, recruitment posters and TV spots, T-shirts, action figures,
    etc..? And even if it weren’t taken to that extreme, wouldn’t censoring
    minors’ acesss to the game still violate their Constitutional right to
    view it (plus the subsequent penumbral right to formulate their own
    ideas)?

    Either way, you couldn’t ask for a better demonstration
    of newspeak than the ACLU trying to squash an American civil liberty in
    favor of enforcing a UN edict..

  18. Christophe Janson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Don’t you think it’s wrong that tax money goes to creating a propaganda tool directed at children which aims at turning them into soldiers(killers). Yes killers, soldiers are killers as in they kill, you might say they do it for the greater good. I say whatever i still don’t want my kids running around gunning down muslims and communists in rl. I don’t want my child to be a killer. Don’t disregard me as the typical hippie, trust me i hate ethics and morals, it really hurts to write this but.. Some things are just plain wrong, please think of the children. Wow, I really hate myself for writting that.

    Good thing the game is so crappy that it will most likely fail at recruiting a single kid.

    Bottom line: make games not propaganda. Let kids be kids, and soldiers be soldiers.

  19. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    If these games are supposed to draw me into the military, they aren’t working. America’s Army is shit, and it sure as hell doesn’t make me wanna get shot at in real life.-PRIME

  20. GryphonOsiris ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve always wondered what these groups that cry foul about people recruiting for the military. It is, after all, a job that one willing chooses to take, just like a fireman, policeman, lawyer, burger flipper, janitor, ect. If they don’t want military recruiters to talk to high school and college students they they must also ban colleges and job recruiter from also attempting to recruit people on school grounds. Do they exclude the military because it’s a dangerous job? Perhaps, but isn’t also a fire fighter, police officer or a Paramedic a dangerous job? Maybe they should stop those groups from trying to recruit people as well. Maybe it’s because they think people who join are locked into a contract, but aren’t many actors, musicians, and government employees locked into contracts?

    Personally, I think that the ACLU thinks that American GI’s are a bunch of mouth breathing rednecks who were given the choice of either Army or Jail, or worse yet, think it is like the brutal conscription on the Russain military, and that anyone who goes it will either end up dead or a sadistic murderer.

    And this is why I think the ACLU can kiss my 4th generation military… family.

  21. jswanson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is why I find the ACLU so repulsive…they are more concerned with their own agenda than “liberty”

    In this case they’re basically saying people should have the “liberty” to not have the option to be exposed at all to a video game. Is that really a civil liberty?

    I know people think it’s different because it’s the military, but why doesn’t this apply to any other game as well? Shouldn’t my kids have the liberty to not have other kinds of violence advertised to them as well? If you take this logic to its full end, then no game developer would be allowed to advertise their violent products anywhere that a child might see it. This is not civil liberties, folks.

  22. xzero87 says:

    So basically, they’re claiming that people have no free will and therefore, the army isn’t allowed to advertise for recruitment. And honestly.. 4 out of 100 joining the military just because of a mediocre shooter? That sounds a bit high.

  23. shady8x ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I am a lot more concerned about the fact that kids which are
    caught Smoking weed are denied financial aid while being welcomed by the
    army… That seems like a far worse recruiting tool…

    As for computer games, they seem way down at the bottom of
    the list of evil recruiting practices…

  24. Grunty Thirst 713 says:

    I don’t see what’s the big deal here.  So the Army is using a videogame to attract recruits.  It’s their job.  Isn’t this game rated Mature?  Anyone who would be playing this game is probably at the enlistment age of 18 or older anyway.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see whats the problem with the Military using video games for recruitment purposes.  It can just as easily make someone NOT want to join the military, then it can make them want to.

    I mean, lets say your averaging a .5:1 kill death ratio, do you think it would be good to join the military if you sucked at the game?

    It can be just as much of a deterent as it can a motivator.

  26. Mervin Bunter says:

    I thought the ACLU was supposed to safeguard “civil liberties”. Is “Freedom from Advertisement” now a civil liberty? Seems like the ACLU is suggesting that if you don’t like what someone is saying, you have the “civil liberty” to be free from hearing it. Or is there a more reasonable explanation? Can someone please explain how the AA game suppresses anyone’s civil liberties?

  27. kaemmerite says:

    Wait, people under 18 have the right to be protected from military recruiters?

    Damn, if only I’d known that ten years ago.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh screw the ACLU. They are running to tattle on the Army to the UN? Children should know about the military and all of their options before they are 18. In a country where college or other specialized training can cost over 100k, high school children coming from bad families should know there is hope. Sure the hope is not as easy  as using your parents cash to join a frat, but it still is hope.

  29. Tye The Czar says:

    They’re stomping into a minefield, oy. And their statement about “4 out of 100” is going to ricochet back in their faces.

  30. thefremen says:

    In Loving v. Virginia and were able to help her stay married and outlaw those stupid anti-integration marriage laws?

    WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE ACLU?!
    They used to defend free speech but now they’re just apparently run by a bunch of liberal jackasses with an axe to grind. They need some serious reform.

  31. Rave42 says:

    It’s about time somebody said something about all these military games out on the market, I like the historical feeling of some of them, but not the Modern Warfare ones though. All they are saying is it is ok to join the military to die for your country. One of my friends is in the marines, so I respect the military and some of the stuff they do, but I don’t like their recruiting practices.

  32. Jay13x ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m all for the ACLU, but you can’t protect people from their own choices.  If people really join the army because of a video game, it’s their choice, for good or bad.  If you don’t do your research it’s your own fault for getting into something you didn’t want to.

  33. Artifex says:

    I could be wrong on this, but I could almost swear that you have to confirm click an agreement in the EULA that says that a user must be +18 to play.

    Regardless, I’m not sure AA could really be considered what the ACLU is claiming. Because no matter the age of any given AA game player, the actual recruitment age for the military is still minimum 18.

    More importantly, if AA is branded by the ACLU and the courts as being a violation of UN protocol, how are Posters, TV commercials, and Magazine adverts any different. And in those cases, isn’t AA a preferred tool, as it is entirely voluntary to visit the Army’s website and voluntarily download their game?

  34. JimK says:

    Just another reason I stopped financially and morally supporting the ACLU.  They’ve gone too far into anti America and as anti Americans.  They used to be about protecting the Bill of Rights – unless it’s that pesky Second, which they disavow.  Now it;s a blatant attempt to destroy any and all institutions in this country that don’t fit their political mold.

  35. underdeep says:

    The freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, it lets us voice our film izle discontent about politicians, governments, and policies, however it also carries a heavy responsibility. That is why things like libel, ‘clear and present danger’, sinema izle and slander are not covered by the first amendment.

  36. Christophe Janson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The point of the whole matter is not if it’s possible to train youth at shooting and killing, it’s that the game is clearly made for the purpose of turning kids into soldiers. Regardless of it’s success it’s still pretty sick that they are actually trying to prepare and recruite children for war.

  37. Ravenhawk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    AA exists primarily as a recruiting tool and always has. While I agree that as far as FPS games go, it’s a pretty poor one, it does allow the military to gather various types of contact information etc. for “potential recruits.”

  38. Artifex says:

    It’s as if the american military is dependant on voluntary enlistment through it’s own citizens, or something. It boggles the mind.

  39. Loudspeaker says:

    Someone has to join the military.  No one is putting a gun to anyone’s head and saying “You must join us now!”  I don’t know, maybe I don’t see a problem with any of this because I come from a military family.  The fact remains that the United States cannot remain a sovern nation without a military.  So, ironically, the ACLU wants the army to stop targeting those under the age of 18 even though those same people will be the ones who join the military and protect their ability to have the rights they cherish at all.

  40. Velvet_Llama says:

    I have to agree 100% with the ACLU on this one. As a gamer I have been very troubled that the entertainment medium and sometimes even art form I enjoy so much is being used as an underhanded recruiting tool by the military. I’ve felt that way ever since they started doing this. I think we have bigger problems to worry about than this, but it’s still troubling to me.

  41. TheEdge says:

    That’s exactly what I think all the time!These meatheads know nothing of games.Don’t they realize that the person you’re playing as are PROGRAMED to shoot like professionally trained soldiers?

    I’ve played tons of violent FPS’s,and I suck at shooting,gosh dammit.*

  42. Canary Wundaboy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You cannot ‘train someone to use weapons’ through a fecking videogame!!!
    Jesus Christ!
    Ive played pretty much every violent videogame under the sun, fired everything from a BFG9000 to a Gears Sniper Rifle to an M4 Carbine in COD4, hand me a real weapon and I wouldnt have a clue where to start.

  43. Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The report is about recruiting people younger than 18. I don’t
    think it is making a case that the game trains anyone how to effectively use a
    rifle or jump out of an airplane. I think its point is that the game shows under-aged
    players how actual army equipment is used in actual army activities, for the
    purpose of convincing them to actually join the army as soon as they turn 18.

  44. Belgarion89 says:

    I’m a reservist, and I gotta say I don’t know anyone who joined because of AA.  In fact, I don’t know anyone in the Army who even thought AA was a good game, much less had even heard of it.  Which makes sense, AA is easily one of the worst FPS’s ever made.

  45. Gray17 says:

    @GrimCW

    <blockquote>if they joined because of a vid game than that right there explains why theres so many whiners in the military these days.</blockquote>

    Personally I’m skeptical of that. I doubt the game would cause anyone to join that wasn’t already seriously considering it. I could easily see it serving as the final straw that made someone decided, but not the sole or main reason.

  46. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    if they joined because of a vid game than that right there explains why theres so many whiners in the military these days.

    When i was in we actually had a guy do nothing but complain and say he wanted out.

    he literally got by on a “Barely legal” basis for what he did until his 4 year contract was up…

    also explains the all to high level of PTSD…. sheltered kids who think life is a clean trip really need to be kicked around a bit more. (not to say most cases aren’t legit, but there is a guaranteed number that are bogus idgits whining just to get free benefits and out of the military)

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