Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has requested that Congressional leaders remove funding for the Defense Department’s Virtual Army Experience, according to a report on the raw story.
The VAE is a recruiting and public relations exhibit which the Army deploys at large public events around the United States. It has generated protests at a number of venues.
In a letter to the House Armed Service Committee, Kucinich writes:
I urge you to eliminate budget authority for the Virtual Army Experience (VAE) in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The VAE is a state-of-the-art, interactive recruiting tool used by the Army to give participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of Soldiering…
The VAE shields participants from the realities of killing while glorifying the taking of human life in a thinly veiled attempt to recruit new soldiers. Making matters worse, if a child wants to take part in the simulation, the Army collects his or her contact information, as well as an assessment of the child’s performance in the simulator.
The VAE travels around the country to family oriented venues such as amusement parks, air shows and county fairs. When the VAE came to the Cleveland Air Show in 2008, I raised concerns and objections with the Army. Allowing children as young as thirteen years of age to participate in a simulation endorsed by the United States Government that glorifies and sanitizes extreme violence is unacceptable.
Kucinich conducted an unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
GP: For clarity’s sake, Kucinich is targeting the traveling VAE, not the PC-based, freely-distributed America’s Army computer game.