As we honor our veterans, the military is using video games similar to Call of Duty and Medal of Honor to recruit new soldiers, many of them African-Americans from urban areas. Many critics say that these games glorify war and misrepresent the realities of combat.
The new Call of Duty game, which was released yesterday, uses a controversial figure, Col. Oliver North, as both a consultant and a character in the game. Part of the game is set in Nicaragua, where North earned his infamy as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.
For those unfamiliar with the scandal, Iran-Contra rocked the Reagan administration with accusations that North, the CIA and other elements of the government illegally sold weapons to Iran to illegally support the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
Gary Webb’s book The Dark Alliance alleged that North and the CIA also helped facilitate the Contras’ smuggling of cocaine to America, where it would find its way to African-American communities through dealers such as “Freeway” Ricky Ross.
Are video games misrepresenting the realities of war and changing history to turn people who were labeled as villains into heroes? Is it a disservice to our veterans to have games used as propaganda to recruit soldiers under false pretenses?