Monday, November 15, 2004


Or Duke Nukem, take your choice.

I used to be a bit of a video gamer. Doom! was one of my early favorites after I graduated from BBS MUD's. But I like to think I was a (as much as men get, anyway) mature adult who could separate a video game from reality. I don't do video games anymore except for the occasional game of computer solitaire. It's a time thing.

Anyway, Doom! was the first thing I thought of when I heard this story a bit earlier this evening:

U.S. to Probe Shooting of Wounded Iraqi

A squad of Marines went into a mosque in Fallujah this past Saturday, and found five alleged "insurgents" (translation: they had brown skin and they were in Fallujah) who had been left there wounded the previous Friday. Apparently they weren't dead enough yet:

...[NBC pool reporter Kevin] Sites reported that a different Marine unit had come under fire from the mosque on Friday. Those Marines stormed the building, killing ten men and wounding five others, Sites said. The Marines said the fighters in the mosque had been armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 rifles.

The Marines had treated the wounded, he reported, left them behind and continued on Friday with their drive to retake the city from insurgents who have been battling U.S.-led occupation forces in Iraq (news - web sites) with increasing ferocity and violence in recent months.

On the video as the camera moved into the mosque during the Saturday incident, a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead.

The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner laying on the floor of the mosque but neither NBC nor CNN showed the bullet hitting the man. At that moment the video was blacked out but the report of the rifle could be heard.

The blacked out portion of the video tape, provided later to Associated Press Television News and other members of the network pool, showed the bullet striking the man in the upper body, possibly the head. His blood splatters on the wall behind him and his body goes limp.
Ok, so the description was graphic enough. And if you really want to see the video, here's a link (caution: Fox News Alert!) to find the video. It's in the upper right hand corner (at the time I wrote this entry, anyway).

I guess my point is that we shouldn't be surprised by stuff like this. Shocked, maybe, but not surprised. After all, our kids have been desensitized to this kind of carnage for years by the likes of Doom! and other video games. I'm not blaming this incident on video games - it might well have happened anyway - but a desensitized kid, in the heat of a real conflict and an M-16 in his hands becomes Duke Nukem. The blood and death mean nothing, because between growing up with a joystick in his hands and the killing machine that the Marines mold their recruits into, we've bred natural born killers.

Resentment in the Arab world will continue to grow, and there will be little sympathy from the world at large the next time someone drives an airplane into a building (or worse) somewhere on the shores of the U.S.

We're in a hell of a mess that's getting worse by the hour.