[US Army][SwAT] Gen.MstrChief messaged: dead in iraq shut the *** up!
[US Army] dead-in-iraq messages RICHARD ALLEN GOWARD, 32, ARMY APR 14 2003
Joseph DeLappe is logging into America’s Army under the name ‘dead-in-iraq’. He then types the names of US war dead in Iraq. He does nothing else. He gets killed. He logs in and starts again.
So far he is 250 names in with 2,397 (and counting) US war dead so far. He intends to continue till the war is over.
Have we moved past the legitimacy of using virtual spaces for art or political protest I wonder? While people may have very different views about this protest and different assumptions about its purpose does anyone think that using the medium of a video game is misplaced?
To me the juxtaposition seems perfect. America’s Army is after all a recruiting tool for, well, the US army. But I wonder what the effect of this protest will be in the US.
I’m a Brit and from my little exposure to US culture it seems that the US has a very different relationship with its war dead. From what I gleam pictures of coffins being returned home are censored from the news in the US, although returning the dead seems to of high symbolic value, certainly the US government invests a large amount of money in the effort – I am not criticizing this just point out the difference, I think that the traditional British take on war dead can be summed up in an extract of Robert Brooke’s War Sonnet V. The Soldier:
- If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England[...]
Having said this reading the names of the dead seems to be a ritual that is common to our two counties; indeed in October 2005 Maya Anne Evans was arrested and later found guilty under Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for reading out the names of the British war dead in front of the Cenotaph in London (the place where the nation traditionally honors the war dead). With Ms Evans was Milan Rai who read out names of dead Iraqi civilians.
But I wonder if US readers have a different understanding of intent - are the US war dead the invisible casualties of conflict with Iraqi dead being all to prominent on our screens? Why are other war dead seeming not mentioned?
So much of the US debate that we hear in the UK seems to be framed in terms of black and white patriot / enemy disjunctions – how would this intervention be framed or does that depend on your political leaning?
Having said /all/ of this maybe the fact of the situation of the working Amercia’s Army dictates a certain set of readings – which speaks to the symbolic power of virtual space I think or at the very least the ability that one has to communicate such power.
She was arrested in October after reading out names of soldiers killed in Iraq at central London's Cenotaph.
Thanks to GAMESNETWORK for the link.