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Signs of the Times for Thu, 30 Mar 2006

Signs Editorial:

Rodrique Tremblay
The New American Empire
The U.S. is so often involved in armed conflicts, war is beginning to be seen as a sports event. For many Americans, starting with George W. Bush, the former owner of a baseball team, a war is a bit like a baseball or football game; the aim of this game is simply to be the strongest and to win. In doing so, the people are entertained and the media are occupied with subject matter to fill their pages and airtime. In the U.S., war is part of the entertainment industry.

An anology can also be drawn between bloody war and virtual video games. There is a plethora of warlike video games that children play on their computer, games where the good guys win over the bad guys by exacting justice themselves through violence. Do video games make war and violence easier and more acceptable? Hollywood also does its part in promoting and banalizing violence. In the 25 most popular films of all times, there are more than nine billion deaths! Are modern electronic wars just a transposition in real time of movies and electronic video war games?

The media also played a central role in the country's war psychosis before the onset of the 2003 war against Iraq. In December of 2002, for example, on the eve of the war, some neo-conservative media gave "pre-game shows". They openly discussed how American forces could or should use anti-personnel mines to secure certain Iraqi territories, or how the threat of using tactical nuclear arms could dissuade Iraq from using arms of mass destruction. They didn't seem to be preoccupied by the fact that the victims of land mines are overwhelmingly civilians and especially children. As for nuclear weapons, it is too easily forgotten that the U.S. remains to this day the only country that has used them to destroy civilian populations. Morality doesn't seem to count for some people when it comes to the game of war.

Extracted from the book The New American Empire by Rodrique Tremblay.

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