Friday, November 18, 2011

Seamlessly Integrating Endless Conflict - for Fun and Profit

I just friended my childhood sweet-heart on facebook. Drole le vie, je dit ca parce que je suis en train de making moves on my current gal at this very moment. In short it made me think of something to do with determining the critical path. But that isn’t what I want to tell you.

I friended the old neighborhood girl and then went to check out her story on facebook. Not much different than most, husband, kids, friends, family. Her son is in the army somehow and there was a post that he was away somewhere learning to fire a FGM-148 Javelin. It’s a shoulder fired missile. There was a video attached from you-tube which showed a field demonstration of the latest Raytheon/Lockheed Martin (Hughes/Martin Marietta) must have weapon. Wow.

Thinking back to my childhood and that sweet little girl up the street, I remembered that having fireworks gave you a standing on the block. The bigger they were the higher your standing. Fireworks were good for getting girls. But at the time fireworks were not so much illegal, as expensive. So after seeing that rocket fired I was curious how much that little FMG-148 Javelin missile was costing us. And really what was the son of my childhood crush doing so far from his home blowing up expensive vehicles of someone he doesn’t know.

Well the cost was, of course, enormous - $125,000 for the launcher and $40,000 per missile, plus the support and repair and blah blah blah. In any case since the first missile came online in 1996 there have been approximately 30,000 missiles produced and the total project cost has been $4,5 Billion dollars.

But that isn’t that shocking. Just like banks receiving billion dollar benefits, it's just how it is nowadays, and who are we to ask how or why. What I came across looking for the cost of this little military jewel (it does has rave reviews from its producers and end users) was, however, a bit more shocking, .

Smell this – it stinks.

I googled: FMG-148 Javelin cost. The second hit had a figure in it and I went there for more detail. It turned out to be the Call of Duty Wiki site.
Call of Duty (a series running since 2003) is the popular video war game all the kids play on the x-box and playstations etc. (it’s 2010 edition - Call of Duty/Black Op’s - held the record for the largest ever entertainment launch in history for any form of entertainment. Sales from the game worldwide reached US$650 million within five days after its release. That record was broken by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.). This video game site has all the detailed info for playing at full action. The players go to this site to learn how to use the weapons to ‘improve’ their game.

There it is - the FMG-148 Javelin – in the game it looks like and is called exactly the same as in the battlefield. The site shows how to use it and in what scenarios it is most efficient. The description of the weapon and it’s highly detailed use in ‘game’ situations is coldly similar to the description and field use laid out in the Raytheon/Lockheed Martin web site.

Suddenly I saw the young son of my old flame and hundreds like him responding to the growling sergeant assigning positions. “Sure I’ll do it, I already know how.”

It dawned on me as I read this how sick we have become. We have been buying our kids expensive games so they can sit in their rooms not only being totally desensitized to killing but actually training for war with real life weapons in actual combat scenarios. It's too complexly integrated for it to be an accident, and so the question is always begging – who is it profiting from this illness.

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