civilians

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Revolutionary new video game puts you in the shoes of a civilian in a war zone

There are thousands of war-themed video games, but how many of them place you in the mind of a civilian bearing the brunt of war?

A new war-based video game “This War of Mine,” goes beyond the generic narrative of soldiers protecting their country, as gamers deal with the stress of making life and death decisions to survive a war-torn city.

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Do you think more graphic war coverage would make more people oppose war—or just further desensitize us to real life violence?

It’s relatively well-known that the American media comparatively shies away from graphic images of war—even (or perhaps especially) in conflicts which involve our own military. A classic example of this is the contrast between Time covers at home and abroad:

Newsweek does this too:

I believe this [lack of] war coverage compounds Americans’ ignorance about foreign policy and international affairs, making it easier for us to go along with each new misadventure Washington proposes without serious protest.

But what immediately brings my headline question to mind is this incident: Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she is “done” with Game of Thrones primarily because of the scene depicting the brutal rape of Sansa Stark. Jonathon Norcross (prettayprettaygood) points out McCaskill’s hypocrisy:

Sen. Claire McCaskill has absolutely had it with Game of Thrones. She simply will not accept any gratuitous violence in a fantasy TV show. But she’s totally forgiving about gratuitous violence in real life, as demonstrated by her early endorsement of Hillary “I voted YES to authorize the use of forces against Iraq” Clinton. At least 138,861 civilians died during the Iraq War but obviously a gratuitous rape scene in a TV show is the real unforgivable offense.

I totally agree with Norcross here, but I also wonder if McCaskill’s double standard has a lot to do with the fact that she, like most of us, never has to really look at those civilian deaths. She has personally seen and heard and felt Sansa’s gut-wrenching rape, but those hundreds of thousands of dead civilians are just a statistic on a page. 

Or what about the birth defects rampant in Iraq since our invasion thanks to pollutants in American weaponry? The picture in the article I’ve just linked is pretty mild; a Google image search of the topic…well, click this link only with fair warning that these photos are the stuff of nightmares. It is not for the faint of heart—and it is wrought by our government, paid for by our tax dollars.

While McCaskill’s double standard is damnable, many of us see and hear and feel just as little of the horrors of war as she does. So:  Do you think more graphic war coverage would make more people oppose war—or just further desensitize us to real life violence?

Afghan men chant “U.S. special operations forces out!” as several hundred demonstrators march to the Afghan parliament building to protest against the continued presence of U.S. commandos in Afghanistan’s troubled Wardak province, on March 16, 2013. The demonstrators were demanding the release of nine local citizens they believe were detained by the U.S. forces.

Two Dutch girls use chalk to write slogans and messages for friends and relatives in other towns on a tank after the liberation of Breda by the Allied Polish 1st Armoured Division. Many civilians in occupied countries would write messages on the tanks of their liberators, knowing that these tanks would soon move on to the next town, hoping their friends or relatives would see the messages. On the tank you can see names, addresses and “Alles goed” (“All is good” in Dutch). Breda, North Brabant, the Netherlands. November 1944.

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Eleven-year-old Zardana, is helped with her sandals by her father Samiullah after an interview in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Monday, April 22, 2013. She recounted the night of March 11, 2012 when a U.S. soldier attacked their family home, shooting her in the head and killing 11 relatives. She suffered nerve damage on her left side and has to walk with a cane. Her hand is too weak to hold anything heavy. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Late last month, during a meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, a shoving match broke out among members of the public — some of them off-duty police officers.

The cause of the tension was a proposal to create a new civilian oversight authority for the police. Advocates of police reform like civilian oversight, but police officers say the boards are often politicized and unfair to them.

The concept of civilian police oversight isn’t new. In 1965, New York Mayor John Lindsay proposed including civilians on a review board as a way to address complaints from minority groups about police misconduct. But the move backfired; the police union and conservatives such as William F. Buckley rallied against civilian oversight, and voters later defeated the idea in a city-wide vote, returning the the board to police only. It took more than two decades for civilian oversight of police to be restored in New York.

The idea fared better in other cities. In Kansas City, Mo., the Office of Community Complaints was the brainchild of a personal injury lawyer named Sid Willens. He says his eyes were opened to the problem of police accountability in 1965, when he tried to get justice for a client who’d been badly beaten while handcuffed. Willens says the police department’s internal investigation simply confirmed the officer’s version of what happened. “It’s like having the fox guard the chicken house,” Willens says.

Police Are Learning To Accept Civilian Oversight, But Distrust Lingers

Photo caption: Late last month, a scuffle cut short a St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting where a committee was to discuss a proposed civilian review board for the city’s police force. Photo credit: Robert Cohen/Courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Civilian Gas Masks During World War 2 in Britain

Everyone in Britain was given a gas mask in a cardboard box, to protect them from gas bombs, which could be dropped during air raids. By September 1939 some 38 million gas masks had been given out, house to house, to families. Thankfully, they were never to be needed.

Gas had been used a great deal in the First World War and many soldiers had died or been injured in gas attacks. During World War II , there was a fear that it would be used against ordinary people at home in Britain. Citizens were advised to have their gas masks with them at all times. Air raid siren tests were frequent and citizens were required to practice wearing their gas masks.

[M]any Americans have no idea what is being done in their name. Most would be shocked to learn about the U.S. using drones for so-called double-taps in which a group on the ground is hit and the drone hovers while rescuers rush to the scene. The rescuers are then killed by a second wave of missiles. Apart from anything else, targeting those assisting the wounded is a war crime.
Civilian vs Military Relationships

This Scenario:

Military Girl: God I miss him…
Civilian Girl: Well you chose that life…

Is just as wrong as this scenario:

Civilian Girl: I miss him! I haven’t seen him in 2 days..
Military Girl: Pfftt Two days? Try 2 months.. or 6 months, 9 months.. a year. And then get back to me.


Stop being assholes to each other.
And realize you both miss your significant others, and that’s okay.