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The US Army Is Not Ready for War, Study Says
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The US Army Is Not Ready for War, Study Says

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WASHINGTON – October 3, 2018

A new shocking survey published by the RAND Corporation shows that the US army is almost not ready for military conflict, and most of the\ branches of the military have problems in the field of orientation, sleep, physical fitness and computer games.

"HRBS is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s flagship survey for understanding the health, health-related behaviors, and well-being of service members. Fielded periodically for more than 30 years, the HRBS asks questions about health-related issues that can affect force readiness or the ability to meet the demands of military life," a RAND Corporation statement said.

Roughly 17,000 service members participated in the survey. The study concerned the military in the  Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard between November 2015 and March 2016.

In particular, as the study showed, the main problems currently besetting the US military include recruits being overweight (65.7% of US military branches have such problems), promiscuity or possible sexual assault (19.4% have had more than one sex partner in the past year, about 2% raped women and they were charged). Among others problems.

6.1% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. Results indicate that LGBT personnel get routine medical care in percentages similar to non-LGBT personnel.

9.9% met criteria for PTSD. The prevalence of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder are higher in the HRBS population than in the general population, but demographic and other differences between these populations make it challenging to interpret these contrasts.

37.8 percent have chronic pain. Although in General, the prevalence of specific chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, high cholesterol, ulcers) among service members was relatively low compared with the general U.S. population. It is worth noting that only the problem of HIV infection remains at a high level, especially among women.

1.4% reported a suicide attempt during the previous year. It is worth considering all of the above factors. In connection with the other deviations are increasing cases of suicide.

8.6% take sleep medications almost daily. More than half of respondents reported using energy drinks in the past month, suggesting that the military may be at increased risk for misuse, which is associated with several adverse health outcomes. More than half of service members got less sleep than they need, and almost one-third were moderately or severely bothered by lack of energy due to poor sleep.

It is also worth noting that in the armed forces of the United States, drunkenness is still at a high level as in 2011.

Rates of illicit drug use were substantially lower among service members than among the general U.S. population, the poll showed. E-cigarette use is a growing problem.

Based on the HRBS results, experts have recommended increased scrutiny and continued monitoring of behaviors and outcomes related to mental health treatment and suicide.

Among the good news for the Defense department is the fact that by 2020 healthy and active military service members are expected to increase.

Although the main problem for the entire US army is not obesity or bad sleep but also the soldiers' reaction to computer games. As you know, many militaries having been in the war zone, and for them it is difficult to adapt in a more peaceful life, so they resort to additional sources of recovery, such as video games.

Many modern computer video games like the Rainbow Six series, Wildlands, Ghost Recon and The Division, as with most video games of their ilk, attempt to immerse the player in the adrenaline-filled drama of conflict and espionage. Much like his novels, the video games obsess over equipment and strive to provide a high level of authenticity, if not realism, to their audiences.

Experts say that war in games is portrayed so realistically within which the player wins the battle by properly applying the various gadgets available to kill the enemy in a clearly delineated combat space.

For many civilian players, these video games may be the deepest interaction they have with the military and current wars; at its peak, there were approximately 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, while on a single day this year tens of millions of Call of Duty players were engaged in virtual combat. But for those who experience war through video games, repeated engagement with mischaracterizations are likely to internalize the incorrect perceptions that are rarely challenged by society and other media representations of the military, an experience that can have adverse effects on our public discourse surrounding potential military actions

"All war fiction…reduces combat to something less than what it is in reality," said in 2010 video game critic Chris Suellentrop. "And it often happens that people are so absorbed in computer reality that forget what is happening around."

Video games may seem to shape the worldview of those who play them, but psychological studies show that people often rely on fiction, especially if it is presented as "realistic."

The same goes for movies that use special effects. A person watches a movie and then imagines in his head what could happen if everything would imitate it in real life. This is the difference from games where it is difficult for a person to go from one reality to another.

As for the US army, the polls show at least 87% of veterans play video games. At least 93% of active duty soldiers also play the games. Most often it is about games related to war and fighting. Here a soldier can imagine himself on the battlefield.

But as experts say, the main problem is that today many militaries use the game not only while at home but in Afghanistan and Syria. That is, in this way they confuse the concept of a real war with weapons in the hands of computer graphics, where soldiers can pump up their skills and tools and go on the attack. They know that victory will surely be in their hands. In life, everything is not so, say the experts.

Also, as is known, fantasy fiction often proves a convenient way to convey ideas about policy.

For example, White House officials dramatically overestimate the ability of the military to carry out missions without any planning. Given that most Americans are increasingly distancing themselves from the military and the national security field -- 71% of Americans agree the public has little to no understanding of the military -- it can easily to allow claims presented in fiction, both actual and form the way we interpret the world, especially through mediums, as immersive and visceral as a video game

Previous attention to how video games influence public perception has largely been focused on their use as recruiting tools that inculcate positive ideas about the military. However, one does not need to look to military-sponsored games to find stories of American protagonists that are hyper-competent, stoic, and daring. The depiction of the military as a uniquely competent organization comprised of superhumans, with a few notable exceptions, is consistent across video games.

So is the depiction of war as something won through progressive tactical victories that lead to the enemy’s capitulation and ultimately peace. Today’s video games rarely convey the idea that the enemy gets a vote in how a war will progress or when it will end, or that American wars today are irregular, featuring imperfectly demarcated enemies. Nuance rarely goes beyond portrayals of war as hyper-violent and bad, and there are few crises or situations that cannot simply be solved through the proper application of violence.

Granted, to be entertaining, a video game about modern war is not going to feature countless sit-downs with village elders, building civil governance or the “hurry up and wait” reality of military bureaucracy. Video game depictions of war have been likened to the porn version of a love story: overemphasizing action and lacking realism.

Moreover to appeal to a mass American market that lacks what longtime Atlantic correspondent James Fallows described as, “…the comfortable closeness with the military that would allow them to question its competence as they would any other institution’s,” video game companies have little incentive to release games with nuanced depictions that go outside the expected narratives of military service and service members. Video games are made the way they are for a reason.

While the civil-military divide exists for reasons far more complicated than the game mechanics of Call Of Duty, the current presentation of service members in video games conforms to the existing tropes of a patriotic action hero or broken victims suffering from PTSD. Along with movies and television, the portrayal of war in video games exacerbated the public’s misunderstandings and lack of familiarity with the military and presents an image of service that does not represent the broad range of experiences of military members.

In an era where the US seems to be weighing the possibility of military action in Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea, it is worth considering whether video games have contributed to a media landscape where citizens, often removed from the human impact of war, are weighing their support for such conflicts based on flawed assumptions about what military force can achieve and what the costs will be. Furthermore, what military does the public believe it is sending to fight these wars — the one constructed in familiar media narratives, or the real one comprised of real people who bleed and die?

Author: USA Really