Home News Digital Invasion: ‘Simply Struggle’ and Orientalism in Name of Obligation: Fashionable Warfare

Digital Invasion: ‘Simply Struggle’ and Orientalism in Name of Obligation: Fashionable Warfare


Earlier than I used to be 18-years-old, I had minimize brief – nearly – hundreds of lives. Feared all through a pixelated world of battle, ‘terrorists’ quaked at my seeming invincibility and not possible kill rely. What would the UK and United States militaries do with out me? Within the digital realm of war-based videogames, that is an expertise shared amongst tens of millions. As the preferred style of videogame all through the ‘Western’ world, navy themed first-person shooters (FPS) are set in worlds of pixelated warfare, seen via the eyes of an avatar that essentially brandishes a weapon (Gough, 2019). Beloved on this class of computer-generated violence is the Name of Obligation collection.

Described by one Iraq battle veteran as providing the “final first-person shooter experiences” attributable to their “violent”, “chaotic” but “stunning” portrayal of actual life fight (Witchalls, 2017), Name of Obligation titles have been persistently praised for his or her immersive gameplay, however criticised for his or her controversial political content material (Stuart, 2019). Grounded in a distorted post-Chilly Struggle setting, the constructed political surroundings in Name of Obligation is considerably acquainted. However, wildly exaggerated violence, a binary of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, a reliance on racial stereotypes and a gross Euro-American bias to depictions of worldwide relations, has condemned the collection to a caricature of ‘Western’ propaganda in crucial evaluations. Even the restricted educational scholarship on the implications of economic war-based FPSs to worldwide politics has highlighted Name of Obligation as a collection too implausible to be thought of related to evaluation (Gagnon, 2010). Making an attempt to shed this repute, Name of Obligation has adopted a extra delicate method in its newest launch, Name of Obligation: Fashionable Warfare. Swapping slaughter for stealth and relinquishing the bipartite portrayal of battle for a barely extra nuanced narrative, Fashionable Warfare has been promoted as a truthful depiction of latest counter-insurgency. Nevertheless, by counting on Orientalist caricatures, tendentious perceptions of violence and an overarching narrative of ‘Western’ righteousness, Fashionable Warfare is an insidious extension of earlier Name of Obligation titles.

Within the following article I’ll apply Edward Stated’s traditional Orientalism to ‘Simply Struggle’ worldwide relations principle for instance the development of a binary between the ‘Western’ sphere and ‘Islamic civilisation’; central to the legitimisation of United States and United Kingdom-led counter-insurgency within the ‘Center East’. In doing this, I’ll draw parallels between narratives in Fashionable Warfare and mainstream media and political discourses concerning the ‘altruism’ of navy intervention within the area. I’m conscious that through the use of the phrases ‘West’ and ‘Center East’ I’m reifying and homogenizing each socio-geographical constructs (al-Azm, 1980). Howbeit, the operation of Fashionable Warfare and wider commentaries inside this dichotomous framework requires referencing the 2 entities on this method in an effort to degree an in accordance critique. I will even tie Fashionable Warfare to the military-entertainment advanced, making this text one of many first to ahead the sport as a piece of consumable leisure that advantages the armies of the UK and US via its reliance on Orientalist stereotypes and ‘Simply Struggle’ predilections. Following this, I’ll study the position of war-games, of which Fashionable Warfare is part, within the justification and proliferation of drone fight within the ‘Center East’. Lastly, by highlighting pro-‘Western’ perversions of historic and up to date navy occasions in Fashionable Warfare, I’ll exhibit the impression of the sport in manipulating previous and current accounts of navy intervention within the area.

Fashionable Warfare

Marketed as probably the most ‘sensible’ of the Name of Obligation collection, Fashionable Warfare was launched in October 2019. Set within the fictional ‘Center Japanese’ state of Urzikstan, the Fashionable Warfare marketing campaign depicts the endeavors of a Central Intelligence Company (CIA) officer, British Particular Air Service forces (SAS) and native rebels, the Urzikstan Liberation Power (ULF), of their battle to ‘free’ the state of the conquering Russian navy. Led by the brutal Normal Roman Barkov, and aided by the ‘Islamic terrorist organisation’ Al-Qatala, the Russians invaded Urzikstan in 1999, ostensibly searching for to convey peace and stability to the area. Nevertheless, by growing and deploying a deadly chemical gasoline to pacify and bloodbath native civilians, in addition to forcing Urzikstani’s into slave labour, Normal Barkov provoked a global battle, fuelled by the intervention of ‘Western’-aligned powers, particularly america and United Kingdom, additional destabilising the state. Twenty years later, when Fashionable Warfare is about, battle continues to rage. It’s the mission of the video games protagonists, from the CIA, SAS and ULF, to terminate the Barkov regime and quash the affect of Al-Qatala, thus establishing an period of liberal-democratic outlined ‘freedom’ for the ‘Center Japanese’ state.

Fashionable Warfare was met with nice crucial acclaim within the gaming world. It was rated 4.5/5 by PCMAG and was typically praised for trying to maneuver away from the overblown violence and wildly unrealistic depiction of battle that had come to characterise earlier titles within the collection. The crucial success of Fashionable Warfare was accompanied by monetary reward. Throughout the first 3 days of its launch Fashionable Warfare generated over $600 million in gross sales and surpassed the $1 billion mark in beneath 2 months (Strickland, 2019). To place this in to perspective, the very best grossing battle movie ever made, American Sniper, has generated simply $547 million in field workplace and streaming gross sales up till 2020 (Rico, 2020). This implies battle video games as an leisure medium are way more worthwhile than battle movies. The attain of Fashionable Warfare has additionally been huge. Aided by constantly updating on-line recreation varieties, such because the vastly common ‘Struggle Zone’, Fashionable Warfare has grow to be probably the most performed recreation of this console era. As of Might 2020, over 47.5 million players have performed Fashionable Warfare on the Ps 4 alone. Of those 42% are from North America, 35% from Western and Northern Europe and solely 3% from the ‘Center East’ (Gamestat, 2020), indicating Fashionable Warfare is certainly a recreation made for, and performed by, a ‘Western’ viewers.

Defining the military-entertainment advanced, Orientalism and ‘Simply Struggle’

The crucial, industrial and sweeping success of Fashionable Warfare intimately entwines the sport with the military-entertainment advanced. Outlined by Sebastian Kaempf because the stretching of the sector of battle additional than bodily battlefields, the military-entertainment advanced includes the lively collusion of the navy with producers of tradition for mutual profit (Kaempf, 2019). Initially cooperation between america and United Kingdom’s militaries was confined to battle films, literature, documentaries and tv collection. But the twenty first century’s monetary and cultural capital out there in an ever-expanding gaming market, has inspired the Pentagon, and different ‘Western’ states safety apparatuses, to more and more spend money on navy centered FPSs growing titles resembling America’s Military (Kaempf, 2019). Fashionable Warfare, however, isn’t straight developed by the US and UK’s militaries. But each armies nonetheless acquire economically from its manufacturing. Of their pursuit of ‘realism’, Activision, the builders of Fashionable Warfare, should pay the US and UK militaries a big license price for utilizing official weaponry and gear within the recreation (Parkin, 2019), establishing a further income for the armies, in addition to premium promoting for ‘Western’ produced gadgetry.
This deal with ‘genuineness’ in Fashionable Warfare produces different ties with the US and UK militaries. As was broadly publicized earlier than the discharge of the sport, Activision consulted retired Navy SEALs within the manufacturing course of and even reproduced the SEALs actions via movement seize recording. This additional elevated the “authenticity”, and thus legitimacy, of Fashionable Warfare within the eyes of potential shoppers (Hume, 2019). Members of the Fashionable Warfare recreation growth group are additionally recognized to have intimate hyperlinks with the worldwide safety coverage of america. For instance, in 2014 Dave Anthony – a author and video games designer for Name of Obligation – was recruited by Steve Grundman, a former Pentagon official, to the Atlantic Council, a global affairs assume tank based mostly in Washington DC. His position is to ahead and consider non-traditional safety situations which might be potential threats to the soundness of america. His assessments are then forwarded on to senior officers inside the US navy (Piesing, 2015). Clearly the hyperlinks between the producers of Fashionable Warfare and the US and UK militaries run deep, offering a mutually helpful relationship. The sport receives authentication via the inclusion of branded weaponry and official ways, whereas the militaries acquire income, within the sphere of coverage design and seminally via the socialization of battle, which would be the foremost focus of this essay.

Maybe probably the most helpful ingredient of this relationship to america and United Kingdoms’ armed forces is the legitimization of ‘Western’ navy intervention within the ‘Center East’ in Fashionable Warfare. As beforehand famous, Fashionable Warfare is an extremely prolific FPS with a majority of its players residing in North America and Europe. By taking part in a recreation that lauds the need of ‘Western’ international intervention within the ‘Center East’, contributors within the marketing campaign of the sport internalise discourses and misrepresentations of warfare that assist the presence of the US and UK militaries within the area. Driving the endorsement of ‘Western’ navy presence within the ‘Center East’ in Fashionable Warfare are Orientalist depictions of the area. That is depending on a polarized imagining of the ‘West’ and the ‘East’ wherein ‘Western’ states embark on a ‘Simply Struggle’ in opposition to ‘Islamic terror’, aligning with wider pro-‘Western’ portrayals of warfare within the area current in each media and political narratives.

Orientalism, as described by Edward Stated, is a “’Western’ fashion for dominating, restructuring and having authority over the ‘Orient’” (1978:3). Quite than current as an actual geographical area, the ‘Orient’, just like the ‘Center East’ and the ‘West’, is “an concept that has a historical past and custom of thought, imagery and vocabulary which have given it actuality and presence in and for the ‘West’” (1978:5). A colonial continuation, Orientalism produces and reproduces imperial logics and motion in all tiers of ‘Western’ society, together with mainstream educational scholarship, political and media discourses and past, legitimising domineering state practices in a area the place the geographical boundaries shift with ‘Western’ choice. Imagined because the antithesis to the cheap and righteous ‘West’, the ‘Orient’, or the ‘Center East’, and its inhabitants are homogenised and depicted as ‘Islamic’, irrational, backward and inherently violent. Such a dichotomy authorises the presence of ‘Western’ militaries within the ‘Center East’ to ship ‘freedom’, ‘stability’ and ‘democracy’, albeit of a ‘Western’ liberal-democratic sort, to a area that will in any other case fall in to tyranny (1978). Fashionable Warfare presents a contemporary manifestation of this Orientalist rationale.

Since 9/11, and the next US and UK-led ‘Struggle on Terror’, Orientalist discourses and ensuing state motion within the ‘Center East’ has more and more relied on the linking of a homogenised ‘Islam’ with ‘terrorism’. Islamic ideas, resembling martyrdom, jihad, and the unification of faith with politics, have been misconstrued and manipulated in ‘Western’ scholarship and by political elites to assemble and current an “Islamic tradition of demise” (Asad, 2007). Clichéd Orientalist tropes of premodernity, irrationality and an innate tendency in the direction of violence have been utilized to Islam and the ‘Center East’, the imagined coronary heart of the faith, to justify ‘Western’ imperial motion within the area (Asad, 2010:3). US and UK-led counter-insurgencies that fall outdoors the parameters of worldwide regulation have been excused and introduced as each important and ethical in quelling the ‘risk’ of ‘Islamic terrorism’. Rooted in medieval Christian principle, the ‘Simply Struggle’ paradigm, wherein the ‘Struggle on Terror’ is framed, exonerates ‘Western’ worldwide and extrajudicial violence within the ‘Center East’ via a lens of necessity and virtuosity (Asad, 2010). Margaret Denike has expanded on the above by claiming the ‘Simply’ ‘Struggle on Terror’, and the accompanying invasion of states within the ‘Center East’, has been validated by the supposed provision of ‘Western’-defined worldwide human rights. Human rights abuses within the ‘Center East’ are “invoked as an moral justification, or ‘simply trigger’ for states to resort to navy pressure in opposition to people who threaten them” (Denike, 2008:96). Nevertheless, by invading states within the ‘Center East’ within the identify of human rights provision, ‘Western’ states typically undermine their purported goal by violating the rights they search to instil (Denike, 2008). Once more, Fashionable Warfare is saturated with rights-based vindications for UK and US navy intervention within the ‘Center East’.

The subsequent part will study the usage of Orientalist constructions and pro-‘Western’ discourses in Fashionable Warfare. It will likely be asserted that this discourse frames US and UK-led counter-insurgencies within the ‘Center East’ as ‘Simply’. Consequentially, the narrative inside the recreation feeds the military-entertainment advanced, whereby Fashionable Warfare is an instrument of propaganda that validates the presence of the UK and US armed forces within the ‘Center East’.

Orientalist dichotomies in Fashionable Warfare

Developing digital area in Fashionable Warfare

Essential to the vilification of the ‘Center East’ in Fashionable Warfare is the development of digital area inside the recreation. Beginning with the manufacturing of territorial nation-states, Fashionable Warfare depends on Orientalist dichotomies that solidify distorted conceptions of cultural, social and political content material within the ‘West’ and ‘Center East’.

Opposite to the inclusion of ‘Western’ states and their militaries as entities that mirror, albeit favourably, nations that exist in actuality, Fashionable Warfare manufactures an imagined ‘Center Japanese’ state within the type of Urzikstan. Conforming to an more and more prevalent pattern in ‘Western’ leisure media, whereby states within the ‘Center East’ are excluded from content material to “get rid of the potential for offensiveness” (Alsultany, 2012:26), the fictionalisation of Urzikstan was justified by Jacob Minkoff, the one participant design director of Fashionable Warfare, to keep away from getting “wrapped up within the politics of any particular actual world nation” (Corridor, 2019). The choice to exclude ‘Center Japanese’ states while together with ‘Western’ states within the recreation is inherently political. Proudly parading the flags of america and the UK in a quest for digital ‘freedom’, Fashionable Warfare naturalises the existence of the UK and US. Such naturalisation is juxtaposed in opposition to the development of an imagined ‘Islamic’ ‘terrorist’ state. The fictionalisation of Urzikstan undermines realities of battle and struggling for the precise inhabitants of the focused area.

A dry, arid and wilting wasteland, the geographical development of Urzikstan epitomises a ‘Western’ custom of representing the ‘Center East’ as a timeless cultural vacuum. In accordance with James Morris Blaut, such Orientalist depictions of a abandoned ‘Center East’ have been distinguished because the 18th century and serve to assemble the area as inherently despotic. By portraying the ‘Center East’ as a geographical void, an accompanying political and cultural timelessness is assumed. Blaut contends that this has allowed Orientalist students and ‘Western’ political elites to hyperlink the stagnant area to that of the Orient within the Previous Testomony. The area is presumed to not have ‘developed’ in millennia and energy relations are thought of everlasting. ‘Western’ powers, previous and current, have rationalised their imperial enlargement within the area, promising ‘freedom’ and a change of autocratic energy relations, but embody this type of tyranny via their invasion (Blaut, 1993)(Stated, 1978).

Depictions of city life in Urzikstan additional reinforce Orientalist tropes concerning place via the medium of digital area. According to representations of ‘Center Japanese’ cities in wider ‘Western’ media, the conurbations of Urzikstan are bombed-out shells, devoid of life apart from ‘Islamic terrorist’ exercise and battle. Sparse, formless and desolate, the cities of Urzikstan act as searching grounds for gamers to bloodbath lots of of Al-Qatala fighters with nearly no regard for his or her wider environment. Much like the US and UK-led assault on Fallujah in Iraq between 2003-2004, wherein town was introduced as a “terrorist nest” that relied on an historic “impenetrability and structurelessness” for its defence, gamers in Fashionable Warfare are inspired to “shoot something that strikes and something that doesn’t transfer” of their assault on Urzikstani cities (Graham, 2005:5). With no regard for worldwide regulation, as is frequent in ‘Western’-led counter-insurgencies within the ‘Center East’, the protagonists of Fashionable Warfare use their “technologised mastery” to convey a “reliable” and “rational” type of ‘civilisation’ to the city areas of Urzikstan (Graham, 2005:5). By the way, the one scenes of bizarre civilian life inside Urzikstan happen within the US embassy, which falls sufferer to an assault by Al-Qatala. Introduced as an area of paperwork and organisation, the embassy embodies the imagined ‘rationality’ of the ‘West’, as conceptualised by Stated (1978), while the assault emphasises the violence and ‘irrationality’ of ‘Islamic terror’. Concurrently, by solely together with moments of civilian life in a site of the US, gamers of Fashionable Warfare are prevented from recognising humanity that falls outdoors the boundaries of ‘Western’ nation-states.

Essential for the Orientalisation of ‘Center Japanese’ area in Fashionable Warfare is the oppositional illustration of ‘Western’ geography. While Urzikstan is constructed as a dehumanised zone of ‘terrorist’ violence, ‘Western’ cities within the recreation are true to life representations. Within the second mission of the marketing campaign, Al-Qatala ‘terrorists’ set off bombs and gun down civilians within the coronary heart of London. Purple put up bins, telephone bins, tube stations and the blazing indicators of Piccadilly Circus point out the motion is going down in England’s capital. These markers of place concretise the ‘risk’ of ‘terrorism’ to the ‘West’ by demonstrating a digital however conceivable scenario whereby ‘Islamic terrorists’ assault a recognisable location. Heroic civilians and valiant policemen support gamers in keeping off the ‘terrorists’, humanising the ‘West’ and giving company, denied to these within the ‘Center East’, to its residents. Sergeant Crowley, a member of the Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms unit, directs the participant all through the mission and remarks upon its conclusion, “fucking hell, look what they did to our dwelling”. At no level in Urzikstan are the implications of the ‘Struggle on Terror’ for the civilian inhabitants remarked upon, normalising violence within the ‘Center East’, while developing “our dwelling”, or ‘the West’, as a secure haven the place violence is phenomenal. Moreover, by selecting London, and particularly central London, a ‘multicultural’ homeland of capitalist and liberal-democratic ideology, as the situation for the assault, Fashionable Warfare actively juxtaposes the ‘irrational’ violence of the homogenised ‘Islamic terrorist’ with the imagined epitomisation of ‘civilized’ ‘Western’ society.

Racialised and gendered stereotypes in Fashionable Warfare

Reflecting their related geographies, the combatants of the ‘Center East’ embody a monolithic and distorted illustration of Islam, while the UK and US militaries are digital incarnations of a glorified multi-ethnic and gender-equal liberal perfect.

In a classically Orientalist method, the Al-Qatala militants are constructed as uniquely Arab and Muslim. Reflecting a pattern in ‘Western’ media and common tradition, emphasised since 9/11, of representing “all Muslims as Arab and all Arabs as terrorists” (Merskin, 2004), Fashionable Warfare condemns inhabitants of the ‘Center East’ to an affiliation with violence. Bypassing the particular sectarian affiliations and ethnic heterogeneity of actual ‘Islamic terror’ organisations resembling Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Islamic State, Fashionable Warfare manufactures a monolithic and racialised ‘Islam’ because the worldwide ‘enemy’, legitimising ‘Western’ violence in opposition to non-combatants within the area.

Gendered Orientalist tropes in Fashionable Warfare additional reinforce a notion of the ‘Islamic Center East’ as a violent and patriarchal entity, justifying UK and US navy intervention within the area. When featured within the recreation, the wives of Al-Qatala members are held in captivity by their militant husbands and plead for a cessation to the violence surrounding them. Throughout a SAS raid on an Al-Qatala ‘entice home’ in Camden, one lady cries, “don’t shoot they had been going to kill me” – in reference to her male captors – while one other protects herself by presenting her child. By using stereotypes of female passivity, fragility and motherhood, Fashionable Warfare entrenches Orientalist conceptions of Muslim girls as “veiled, oppressed and in want of rescue” (Alsultany, 2012:71) and their male counterparts as inherently patriarchal, violent and controlling.

In actuality, this gendered stereotype of Muslim girls, and Islam as a complete, has countenanced UK and US navy intervention within the ‘Center East’. Lila Abu-Lughod contends the imposition of ‘common human rights’ have been championed by the liberal-democratic ‘West’ to justify “ethical crusades”, or ‘Simply Struggle’, within the ‘Islamic world’. In a quest to “save brown girls” from the assumed violence of “brown males”, the ‘West’ has utilised notions of ‘gender equality’ to invade varied states within the ‘Center East’ (Spivak, 1988; Abu-Lughod, 2013). For example, by linking the “struggle in opposition to terrorism” to a “struggle for the dignity and rights for girls”, former first woman Laura Bush forwarded a gender-based precedent for the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 (Berry, 2003:137). Nevertheless, regardless of being the longest battle in US historical past, with over $2 trillion spent on the invasion and a minimum of 157,000 deaths, 43,000 of which have been civilians, Afghanistan continues to be ranked by Amnesty Worldwide because the worst place on the earth to be a girl (Amnesty Worldwide, 2020; Crawford, 2020). Clearly the rights-based, ‘Simply Struggle’ rationale for intervention in Afghanistan is an instance of Denike’s critique of the UK and US militaries, whereby invasion is legitimised via a rhetoric of ‘common freedoms’ but in actuality undermines and violates these ‘rights’ (Denike, 2008).

Opposite to the monolithic, racialised and gendered presentation of ‘Islamic terror’ organisations, is the multi-ethnic and gender equal portrayal of the UK and US militaries in Fashionable Warfare. Kyle Garrick, the primary protagonist of the sport, is a black Londoner serving within the SAS. Non-white characters within the CIA embrace a number of African-Individuals, Dominique Tam and Daniel Shinoda, each of ‘East-Asian’ heritage and Alexia Valenzuela, of Mexican heritage. Actually, over half of the ‘Western’ troopers in Fashionable Warfare are non-white, presenting a glorified liberal perfect of ethnic variety and equality within the UK and US militaries. Nevertheless, there aren’t any characters within the CIA or SAS from a ‘Center Japanese’ background in Fashionable Warfare, imposing a subliminal racial othering. These exemptions of the ‘Center Japanese’ topic from the imagining of nationwide identification ostracises residents of the area and enhances conceptions of an ‘Islamic enemy’.

Ladies are additionally given a major position within the ‘Western’ militaries of Fashionable Warfare. Kate Laswell, a Station Chief of the CIA, is likely one of the video games most perspicacious characters, providing clever perception to assist finishing every mission, while Charlotte Johnstone, a Scottish member of the SAS, is a valiant fighter with a formidable success charge in her missions. Simply two of the a number of feminine characters in Fashionable Warfare, these girls break gendered stereotypes of femininity that shackle ‘Center Japanese’ girls within the recreation. The prominence of those feminine characters in Fashionable Warfare has come in-line with a latest recruitment drive for girls in each the CIA and SAS, furthering the case that the navy and the leisure business harbour symbiotic connections. Since 2018, the SAS has actively tried to recruit girls to match obligations beneath the Public Sector Equality Obligation, while the CIA had its prime 3 directorates stuffed by girls in 2019 (Martin, 2020)(Newburger, 2019). Although gender equality is admirable, the push for feminine illustration within the UK and US militaries ought to be seen as a part of the “self-declared emancipatory feminist mission” (Khalili, 2011:21), whereby ‘Western’ armed forces actively place themselves in opposition to their patriarchal ‘Islamic’ enemies. Once more, it’s price emphasising {that a} rights-based discourse has been used to legitimise counter-insurgency within the ‘Center East’.

Orientalist depictions of violence in Fashionable Warfare

Contrasting objectives, language, ways, capability and modes of violence between Al-Qatala militants and ‘Western’-aligned combatants in Fashionable Warfare additional entrenches a ‘Conflict of Civilisations’ (Huntington, 1993) understanding within the ‘Western’ imaginary. While ‘Islamic terrorism’ is depicted as inherently irrational, brutal and evil, the violence of the US and UK militaries is put ahead as vital and ‘Simply’.

A digital manifestation of the ‘new terrorism’ thesis, frequent in mainstream ‘Western’ political and media discourse, the Al-Qatala fighters of Fashionable Warfare are motivated by “hatred, fanaticism and extremism relatively than political ideology” (Jackson, 2007:408). As with the development of the goals of Al-Qaeda and different militant ‘Islamic’ organisations working within the ‘Center East’, the antagonists of Al-Qatala make use of a “murderous and irrational” violence to “rectify humiliation” introduced on by the ‘West’, with “no risk of negotiation, compromise or appeasement” (Jackson, 2007:409). Throughout a raid on his underground bunker the aptly named, shadowy chief of Al-Qatala, ‘the Wolf’, declares, “to wage battle with out sympathy, that’s the solely technique to grow to be a real soldier” and “to shed blood in revenge is at all times a victory”. By no means are the advanced theological, social, financial and political doctrines that drive ‘Islamic terror’ organisations mentioned in Fashionable Warfare. Even the identify of the group, which roughly interprets to ‘The Slayers’, condenses all goals in to an overarching goal of irrational violence.

In distinction to the slim and villainous objectives of Al-Qatala, is the ‘Simply’ rationale of the UK and US militaries for battle. Siding with the ULF, labelled ‘freedom fighters’ relatively than ‘terrorists’, ‘Western’-aligned troopers in Fashionable Warfare search solely to ‘liberate’ Urzikstan from the risk posed by Russian forces and Al-Qatala. No wider geopolitical motivations for intervention are raised, suggesting ‘Western’ navy presence within the ‘Center East’ is an inherently altruistic enterprise that can unquestionably convey advantages to the occupied territory and its inhabitants, relatively than for positive factors in international energy and the management of sources (Khalili, 2011)(Hinnebusch, 2007).

Language additionally serves a dichotomous function in Fashionable Warfare. Al-Qatala militants persistently use spiritual, violent and casual speech throughout fight, imparting a notion of disorganisation and irrationality. Invoking Allah while spraying bullets from an AK-47, the ‘terrorists’ tie a particularly ‘Islamic’ religiosity to their violence and appear pushed by irrationality – religion, emotion and evil – relatively than sensibility. Once more, reinforcing Orientalist conceptions of ‘Islamic terrorists’ and ‘Center Japanese’ folks.

In opposition to the unreasoned speech of Al-Qatala fighters is the rational – formalised, technical, indifferent – language of the US and UK militaries. Enemies are ‘tangos’, while an space rid of ‘hostiles’ is ‘safe’, separating the participant from the carnage of battle and lack of life via the medium of impersonal and unemotional navy lingo. Constant use of the phonetic alphabet additional reinforces the organisational capability of ‘Western’ militaries. By coordinating their actions via a practiced tongue of effectivity, the protagonists of Fashionable Warfare lend an air of construction, and thus respectability, to their violence. Furthermore, the inflexible language of the US and UK militaries serves as a metaphor for the purported construction an imposed liberal-democracy will convey to the lives of civilians within the ‘Center East’.

Related to the disjunction of language between Al-Qatala fighters and the UK and US militaries is their contrasting ways in Fashionable Warfare. Quite than the advanced guerrilla operational warfare employed by militant ‘Islamic’ organisations within the ‘Center East’ (Bunker, 2007), Al-Qatala fighters make use of strategies not possible in the actual world of fight. For example the Al-Qaeda tactic of ‘swarming’, whereby “5 or extra autonomous items” converge on a goal after which “scatter for defensive functions” (Bunker, 2007:325), has been manipulated to painting the Al-Qatala fighters as inept and irrational. Within the recreation, as an alternative of retreating to guard their lives, the militants stand their floor, decided of their quest to die for the trigger. Activision have misrepresented martyrdom, connecting irrationality and incompetence with a will to sacrifice life within the identify of God. Furthermore, the ineptitude of the Al-Qatala fighters lends an inevitability to every mission, whereby ‘terrorism’ can solely be defeated when confronted by ‘Western’ dominance.

The UK and US navy technique is introduced as superior in Fashionable Warfare. ‘Western’ troopers not often die within the recreation, whereas one participant can bloodbath actually lots of of Al-Qatala members. Moreover, as beforehand talked about, the modelling of gameplay round actual strategies employed by the Navy SEALs entails a complexity to ‘Western’ fight not afforded to the Orientalised enemy. Gamers utilise the newest licensed superior weaponry and gear, together with hand-held drones, night-vision goggles, varied grenades, fight knives and motion-sensor radars, to systematically get rid of the enemy in an array of medical approaches unavailable to the ‘uncivilised’ ‘terrorist’.

The one weapons expertise persistently utilized by Al-Qatala militants is the bomb. Starting the sport, gamers are transported right into a van stuffed with ‘terrorists’ able to set off explosives strapped to their chests. The theme of ‘suicide terrorism’ runs all through Fashionable Warfare, culminating within the execution of ‘the Wolf’ to thwart his self-detonation. Given the ‘Western’ obsession with ‘Islamic suicide terrorism’ since 9/11 (Asad, 2007), the primacy of the bomb in Fashionable Warfare is unsurprising. In accordance with Talal Asad, ‘Western’ horror invoked by ‘suicide terrorism’ stems from the uncontrollability of the strike, in addition to its inherent opposition to ‘Western’ liberal-rational norms. An act of true freedom that essentially breaches a states’ monopoly on violence, ‘suicide terrorism’ can’t be confined or sanctified by the nation-state. It’s the final seen protest in opposition to unjust state apply within the identify of a believed larger energy. The naturalised authority of the nation-state is outmoded by a perception within the divine, while perpetrators elude the ‘justice’ of a regulation courtroom, a bulwark of liberal-democratic legitimacy and order (Asad, 2007). As a substitute God is left to evaluate the topic, robbing the state of its energy to dispense justice .The promotion in worth of the non-material above the nation-state, the embodiment of ‘Western’ rational authority, positions ‘Islamic suicide terrorism’ because the antithesis of ‘Western’ energy.

Comparatively, the overall devastation of ‘suicide terrorism’ cements the act as ‘irrational’ within the ‘Western’ imaginary. Quite than taking life to avoid wasting life, a standard justification of liberal-democratic battle, ‘suicide terrorism’ requires a momentary sacrifice of bodily mortality for the next trigger. Such forfeiting of fabric existence violates the secular and Judeo-Christian custom that emphasises the salience of bodily mortality (Asad, 2007). As such, ‘Western’ logic rejects the notion that the immaterial self can ever take priority over the fabric physique. Subsequently, ‘suicide terrorism’ has come to symbolise violence motivated by reasoning incomprehensible to secular ‘Western’ rationale. By constantly invoking ‘suicide terrorism’ as a expertise of the Al-Qatala militants, Fashionable Warfare reinforces pre-existing Orientalist narratives wherein Islam is demonised as an unintelligible ideology that produces a violence that too can’t be understood, exacerbating the gamers concern of ‘Islamic terror’.

Using chemical weapons by Russian and Al-Qatala forces in Fashionable Warfare additional divides the ‘Simply’ UK and US militaries from their ‘uncivilised’ enemies. Prohibited by worldwide regulation, the supposed utilisation of chemical weapons by ‘rogue’ states and their ‘terrorist’ allies has persistently been used as a justification for navy intervention within the ‘Center East’ all through the ‘Struggle on Terror’ (Worth, 1995). For example, Iraq, Libya and Syria, all topic to UK and US-led counter-insurgency operations since 9/11, have been linked to growing chemical weaponry. Branded as “weapons of the weak”, chemical weapons have been constructed as “merciless and treacherous” by ‘Western’ technological powers that govern the boundaries of acceptable ‘civilised warfare’ (Worth, 1995:98). Opposite to the sanctioned proliferation of nuclear weapons as “instruments of reliable diplomacy” by authorised international powers, chemical weapons have grow to be a “image of unacceptable violence” within the ‘Western’ dominated worldwide sphere, demonstrating a Foucauldian “interpretive reversal” whereby highly effective worldwide actors set the boundaries of permissible motion and discourse to take care of hegemony (Worth, 1995:99). By delegitimising chemical weapons, the UK and US can concurrently proceed growing and utilizing massively damaging standard weapons within the ‘Struggle on Terror’ and past with out concern of a global outcry, while positing their adversaries as inferior and barbaric. Moreover, as ‘Islamic terrorists’ have been constructed as morally unrestrained and irrational within the “lethality and indiscriminate nature” of their violence they might inflict, it’s subsequently assumed they’re “extra possible to make use of weapons of mass destruction” (Jackson, 2007:409).

This Orientalising narrative of ‘Islamic incivility’ has justified controversial UK and US navy ventures within the ‘Center East’. Rationalised on this method was the unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003, whereby UK and US government-led myths of collusion between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda to fabricate weapons of mass destruction vindicated an basically financial navy enterprise within the ‘Center Japanese’ state (Ahmed, 2014). The centrality of chemical weapons growth by Al-Qatala to the storyline of Fashionable Warfare concurrently serves to bolster conceptions of ‘Islamic terrorist’ violence as inferior, illegitimate and inhumane, while justifying the presence, and violence, of ‘Western’ armed forces within the ‘Center East’ via a framework of worldwide regulation.

Suicide bombing and chemical weapons deployments usually are not the one instruments of violence that actively distinguish ‘enemies’ of the ‘West’ from the UK and US militaries in Fashionable Warfare. Specific acts of torture carried out by the ‘enemy’ enhances the dichotomy between the ‘barbaric’ and ‘uncivilised’ violence of the ‘non-West’ versus the ‘Simply’ and vital technique of the UK and US militaries. In the beginning of the “Captive” mission, gamers are held in an underground dungeon and should endure scenes of mock executions, ruthless beatings and waterboarding to advance within the recreation. Intensified by the sounds of screaming prisoners and systematic homicide, this deeply disturbing part of Fashionable Warfare is a reminder of the abundance of prisoner abuse that has accompanied the ‘Struggle on Terror’. ‘Islamic’ militants have undeniably enacted a part of this prisoner abuse since 9/11. The notorious ‘Beatles’ torture squad of Islamic State pummelled, water boarded, electrocuted and beheaded ‘Western’ captives in a jail in Syria (Sommerville, 2018). Moreover, a 2014 report by Amnesty Worldwide entitled Escape From Hell – subtly implying a hyperlink between the ‘Center East’ and the Abrahamic underworld – reported crimes in opposition to humanity by Islamic State in Iraq, together with torture, systematic rape and sexual slavery (Amnesty Worldwide, 2014). On this case Fashionable Warfare doesn’t overemphasise the brutality of ‘Islamic terror’ organisations within the ‘Center East’.

However, by neglecting the extent of organised torture enacted by the US and UK militaries throughout the ‘Struggle on Terror’, Fashionable Warfare actively disregards human rights abuses carried out by ‘Western’ forces within the ‘Center East’. In its quest for gritty ‘realism’, Fashionable Warfare features a scene of torture carried out by the SAS troopers Captain Worth and Kyle Garrick. Nevertheless, the abuse is justified, sanitised and individualised. Detecting Kyle’s discomfort with the ‘interrogation’, Worth defends his actions by stating, “if we get soiled the world stays clear”, bolstering the ‘Simply Struggle’ narrative and condoning extrajudicial violence that runs all through the sport. Moreover, the ‘interrogation’, in comparison with that enacted by ‘the enemy’, is comparatively benign, with nearly no pressure exerted to extract the mandatory info, deepening the notion of ‘Western’ violence as ‘civilised’. Lastly, by declaring the one act of torture an unauthorised “rogue” endeavour, Captain Worth divorces the questionable morality of the act from the broader establishments of the UK and US militaries and their commanding governments. These parts mix to current ‘interrogation’ as rare but sometimes unavoidable within the ‘Simply Struggle’ in opposition to ‘Islamic terror’.

In actuality, the UK and US militaries have regularly used malicious government-sanctioned torture methods all through the ‘Struggle on Terror’. Ruth Blakely has demonstrated “past cheap doubt” that the UK has assisted the US in systematic prisoner abuse and torture since 9/11. The CIA and SAS have been accused of “drowning prisoners to the purpose of unconsciousness, repeated beatings, the usage of ice baths and hoses to induce hypothermia, sleep deprivation for greater than per week at a time, extended confinement in extraordinarily small bins and sexual assault”, together with “pressured feeding via the rectum” (Blakely, 2017:246). Elaborating on the above, Laleh Khalili has recounted the particularly Islamophobic nature of prisoner abuse that occurred in Guantánamo Bay throughout the early years of the ‘Struggle on Terror’. In a single notably gruelling report a former guard explains the sexualised abuse of Muslim captives, whereby a feminine guard would rub her breasts on the inmate after which unfold (pretend) menstrual blood on his face (Khalili, 2011:13). Exploiting the prohibition of extramarital sexual activity outlined within the hadith of Anas Ibn Malik, this type of torture forces a sense of sexual deviance onto the Muslim prisoner. By purposefully attacking the dignity, piety and humanity of the inmate with a malevolent and base act of gendered violence, the ‘civilised’ and rights-based legitimacy of ‘Western’ militaries is undermined. Authorities-sanctioned use of torture by the UK and US militaries since 9/11 straight contradicts these states dedication to Article 5 of the Common Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which explicitly prohibits “torture” or “merciless, inhuman or degrading therapy” (UN Normal Meeting). By unambiguously violating the UDHR, a bulwark of liberal-democratic legitimacy, the UK and US militaries additional elucidate the paradox of ‘Simply Struggle’ within the ‘Center East’, whereby the ‘want’ for ‘worldwide rights’ justifies international invasion but concurrently undermines their provision.

The affect of Fashionable Warfare on drone fight within the ‘Struggle on Terror’

Integral to the positioning of the UK and US militaries as extra ‘superior’ and ‘civilised’ than their Al-Qatala enemies is the inclusion of drones in Fashionable Warfare. Gamers can use an unlimited vary of licensed Unmanned Arial Automobiles (UAVs) deployed in real-world battle within the ‘Center East’. Recon drones, EMP drones, assault drones, MQ-1 Predator drones and VTOL drones are however just a few of the distant managed weapons {that a} participant can equip to clinically dispatch ‘terrorist’ enemies. Deadly and impersonal, UAV’s are basic to finishing a major proportion of Fashionable Warfare’s Urzikstan-based missions. By incorporating drones into gameplay, Activision economically bolsters the US and UK militaries via the cost of the mandatory licensing price, thus strengthening the military-entertainment advanced. Additional consolidating the hyperlink between Fashionable Warfare and the UK and US armed forces is the situating of drones as a type of ‘civilised’, or ‘Simply’ violence, in addition to the lively recruitment of players by ‘Western’ militaries to fly UAVs.

Elevated deployment and weaponisation of drones occurred nearly instantly after 9/11, binding their use to the ‘Struggle on Terror’. The US was the primary state to make use of armed drones in lively warfare, with an aerial strike on Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in 2001. Since then, the US has grow to be the chief worldwide person and exporter of fight UAVs, searching for to broaden its artillery with 1,000 extra weaponised drones by 2029. The UK navy additionally plans to extend its drone use, aiming to purchase 16 next-generation Protector drones by 2023. With the overwhelming majority of drone strikes occurring in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria, the ‘Center East’ is clearly the testing floor for this newest type of ‘medical’ warfare (Sabbagh, 2019).

Defended by the UK and US militaries as being according to Worldwide Humanitarian Regulation (IHL), UAVs are stated to fall inside the moral pointers of a ‘Simply Struggle’ attributable to their adherence to the rules of ‘distinction’ and ‘proportionality’ (Kreps & Kaag, 2012). Regardless of the moral and authorized complexities of figuring out a combatant from an harmless civilian in asymmetrical warfare (‘distinction’), and discerning the commensurate response to violence of the adversary (‘proportionality’), UK and US drone strikes clearly violate each commitments to IHL. Although figures for casualties attributable to drone assaults are troublesome to amass, more and more so after Donald Trump banned reporting on drone casualty particulars in March 2019, a 2014 Reprieve report discovered that “in an try to kill 41 people, the US killed as many as 1,147 different folks” when utilizing drones within the ‘Center East’ (Sabbagh, 2019). Subsequently ‘proportionality’ and ‘distinction’ legitimise the usage of fight UAVs within the ‘Center East’, but their violence breaches each rules of IHL, reinforcing the paradox of ‘Simply Struggle’ within the area whereby ‘common rights’ are used to enact violence that basically infringes on these liberties.

Against the usage of chemical weapons and suicide bombing, categorised as ‘barbaric’ within the ‘Western’ worldwide imaginary, drones strikes have been constructed as a ‘civilised’ type of violence. Characterised as ‘rational’, attributable to their lack of emotional vulnerabilities, ‘humane’, due to their purported exact lethality and ‘fashionable’, owing to their technological complexity, fight drones have been constituted because the antithesis to the tempestuous, remorseless and ‘backward’ violence of ‘Islamic terrorists’ (Espinoza, 2018). Given the excessive variety of civilian casualties ensuing from UK and US drone strikes within the ‘Center East’ (Sabbagh, 2019), and the bloody nature of explosive killing that fight UAVs inevitably produce, this assertion might be categorically rebuked. Moreover, as drones and their operators “align with the Orientalist bias of colonial (and neo-colonial) information” by focusing on Muslim or ‘Center Japanese’ males presumed to be ‘terrorists’ (Espinoza, 2018:381), UAVs exacerbate a dependence on ‘othering’ that has been essential to the legitimisation of the ‘Struggle on Terror’.

Fuelling the Orientalist logic that authorises the extrajudicial homicide of ‘Islamic terrorists’ and civilians within the ‘Center East’ are videogames resembling Fashionable Warfare. By dehumanising the inhabitants of the area, war-based videogames create remoteness from the ache and violence that drone warfare entails. Nevertheless, this isn’t the only position of Fashionable Warfare in augmenting drone-based violence within the area. In what Joseph Pugliese describes because the “gamification of battle”, Fashionable Warfare and different war-based videogames are more and more getting used to coach and recruit members of the US navy and the British navy concerned in drone fight (Pugliese, 2016), strengthening the connection between navy videogames and ‘Western’ armed forces. Moreover, UAV working programs are progressively starting to resemble pc recreation applied sciences with some drones manoeuvred with Ps or Xbox controllers (Broersma, 2015; Wintour, 2016; Pugliese, 2016). Faraway from the violence of the bodily battlefield, with many US pilots stationed on the Creech Air Power Base in Nevada, drone operators drop bombs on ‘terrorists’ and within the ‘Center East’ via the medium of a display, reproducing expertise learnt on video games resembling Fashionable Warfare (Pugliese, 2016). Such proof bolsters Rochelle Davis’ declare that “counterterrorism depends on focused assaults and assassination by drones and robots operated by folks in management rooms who’ve by no means needed to work together with different cultures, languages and even folks” (Davis, 2012:25). Desensitised to violence and coerced into subordinating the worth of life within the ‘Center East’ via taking part in Orientalist war-based videogames resembling Fashionable Warfare, drone operators replicate a violence learnt in a digital sphere with most effectivity in the actual world. Contemplating the detachment of ‘Western’ navy personnel from a violence that has been engineered as ‘Simply’ via media, leisure and worldwide political discourse, the proliferation of drone fight within the ‘Center East’ is alarming.

Rewriting historical past and subverting the current

Not solely do battle videogames resembling Fashionable Warfare assemble enemies and acceptable types of violence within the worldwide imaginary. In addition they manipulate historical past and subvert up to date political narratives by lending a pro-‘Western’ bias to battle within the ‘Center East’.

Upon its launch, Fashionable Warfare acquired widespread criticism from each most of the people and the media for its unfavourable depiction of the Russian state and navy. Persevering with a convention of anti-Russian sentiment within the Name of Obligation collection, Fashionable Warfare was particularly criticised for modifying historical past in its ‘Freeway of Demise’ mission. Stranded alongside the ‘Freeway’, gamers management Alex, a CIA officer who should slaughter waves of Russian troopers to flee an ambush set by the enemy.

In actuality the ‘Freeway of Demise’ is the identify given to a stretch of street that leads from Kuwait Metropolis northwest to the border with Iraq. On the twenty sixth February 1991 within the last phases of the Gulf Struggle, notably labelled a ‘video-game’ battle due to the frequent use of “precision bombing and night-vision gear” lending a perceived “humanity to the violence”, hundreds of automobiles carrying Iraqi navy personnel had been ordered by Baghdad to “withdraw instantly and unconditionally” in compliance with UN Decision 660 (DeGhett, 2014). Although Iraqi forces had been retreating from fight, US plane together with helicopter gunships and A-10 Warthogs, each out there as playable automobiles in Fashionable Warfare, trapped the convoy by disabling automobiles at the back and front. One marine normal has described the following violence as a “turkey shoot”. All through day and night time, bullets and missiles rained down, destroying roughly 2,000 automobiles and killing an unknown variety of Iraqi troopers, in addition to their households, international staff and refugees (Patowary, 2016). US Normal Norman Schwarzkopf justified the unprovoked bloodbath, clearly in breach of IHL and the Geneva Conference on Human Rights, as essential to get rid of the “rapists, murderers and thugs” that made up the convoy (Whalen, 2019). Firstly, legitimised in Orientalist phrases the bloodbath of the ‘Freeway of Demise’ is a blatant instance of a battle crime dedicated by the US navy that has been excused due to the sanitised and indifferent nature of aerial bombardment. Secondly, by actively altering the content material of an actual navy occasion within the ‘Center East’, Fashionable Warfare continues a pattern in US produced leisure media and war-based videogames of shifting the accountability for ‘uncivilised’ violence that contravenes worldwide regulation away from the ‘Simply’ militaries of the ‘West’ and onto their adversaries. Certainly, distortions of the ‘Freeway of Demise’ have appeared in different battle video games, together with common titles resembling Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction and Battlefield 3, suggesting this type of biased historic rendering is commonplace within the digital sphere.

Citing the ‘Freeway of Demise’ mission and an notorious mission in a earlier title within the collection, wherein gamers management Russian ultranationalists to perpetrate a mass capturing in a Moscow airport, Ilya Davydov, an influential Russian gamer, accused Activision of presenting “Russians as battle criminals”, thus backing out of a take care of the developer. Rossiya 24, a state owned tv channel, levelled an analogous allegation and bodily copies of Fashionable Warfare are not out there to buy in Russia (Horton, 2019).

Condemnation of Fashionable Warfare for portraying the Russian navy as battle criminals is justified, notably as Activision has knowingly shifted the culpability of crimes dedicated by the US and UK militaries within the ‘Center East’ onto their worldwide adversaries via a digital rewriting of historical past.

Distorting portrayals of battle within the ‘Center East’ isn’t consigned to previous conflicts in Fashionable Warfare. Though Taylor Kurosaki, the narrative director of the sport, claimed he was “closely impressed” by present “occasions in Iraq and Syria” to lend “authenticity” to Fashionable Warfare (Stuart, 2019), the sport misrepresents up to date conflicts within the ‘Center East’ by lending a pro-‘Western’, reductive and Orientalised bias to occasions within the area.

Drawing closely from the Kurdish Yekîneyên Parastina Jin, or ‘Womens Safety Models’ (YPJ) that primarily function in northern Syria, Activision constructed the Urzikstan Liberation Power (ULF): the native ‘freedom fighters’ that help the CIA and SAS all through the Fashionable Warfare marketing campaign. Lauded by the ‘Western’ press for his or her ‘progressive’ stance on feminine navy participation, the YPJ have grow to be an emblem of acceptable native resistance within the Syrian battle and obtain provides, armed help and capital from each the US and UK (Knapp, 2016). Persevering with this rights-based discourse by reflecting ‘Western’ interpretations of the YPJ, Fashionable Warfare presents the ULF as a company intent on liberating their nation from international, which means Russian, subjugation and defeating the presence of ‘Islamic terrorism’. Led by Farah Karim, the one lady of the three playable protagonists in Fashionable Warfare, the group needs to revive order to their nation and “modernise” Urzikstan by “liberating its folks from quaint methods” (Activision, 2019).

A clearly Orientalist and reductionist rendering of the motivations of ‘freedom fighters’ within the ‘Center East’, Fashionable Warfare assumes the area to be ‘backward’ and people who struggle for liberation to be impressed by ‘Western’ notions of ‘growth’. Moreover, by linking the objectives of the ULF to these of the CIA and SAS in Fashionable Warfare the destiny of the native militia is inherently tied to that of the ‘West’, replicating a traditional Orientalist trope whereby the actions of the inhabitants of the ‘Center East’ can solely exist in relation to the ‘West’ (Stated, 1978). Much like ‘Western’ depictions of the YPJ, assumed to have arisen to defeat Islamic State and stripped of a revolutionary context born out of colonialism and historic oppression (Azeez, 2019), the ULF exist as an extension of US and UK navy energy, robbed of their company and consigned to a footnote within the domination of the ‘Center East’ by the ‘West’.

The ladies that struggle within the ULF, although digital, are exceptionally stunning, exacerbating one other Orientalist trope whereby ‘Center Japanese’ girls are solely seen when sexualised and fetishised (Stated, 1978). Certainly, the actress that performs Farah, Claudia Doumit, has appeared in a number of American tv collection as a seductive love curiosity, undermining her credibility as a battle-hardened ‘freedom fighter’. The sexualisation of ‘virtuous’ ‘Center Japanese’ girls in Fashionable Warfare displays mainstream ‘Western’ media depictions of the YPJ. For example the demise of Asia Antar, a YPJ fighter likened to ‘Western beauties’ resembling Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz due to her purported beauty, garnered considerably extra media consideration than the passing of hundreds of different YPJ members of their quest for liberation (Azeez, 2019). Clearly, Fashionable Warfare acts as an extension of ‘Western’ Orientalist media and leisure whereby girls from the ‘Center East’ are solely ‘virtuous’ in the event that they conform to ‘Western’ requirements of magnificence and promote liberal-democratic beliefs.

Lastly, Fashionable Warfare misrepresents the connection between ‘progressive’ ‘resistance fighters’ within the ‘Center East’ and the UK and US militaries. Quite than the sturdy relationship constructed on mutual respectability and belief, as depicted in Fashionable Warfare, the fact is extra tenuous. For example, in 2019 President Donald Trump withdrew his troops from northern Syria, leaving the YPJ and native Kurdish civilians weak to a bloodbath by advancing Turkish troopers (Borger, 2019). By abandoning their former allies, the US navy has offered one other instance of their acquisitive curiosity within the area, undermining ‘Western’ media depictions, of which Fashionable Warfare is part, that current US and UK navy intervention within the ‘Center East’ as in some way ‘Simply’ or ‘vital’.


Making an attempt to maneuver away from the quixotic illustration of counter-insurgency within the ‘Center East’ that has come to outline earlier titles within the Name of Obligation collection, Fashionable Warfare has positioned itself as probably the most ‘sensible’ war-game available on the market. Nevertheless, Fashionable Warfare affords comparable warped displays of navy intervention within the area, albeit in a barely subtler method, lending it a pro-‘Western’ bias that advocates the ‘Struggle on Terror’ within the ‘Center East’. Subsequently, Fashionable Warfare conforms to wider media and political depictions of counter-insurgency within the area that current ‘Western’ intervention as ‘Simply’, and binds the sport to the military-entertainment complexes of the UK and United States by appearing as an instrument of unofficial propaganda.

In a digital replication of the 1916 Sykes-Picot settlement, wherein arbitrary boundaries had been drawn by ‘Western’ powers to divide the ‘Center East’ in to nation-states (Mather, 2014), Fashionable Warfare creates its personal fictionalised, homogenised and Orientalised ‘Center Japanese’ state within the type of Urzikstan. A geographical and cultural desert, Urzikstan epitomizes Orientalist conceptions of the ‘Center East’ as a timeless vacuum, riddled with ‘Islamic terrorist’ violence. Against the exact, dynamic and agentic portrayal of ‘Western’ geographies, encapsulated within the metropolis of London, the conurbations of Urzikstan are amorphous, harmful, devoid of civilians and subsequently in want of a ‘civilising’ interposition from the UK and US militaries.

The US and UK militaries are assuredly represented as ‘civilised’ in Fashionable Warfare. Encapsulating liberal-democratic beliefs of multi-ethnic and gender equality that replicate navy discourses current in actuality, the ‘Western’ armed forces of Fashionable Warfare bolster the legitimacy of the particular UK and US militaries via their rights-based illustration. In opposition, and vital for the dichotomous distinction that Orientalism requires, is the presentation of the Al-Qatala militants. Uniquely Arab, male and adherent to an unspecified and monolithic ‘Islam’, the ‘terrorist’ enemy is subordinated to an inherently violent, fervently spiritual, patriarchal and in the end ‘irrational’ enemy, pushed by a thirst for cruelty relatively than ideology. That is according to wider narratives which have justified the ‘Struggle on Terror’ and navy intervention within the ‘Center East’.

Fashionable Warfare, as with broader ‘Western’ political and media discourses, delegitimises the violence of ‘Islamic terrorism’. Reliant on applied sciences of violence that contravene worldwide regulation, particularly chemical weapons deployment and torture, the Al-Qatala fighters are introduced as fighters incapable of conforming to worldwide norms of warfare that grant the ‘West’ legitimacy within the ‘Struggle on Terror’. Moreover, a persistent use of suicide bombing by the militants entrench conceptions of ‘Islamic terrorism’ as inherently ‘irrational’, violent and thus ‘uncivilised’. Opposite to the illegitimate modes of violence of Al-Qatala is the portrayal of ‘Western’ militarism as ‘humane’ and vital. Sanitised depictions of torture and a technologised superiority in gear and weaponry serve to excuse unlawful violence of the UK and US militaries, while developing their violence as ‘Simply’, ‘civilised’ and ‘vital’.

According to a ‘Western’-centric worldwide authorized framework, and notably distinguished to the portrayal of ‘Western’ violence within the ‘Center East’ as ‘humane’, is the condoning of drone fight by the UK and US militaries in Fashionable Warfare. Conferred as a ‘medical’ and ‘rational’ expertise of violence, the endorsement of weaponised UAVs in Fashionable Warfare aligns with precise ‘Western’ navy discourses that posit drone warfare as ‘civilised’. Furthermore, the elevated reliance of the UK and US militaries on recruiting players, desensitised to violence and skilled on war-based videogames resembling Fashionable Warfare, to function drones within the ‘Center East’, strengthens the connection between ‘Western’ militaries and video leisure industries, thus bolstering the military-entertainment advanced. Given the ever-expanding videogame market, in addition to the US militaries latest resolution to speculate $50 million into videogame growth (Thompson, 2019), the importance of war-based video games, resembling Fashionable Warfare, in producing troopers for ‘Western’ armies, subjugating ‘Center Japanese’ populations via Orientalist representations and rewriting historic and up to date political narratives of battle within the ‘Center East’, shouldn’t be understated. Consequently, extra analysis ought to be undertaken to analyse the impact of war-based videogames on the psyche of troopers and potential combatants, notably in mild of the rising relationship between videogames and the deadly, and more and more common, mode of violence that’s drone warfare.


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Written at: SOAS College of London
Written for: Arshin Adib-Moghaddam
Date written: June 2020

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