Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Teaching a soldier to escalate violence

It's true, as everyone is saying, that this video of a German soldier being trained shows racism and Bronxism. The guy tells the trainee to imagine that a bunch of black guys have gotten out of a van in the Bronx, and are insulting his mother, and that he's should shoot them and yell obscenities at them.

But there's something else offensive about it that no one seems to be taking note of: Soldiers ought to be trained not to escalate situations. If someone is yelling insults about your mother, it's not appropriate to shoot them. Am I naive to think that army training ought to include some skills about staying cool and rational in difficult situations, so you can make judicious decisions about when to use deadly force? This is exactly the kind of macho, video game attitude that the good guys should be discouraging in recruits. Why isn't that part of the scandal?

(Thanks to dariuszka for the image!)

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