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US politician condemns "deceptive" Virtual Army Experience

$9.8m budget for US Army game called into question and labelled "a thinly veiled attempt to recruit new soldiers"

US Congressman Dennis Kucinich has sent a letter to the House Committee on Armed Services, requesting that they cut off the USD 9.8 million in funding for the Virtual Army Experience, labelling the game "deceptive army recruitment".

The Democrat's letter, addressed to the two officials responsible for the committee, calls into question the moral standing of the game as "glorifying" violence without portraying the "realities of killing".

"The VAE is a state-of-the-art, interactive recruiting tool used by the Army to give participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of soldiering," wrote Kucinich.

"The VAE shields participants from the realities of killing while glorifying the taking of human life in a thinly veiled attempt to recruit new soldiers."

He continued: "Making matters worse, if a child wants to take part in the simulation, the Army collects his or her contact information, as well as an assessment of the child's performance in the simulator."

"Allowing children as young as thirteen years of age to participate in a simulation endorsed by the United States Government that glorifies and sanitises extreme violence is unacceptable."

Concluding: "In 2007 the reported estimated cost to operate the VAE was USD 9.8 million. This money can be better spent."

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James Lee

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