No Medal of Honour for Wayne Mapp

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 pm, August 27th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: afghanistan, defence, International, military, politicans, war - Tags: , , , , ,

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp must be desperate for publicity. He’s attacked the latest version of Medal of Honour, a first person shooter game. The game is set in Afghanistan and features American commandos fighting the Taliban.  According to Mr Mapp, Medal of Honour “undermines the values of our nation, and the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform”.


Mr Mapp is outraged because gamers can choose to play as the Taliban, “the terrorists”. But what’s the problem? Many armies, including New Zealand’s, use the same concept in training exercises and wargaming – it’s known variously as “opposing force” (OPFOR), “enemy force” or “red team activities”. To make training and wargaming as realistic as possible, someone has to be the enemy – to think and act like the bad guys.

A classic example of OPFOR occurred during the Millennium Challenge exercise in 2002. This was a massive US wargame, and a dry run for the Iraq invasion. The Blue force (aka the USA) took on the Red force, an unnamed Middle East adversary resembling both Iraq and Iran, led by former US Marine Corps general Paul Van Riper.

Red force launched a pre-emptive strike. Using surprise, old fashioned operational methods, and cheap technology (patrol boats and cruise missiles), Van Riper’s force wiped out the Blue fleet. At this point, the exercise was halted, the Blue ships were re-floated, and the rules changed to allow the Blue force to win.

Back to Mr Mapp. You might argue that he’s scored an own goal, gifting publicity to EA, the maker of Medal of Honour, and boosting sales. But I wonder if anyone actually listens to what Wayne has to say.

22 comments on “No Medal of Honour for Wayne Mapp”

  1. Descendant Of Smith 1

    It’s a bit alarming when a defense minister can’t tell the difference between a game and real life.

    What’s the alternative in a team based two sided game – Americans shooting Americans, Australians shooting Americans – apparently Nazis shooting Americans is OK, or Vietnamese, or who ever the Americans fought.

    Is it more sensible to have Taliban looking people from a made up Arab sounding country?

    And keep in mind as well no-one is being killed they graphics on a computer/ TV screen for goodness sake. No-one dies. No-one gets injured.

    Would a game where American troops take out civilians called Collateral Damage make Mr Mapp feel better. In fact in most of these games you are penalized for shooting civilians – more so than in real life.

    Come to think of it as well it’s not unusual for Americans to shoot Americans in war – hmm I have an idea for a new game.

    Spose we have to stick with aliens – at least until one lands on earth then what do we do?

    I wonder if Mr Mapp could provide us with a list of officially sanctioned enemy combatants that once you move into multiplayer mode are acceptable as the opposing force.

    Anyway what does he think is going to happen I’ve fought as a few hundred different on and off planet races, religions, criminals, etc over the last twenty five years. I haven’t robbed a bank, shot anyone, raped anyone, stolen any cars, smashed anyone in the pub, broken into any homes, turned into an English cricket player and so on.

    Does the Taliban have some secret magic power that will suddenly influence my mind to go seek soldiers and kill them – is there some secret religious power that I am not aware of? please enlighten me.

    As one of my gaming mates said ” It’s more sacrilegious that you can play as an English / South African / Australian rugby player in Jonah Lomu Rugby”. I mean how dare you not play as the All Black team. Dirty swine.”

    And isn’t one of our values Freedom Of speech and isn’t one of National’s let the market decide. Both would suggest keep your nose out of it.

    • Yeah, it’s odd how Wayne Mapp has no problems with other first person shooter games, e.g., ones set in WW2, where you can play as Germans shooting Americans.

      I say that if this game makes a few people think more about Afghanistan, and think about perspectives other than that of Americans, so much the better.

      • QoT 1.1.1

        It’s probably because he hasn’t found any with levels set in Crete …

      • Vicky32 1.1.2

        Oh, those games where the Americans won World War 2 single-handed? 😀 (My father who fought all through’t the war” used to say the Yanks had never seen a shot fired in anger.

        • Strelnikov

          You might want to read about, for instance, Midway, Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Omaha Beach, Bastongne, before claiming that the Americans never fired a shot in anger.

          • Vicky32

            Why would I want to do that? I grew up with people who lived through it, and if I want to see the Yanks winning World War 2 (which was all about saving the Jews, of course) I can watch TV any given night, or go to the films…

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny…

    David Hume

    The dangerous patriot…is a defender of militarism and its ideals of war and glory.

    Colonel James A. Donovan, Marine Corps

    That seems to describe our Wayne Mapp.

  3. QoT 3

    Oh my Gods I am crying with laughter. Anyone else get the idea from the article that Mapp just saw the Brits slagging it off and thought “Oh crap, better jump on that bandwagon!”?

    But seriously. Lieutenant Tim O’Donnell fucking died. For real, Wayne. How about as Defence Minister you don’t play a national tragedy for fucking points in talkback-land?

    • lprent 3.1

      Yeah that was my reaction as well.

      I also made an appropriate image for the thumbnail and set a more concise explicit excerpt and dropped it up on top.

      • Strelnikov 3.1.1

        You’re a wizard, Lynn.

        • lprent

          Good post – just lacked the graphics and the excerpt.

          A few minutes work on google images and using gimp took care of the graphic. If you look in the edit post page, on the right, you’ll see “Set featured image”. That will accept any image and chop some square features out. We tend to do a search on google images and save locally. You can either upload or select from our extensive gallery of previously uploaded images. Those images will show on the front page and in the smartphone listings.

          At the bottom of the edit page, there is a small section called “excerpt” which will set custom test for the front page. If it isn’t set, then it will take about 100 odd characters of text from the start of the post. We usually set our own teaser.

          That Exile post by war nerd on von Rippen caused some comment with the engineers that I work with. They’d never thought about it before.

          • Strelnikov

            The lesson from MC02 is less about using “old” technology, more about thinking laterally, using surprise and stealth, doing the unexpected, and catching the enemy off-balance. It’s thinking that wins wars, not technology, which is merely a tool.

            If the Blue force had been thinking in those terms, rather than being focused on trying out new tech and doctrine, it probably would’ve destroyed Red force.

            • RascallyRabbit

              Isn’t there some kind of made up nation that is used as the opposing force in all NATO exercises and the NZ military also? (Not simply Red Team – but something with more detail?) I can’t recall the name but I can remember hearing about it anyone know anything about that?

    • bobo 3.2

      Civilians playing wargame fps arent the sick ones, its soldiers playing them in real time, just look at that wikileaks gunship footage showing how detached and gamelike real killing can be… how sick is it controlling an unmaned drone from the relative comfort of the US while bombing any dodgy looking afghan thousands of miles away…

      “hey guys theres an afghan kill screen in the tent if anyone wants to see!”

      Look at how our own army used tomb raider style game adverts to recruit a few years ago.

  4. joe90 4

    In 1935 Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley Butler aka”The Fighting Quaker” or “Old Gimlet Eye” wrote War Is A Racket.
    Nuff said..

  5. nzfp 5

    Rodgers And Hammerstein
    You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught
    South Pacific

    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

  6. Mac1 6

    What The Fighting Quaker wrote about his time in the army, from a 1935 issue of the socialist magazine Common Sense:

    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 19021912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    Anybody spot some modern parallels?

    Anti-spam: “pens.” Mightier than the sword?

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