Tomgram:> William Astore, The Remoteness of 1% Wars
Nick Turse December 8, 2011 Tom Dispatch
Editor’s Note: See William Astore’s article “Fighting 1% Wars Why Our Wars of Choice May Prove Fatal” in a separate post.
This year, 155,754 recruits joined the active-duty U.S. military with the Army leading the way to the tune of more than 64,000 soldiers. Many more Americans, however, went to war.
Virtual war, that is. On a single day last month, to be exact, 3.3 million citizens responded to the call of duty or, more accurately, played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 — simultaneously, together — via Microsoft Xbox LIVE. Millions more played that combat-packed, first-person shooter video game on the Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, or personal computers.
While relatively few young Americans smell cordite on the battlefield, increasing numbers of them experience war through ever more screens: televisions, computers, smart phones, and tablets. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is only the most successful of these digital draft calls, and if you’re wondering what success means, consider that this virtual portal into World War III “shattered theatrical box office, book, and video game sales records for five-day worldwide sell-through in dollars,” according to its producer, Activision Publishing, Inc.
That is, over five days it generated $775 million in sales, beating the previous record, set by last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops (which raked in a mere $650 million), and trouncing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (just $550 million in 2009).
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