RESET Roundtable: War Games part 1 and 2

Content Warning for descriptions of Military Combat and Serious Injury from 31:14 - 1:25:23

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Really good discussion here. I found it interesting that both the former servicepeople and Matt kept discussing the recruiting issues the military is starting to face as absolute rather than relative ‘problems’. While I know a lot of people view the military as key to any broad change in America’s foreign and domestic policy, I (and sure many other people on this forum) do not care whether they’re having issues duping poor kids into serving. In fact, that sounds like good news to me. The imposing of a national draft might the next thing to kicks off a national movement for change in the US. The hosts who are reporting on this topic have a level of remove, and even sympathy, for the position the military is in right now which I just don’t have.

I’m interested to hear if anyone else had the same read listening to the second half of this podcast.


I wrote an essay and my dissertation on drones and one of the most unsettling things about drones are how they’re deliberately marketed to prospective pilots as like playing a video game especially when something like the Predator missile was one of the most OP and memorable killstreaks from Modern Warfare 1 + 2. I remember being 16 and thinking it was badass and cool and then reading about how it appears to be virtually transplanted from the way the military tech is deployed was really unsettling!

The AC-130 mission they talk about as well fight like it captured the same dynamics. Alexander Cockburn’s Kill Chain opens with a transcript of a Predator strike on a group of innocent civilians in, I think, Pakistan and the language being used by the operators and mission control isn’t far removed from the dialogue of that mission even if it is more aggravated given they clearly aren’t certain of who they’re firing on.

I’m not sure what my point is other than it’s interesting, and again unsettling, to watch these video games whitewash these war crimes in real time or even ahead of when they happen by portraying these operators as cool, calm and in control when there’s real documented evidence of them being the opposite of that to deadly effect.


I do agree with respest the tone of the convo on recruiting. We jumped awfully quickly from “recruiting numbers are down” to “this could lead to the draft”. Granted, Matt did say he meant that as the extreme potential consequence. But I suspect like many here, I view a drastic reduction in the size of the military as a worthwhile goal itself.

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I’m about to listen to the pod. Just dropping in here first to share this meme a friend sent me.