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Israeli Army Frowns on D&D 984

Big Rob found us a gem of a story about the Israeli Army frowning on D&D players. Apparently '18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.' I especially enjoyed the pictures of D&D players with swords, as generally the only thing in my hand during D&D is soda and/or swiss cake rolls. I'm thinking that a few generals should meet up with Jack Chick and have a good long discussion about the evils of role playing.
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Israeli Army Frowns on D&D

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  • by CSMastermind ( 847625 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:18PM (#11890014)
    Think about it. D&D attracts imaginitive players who are able to think for themselves. Now does that seem like people you want in your Army? I ship out to Marine boot camp Aug. 1st and people have told me over and over again that when I get there...I shouldn't stand out. D&D players are different...and normally very smart. In an army you want drones who can think for themselves but will never question orders. Why do you think the great dictators killed teachers???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:19PM (#11890040)
    I think you meant "higher" security risk.
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:20PM (#11890066) Journal

    but if IDF says that people who indulge in fantasy games, as a statistical group, have personality traits that make them a lower security risk, then I am inclined to believe them.

    "They're really smart. They must know what they're talking about."

    One possible characteristic not mentioned in TFA was: People who role-play might be more inclined to game the system - definitely not a desirable personality trait to have in personnel deployed in sensitive positions.

    WTF? "Game the system"? If you play D&D you realize that "gaming the system" gets you in Shitsville with the game referee (the much maligned "Dungeon Master"). So if anything, D&D players are LESS inclined to "game the system".

    I can't decide if you're an innocent clueless asshat or a troll. And I'm a fairly discerning reader. So hats off to you!

  • Real swords? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:23PM (#11890120)
    If I interviewed people who thougth D&D was played with real swords, I'd downgrade their security clearance too - because I wouldn't think they were bright enough to trust with secrets.
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:24PM (#11890126) Homepage
    "Think about it. D&D attracts imaginitive players who are able to think for themselves. Now does that seem like people you want in your Army?"

    If you are going to make broad generalizations about D&D players, I'll go ahead and say are you sure you want a bunch of pasty white never been outside dice rollers carrying around guns in a battlefield not taking orders because they are "thinking for themselves?".

    Nope, but dont worry, this former D&D player was all state, all conference, MVP, etc in HS and college waterpolo. Not all D&D players are your typical generalization. Nor are all of them imaginative.
  • You got it wrong (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:24PM (#11890128)
    If you play D&D you realize that "gaming the system" gets you in Shitsville with the game referee (the much maligned "Dungeon Master"). So if anything, D&D players are LESS inclined to "game the system".

    Gaming the system means thinking out-of-box. Believe me, you don't want that in a soldier.

  • by CdXiminez ( 807199 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:28PM (#11890214)
    Since D&D players are above-average intelligence and creative thinkers, they probably make less obedient soldiers and might question orders and the purpose of military action. Also, they realize that the world doesn't have to be the way it is.
  • by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:28PM (#11890215)
    It seems kind of strange. Back in my D&D days, most of the game in our groups was about combat. Lots of work on strategy, using the resources at hand, layout of the battlefield, etc, to keep your character alive and obtain your objective. Plenty of practice thinking like that is something I'd think would be desirable in a military recruit.

    Apparently I must be mentally unbalanced though, so don't trust my judgment on that one. I'm all detached from reality and stuff.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:33PM (#11890295)
    Bullshit. US military doctrine is built on soldiers who are flexible, able, and motivated. They don't want to see it in bootcamp, or expressed in ways deemed harmful to the unit. But they count on the fact they'll see it expressed in ways harmful to the enemy.
  • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:34PM (#11890305)
    but if IDF says that people who indulge in fantasy games, as a statistical group, have personality traits that make them a lower security risk, then I am inclined to believe them.

    There was a point in time where ECT in mental institutions was commonplace because it was endorsed by the American Psychology Association.

    Today, we know that ECT only helps certain cases of clinical depression, and is used only in extreme cases when no other solution exists.

    If you go further back with the same association, they used to perform labotamies. Do you think that practice is done today?

    We need to be critical of experts. You cannot always agree with experts.
  • Bad translation! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ohad_l ( 683421 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:35PM (#11890345) Homepage
    IDF is only specifically concerned with RD&D players - that is LARPers. By the way, their specific claim is that they are detached from reality... however, in Atuda - an IDF project that allows one to delay his recruitment and get a scollarship to complete a degree before being drafted - one of the popular majors is mathematics. :)
  • by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:37PM (#11890366) Homepage Journal
    It's a prestige class. First you need a few levels of religious fanatic (paladin). Then you have to gain a few levels of suicide bomber before you actually gain the extroadinary ability of suicide bomb. And since it's D+D you can always get a raise dead or resurrection to do it again.

    Is anyone else bothered that all the pictures are of LARPers and not actual D+D? I think this shows the general misconception of what D+D is. If you are unsure of what D+D is really like I have a video for you.

    "attack the darkness"
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:37PM (#11890377) Journal
    This sounds like nothing more than a new version of the old "roleplayers are unstable" line. Whaddya want to bet that some recruiting officer watched Tom Hanks' early movie Monsters and Mazes and thought "Oh boy, those roleplayers must be nuts".

    This movie has to be, despite being horribly scripted and acted, one of the most damaging things done to roleplaying. What's really funny is that Hanks' real-life counterpart didn't go nuts, but in fact had a gay liason and made up the story.

    I've had a very Fundie Christian relative who started blabbing off about how roleplaying was letting Satan into your heart with all that magic and fantastical creatures (geez... anybody read the Bible lately). I've seen articles saying my hobby is Satanic.

    Are there fucked-up roleplayers? You bet. I've played with one real whacko who used to keep a list of the right and wrong things his players did, and when it hit five wrongs, he'd have his character try to kill their's. But you're going to find lunatics in any walk of life, whether hobby or occupation.

  • by krypt0s ( 72886 ) <krypt0s AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:38PM (#11890390)
    I take serious issue with the blanket classification being applied in this case. What it appears they have missed is that within almost all gaming communities, more than one archetype of players exists. Players almost always fall into the "power gamer" or "casual gamer" category.

    The people I think they are attempting to target are the casual gamers. These are the people who obsess over what color their character's eyes are, what they're wearing, etc. If that's what makes them happy, then more power to them. However, if the Israeli military feels this type of person is less attached to reality and thus a liability, then I could see a justification in the actions they have taken.

    Power gamers, on the other hand, are concerned with winning. That is what drives them. They don't care if their "character" is represented by a detailed miniature, or a piece of pocket lint. Making optimal decisions and maximizing their chances of success are key. I would think the military would want to target these people for recruitment. Instead, they are being lumped together under the same label as the casual gamers.

    I suppose I take issue with the actions themselves being singled out and not the motivations behind the people taking the actions.
  • by Himring ( 646324 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:41PM (#11890451) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes common sense, like, works and stuff. After 9/11 the Israelies were telling the U.S. that it was nuts to body search 80 year old, white caucasian grandmas from Chicago and allow the 6-foot muslim to walk on by in airports. Which one, really, is more likely to be a terrorist?

    Howard Hughes and the CIA only hired Mormons for the longest as they had proven to have the highest, personal, integrity.

    And if you're concerned about someone trying to "see what they shouldn't see" then don't hire an AD&D player (D&D? -- that's what was out before AD&D when I was a kid) or a slashdotter.

    This stuff ain't rocket science folks....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:45PM (#11890495)
    The military mortification process will not work on people who have an internal escape mechanism of the strength of that which is created by D&D players. Mortification is the process the military uses to breakdown ones personality and remodel it into their hierarchical command based model. This is done in boot camp to make nice obedient soldiers. People they can not remodel are risky to them. There is good and bad in this. Those who are most apt to resist the process are equally divided among the most talented and most pathetic people in the world. The psychological tests seeks to reveal which type these people our and track them accordingly. The sad reality is that for the most part the military wants psychologically malleable people. While they will make exceptions for the brains in the DD groups they most certainly do not want the people who use the game to escape reality as they can not remodel them so they cannot trust them and the reason they like to play the game means they are more vulnerable to manipulation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:48PM (#11890534)
    > United States has in accepting almost any religion

    Please, oh please, can I come to the alternate reality you live in?
  • Re:Role playing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:49PM (#11890552) Journal
    And yet every actor and actress roleplays. Many authors roleplay, at least acting out what happens in their novels in their mind. In theory, elected representatives should roleplay in considering how a given piece of legislature will affect various different constituents.

    Roleplaying is a normal everyday occurrence, its part of learning about anyone who isn't yourself or any job you don't currently do (like the Model United Nations groups in High School).

    The only difference here is that these people wield maces and fireballs in their fantasy world instead of bayonets and bazookas. I have to wonder if these people had chosen to play an Avalon Hill wargame, if they'd have been given higher clearances.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:50PM (#11890570) Homepage Journal
    One possible characteristic not mentioned in TFA was: People who role-play might be more inclined to game the system - definitely not a desirable personality trait to have in personnel deployed in sensitive positions.

    I see some issues here. How many politicians "game the system", yet have never played D&D? Ted Kennedy probably never played, but he's one of the masters, you have to be if you can drive drunk, drown a girl and not lose your licence and face a few year's hard time like he should have. The same goes for car salespeople. Lawyers.

    Also, IDF has a big name attached to them, but that doesn't make their claims necessarily true.

    I can't say much as I've never played a collector card game or RPG.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:51PM (#11890586) Homepage Journal
    After all, these people have some of the best clinical and occupational psychologists in the world working for them.

    Give me a fucking break. "They are wise, therefore they can do no wrong".

    One very important point about statistics: You can always set the premise before gathering the data, and then find statistics to back up your premise.

    The IDF works with some of the worst relgious zealots in the world. I think this is the primary reason for discouraging D&D-- the game deals with religious ideas which are foreign. That is forbidden among many fundamentalists.

    This is certainly the situation among many fundamentalist Christian communities in the US. You're from Redding, so I assume you would know this.

    Don't get me wrong. Isreal has a right to survive and defend itself, but the ruling bodies of Isreal are filled with religious zealots. Zealots cannot be trusted-- no matter the religion.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:52PM (#11890603)
    For privates? No, independant thought is not prized. You want people that will do their job, as they are ordered to, without question. The same is not true of officers. Even NCOs, but certianly anyone above Sergeant needs to be able to think, and the higher the rank, the more true that is.
  • LARP != D&D (Score:1, Insightful)

    by polter ( 149311 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:53PM (#11890610) Homepage
    Is it just me, or was it obvious that they're not talking about D&D, Live Action Role Playing is quite different.

    I've done both, BTW, I'm just saying, and I'm in security, so Bah!
  • by northcat ( 827059 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:00PM (#11890723) Journal
    Oh please. You're giving too much credit to gamers. The Israeli army frowns upon them because the players are *impressionable*. Almost the opposite of what you said. The players easily adapt to the fantasy world of D&D, so their beliefs can be changed easily than others.
  • Re:Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:04PM (#11890794) Journal
    The biggest supporters for the state of Isreal are radical Christians, who see it as a neccessary precursor to the rapture.
    I think the Jewish diaspora might be the biggest supporters. Dunno.
  • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:04PM (#11890803)
    We need to be critical of experts. You cannot always agree with experts.

    The problem is that the experts, in most cases, aren't. They may be well-studied, but the more you focus on studying something, generally the less experience and up-to-date knowledge you have on it.

    It's like a theory of academic relativity, or something.

  • by northcat ( 827059 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:07PM (#11890844) Journal
    You cannot always agree with experts.

    But everyone on slashdot seems to think that you should always disagree with experts.
  • Re:Right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:08PM (#11890861)
    Never get between a slashdotter and his antichristian rant!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:10PM (#11890888)
    Offers training that develops it. Duh. There are at least two dudes who got their legs blown off who fought like hell to go back to their friends in Iraq. One of whom on completion of a close quarters combat course to the guy from the media, he's not worried about another landmine, it only be half as bad next time.

    Seriously, losing a leg, then deciding to take a close quarters combat course and return to the war zone is a pretty non-linear solution.

    What's amazing is that the US has a military tradition of out of the box thinking that goes back to War of Independance. We have our failings to be sure, but a lack creative military solutions has NEVER been one of them.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:11PM (#11890914) Journal

    Being in the military is, by necessity, to be part of a team and the team has to come first,

    D&D, and most other role-playing games are exactly the embodiment of this. They are about teams achieving things, and it is not uncommon for one member to make a personal (or ultimate) sacrifice so that the team can achieve their goal. What they seldom have however, is a strict hierachy. This is a good thing in that the team learns to work together through willing co-operation and pooling creativity and knowledge. In practice, this is not how a [modern Western] military unit operates. Instead, they condition soldiers to obey orders and not question.

    If there is any basis for the Israeli army's bias other than ignorance, then it is the creativity and ability to think away from the official point of view that is the "problem."

    Just too many D&D'ers must ask themselves what is the alignment of my army, and come up with the answer Lawful Evil.
  • Re:Role playing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PhotoJim ( 813785 ) <jim@p h o t o j i> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:11PM (#11890916) Homepage
    Children role play constantly and have a ton of fun doing it. I doubt many children are unhappy with their personality (that seems a predominantly adult trait). As for their ability to cope with reality, perhaps they don't to an adult level but they certainly do. (Children are being abducted to act as soldiers for the armed resistance occurring in Uganda, and they cope as well as can be expected with it.) That an adult would seek escape occasionally seems entirely natural to me. I suppose all women who read Harlequin romances are weak, unhappy people by your reckoning.
  • by SenatorOrrinHatch ( 741838 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:12PM (#11890927)
    What the hell do you know, you clown? Some crap you read in a 1987 issue of TIME magazine about why US soldiers are superior to those of the downtrodden zombie-like communist horde?

    I don't have much to contribute to this site in the critique obscure code, but I did play D&D, AD&D, Gamma World, GURPS, and cyberpunk 2020. Furthermore I spent 2 years in the Headquarters company of the 2/75th Airborne Ranger regiment in Ft. Lewis WA as a mortar gunner.

    All military doctrine is built on absolute discipline, and the better the unit the more severe the discipline. Do you think truck drivers are subjected to the same discipline as SEALS? No, because 1) they would die 2) their jobs don't require it. Good combat units have as much or more rigorous discipline than bootcamp, and the only flexibility allowed is in the 2 minute warmup prior to an 8 mile run. If somebody has a neat new idea, here's the procedure: you mention it to your immediate superior, get laughed at and/or disciplined, and then proceed in doing things the tried and tested way. For the love of god, I tell you these guys still spend half an hour every day polishing their non-waterproof boots because the officers don't trust any footwear that's seen less than 30 years of war.

    I was gonna add: if the Israeli army doesn't want weirdos who have a skewed sense of reality in their ranks, then they probably shouldn't accept fundamentalist religious types who believe the earth is 6000 years old or that god will send you to hell for all eternity for eating a goat, what with cloven hooves being unclean and all.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:13PM (#11890935) Homepage
    hyperbole 1. Rhet. A figure of speech consisting in exaggerated or extravagant statement, used to express strong feeling or produce a strong impression, and not intended to be understood literally.

    Can't a guy poke fun at idiotic stereotypes without somebody actually thinking I seriously believe that all people who play D&D are male and will never feel the warmth of a woman's touch?

    Seriously, are you really that incapable of parsing written English? Do I need to start add little disclaimers to everything I write?

    DISCLAIMER: although the author (AAiP) questions your critical reading skills, under no circumstances does he mean to suggest that you are unintelligent, too literal, foolish, ugly, simple-minded, easily-duped, gullible, dense, or otherwise sub-par in any respect. For the purposes of this and future interactions, AAiP will assume that your social and intellecual traits are within one standard deviation of the mean, based on humanity as a whole, excepting those cases where your social and intellectual skills are substantially higher than said mean. Though one could infer that the tone of this disclaimer is decidedly snide, AAiP assures you that it really isn't. He just wants to make sure he's being absolutely, positively, perfectly crystal clear on this, beyond any suggestion of an inkling of a hint of a trace of a shadow of a doubt. Really. You're swell.

  • by dynamo ( 6127 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:15PM (#11890968) Journal
    Just because you pick up a weapon and follow orders doesn't necessarily mean you are defending freedom. In fact you sign away a huge portion of your existing freedom when you agreed to try.

    Remember that you are still responsible for actions you take that are illegal or immoral, even when you are ordered to do so. There seems to be a lot of that going around lately.
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:16PM (#11890981)
    That's why I prefer a points-based system for character generation (like GURPS) rather than a roll-the-dice approach. Since everyone starts with the same number of points, you don't have anyone to blame but yourself if you don't wind up with a character you want to play.

    Sure, you can build an unrealistic combat monster this way, but a good GM will penalize players that do that by putting them in situations where they need non-combat skills to succede.

  • Nail, meet hammer. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Da VinMan ( 7669 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:21PM (#11891050)
    I think you hit the nail on the head. I wish I had mod points for your post.

    Being impressionable and in a sensitive position means you are ripe for the harvest in a counter intelligence situation. You will be much easier to convert to the opposition's cause as it will be much easier to have you see the issue from their point of view and develop sympathy for their position.

    A flexible mindset isn't automatically an overly flexible mindset; it's just that much more prone to changes over time. A changed mindset and set of beliefs can manifest as treason.

    So, in a way, the IDF is doing those soldiers a favor. They protecting Israel from an increased likelihood of treason, and they're protecting those soldiers from themselves.

    Yeah, it's kind of a control freak thing, but it *is* a military organization.
  • by ThisIsFred ( 705426 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:21PM (#11891060) Journal
    Oh well, that was 20 years ago. Now the US Army just wants bodies...

    No, they still want motivated and intelligent volunteers. This is the IDF we're talking about, not the US Army. The last time the Army thought they could save money by sending idiots into battle with full-auto weapons, we lost a war.
  • by ajakk ( 29927 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:32PM (#11891198) Homepage
    So when a four year old girl is killed by a suicide bomber, she was not innocent?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:48PM (#11891410)
    You know, his post is well-written and articulated. Do you really think he needs to be lectured by a jackass like yourself?
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:54PM (#11891480) Homepage
    So, if you want to bring up playing around with fantasies...

    Um, let's say someone believes that his country has a right to occupy a piece of land because 3000 or so years ago his ancestor obediently offered up his son to be a human sacrifice because a voice he heard in his head told him to. The voice in his head later rescinded its instructions to kill the guy's son, because he showed that he would value the approval of the voice in his head over that of a little boy one of his wives dropped off for him. This of course showed that human sacrifice was a-okay with the people of time, of course, but that's a talk for another time.

    Okay, and then we have the guy who obtained great favor with his voice in his head when he offered up his virgin daughter to the mob for rape and/or murder if the would leave the three guys (who he suspected to be angels) alone.

    Then we another guy who listened to the voice in HIS head which told him to clear town with his family because the voice was fixing to burn everyone alive because they were pissing the voice off. A wife looked back as they were leaving, the guy says, and was turned into a box of Morton's salt. At least that's what he told her kin when they asked where the hell she was.

    Then we have the guy who heard a voice telling him to build a boat, put two of everything in it, and wait out a world flood which later no one else remembers happening, like, say, the Chinese, having been around for 4000 years or more.

    That's reality-based community, not like them D&D fantasists.

    You wouldn't want people who had strange ideas about reality in the ranks of your specialist armed forces.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:10PM (#11891691) Homepage Journal
    "The new generation of kids don't seem to like anything that you don't pop a CD into and have a game controller attached to."

    You're generalizing. Video games are very popular, but so are collectable card games, comics, tabletop roleplaying, miniatures gaming (D&D Minis are HOT on eBay right now, and kids are buying most of them for "warbands"), etc.

    I suggest you think of kids as very small adults, and then imagine the generalization, "these adults these days aren't interested in any OS that doesn't have a "Start" button."
  • Re:Right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:12PM (#11891715) Journal
    I would hope, in a world as religously fractured and at times as intolerant as can be imagined, that a major super power would be supporting Israel for something other than religious reasons.

    Make no mistake, I support the existence of Israel, but as a non-Christian, I find this sort of theological motivation more than a little frightening.

  • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:18PM (#11891809)
    Way to compliment yourself. When I hear someone is a D&D player the first thing I think are the phrases "severe family and emotional problems" and "divorced from reality."

    Every person Ive known who was seriously into D&D has had just that, severe emotional problems. In college I was dating this gorgeous chick who was big into D&D, MUDs, LOTR, etc. It was a novelty for about a month... then it became appartent she was a complete basketcase using MUDs to only spend a few hours a day in this reality. Id ask her how her day went and shed blather on about the dragons in her games or something... She met another D&D addict and started dating him at the same time I was pressuring her to back off the MUDs and concentrate on things like paying the rent... you know what they say about getting inbetween people and their addictions.

    Second story, I was hiring my replacement at my last sysadmin job ts a university research lab. The decision came down to a qualified guy, and a less qualified guy. The less qualified guy got the job due to some nepo/favoritism. First thing he does after I make his accounts is install MUD clients and ask "do you play DND?" I knew he was toast right there. After a months training, last thing I do on the last minute of my last day is run a L0 backup (the user accounts are worth hundreds of thousands if not millions). First thing the guy does the next morning, erase all the user accounts. Suprisingly they overlooked the ordeal, but after two months he was gone just the same.

    I have had several other friends as well who had pretty bad problems, who played D&D. I think D&D attracts emotional problems like GTA attracts those violence nuts.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:24PM (#11891871) Journal
    That's what Christianity is: willful, self-imposed blindness, known to the faithful as "True Faith". It's turning a blind eye to the evils that underlie the belief, and believing, on faith, things that are not and cannot be true.

    As a person married to a Catholic, I find the above generalization ludicrous, and of the same kind of rudimentary thinking as that which leads people to say roleplayers are devil-worshipping lunatics. Whatever Christianity's sources (and it's a lot more complex than simply an offshoot of Judaism), there are a lot of good Christians out there, and to malign them because of those who act badly is pretty fallacious.

    Consider a short list of the utter lies Christians forced down the world's throat! Papal Infalibility: "The Pope is never Wrong! If you argue, you'll meet the Pope's soldiers.",

    As I suspected, you actually have not the foggiest idea what Papal Infallability is. It is not a general notion where ever word a Pope utters is undeniable truth. It only applies when a Pope is speaking ex cathedra. Now I totally disagree with all of this, because I'm an atheist and I think the Church's theological teachings are bunk, but I think it's always important to actually understand what you disagree with. What you've done, though you clearly hate Christianity, is throw up a rather classic Protestant distortion of a basic tenet of Papal theology and authority.

    Or to put it in simpler terms, you are spreading a lie.

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:25PM (#11891889) Homepage Journal
    Dun Malg is correct. I'm having this same debate over on another board, with someone who is convinced that the US Military is all about robotically following orders.

    Current US doctrine calls for highly trained professional warriors. You don't get that with "Obey any and all dumb orders and don't think". They *WANT* people who show initiative. I've been a defense contractor for 20 years, and without exception, the people I've dealt with -- from E-1s up to 2-stars -- have been intelligent, capable people.
  • by Proaxiom ( 544639 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:26PM (#11891908)
    If the US army was such a terrifically well run organization they would not have ended up turning the Iraqi prison camps into torture chambers. Either there is a serious discipline problem or the senior officers gave illegal orders that the soldiers had a duty to refuse.

    I work with a retired Air Force Captain who has the same perspective. As he explains it, either the officers ordered the troops to mistreat the prisoners, or they didn't have control of their troops. Neither is excusable for an officer in the armed forces.

    The corollary being that the soldiers who are taking the blame for it are, in a way, scapegoats, because the liability goes up the chain and somebody is getting away with it.

    They want very particular types of initiative, in particular the initiative to take command of a situation when necessary. What they do not want is people who question authority.

    I did some research a while back on the differences between eastern and western military doctrine in World War II. One of the keys was the the Soviets, for various reasons, allowed very little command flexibility in their ranks. Operations were planned to extremely minute details and all subordinates were expected to stick to the plan no matter what (one big reason was they had poor communications infrastructure to change the plan dynamically).

    The west, in contrast, had less detailed plans, and relied on their officers adapting their tactics to the facts on the ground as they appeared.

  • by drxenos ( 573895 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:30PM (#11891955)
    If you tried with with me, you would have found your self playing alone. Jump off a cliff because you didn't get the stats you wanted? Fine, your character is dead and you are done.
  • by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:07PM (#11892499) Homepage
    was gonna add: if the Israeli army doesn't want weirdos who have a skewed sense of reality in their ranks, then they probably shouldn't accept fundamentalist religious types who believe the earth is 6000 years old or that god will send you to hell for all eternity for eating a goat, what with cloven hooves being unclean and all.

    Funny you should mention that. Orthodox are not subject to the draft.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:19PM (#11892656) Journal

    Now, if you have any concrete examples to the contrary (regarding the training of the soldiers), I would like to hear them, but for now, it just seems that you're making this up (or heavily extrapolating).

    As with many things, a lot of it comes down to your own view, reflected in the choice of words. It's like the difference between cult and religion depending on which side you're on.

    And with Army induction, you could call it training or brainwashing according to your opinion.

    First off - killing. This is not something that comes naturally to the vast majority of people. It takes an extraordinary amount of pressue for most people to go as far as murder. To bring these people to the point at which they will kill requires extensive conditioning. My source for this was a talk given by a US Marine in a documentary in which he cited casualty statistics from WWII and modern psychological testing that came out with about 2/100 people being "natural killers." Clearly something radical has been done to the completed soldiers if they are now nearly all capable of killing (not that there may not be psychological trauma afterwards).

    Now as to the actual techniques of how this is achieved, I'll offer the following examples. Note that this is only an outline of techniques that on "the other side" would be considered brainwashing.

    Firstly, links to existing social values must be severed.
    Secondly, links to the new social values must replace them.

    Common techniques used by cults, professional interrogators, etc. that are in common with the army are as follows:
    • restricted communication with family and friends
    • detachment: sleeping away from home / placed in strange environment
    • fatigue and discomfort, physical punishment
    • peer group pressure: suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong.
    • disinhibition - encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour
    • ritual
    • communal eating / travel / work
    • lack of privacy
    • lack of control over own actions / routine
    • lack of information about schedule / routine
    • strictly enforced reward and punishment system for obediance
    • verbal abuse : including enforcing a willingness to accept it
    • dress code: removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code.

    Hopefully, it can be seen how these support the above goals of bringing the recruits personal values into line with the army's and fostering dependance. Of course, the graduate of this, will see it as pride in the army, serving a greater cause or simply having endured it and "become a man." Of course, regardless of whatever has been gained, the recruit has traded in some measure of his own ability to measure the value of things and accepted the value system of the organization. As I said at the start of this, whether you want to regard it as brainwashing or training, is up to you. If you consider however, that psychologically, the exact same process and attitude change is gone through by an Al-Quaeda soldier in Afghanistan (by incidentally, the US Army trained Osama bin Laden) just as with a US marine, then you might feel a certain cognitive dissonance if you think of them as different. In both cases, recruits come to obey the orders and beliefs without questioning them.

    I remember a kid who was half-way through boot camp, telling me gleefully how he was on whatever his jargon term was for latrine duty. He took pride in enduring the punishment - doing it by hand! He was one of the best examples of the effectiveness of these techniques I'd ever met. He was boasting about having to scoop out shit with his bare hands.

    Oh come on, do you even know how Israeli soldiers are trained, or are you just relying on your political views of Israel?

    You know nothing about my political views at the time of posting, so please spare me irrelevant and baseless personal

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:35PM (#11892911) Journal
    I don't see how one black grandma represents all fundamentalist Christians. There is no prohibition against writing fiction in the Bible, whatsoever. Writing a story is not "bearing false witness" unless you claim it's true. The closest is the prohibition against making graven images, so in theory she might have an argument if he was painting portraits.

    I don't think anybody is saying that she does represent the sum total of Fundementalist Christianity. However, you have to admit, there are a number of Christian groups out there, particularly of the more conservative, fundementalist nature, who have some pretty strong opinions on things like roleplaying. Jack Chick isn't some sort of isolate, though he, like the grandma mentioned, may be closer to the far end of the spectrum.

    In fact, Jesus often used parables, and others wrote them down. So is Jesus or the Gospel writer the sinner?

    I think the old joke about how Jesus would be treated if he were alive today is applicable here.

    What does this have to do with the IDF anyway, which is mostly composed of Jews, both ethnic and religious?

    Mainly the fact that it appears that the IDF has some prejudices against roleplayers that don't seem to be founded on fact, and resemble prejudices among some Christian groups here in North America.

  • by ivrcti ( 535150 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:58PM (#11893221)

    Sorry, you're confusing self discipline in personal details with conformation to doctrinal procedures. As an avid D&D player in High School, a West Point grad and an ex M1 officer, I can tell you that if you can't think on your feet and figure out a new way to skin the cat, you won't survive long in mobile armored warfare, let alone dismounted urban warfare.

    Recognize also the level you were working at and your particular unit. You didn't get to see how creative your battalion commander had to get to handle his missions with the incredibly lean Ranger force.

    If you still doubt me, go back to some of the officers you admired most and ask them about operational and tactical flexibility. Get comfortable, you'll be there a while.

  • by Guysdrinkingbeer ( 207045 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:04PM (#11893289)
    Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
    - General George Patton Jr
  • by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:58PM (#11893903) Journal
    News flash, the indians were fighting the Americans as well. It wasn't totally one sided, but the tech gap and population gap eventually made sure that the Americans finished on top of the heathen savages.
  • Considering the propensity for current IDF soldiers to shoot Palestinian civilians (under the blessing of the same command structure that condemns D&D players), you should be DIS-inclined to believe anything the IDF says.

    America isn't the only so-called civilized place with rightwingnuts who feel threatened by seculars and people who treat myths as myths and not as "historical documents". If anyone here is the risk, it's the guy who actually believes in things like demons and angels, as opposed to the player of a fantasy game who treats them as game elements.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"