The Morality and 'Politics' of Weapons of War

Yeah…don’t know how I feel about that one. I have colleagues and old classmates from Syria, and all of them have lost someone. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t bought the map yet.


Yeah, seeing the destroyed buildings in Aleppo was heartbreaking.

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Turns out urban combat is no fun IRL. Dave Grossman made some interesting comments about the psychology of killing in combat and the relationship between the distance of the killing. Dropping bombs and zooming off, without actually seeing where and what you hit, is easier psychologically than say using a sniper rifle with a high powered scope, or hand to hand CQB kills. I would argue dropping bombs with the aid of a HD TGP would produce a similar phenomenon.

Brings up a question: Does seeing cities in Normandy/Channel map destroyed have the same reaction? What about any city depicted in the IL2 maps?

I think it goes back to the distance aspect. None of us were alive (probably) to see the horrors of carpet bombed cities of WW2.


Hmm, while I’m not in a rush to simulate current events with the Syria map, I’m more interested in the historical possibilities and what-ifs. I do hope that the destruction is optional and not a permanent fixture, optionally linked to destruction triggers.

By the same token, it’s going to be very hard to get away from this as our maps expand. Looking at the Caucasus for example; how do we reconcile that with what happened in '08? Much the same as I simulate flying and fighting in a Bf-109, I don’t see myself as fighting for any sort of political cause whatsoever. It’s pixels on a screen and while I am very much aware of what the real aircraft was used for historically, I am still able to divorce myself from what happens in the game vice what happened in reality.

It’ll be the same with Syria and Russian aircraft, just the same as it has been in the Caucasus.


I just want to learn to fly the planes. Learn the systems and have fun. I think you could possibly overthink this stuff.
I mean, I’m not in any way belittling the tragedy of these conflicts in these places as its a humanitarian disaster. But this is a game after all is said and done. If we have to start worrying about the political aspect of the hobby are we going too far?


I would be sad if there wasn’t an option to have the buildings intact, but otherwise I don’t mind Syria at all, destroyed or not.


I love the Syria map, because I get to hunt down Assad’s choppers on their way to drop horrors on his own people. Get to fly the awesome history of the Israeli air force, and so on.

To me, these games depict real history. That’s why you’ll never ever see me fly a Messerschmitt. Nor will I fly a hip on a mission to gas rebellious civilians over Syria.

But as these horrible histories of war and atrocities have their bad guys, they also have their good guys. And I love flying those.

I-16 is a prime example of that. To me it’s no clown plane, but a symbol of a heroic underdog struggle against the overwhelming fascist war machines both in Spain and Russia.

Or the spitfire, the pure bloody minded resistance of the British in their finest hour. Every time I look at that machine it’s a reminder of how much thanks we still owe to those few.

Of course history is rarely so simple. There are good people on the bad side, and the good guys commit atrocities as well. Dresden.

Of course more modern history is even harder to see as just a story about the eternal struggle of good against bad. It’s why I rather fly pure fantasy scenarios with the modern jets, or exercises.

I know, I’m skirting dangerously close to the edge of the acceptably political here. Weapons of war are political, for war is the continuation of politics when words fail. I personally can not deny the political nature of the machine I simulate.


In old IL2, there was a honest to goodness full-blooded Russian who’s grandfather flew IL-2s in the GPW and he always picked the Bf-109. Was his favorite plane.

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Its a really interesting subject to discuss. I’m of the opposite mindset. I see the atrocities as committed by the person, not the machine. I feel by separation we can appreciate the beauty of the creation and not its intended use or destructive nature. I can look at a tiger tank and see the craftsmanship, but I never forget what it was for. I know the monsters who ordered its creation and the world it was intended for. But it was mostly driven by guys like you and me. People pressed into service and people with families doing what they were told to or what they thought was right at the time.
Machines are beautiful. Its the humans behind them who suck


I never had a problem with disassociation in the old version of 1946 until they added the atomic bomb mod. That mod was one I could never bring myself to utilize. I know it is just pixels and a video game but that was my over the line limit…


To each their own. I honestly don’t hold it against anyone if they like their 109s. Live and let live.

Beautifully made point. I don’t even disagree at all. That’s why I can respect and love someone who blasts my beautiful spitfire to pieces with a masterfully flown Messerschmitt. I’ll even quote German fliers of that era from time to time :wink:

To me it’s a feeling. An emotional reaction. A stuka is not something I can easily see as separate from the way and ends to which it was used. This one might very well consider a personal failing. I heard Messers are great fun and gorgeously engineered machines but my odd personality quirks preclude me from partaking.

I am looking forward to reenacting the famous wars from the area, Yom kippur etc. But mainly I will be doing my bit against Isis, they are the legitimate enemy of all of us I would think

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I just wanna fly jets. It’s not that complicated. My simulated battles don’t hurt anyone, besides I am usually the one that dies…


Thats the most important thing though isn’t it. Thats what makes you the super man you are. I just see it as nuts and bolts and metal hammered into pretty shapes. You see the humanity within it all. I really respect and admire that

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Who knew you guys could talk about this so elequently? I have to agree with everything above. Here are my caviats. There are no good guys and bad guys when speaking in general terms. Let us remember that one mans Revolutionary is another mans Freedom Fighter. I read a few books written by guys on the “Bad” side. I an tell you that none said to me “I was a monster then I got to kill people”. People are people and young men grew up in the 30s romantizicing war. And what could be more romantic than thinking of yourself as a knight of the air. I read “I flew for the Fuhrer” by Heinz Knook. It was a real story about an ordinary man. I read “Samurai”. Saburo Sakai was a hero in any eyes and a decent man. His book is a MUST READ. I’ve read many accounts of allied pilots too and I learned war is ugly no matter what.
So I said all that to say this:
Its about the machines. Its about the history. Its about the pleasure of flying against worthy opponents that make you push aircraft and skill to the edge. Everytime I fly around Syria, I will think about what happened there. I will however be thinking of the history and the adventures of young men in thier flying machines.


Wow. This just cost me all of a whopping 89 cents on Kindle. What wondrous times we live in.


And I am so happy you spent that coin! Guaranteed to be read more than once.

In sims I’m always a pilot fighting for my side against the other side. What side it is never matters, it’s all abstract. I’ve dropped all types of weapons on all types of military targets, but I’ve never attacked civilian ones. Mostly because I don’t find them interesting, but I also suppose because I see militaries as fair game and civilians as not.

Funny how TK addressed that with his fictional Parani in SF, a place that never existed so there was no baggage attached, just Western and Eastern equipment fighting a proxy war with no ramifications.


And this is the central truth that so many developers are struggling with at the moment. There is no question that there is an appetite for video games about armed conflict. Modern Warfare’s reboot was Iraq in everything but name. Game developers are increasingly using fictitious settings in these games to prevent political blowback (i’m looking at you, Ubisoft). It is silly and somewhat disheartening this happens, because it indicates a lack of maturity in the people who criticize the decision to feature real-life conflicts in entertainment media while also demonstrating a lack of fortitude in the developers of the product.

The politics and statecraft behind war cannot legitimately be ignored by the entertainment industry. That industry can, however, grossly misrepresent those events, something that happens frequently if past track records are anything to go by. I think that may be the concern that many may have about this particular product.

Maybe it is time that developers, when creating these products, do better homework. Meticulous research and accuracy may become the most important production values that go into product development. We do not know what kind of homework Ugra Media did on Syria; we may suspect certain things, but it is not necessarily fair to presume anything. I tend to err on the side of creative license and artistic freedom. Let the market determine how appropriate a product is. This is why there is no meatloaf-flavored ice cream.