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The Virtual War On Terror

by | 20th, February 2007

SEE the motorway driver parking his car. His shoulders slump. His neck winds back in. He craves relaxation. Such are the strains of life on the road.

So he walks into the service station, orders a pot of hot caffeine and taking up a fistful of change feeds it into the driving machine.

See his rage released as she smashes his high-powered virtual racing machine into other drivers, coppers and trees.

And now look on as the stressed-out British squaddie lays down his non-firing gun and removes his melting boots. Like our careworn driver, he needs to take it easy. So he picks up a virtual gun – this one works – and starts blowing the bejeesus out of virtual insurgents in a virtual Iraq.

As the Sun reports, British soldiers returning from stints in Iraq could be offered the chance to relive their experiences in a virtual world.

This is not a chance to desensitise the tired soldier, to make him into an unfeeling robotic killing machine in readiness for a return to the battlefield. This is the chance for the soldier to lay his ghosts to rest.

This is therapy for soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder. As the report says, soldiers are allowed to confront their fears and mental blocks in a controlled environment.

Soldiers are invited to strap on a helmet which projects computer-like images of war to their eyes. The fighter tells his story to a therapist who supplies sounds, sights and smells.

It’s not unlike those Smell-O-Vision movies of the 1960s. And who can forget American film director John Waters’ “Odorama” version of his film Polyester in 1982 (“Smelling is believing”). Waters included scratch and sniff cards that the audience could use while watching the show. Odours included flowers, pizza, glue, grass, and faeces.

What smells are featured in this virtual war are not revealed. But the smell of fear takes on many forms…



Posted: 20th, February 2007 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink