Apache gunship. (CCTV photo)
Soldiers in China’s People’s Liberation Army are training for a possible future conflict through the assistance of a video game featuring U. S. soldiers as the enemy.
A report by China’s CCTV television shows PLA officers in front of screens that have M16-wielding soldiers and Apache gunships as potential targets.
Retired military veteran Bill Watkins sees something ominous in the PLA producing a game with American targets.
“In 1967, I predicted war with China in 50 years, as we slowly withdrew from the Western Pacific. I said we’d lose that war, leading to remilitarization of Japan, leading to nuclear war between China and Japan, wrecking both and allowing for the growth in 400 years or so the rise of the next world civilization, based on Indonesia.”
He adds that he was severely criticized because of his prediction.
“Although the possibility of that war with China has become fixed in the public mind recently (I was called every name in the book when I first made that prediction), it has grown somewhat less likely in my mind,” he told WND.
U.S. soldiers are targets in Chinese video training. (CCTV photo)
The game raises the issues of tactics, strategy and military training. Military analyst Greg Vose reflects on his training and observes that the U. S. may be returning to realistic, non-politically correct training.
“On occasion we got away from silly politically correct fake countries and fought the North Koreans on our staff exercises and simulations. They were not trigger puller simulations, but then they didn’t exist back then beyond expensive tank simulators,” Vose said.
“If I remember correctly the old tank simulators, the SIMNET, used easily recognizable Soviet equipment. In short – I would expect them to use the U.S. as an OPFOR [opposition force]. Now that the National Training Center at Fort Irwin is going back to old school ‘Force on Force’ training I hope they start to incorporate Chinese tactics for the OPFOR as well,” Vise also stated.
Center for Strategic and International Studies defense analyst James Lewis says the video game
may actually expose a division in the Chinese government.
“It’s interesting because a couple of times now in China, what I’ve seen and actually heard from some PLA officers is that there might be a split between the PLA which is very nationalistic and sees the U. S. as an opponent and the civilian government which is interested in cooperation and finding ways to keep both economies growing,” Lewis said.
“What I saw was the tension; the Chinese don’t want to admit to it. If you ask them, on the record, they’ll say there’s no difference between the party and the PLA,” Lewis explained.
“Frankly I think there is and there’s a growing tension in Chinese policy making between the civilians who realize the relationship with the U. S. is crucial and the PLA,” Lewis continued.
Lewis says policy differences between the military and the civilian government are common in most countries. He’s says the military needs “an enemy.”
“They need an opponent to justify their budget increases. They need an opponent to justify some of their political influence,” Lewis added.
Lewis said military planners aren’t very good at determining the next enemy, but U.S. planners have not completely neglected the Chinese military threat.
Watkins agrees, saying that U. S. military planners have kept an eye on China’s growing military power.
“The U.S. military does try to look one war ahead. They do seem to be doing more than general planning for a war with China. I get the feeling there may not be that much focus on infantry warfare,” Watkins observed.
In actual game play, the game is like the American-made “Call of Duty” series and raises questions about how the U. S. should respond to this potential threat.
Intelligence analyst Dwight Rider says this may not be a “nefarious” Chinese plot.
“It’s probably nothing more than trying to make the game more realistic. At worst, it might reflect some subconscious concern on the part of the designer expressing his concerns. As a threat, to the Chinese, the U.S. serviceman is probably the ultimate ‘boogey man,'” Rider said.
“The action against Bin Laden probably only serves to reinforce their fears. The game is probably something that no one thought would ever become an issue,” Rider said.
Rider said even though the creation of the game may not be as sinister as some analysts have stated, using U.S. personnel falls within the boundaries of traditional military training.
“Throughout history, military leaders have sought to ‘dehumanize’ their enemy so that soldiers can look upon their adversary as something less than human, and something worthy of contempt,” Rider observed.
“You hear often that the U.S. fight against the Japanese in WWII was a race war, but it was no less so for the Japanese. The same held true for the Germans against the Soviets, and vice-versa,” he said.
Rider states that he doesn’t think the Chinese People’s Liberation Army needed to make a game to demonize their potential enemy.
“Though it could be some effort on their part to dehumanize a potential adversary, I do not think that it would require a game, or the investment of large amounts of money to accomplish the same thing through several public statements on the part of commanders to influence their soldiers,” Rider said.
“Consider that while the commander might seek to dehumanize the enemy to make himself more comfortable in killing them, the individual soldier is seeking the same thing. I cannot recall an army at any time in history that had any difficulty in creating contempt for his enemy,” Rider added.
Rider says that U.S. officials have a recourse to counter the impact of the Chinese video game.
“If you really wanted to take some action to show the Chinese that you disapprove, the best way would be to get copies of the game and use it in our training. There would be nothing better to show them dishonor is if our soldiers can use the game, and win against it,” Rider suggested.
Military specialist Greg Vose says there is one area where China poses an even greater threat to the United States.
“I bet the Chinese can tap on the keyboard a bit and simulate driving north into Siberia fighting Russians, too. Now what is scary is not them fighting a digitized 1st CAV but their government not buying our debt. That is scary and a lot more realistic of a threat,” Vose stated.
WND reported just weeks ago about a long-delayed film about Chinese invaders taking over the U.S. to help “fix” America’s broken economy that had undergone a digital makeover, removing the allusions to China in fear, some report, of offending the Asian nation’s $1.5-billion box office.
As WND reported, the movie was expected to be a hard-core remake of the original communism-bashing “Red Dawn” of two decades back – where Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze staged a shoot-’em-up against invading Russians in the Colorado mountains – only this time, with Chinese invaders.
But now, several Hollywood sources report, the filmmakers at MGM have hired digital artists to change all the film’s Chinese flags and symbols to North Korean.
Poster plastered on American streets in scene from remake of “Red Dawn,” before digital alteratio
“Potential distributors are nervous about becoming associated with the finished film,” reports the Los Angeles Times, “concerned that doing so would harm their ability to do business with the rising Asian superpower, one of the fastest-growing and potentially most lucrative markets for American movies, not to mention other U.S. products.”