Friday, March 28, 2003

Command and Conquest: Iraq edition -- out soon for XBox? 

So what does it mean for students to support the war but not know where Iraq is or who Tommy Franks is? Karen Hunter laments the ignorance of reality among students who spend hours playing war sims on their computers. I think most ignorance is rational -- there is little benefit to them of knowing who is the commander of the troops in the Iraq theater, because they have little concern over the outcome of the war and it is unlikely that the war matters to them when (and if) they vote. We always seem to assume that everyone should be as informed as we are, but we have separate sets of concerns and interests and so we take in distinct flows of information. Most people who are informed about the minutiae of the conflict, I suspect, would call themselves news junkies or military game players or some other special interest.

A long war with more casualties than we expect will probably increase identification of Iraq and General Franks. Perhaps we should take comfort in the ignorance.