Black Friday Is Almost Here!
The Inventory team is rounding up deals you don’t want to miss, now through Cyber Monday. Click here to browse!

U.S. Navy Tells Its Twitch Streamers To Respond Like Whiny Cowards When Asked About War Crimes

Illustration for article titled U.S. Navy Tells Its Twitch Streamers To Respond Like Whiny Cowards When Asked About War Crimes
Graphic: U.S. Navy

The saga of the United States military’s attempts to recruit young people by streaming on Twitch is full of twists and turns. Over the summer, the Army and Navy’s Twitch channels were flooded with messages about America’s copious war crimes, questions that almost always resulted in bans. But since these bans arguably straddled the line of free speech violations, the Navy is asking its streamers to adopt a different tactic when viewers bring up the military’s past atrocities: act like complete fucking babies about it.

Advertisement

In training documents acquired by journalist Micah Loewinger, the Navy details how it wants its streamers to react to questions about the United States military, specifically the common “What’s your favorite U.S. war crime?” question that continues to plague these channels. I never expected the grunts they put in front of a camera to sell kids on conducting imperialism to have meaningful conversations, but I’m still surprised by how whiny and feckless they come off.

Advertisement

One response reads,

“I am here to hang out with people like me who love gaming. If you want to know more about my life in the Navy, I am happy to discuss. But I will not speak on behalf of others.”

They are very much not streaming just to meet and chat with fellow gamers. As with military recruitment at esports and other gaming events, these Twitch streams are all about putting a friendly face on an inherently predatory act, not to mention one that overwhelmingly targets those from poor and minority backgrounds.

Another option:

“If you have concerns about Navy policies or actions, I suggest you contact the Federal Elected Officials from your state.”

Advertisement

Sorry folks, “I’m just following orders” isn’t going to work here.

“I’m here to play games. I have no interest in engaging in personal attacks.”

Further into the training documents provided by Loewinger, the Twitch streamers are taught to tell viewers that their views are entirely their own and do not represent the Navy as a whole. Weird how as soon as someone brings up, oh I don’t know, the United States massacring civilians in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War or retreating Kuwaitis in the first Gulf War, it becomes a personal attack.

“I understand that some people here oppose the military and have no interest in a Navy career. But for those who are curious about what it’s like to serve, let’s talk.”

Advertisement

Yep, folks oppose the military in the same nonchalant way they dislike pistachio ice cream or prefer blue over red. It’s not that our taxes are disproportionately given to an organization that murders and rapes its way through sovereign nations in our names. Just a simple difference of opinion.

Despite the attempts of politicians like congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to keep the United States military from recruiting on Twitch, it seems like channels from the Army and Navy are here to stay. And as with every carefully planned marketing strategy, it’s obvious these organizations are going to want their propagandists to stay on message rather than dispute viewers. It’s almost as if there’s no arguing that our armed forces are a force for evil in this world. It’s almost as if there’s no defense for their presence on Twitch.

Advertisement

It’s almost as if they plan to continue committing war crimes in perpetuity, hoping that a few streamers shouting, “Poggers!” as they mow down virtual insurgents in Call of Duty can continue to provide grist for the meat grinder.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

The Twitch channel is a recruiting tool for the Navy, it’s not there as a debate outlet. So it’s to be expected that any toxic questions get a soft response. Also, it’s easy for lightly educated kids to sit behind a keyboard and throw out claims of “war crimes” without needing to answer for context or validity. In the wars with other countries that the US has been involved in, the war crimes against the US exceeded anything the US did. It’s cherry picking and ignorance of historical facts to think otherwise. Just one simple example; the Vietcong in the Vietnamese War often used captured US troops to clear minefields by leading the way. If the blew up, grab another one. There are numerous examples like this in every conflict the US has been in. So there needs to be some education of history before throwing out trollish and ignorant complaints of war crimes.  Not that they are innocent, but in war sometimes these things happen both ways.  And if the enemy is committing war crimes against you, sometimes revenge overcomes restraint.