The Taser's Edge

Ah, the Heroism of Suicide Bombers (as Entertainment)

Halo: Reach for Xbox 360 (as of 9/14 being sold out internationally) is not the first piece of mass entertainment to obscure the morality of suicide bombing by portraying it as heroic service (in my own short memory, that would be Independence Day), but it is the latest:

Yes, there is a different set of moral questions when the target for the suicide bomber is, we assume, military rather than civilian.  But weaponizing the human body and turning it into an instrument of death has a whole load of of moral issues which we are expected not to think about in this ad for a video game.

Cue the heroic music.  Cue slow motion.  Be caught up in the moment.  Whatever you do, don’t think about what you’re seeing.

In Independence Day‘s alcoholic crop duster’s case, his suicide is his redemption for a wasted life, as we are probably to assume that his protesting son will one day realize.  In Halo: Reach, it might even be worse.  Sprinting hero gets hit and falls.  Will the hero survive?  It doesn’t matter.  The hero doesn’t matter, only the bomb.  Another expendable drone arrives to ‘save’ the day.

For this post, I can only hint at the hair’s breadth difference there is between weaponizing the human body in an overt way–as suicide bomber–and in a covert way, as member of the military.