The CIA operative granting me an interview today gives me no further details about himself apart from ‘Agent in Charge of Drone Command’. I ask for the reasons that they have set up the Couch Heroes Initiative.
‘Well, I think it is a good example of joined-up thinking and came about through a mixture of idealistic and pragmatic reasons really. Idealistically we wanted to provide the opportunity for more noble young American citizens to bravely take a stand against cowardly terrorists operating to overthrow our great nation. Our brave hero warrior gamers, on couches from Florida to Alaska, will be forming our new frontline of defense against terror by remotely operating our arsenal of drones.
Pragmatically with cuts in the defense budget, we thought why pay CIA operatives to effectively play video games at Drone Command Center when most of the population are already sitting on their couches playing video games for free?’
I’ve now come to the suburban house of a newly appointed Couch Hero, Dean. He is in his late teens, and a little overweight. He sits slumped on a couch in his sitting room, games console in hand. Candy wrappers are spread out over his lap and a bottle of cola is clasped between his thighs.
On the flat-screen TV in front of him is the grainy view of a house and compound in a dusty landscape. The compound has been reduced to rubble, and dust and smoke stream from the ruins.
Dean, ‘Wait, wait, this is the best bit. I call it a double whammy, look, look, they always fall for this, those stupid towel heads’.
On the screen men and women have rushed over to the smoking rubble to pull out survivors from the first explosion. A woman can be seen pulling out what looks like an infant, or part of an infant and trying to make a run for it.
Dean presses the red button on his joy stick,
‘Wham, you suckers’
A massive explosion turns the TV screen white then as the dust settles there are bodies lying strewn across the ground motionless. Dean offers me a ‘High Five’.
‘Yeah!!!! Eat dust you f**kers, that’s payback for 7/11’.
Dean’s mother shouts in from the kitchen, ‘Dean, what have I told you about language in front of guests and its 9/11’
Dean, ‘Mom, Mom, can we get pizza? I’m starving. Being a couch hero is hungry work’.
Dean’s older brother, Tommy, swaggers in from the yard. He doesn’t seem to be that enthralled with his brother’s new role as a Couch Hero.
Tommy, ‘That game sucks. I didn’t feel much of a hero when I tried it. It’s boring. The enemy doesn’t stand a chance. I just press a button and I blow them up, over and over again. They don’t even have time to fire their AK 47s at the drone in a futile attempt to save their family from death. The worst that can happen to me is that I sprain my thumb on the joy stick.
I prefer games where the odds are more even, or games featuring chicks with big boobs’.
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