ArticlesOnline Exclusive

Chances are Necessary – Tom Clancy, Computer Games and Blue America


To play a game is to engage in a certain kind of interaction. War is a game. The rules have to be rules of a game, and it may be initially regarded as a gamble. The more chances you have, the less skills are necessary, and vice versa. Therefore, chances are necessary. So it is, of course, always heartening to see one´s field of study find use in another one.

The doctrine of decision-making in a game is a doctrine based on an opponent’s capabilities. A gamer is enjoined to select the course of action which offers the greatest promise of success in view of the enemy’s capabilities. The process of decision-making is formalized in analysis. Let´s call it an Estimate of the Situation. These steps must be followed: Step 1 – the Mission, Step 2 – Situation, Step 3 – Analysis of the Opposing Courses of Action, Step 4 – Comparison of Available Courses of Action, Step 5 – Decision.

However, most people are not (born) players. So the question arises how to convince the majority to play. From the psychological point of view, the basic conflict we face is one between wanting to hold on to the status quo, wanting to return to the womb, to hide, to be fatalistic, or to face the world by accepting change as a challenge. Both antipodes can be abused. Both antipodes are abused. The symbolic antipode of the return to the womb was basically abused by fascist regimes – \war as the eternal father, death as the eternal mother. The symbolic antipode of accepting change is abused by the computer game industry and the military industrial complex – War as a Game, Death as acceptable bad luck.

Tom Clancy’s computer games are coming up with monosyllabic fighting machines, poor but steady character-development, pornographic satellite technology and neoconservative ideologemes. Born in Baltimore on April 12, 1947 to a mailman and his wife, Clancy entered Loyola College as a physics major, but switched later to English. He later said that he wasn’t smart enough for science, although he clearly mastered it well enough in his fiction. He resided in Calvert County, Md., and in 1993 Clancy joined a group of investors led by Baltimore attorney Peter Angelos and comic book distributor Steve Geppi.

Clancy is mostly associated with the Reagan years, and for good reason. He was part of a pop culture outpouring, which also included the Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun”, that marked an inflection point in American attitudes towards the military. Ronald Reagan and his first defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, restructured the American armed forces. New weapons systems were introduced – F-15, F-16, and F-18 fighters, B-2 stealth aircraft, Abrams tanks, Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. So too were new personnel. Drug use declined because of widespread drug testing, while the quality of recruits increased. By 1990, 97 percent of incoming US-soldiers were high school graduates.

Clancy was smart enough to sense this new attitude and to lead it further in a positive direction, beginning with his thriller “The Hunt for Red October”. And he was even smarter. 3 years after the book, the computer-game “The Hunt for Red October” was issued. By 1996, together with his technical advisor, Doug Littlejohns, he founded “Red Storm Entertainment”. One year later the first game “Politika” hit the market. It appeared with a novel of the same name. Clancy has never been discreet. In “Politika”, the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin dies, leaving a political vacuum. Eight factions then try to seize power for themselves.

Clancy lacks charisma, and as a writer he is no John Le Carre but he made himself a brand before such a concept was standard for internet entrepreneurs, and he helped change the business of being a “novelist” into that of being a “producer”.

The structure of his books can be excellently transferred to the structure of a computer game. In his games, Clancy glorifies the technological amor itself, producing a sense of improbability that grants the gamer permission to take pleasure in the tall-telling of a best-man-wins fight to the death. It contains a display, injecting the cybernetic recombinants of bodies and machines with organic human consciousness in order either to justify or denounce the power motivating intelligence technologies. His games simulate an epistemology, a way of extracting knowledge from the atmosphere (through satellites, sonar, and other extrasensory marvels of detection) and from the playing body (training, torture, and temptation). It represents a mode of writing, a way of inscribing bodies with the knowledge produced by the policies and a way of proliferating that knowledge through intervention in the media. The informatics of domination operates on cybernetic rather than human bodies, displacing the biopolitics of Foucault onto a simulacra of politics. According to Foucault, governments in the modern period extended control over the lives of individuals through the professed adoption of the function of maintaining those lives. This function made regimes more dependent upon discursive fiction, as the unmediated transformation of individual bodies into testimonies to power conflicted with the alleged life-giving function. Clandestine operations and secret military technology occlude a vast network lethal weaponry, maintaining the cold war illusion of a superpower predicated on détente. In each case, computer-war-game or real-war-game, the device of disappearance conceals the agency behind the repressive apparatus while at the same time effectively undermining through erasure the agency of the object of repression.

In plain words – the average gamer is celebrating his own repression and increases his own alienation. Normally, he is between 18 and 60 years old. His income distribution is broad. But the majority of them belong to the term “Nice Guy”.

A Nice Guy seeks approval from others. Everything a Nice Guy does or says is at some level calculated to gain someone´s approval or avoid disapproval. He avoids conflicts in real life and tends to analyze rather than feel. This creates a constant need to try to control the people and things around him. But most of all, a nice guy is full of rage. He frequently denies ever getting angry, a lifetime of frustration and resentment creates a pressure cooker of repressed rage deep inside of him. This rage needs a valve: computer games.

So it is necessary that the sociopathic gaming heroes in Clancy’s books and computer games are camouflaged as Nice Guys. Let´s take Jack Ryan as an example. As an Everyman, Ryan works at a desk, gets airsick and seasick and desperately wants to finish his missions in time to get home to his wife and kids, because otherwise they could be disappointed. On the other hand, he is rational, cold blooded and accurate. His superiors describe him like this: “Ryan had the ability to sort through a pile of data and come out with three or four facts that meant something. This was too rare a thing at the CIA. Analysts had none of the supposed glamor – a Hollywood-generated illusion – of a secret agent in a foreign land.”

Clancy’s heroes always have names that are rooted in the soil: Ding Chavez (Rainbow Six), Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell) and so on. Very nice.

The Nice Guy’s tragedy is not simply that he feels – this is merely the common “fate” of all people who exist -. but that he is not allowed to express his emotions in public. His education makes that very difficult. This is the perfect psychological base to spread Tom Clancy’s view of the world: explosive economic growth in Asia, the implosion of socialism in the former Soviet Union and throughout eastern Europe, and the partial recovery of the political and economic hegemony of the United States in the world´s markets have combined to create a variety of new fronts of capitalist activity and military action. While the dream of pop music promises that you can to become a star without any talent, the dream of Tom Clancy allows you to kill without shame because you are on a mission.

It has become socially desirable to kill innocent victims. If violence in military-computer-games were a form of sublimation, and if it were at all effective, then per capita violence should be going down. Instead it has multiplied. It has long been understood that movies can have a negative effect on a society through this role-modeling process. For example, the movie “Birth of a Nation” has been widely and plausibly credited with the revival of the Ku Klux Klan. But today there is a new kind of hero in computer-games, a hero who operates inside a game but outside moral boundaries. Having been desensitized by the kinds of games outlined above, a growing portion of the population is then willing to accept role models who kill entirely without reason. The vicarious reinforcement here is not even vengeance for supposed social slights, but simply slaughter and suffering for its own sake and, ultimately, for the sake of power.

Wayne Lapierre also had a profound and original thought, which may well go down in posterity: “And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games with names like ´Bulletstorm´, ´Grand Theft Auto´, ´Mortal Kombat´ and ´Splatterhouse´. And here’s one: it’s called ´Kindergarten Killers´. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?”

His truth is certainly elusive, it has eluded you, it has eluded the gamers, it has eluded everybody who heard his words at the NRA conference in Newtown on December 21, 2012. Mr.Lapierre even eluded one of his best friends – Tom Clancy.

By 1994 Wayne Lapierre and Tom Clancy wrote the book: “Guns, Crime and Freedom” and their motives are simpler to understand than their ultimate intentions. Wayne Lapierre, vice president of the NRA, supports the establishment of armed security personnel at all US schools and hosts the weekly TV program “Crime Strike” which deals with fire arm use for the purpose of self-defense. Tom Clancy’s books and games often had heroes who defied orders in the name of saving lives by killing the bad guys. In the same year Clancy also produced the novel “Debt of Honor”: Japan, led by hard-boiled nationalists goes to war with the United States. Following Japan’s defeat at the hands of the United States, the pilot of a Japan Air Lines 747 decides to fly his plane into the Capitol dome killing just about the entire American government.

Until 9/11, Tom Clancy was quite busy bringing out the TV Show “The Op Center”. Set in his own universe, the Op Center is the US crisis operations center, headed by Paul Hood, played by Harry Hamlin. In addition to the Op Center series, Clancy and Steve Pieczenik co-created “Net Force” starring Scott Bakula as Alex Michaels. Both series had successful paperback runs.

Tom Clancy met Steve Pieczenik back in the 1980s because he needed a hostage negotiator. Pieczenik is a psychiatrist and worked in crisis negotiation during the tenures of Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker. His first work was an article published 1975 in the “American Journal of Psychiatry”. After that he worked for the “Council on Foreign Relations”, a think tank specializing in US foreign policy. At the same time he also started to work for “Red Storm Entertainment”.

After 9/11, both Clancy and Pieczenik became paranoid. Both switched ideologically from a neoconservative point of view to the world of the John Birch Society and the sovereign citizen movement. Pieczenik had three interviews with Alex Jones. Pieczenik claimed that Osama Bin Laden had died of Marfan syndrome in 2001 shortly after 9/11, and that the attacks on the United States were part of a false flag operation. He also claimed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is still alive and he finally claimed that Israel planned to initiate war with Iran during Yom Kippur 2012 unless ex-Mossad agents assassinated Benjamin Netanyahu. Clancy commented on the attacks in September 2001 with the following words: “Four planes? That many people willing to die for the same cause at the same time? If any writer had turned in a story like this, the publisher would have just handed it back and said, ‘No way. Not believable.'” He never commented on the failures of Steve Perczenik.

Tom Clancy died in October 2013. A few days after his death, Mr. Garrow had an interview with Alex Jones. Dr. Jim Garrow is the executive director of “The Bethune Institute”, a charitable organization dedicated to advancing education in China. He is also credited for saving the lives of over 50,000 Chinese girls for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He claimed in the Alex Jones radio show that he was a CIA agent, that Barrack Obama himself fired him, and that the 44th president of USA ordered the killing of Tom Clancy.

One year earlier, Wikileaks held a press conference in London to discuss the “Stratfor Files”. It introduced a list of terms and definitions: “Every profession and industry has its own vocabulary. Using baseball terms to explain a football game is tough. These are some of the terms we use.” According to this document, a “Clancy” is “Somebody who has read a lot of Tom Clancy novels and thinks he knows the Craft. Total moron.”


Related Posts

  • Mark Harrison tells Neil Transpontine about the origins of Spiral Tribe, their crucial role in formenting early 1990s free parties and teknivals, and what they did next… and are still doing 1. Spiral Tribe, and similar sound systems brought a different energy into the post-acid house scene, it felt like…

2 thoughts on “Chances are Necessary – Tom Clancy, Computer Games and Blue America

  • Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.

  • What’s up too very one, the contents existing at this site are in fact amazing for peope experience,
    well, keep uup the nice work fellows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.