ESSAY: WAR GAME, 2014. Originally Produced for The New York Times Magazine
The International Counter-Terrorism Center in Jordan
In the middle of the Jordanian desert, on the outskirts of Amman, near burning countries such as Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, the Jordanian government and the United States work together to create the most advanced International Counter terrorism Training Center: the KASOTC. Here, a unique combination of elite instructors (mostly retired US Special Operators) and advanced technology prepares warriors for the challenge of 21st century armed-conﬂict.
A fully equipped twenty ﬁve square kilometer facility with multiple ranges, moving targets, four ﬂoors, close combat (CQB), live ﬁre facility and the largest simulated city in existence, 67 buildings, which include numerous provisions from an Afghan village to an embassy. Special eﬀects on the battleﬁeld, the smell of corpses, hundreds of cameras, microphones, aiming systems and simulators.
The War Games is the perfect marketing tool to show the world structures and tools of war and, of course, to capture customers (Warriors) all over the world. One week, 35 teams from all over the world, in which they have to demonstrate the power to break into a building, neutralize opponents, rescue hostages, attack a plane, shoot at targets over a thousand meters. The general in the stands cheers for the success of his team, while the oﬃcials comment on the best actions, like in a football match. US Marines and Palestinian Tigers take couscous with their hands from the same plate; Chinese and Austrian shooters comparing their riﬂes; the Saudi and Spanish shock troops exchange daggers, the French paratroopers oﬀer water to their old enemies.