Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Just days ahead of the ninth Sept. 11 anniversary, controversy has erupted about Electronic Arts’ forthcoming “Medal of Honor” game in which players can become Taliban and shoot NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

EA doesn’t boast about the fact that in the multi-player part of the game that people can take out U.S. Special Forces, soldiers, Marines and airmen along with their NATO allies.

Shame on them.

An Associated Press story notes that gamers “scoff” at the criticism about players being able to take out U.S. troops.

Shame on you, too.

Where is the respect that is due the volunteers who go into harm’s way so we can continue to enjoy freedom of the press, speech and religion at home?

Remember the outrage that erupted about Raleigh-based Atomic Games’ scuttled “Falluja” title that was created with the help of U.S. Marines?

Where is the public outrage about "Medal of Honor?"

We’re not calling for censorship here – just common sense. The nine-year-old war on terror is an open wound for the world, and seeing gaming companies such as EA exploit it for profit is just sickening.

EA, which operates a studio in the Triangle, should have known that making NATO soldiers targets would spark some anger. But, hey, if it helps sales, why not?

Those who saw “The Kingdom” movie no doubt remember the scene in which the FBI investigator walks through a videogame arcade in Saudi Arabia where players were actively shooting U.S. soldiers.

Disturbing, to say the least. But realistic, too. Not everyone loves America, even here at home.

But why do gaming companies have to fan the flames of war with titles about Iraq and Afghanistan?

Gaming company sales are dropping. Maybe in their search for profits they have gone too far.

Personally, I hope "Medal of Honor" flops.

EA has published many games that are worthy of the "Medal of Honor" legacy in this country.

The latest one is not.

Kudos to the military folks who have the good sense to ban its sale.

After all, the price of freedom is blood.

Seeing U.S. and NATO blood splattered on a monitor for entertainment’s sake just makes me sick.

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