Exactly. Part of the problem here is just that: how are young people supposed to even have the room to grow-up to be ethical adults that can differentiate between forms of violence and non-violence under such circumstances? (Or are they not going to be told that the program is funded by the military?)
So this is a story to pay attention to—and one that journalists as well as scholars should tackle! It brings forth many troubling issues and provocations. Yes, no shit, it is excruciatingly
well known that DARPA initiated what eventually gave us, most famously, the internet itself. Such factoid is often leveraged to justify current work for DARPA, as the case in point might get explained away as. Need it be reminded, though, that now the internet itself has become THE latest battlefield, under fear-mongering rubrics like a "cyber Pearl Harbor," and DARPA is well-involved in next gen cybersecurity? Many people entertain the luxurious idea that scientific research and engineering, paid for by the Department of Defense, can exist in a putative bubble outside of malice or global agression. But that's not the luxury that anyone on the receiving end of Pentagon gizmos has.
Also, the imbrication of the internet with the military is actually of exact relevance to the point made here. Modern life, as almost anyone reading this can attest to, is so thoroughly embedded in the military's countless affairs—from films
—that it is almost impossible to divorce our wars from any form of social progress that does not exact a violent toll on others' bodies. (Where do we draw the line?) And it remains murky how the high school students themselves feel about this creeping militarization in their own schools. But that's not all. DARPA's home, the Pentagon, is also the space, to say this in so many words, of hacker/maker persecution, as emblematized most obviously by the criminalization of Bradley Manning, or several anon'
s. We wait to hear what O'Reilly et al have to say.