Certainly not patriotism or nationalism. The game was about how people who seek glory or to become heroes are monsters themselves. And it shows that involving yourself in an impossible situation just makes things worse. And that the harder you try to justify your mistakes, the more you create. It also criticizes the modern military video game genre for being childish and glorifying war. Games like Call of Duty have you "playing soldier" without showing you what really happens in war.
This figure was painted by the Dubai refugees. It is obviously open to interpretation, but it seems to be criticizing the 33rd for their "help". The 33rd came into Dubai to be heroes and try to save lives, but they couldn't. And instead of leaving, they stayed and kept trying, in vain, to be heroes, and this only caused more death. It's the only game I've ever played that is anti-war.
So unless he was being ironic when he said "'MERICA", every message was lost on him.
It's true that Arma is unique. Probably because it was not made by a big name publisher. Arma is realistic in a different way: Arma is a combat simulator, and a damn good one. Spec Ops: the Line is not an accurate simulator at all, but it does have a story that ingeniously teaches the player the ethics of war.
That's funny, no professional critic shares your opinion. Tell me exactly where in the game it is illogical, and what is your example of a game that doesn't use "wooden-club, to beat the player on his head". I would like to hear these things. And you say the message is bluntly obvious: tell me, what message was that? Because there was more than one. And I don't think you got all of them.
Finally, you DID make a choice. I love the reaction of all the COD kiddies who played it and then got mad because "the game MADE me do those things, how dare it accuse me of being responsible?"
I love how the game does NOT have clear moral choices; that's the point. Especially in war, there is no clear "right" answer. And there was always a choice. Like when Konrad speaks basically directly to the player (who is represented with Walker)
"What happened here was out of my control." "Was it? None of this would have happened if you had just stopped! But on you marched. And for what?" "We tried to save you." "You're no savior; your talents lie elsewhere." "This isn't my fault!" "It takes a strong man to deny what's right in front of him. And if the truth is undeniable, you create your own. The truth, Walker, is that you're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not: a hero. I'm here because you couldn't accept what happened. It broke you. You needed someone to blame. So you cast it on me. A dead man."
"I didn't mean to hurt anybody..." "No one ever does, Walker."
That's what I love. The player DID have choice; they could have stopped playing and stopped killing innocents, but you kept going because you wanted to find a justification so that they could be the hero like in all the other games. And instead of owning up to it, you blamed the game. Just like Walker blamed Konrad.