Sunday, January 23, 2005

Queer eye for the bad guys

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I'm a pacifist regarding international conflict. I believe that nations should resolve almost every confrontation through nonviolent means, particularly if that nonviolence involves not fighting each other. That's Diplomacy Rule No. 1.

Diplomacy Rule No. 2: when it comes to global friction, apply lotion to the globe's affected areas.

It's not that I'm a wuss -- I'm just willing to turn the other cheek. Try it yourself. Call me a wuss. I may even turn both cheeks at you.

My pacifism stems from my belief that life is too precious a gift to be squandered through needless violence. I don't want to see anybody hurt anywhere for any reason. Except for a few people. Six, maybe -- six, seven. They can rot in hell for all I care. Apart from those walking parasites, we owe it to future generations to provide a good example of the heights of benevolence to which humanity can soar. Eight, tops.

So I was thrilled to hear that America actually has military personnel dedicated to waging non-lethal war.

It's a great idea. If America is going to "liberate" other countries like Iraq, we have a moral obligation to do so in a way that kills as few "liberees" as possible. Wait. "Liberees"? Is it "liberees"? "Liberaces"? "Free-ees"? I used to know this one.

Anyway, I read a Reuters news service story from Jan. 16 that said there's a department at the Pentagon called the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. It spearheads the development of weapons that don't slaughter the enemy -- just tease them into not fighting anymore. Which essentially gives you the same peaceful result without the pesky guilt and college campus protests.

According to the story, recently declassified documents show that back in 1994 the military "suggested using chemicals that could be sprayed on enemy positions to attract stinging and biting bugs, rodents and larger animals."

That there's my kind of war, man. Summon the very beasts to fight for us! Given our situation in Iraq, the mental picture this conjures is too delightful to ignore. You can't reason with the insurgents, and the more of them we kill, the more just follow their cause, so we need a new way of thinking. Like Operation: When Animals Attack.

We could find the insurgents' strongholds and conjure flocks of rodents to gross them out. Or maybe even bears to scare them and swipe their pick-a-nick baskets. Or a plague of locusts if that wouldn't be a separation of church and state issue. Best of all, nobody gets hurt too bad, except perhaps the odd locust.

Soon enough, the insurgents would get the picture -- we have the entire animal kingdom on our side.

Unfortunately, the military rejected this idea. Likewise, they nixed another proposal that involved "creating 'severe and lasting halitosis' to help sniff out fighters trying to blend in with civilians." Probably because people who live in stone hovels in the middle of the desert with no food or running water aren't known for their minty-fresh breath as it is.

The strangest idea the military rejected was developing an aphrodisiac "to spur homosexual activity among enemy troops."

The point being?

"We feel it's very important to offer our deployed service members and their commanders a greater range of options in dealing with increasingly complex operational environments," said Marine Capt. Dan McSweeny of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate.

In other words: Hee hee!

A Department of Defense spokesman said the so-called gay bomb was "rejected out of hand," because pinpointing the enemy afterward required readily available but unreliable "gaydar" technology.

Strategist analysts also ran post-war scenarios. You know -- after two insurgents spot each other across a crowded bunker and spend an evening just gazing at the stars and talking about their dreams. Classic insurgent meets insurgent, insurgent loves insurgent, insurgent breaks insurgent's heart, insurgent vows never again to fall for another pair of brown eyes and U.S. Army surplus rocket-propelled grenade launcher, but finds himself suddenly seeing his best friend who has helped him through the heartache -- really seeing him for the first time, this partner who was always there with kind words and a shoulder to cry on -- and insurgent realizes the person he's been running away from his entire life has been himself, so the two make beautiful music, settle down in the suburbs and raise little insurgents of their own.

Military planners also foresaw problems with "Operation: Village People" when, of course, the newly freed population would demand same-sex marriage rights. Thus offending a bunch of crotchety prudes who also love freedom.

And if you don't ask about the repercussions for "friendly fire" situations, I won't tell.

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