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« June 2007 »

Memo to the Pentagon: I HAVE IDEAS.

Man, there are times when even I realize I am in the wrong fucking line of work. It happens whenever I see other people getting paid large sums of money for shit I know I could do. And not just in that delusional way some people talk about actors or pro wrestlers, I mean shit I could actually do.

You know, like think up gay bombs.

This is one of those stories I know I saw when it first came out, and couldn't believe I hadn't mocked already. But an extensive search of the archives on the word "bomb" revealed nothing but an obsessive fascination with neutron bomb references. So here we go. The Pentagon. Of the United States. Wanted to build a bomb. That made the enemy gay.

It was part of a non-lethal weapons proposal from Wright Laboratory, run by the Air Force out of Dayton, Ohio. The idea was to create a chemical weapon that, when released, would make enemy troops incredibly horny for each other, causing them to abandon their mission for lots of hot gay sex. You know, like every pizza delivery guy in every porn video ever. It's the kind of idea that makes you think it was late on Friday out at Wright, the proposal was due on Monday, and the entire office had spent the morning playing Minesweeper* and fantasizing about deserts full of writhing, copulating men.

The story came out a while back thanks to the efforts of a bunch of fucking Berkeley hippies with the radical idea of using the Freedom of Information Act to look at what the government is doing. Apparently some people don't live by the aphorism about government and sausage, and actually want to know when they're slipping a little melamine into the pork links.

And speaking of slipping, sausage, and pork, the gay bomb proposal, which originated in 1994, asked for seven and a half million dollars to research a gay bomb. Seven and a half million dollars? I realize at the Pentagon that's, oh, less than one thousandth of what they "misplaced" in Iraq, that's still a lot of money just to turn people gay for a little while.

Which actually gives me an idea. If I may crib a smidge from the old Bloom County strips about the missile defense system made entirely out of paper money, why not skip the middleman? Assume an enemy army of 100,000. With a budget of $7.5 million, that means you could offer $750 to each and every soldier of the opposing army. In exchange for which they would leave the battlefield, go off somewhere, and have sex.

Now, that doesn't seem like a vast sum of money to us, but keep two things in mind - first, 10,000 of the soldiers will be willing to do it for free, so there's a cost savings you can use to fund the more reticent soldiers. And second, this is America. We don't fight industrialized nations with high standards of living these days. We fight the kind of countries where seven hundred and fifty United States dollars goes a long way. Enough, perhaps, to make soldiers go a long way.

As much as I hate to live up to the Democratic stereotype of thinking problems can be solved just by throwing money at them, my plan beats the Pentagon's plan in a number of ways, the most important being that it doesn't have to work as intended. If the Air Force bomb gets the enemy aroused, but fails to turn them gay, their soldiers will still be shooting at us. Oh, they may be a bit more chafed, but unless that significantly throws off their aim, our troops aren't any safer.

On the other hand, if we pay them to go off and have sex, and they just go off and don't end up having sex, they still have to leave the battlefield to maintain the illusion, lest we shoot them and take back our $750. And I bet if you worked out how much, on average, it costs the US to shoot a brown person in the face when you count the body armor and the fuel and the food and the bullets, it's probably much more efficient to pay them to shoot each other in the face. So to speak.

*Which at this point is probably classified as a DARPA military training simulation.