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Home > World

Gay Dust And Angry Wasps: The future of American warfare

23 January 2005

At the close of last week came the shockingly risible news that the US Military had considered developing a biological weapon which when deployed, would not only make enemy troops question their sexuality, but would make them so wildly and sluttishly homosexual that they would immediately lay down their arms and start being gay with one another. Right there in the trench.

Dubbed the 'Gay Bomb' by the media, it was allegedly just one of a batch of new ideas about how the enemy could be demoralised by chemicals. Other ideas included non-lethal weaponry that would attract - amongst other things - enraged wasps, incensed rats and furious pit-ponies, thus making troop positions uninhabitable. Then there was one that would cause 'severe and long-lasting halitosis', another that would make soldiers' skin super-sensitive to sunlight, and finally one - nicknamed the 'who me?' bomb - which would make the enemy stink like an overflowing sewer. This final one was dismissed when military leaders remembered that most of America's enemies actually enjoy reeking of faeces.

All of these sparklingly innovative ideas apparently stem from a brain-storming session at the US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, in 1994. What a great meeting that must have been. The country's finest military minds, bent on mischief. One imagines they were encouraged to think way outside the box on this one. 'Remember,' they were doubtless reminded, 'these are biological weapons. Chemicals. Germs. It's a kind of magic. Anything is possible.' 'What about a gas that makes you despise Allah?' one of them piped up to raucous applause. 'Can't we make them love Democracy?' 'Give them a sand allergy!' 'Have them rained on by toads!' 'Trampled by elephants!' 'Send them a plague of haemorrhoids!' 'Turn 'em gay!'

The story was made public thanks to an international non-profit biotechnology watchdog group called The Sunshine Project. Making use of the Freedom of Information Act, the Sunshine Project acquired the government document, 'Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals', in which the above proposals were recorded, and posted them on their website at the end of 2004. Then, as soon as the story started to do the rounds last week, the denials came.

Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Defense Department spokesman, said that the proposal 'was rejected out of hand'. Meanwhile Marine Captain Daniel McSweeney told the Boston Herald, 'Gay Bomb is not our term. It was not taken seriously. It was not considered for further development.' But wait. The Sunshine Project are not finished with this just yet.

On Monday, they released another statement. The main thrust of this statement was to refute the Pentagon's denials. 'These statements are untrue,' it said flatly. 'The proposal was not rejected out of hand. It has received further consideration.' Indeed, it transpires that in 2000 the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) prepared a promotional CD-ROM which contained the Gay Bomb document. Then in 2001, the same document was submitted as part of a JNLWD-commissioned study of 'non-lethal' weapons. Sunshine Project director Edward Hammond spells it out: 'The fact of the matter is that Pentagon continues to pursue biochemical weapons, perhaps including those proposed by the Air Force, but certainly including those proposed by the Army.' More concise still: '...the Pentagon's statements are inaccurate and should be corrected.'

Of course they should be. But they won't be. And in three years' time, Fallujah will be a Mecca for gay bars and Listerine dealers.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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