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War of the Widgets

By Cap'n O

AUGUST 25, 1997:  War is hell. Ask anyone who's seen their buddies' heads blown off, frozen in a foxhole or been shot at by angry men screaming insults at them in foreign languages.

But now, the big brains at Los Alamos National Laboratory are making war even more sick and gruesome than it already is. The people who gave you strontium-90 in your milk and blue snow are developing yet another weapon that'll have humans diving under desks and cowing in basements and in bathrooms. And when the horror of this device is known, even pacifists will be teary-eyed for old-fashioned, city-vaporizing nukes.

The spooks are developing so-called nonlethal weapons. Things like super glues that make bombers stick to runways and chemicals that turn truck tires into powder. The idea is that these weapons will incapacitate humans, but not kill them.

Listen to the generals and scientists, and you get the idea that nonlethal weapons are gifts from God, sent down so we can still wage war but not hurt each other. It's not so.

Some of these nonlethal weapons are lasers that explode eyeballs and microwaves that cook internal organs. Those are bad enough. But the pocket protector crowd is busy on a gadget that is so grotesque that, if used, we can forget about calling ourselves humans. A news article explained the horrible device:

"Infrasound: Very low-frequency sound generators could be tuned to incapacitate humans, causing disorientation, nausea, vomiting or bowel spasms."

Bowel spasms! Soldiers suffer enough trauma in war, what with having to watch bodies being ripped apart and having to eat cold food. Must we subject them to more pain?

One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a human is having someone discover that you went in your pants. Ask any second-grader. Not only will we subject brave soldiers to the trauma of losing control but also to the humiliation of having millions know that they couldn't hold it.

That's sick. Our enemies will get the weapon, too. And rather than having snappy parades of returning soldiers who are maimed but proud, we'll have sorry lines of vets hanging their heads, shuffling their feet and scrunching their bottoms. Better to take a bullet in the spleen than to have crushed self-esteem.

We'll be waging wars where the deciding factors will not be which side has more ammo, bigger bombs, more courageous soldiers, smarter generals or better tactics but who has more Pepto Bismol and toilet paper.

Some believe in the glory of the valiant charge toward the strongly held enemy position while being splattered with pieces of your comrades. With this machine, glory will be redefined as who made the quickest dash into the woods.

Strategic targets will no longer be rail centers, ports or industrial cities but toilet paper factories. Rather than the shouts of "medic" and "morphine," future battlefields will ring with calls of "Underwear! Underwear!"

The scientists are wasting time and money in developing the bowel spasm machine. That's typical. When scientists work themselves into patriotic frenzies and develop nation-busting bombs, species-destroying germs and other science-advancing wonders, they usually fail to think about the terrible consequences of their work or how impractical and unusable their gadgets are.

It happened with nukes. After blowing up lots of big ones, making noise and intimidating the Russians into building bigger nukes than we had, scientists finally realized, "Hey, if we use these things, we'll destroy the globe, and that means us, too."

They're making the same mistake with the bowel-spasm machine. They haven't thought about the consequences or about whether this terrible machine will lead to victory, which it won't. Because, nonlethal weapons or not, the enemy must still be cleared from the field to ensure victory.

But what the spooks haven't figured is this: After you've caused millions of enemy soldiers to have bowel spasms, who on earth is going to want to take them prisoner?

--Cap'n O

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