Summer is historically a lousy time for fresh news, as most state legislatures and the U.S. Congress are out of session for most of the time, the kids are out of school, and a lot of Americans undertake the always ill-advised family road trip.
So I was not that surprised when a news story from 2005 suddenly had legs with the mainstream media and the blogosphere.
The story in question revolved around the June 8 confirmation by the U.S. Department of Defense that the Air Force’s Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, had sought funding for a project to research “harassing, annoying and ‘bad-guy’-identifying chemicals.”
On Friday, June 8, the DoD confirmed that the Wright Laboratory inventory of chemical weapons to develop included a so-called “gay bomb” that would induce soldiers from the other side to step over to “the other side” and indulge in widespread homosexual conduct.
When this story first broke in January 2005, I merely shook my head at the stupidity of the entire matter and hoped it would die a quick death.
After all, the proposal included other options such as chemical weapons to attract angry wasps and other vermin to attack enemy troops, make the skin of said troops unbearably sensitive to sunlight, cause debilitating halitosis, and simulate paralyzing levels of flatulence.
Actually, I’ve heard rumors that the last one has been in development by the Army since the end of World War II, but I’ve been unable to locate a government paper trail that would confirm the existence of the “silent but deadly” bomb, even though I know it to be true as a workplace phenomenon in commercial kitchens.
Anyway, the hope was that the military grade aphrodisiac weapon would cause resultant homosexual activity that would sow such chaos as to cause a “distasteful but completely non-lethal blow to morale” and a breakdown amongst the ranks.
A refreshment of the old saw “Make love, not war,” if you will.
The Sunshine Project of Austin, Texas, and Hamburg, Germany, used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover paperwork for the 1994 proposal, which was entertained by the Pentagon, kicked upstairs for awhile, and then eventually abandoned.
Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project commented, “The notion was that a chemical that would probably [already] be present in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and, by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that the soldiers would become gay.”
The Wright Lab also tucked into the proposal a $7.5 million budget nugget for development of said weapon.
Captain Dan McSweeney of the DOD’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate told the BBC that the Pentagon gets “literally hundreds” of weapons proposals, but that “none of the systems described in that  proposal have been developed.”
Hammond takes issue with Pentagon dismissals of the story. “The truth of the matter is it would have never come to my attention if it was dismissed at the time it was proposed,” he said. “In fact, the Pentagon has used it repeatedly and subsequently in an effort to promote non-lethal weapons, and in fact, they submitted it to the highest scientific review body in the country for them to consider.”
Now I wasn’t able to determine which “scientific review body” Hammond referred to as of press time, but I’m not inclined to doubt his veracity, as the Pentagon has always been sunshine-averse.
Remember Agent Orange? What about the USMC’s Osprey project?
There are a few things in this story that I take issue with: one, that sexuality can be reduced to individual and interchangeable chemical composition; two, that sexuality is optional; and three, the assertion that all gay people want to have sex with all other gay people all the time.
So, there’s that — a rehash of old news that’s both insulting and hilarious at the same time.