May 23, 2014
Pentagon Prepares For Zombie Apocalypse
What makes zombies so scary? Maybe it is that they can’t be reasoned with, or maybe it is that our friends and allies can suddenly become our enemies. Perhaps it is because we ourselves could become the enemy. But the fact that a zombie menace would be so difficult to contain must be a major factor. The problem would be so widespread that it would consume everything: public resources, consciousness, finance. It would not be like with other major events when somehow some people manage to carry on without even noticing, and still only think about clothes shopping amidst international crises. It wouldn’t be like that with zombies.
Perhaps the all-encompassing nature of a zombie disaster is the reason that the Pentagon uses the fictional scenario for training purposes in order to demonstrate what any serious threat to stability might require in response. CNN explains that “Every phase of the operation from conducting general zombie awareness training, and recalling all military personnel to their duty stations, to deploying reconnaissance teams to ascertain the general safety of the environment to restoring civil authority after the zombie threat has been neutralized” is covered.
There is even discussion of how essential facilities such as power stations and hospitals might be serviced if infiltrated by zombies, including the possibility of using robots (who would be well within their rights to point out that we should never have been accusing them of being the ones to trying to threaten our civilization). Like with some possible real emergencies, a zombie catastrophe presents the dual threat of the collapse of infrastructure at the same time as direct, hostile attacks.
As far as the military response goes, CNN says that the Pentagon zombie training includes “rules of engagement.” The parts they mention seems to extend only as far as making sure to shoot the zombies in the head and then burn them, to put it simply. Which is, of course, entirely sensible and correct when it comes to zombies. But I wonder, without yet having had chance to read the entire zombie attack plan document – a real unclassified document straight out of the Pentagon – what the policy is towards zombies in terms of their enemy combatant status. It sounds very much as if there is a “shoot to kill” policy. No prisoners of war, no Geneva Convention nonsense, just blow their brains out.
This is generally how zombies are dealt with, and I am aware that a policy of containment is probably ambitious. Sitting down and negotiating or going down the sanctions route is unlikely to have much effect. But as I discussed in another recent blog, the slim possibility of a real-life disease not dissimilar to a zombie’s affliction does exist. redOrbit had previously spoken to some experts in the microbiology field who said that something similar to rabies could evolve so that it didn’t kill people quickly, as rabies does, but instead left them desperate to infect other poor souls. The evolution could either be natural, or artificially created by some evil genius. In this case, how would we really react to people who had hours earlier been our fellow citizens, but now were a threat to our civilization?
It is along the same lines as the interesting question about robots: how developed and self-aware can we allow them to become before we give them entitlement to rights and liberties? As far as ‘zombies’ go, I suppose we would have to see what form the disease took. But it appears from the fictional scenario (with a serious purpose) that the idea of blowing the heads off American citizens once they contract a nasty virus is not beyond the realms of possibility. As one quote from the Pentagon training document demonstrates, it may not even stop at that. Strategic Command personnel are directed to “Maintain emergency plans to employ nuclear weapons within (the continental United States) to eradicate zombie hordes.” Surely no one could still be shoe shopping through that.
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