Tom Dispatch is a site compiled and edited by Tom Engelhart and hosted by the National Institute. Yesterday he posted a fairly long article called Captain America Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex by Nick Turse along with a foreword to the article which he wrote himself. The article is well worth reading and contains a lot of eerie stuff.
- The US military now offers free cosmetic surgery for anyone in uniform. Between 2000 and 2003 military doctors have performed 496 breast implant operations and 1361 lyposuction surgeries. There was no mention of how many penis enlargements had been doled out but one only has to look at this year's military budget and the rest of the unbridled overcompensation to make a fair guess. They say it is to keep their surgeons practiced but it's probably to perfect that cartoon superhero look that the US military has always strived for.
- DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is much busier than the military's plastic surgeons. They are working on a number of interesting projects; a prevention of sleep depravation program that would allow pilots to fly for 30 hours continouosly, or allow Special Forces to be continouosly active (and I would guess aggressive) for 48-72 hour periods, another program trying to develop a drug that will allow them to kill without fear or guilt and a third program that will allow them to go without calorie requirements (eating) for three to five days because it cuts in on too much of their killing time.
- Two years ago DARPA suceeded in developing Ratbots, which are real rats with computer chips in their heads that allow them to be guided from a laptop computers. This is ostensibly for finding earthquake victims trapped in the rubble. A Guardian report from two years back asked a researcher if the beasts could be used for darker purposes: "Asked to speculate on potential military uses for robotic animals, Dr Talwar agreed they could, in theory, be put to some unpleasant uses, such as assassination. "Is it possible, objectively? I would imagine, if anybody wanted to do something as absurd as that."" What a ninny. Suggesting that the Military might want to kill folks with one of its little benevolent scientific discoveries.
- Now DARPA is now trying to go past the rat experiments with, you guessed it, sharks. Sharks were, I believe first used by sinister organizations bent on world domination in the old Bond films and more recently in the latest Austin Powers sequel, "Sharks with friggin' lasers on their heads." So this is nothing new.
So to re-cap, the US Military is trying to design rat assassins, bionic sharks and a soldier that can go without sleep or food for days, attack without fear and slaughter without any nasty pangs of guilt. The only question now is will the sharks and rats get access to those free boob jobs?