Saturday, October 16, 2004

A.I. Joe 

The military is failing to meet its enlistment and retention quotas; stop-loss orders force Guardsmen to stay in uniform indefinitely, long after they fulfill their commitments; and some of the overworked, underequipped, and generally fed-up troops we do have in the field are directly refusing to obey orders they think will get them killed. Any general will tell you there's a manpower shortage. Yet the President says there will be no military draft, and his house goons are threatening to sue anyone who suggests otherwise. Considering how much of the world will certainly need to be reshaped in a second Bush term, what's the Pentagon to do?

If we're to have fewer soldiers, then we must have better soldiers. A new breed of fighting man, perfected by super-science; a soldier who --How soon can we deploy this walking, talking marvel of bioengineering? Well, DARPA is already on it -- as you can learn by reading Nick Turse's "Captain America: Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex," from TomDispatch. (Also highly recommended are host Tom Engelhardt's introductory remarks on the law of "peak military": Whatever you create for brain-numbing sums will someday be available cheaply enough so that even small groups of fanatics can obtain it.)

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