Zombie Alert

Talk about asymmetric warfare! Gordon Lubold of Foreign Policy dug into the Defense Department’s trove of contingency plans and found that the military strategists have counter-measures ready for every conceivable menace — and possibly some inconceivable ones:

Including how to deal with a Zombie Apocalypse.

It’s titled “CONOP 8888, Counter-Zombie Dominance.” Should hordes of slow-walking flesh eaters launch an attack, the Army will be ready — a) Isolate and b) Eradicate the Living Dead.

They’re even ready to protect humankind from the more exotic forms of Zombie “life” – Chicken Zombies, Vegetarian Zombies (threatening our crops) or EMZs – Evil Magic Zombies created by occult practices.

Are they serious? No. And Yes.

In order to draw up a contingency plan, military tacticians with the Strategic Command Center have to name a hypothetical enemy. They’ve often used Tunisia or Nigeria as designated foes, but in this age of leaked documents that could be disastrously misunderstood – e.g., by Tunisia or Nigeria – or by Americans who might think they meant it. As imaginary antagonists, Zombies seemed a safe alternative.

I sympathize. As a lowly first lieutenant in the Army Reserve, for three years I participated in summer combat maneuvers with the 304th Tank Battalion. Our enemies for mock battle were the “Aggressor Forces,” and for some reason I was named commander of the Aggressors every year. Nice fella like me?

Odd thing is, we tended not to be isolated or eradicated. We never lost so much as a skirmish, much less a battle.

I wasn’t watching the mail for a Congressional Medal of Honor, though. The fact was, our opponents – the good guys – were cursed with having to manage all the expensive equipment: M-1 Tanks with 90 mm guns and 50 caliber machine guns plus range-finders and $8,000 two-way radios (twitters, cell phones, and snap-chats awaited invention).

They had a terrible time getting any of this terrifying gadgetry to work properly. So their tanks would approach an objective – say, a hill that we Aggressors were defending – and suddenly turn sideways on some misinterpreted radio cue, completely exposing them to my anti-tank guns.

Even if they happened to get their guns aimed at us, they wouldn’t fire.

That was because blank rounds of 90 mm ammunition were notorious for dirtying the inside of a gun tube. So instead of going out for dinner and drinks after the battle, the tank crew would have to spend the evening swabbing out the barrel so they could turn in the tank.

Better not to fire in anger.

As for my Aggressor anti-tank guns, they were just yellow flags. Red flags represented machine guns. Wave the flag, and you were judged to have fired the gun. I would set up a perimeter defense, and if I needed to move an emplacement or reverse a command, all I had to do was yell at a couple of guys.

We were invincible.

So, as a former Aggressor commander, I can endorse the creation of fictional adversaries – except when Congressmen do it to keep useless military bases in their districts or to waste even more billions on obsolete weapons sold by their most lavish benefactors among the defense contractors.

I mean, waving red and yellow flags – or plotting the defeat of a Zombie uprising – is something taxpayers can cheerfully afford.

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About Al

Editors of The Horse You Rode In On (listed below) hail from Boston, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. All contributions are signed. When guest contributors are included, their comments will be signed in a manner consistent with their needs for discretion, witness protection, or yearning for personal adulation.