Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Non-Zombie Apocalypse

With Russian troops poised on Ukraine’s border, Nigerian terrorists abducting schoolgirls and China jockeying with other Asian nations over claims to submerged islands, it is reassuring to know the Pentagon is ready to fight the next big war – against zombies.

2014-03-10-thewalkingdeadWho can argue that zombies represent a clear and present danger? Just watch TV and you can see the havoc they can wreak in between commercials.

That well known tabloid, foreign, broke the story about U.S. military readiness to combat the walking dead. As usual, the defense plan is pocked with masterful wording, such as the need to “preserve the sanctity of human life” for those it describes as “non-zombie humans” from “zombie hordes.”

Foreign Policy found the unclassified document – CONOP8888 – on a “secret” military computer network, which it describes as a “zombie survival plan.” A key provision is a “how-to guide for military planners trying to isolate the threat from a menu of the undead – from chicken zombies to vegetarian zombies and even ‘evil magic zombies’ – and destroy them.” Thank goodness for military thoroughness.

Counter-Zombie Dominance, the official name of the plan, was created in April 2011 and apparently is a serious effort by the military to contemplate every contingency. The plan contains a disclaimer that says “this plan was not actually designed as a joke.” That’s a relief.

It is worth noting the plan was drafted by military strategists holed up in the U.S. Strategic Command in that critical frontier of civilization, Omaha, Nebraska. As someone born in Omaha, I can understand why people based there might worry about a zombie invasion – or think one might have already occurred.

Turns out that the real purpose of the zombie defense plan was to serve as a training exercise. A Strategic Command spokesperson said a zombie apocalypse isn’t realistic, but provides a useful basis for preparing for real enemies, who may attack and find our human flesh delectable. Planners said they used zombies as a metaphor and as a “muse.”Maybe they need to cut back on how much television they watch.

However, if Zombies or Zombie wannabes attack, soldiers and commanders will be trained on how to save the world from zombie rule, restore the rule of law in zombie-controlled disaster areas and return to life as we imagine it today, perhaps under the protection of a huge, translucent prophylactic dome designed by Stephen King.

about-beetleOne might think it a better use of our manpower and technological capabilities to deal with real-life threats. Ironically, the military planners who invented the zombie invasion scenario did so to avoid any confusion with a “situation” in real places like Tunisia or Nigeria. Yes, Nigeria, where we face a real-life scenario with video-happy terrorists holding more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls somewhere in the bush where no one – or no drone – can yet locate them. Let’s practice on addressing this apocalypse.

The specter of young girls, who were abducted because they were going to school, being sold into slavery or subjected to sexual depravity is a lot more distasteful – and believable – than zombies invading Atlanta.

We may have a military plan to rescue these girls that isn’t buried even deeper in an even more secret computer in Omaha. Where is Beetle Bailey when we really need him?


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